Tag: Devin DeSantis

Review: Parade (Writers Theatre)

Patrick Andrews and Brianna Borger star as Leo and Lucille Frank in Parade at Writers Theatre           
         

Parade
 
By Jason Robert Brown (music, lyrics)
     and Alfred Uhry (book)
Writers Theatre, Glencoe (map)
thru July 9  |  tix: $35-$80  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

June 12, 2017 | 2 Comments More

Review: The Little Mermaid (Paramount Theatre)

Kari Yancy stars as Ariel in The Little Mermaid, Paramount Theatre           
           

The Little Mermaid

By Doug Wright (book), Alan Menken (music), 
  Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater (lyrics)
at Paramount Theatre, Aurora (map)
thru Jan 8 Jan 15  tix: $44-$59  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

December 6, 2016 | 1 Comment More

Review: Side Show (Porchlight Music Theatre)

Colleen Fee and Britt-Marie Sivertsen star in Porchlight Music Theatre's "Side Show" by Henry Krieger and Bill Russell, directed by Michael Weber. (photo credit: Anthony Robert LaPenna)      
      
Side Show 

Written by Henry Krieger (music)
  and Bill Russell (book, lyrics)
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (map)
thru Oct 25 | tix: $39-$45 | more info
       
Check for half-price tickets    
    

September 23, 2015 | 0 Comments More

Review: Godspell (Marriott Theatre)

Brian Bohr and cast in Marriott Theatre's "Godspell" by Stephen Schwartz, directed by Matt Raftery. (photo credit: Peter Coombs)        
      
Godspell

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz 
Conceived by John-Michael Tebelak
Directed and Choreographed by Matt Raftery
at Marriott Theatre, Lincolnshire (map)
thru Aug 10  |  tickets: $40-$48   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review 
     

July 13, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: Mary Poppins (Marriott Theatre)

Summer Naomi Smart as Mary Poppins in Marriott Theatre's "Mary Poppins," directed by Gary Griffin. (photo credit: Peter Coombs)

       
      
Mary Poppins 

Music/Lyrics by Richard and Robert Sherman,
    George Stiles and Anthony Drewe
Book by Julian Fellowes
Directed by Gary Griffin
at Marriott Theatre, Lincolnshire (map)
thru Jan 5  |  tickets: $40-$48   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review
     

November 10, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: 9 to 5 (Marriott Theatre)

James Moye and Alexandra Palakovic star as Franklin Hart and Doralee Rhodes in Marriott Theatre's "9 to 5" by Dolly Parton and Patricia Resnick, directed by David H. Bell. (photo credit: Peter Coombs)        
       
9 to 5 

Written by Dolly Parton (music & lyrics) 
       and Patricia Resnick (book) 
Directed by David H. Bell  
at Marriott Theatre, Lincolnshire, IL (map)
thru Oct 13  |  tickets: $35-$48   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

August 29, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Sunset Boulevard (Drury Lane Theatre)

Christine Sherrill as Norma Desmond in Drury Lane Theatre's "Sunset Boulevard" by Andrew Lloyd Webber, directed by William Osetek. (photo credit: Brett Beiner)        
       
Sunset Boulevard 

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber 
Book/lyrics by Don Black, Christopher Hampton
Directed by William Osetek
Drury Lane Theatre, Oakbrook Terrace (map)
thru March 24  |  tickets: $35-$46   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

February 6, 2013 | 0 Comments More

REVIEW: Hot Mikado (Drury Lane Oakbrook)

 

Nanki Poo, Zoot Suits and Dancing – Oh my!

 

(L-R) Andy Lupp (Pish Tush), Todd Kryger (Pooh-Bah) and Stephen Schellhardt (Ko Ko) star in HOT MIKADO at Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook Terrace through October 3.

   
Drury Lane Oakbrook presents
   
Hot Mikado
  
Written by Gilbert and Sullivan
Directed by
David Bell
at
Drury Lane Oakbrook, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace (map)
through October 3  |  tickets: $31-$45  |  more info

reviewed by Lawrence Bommer

If imitation is the highest compliment, in 1939 Gilbert and Sullivan‘s The Mikado was praised to the skies: no less than two all-black, all-jazz versions from Chicago and from New York played opposite each other on Broadway. (Alas, they beat each other to a draw, ticket-wise.) It must have seemed as if America would swing its way out of the Depression, with some help from two dead Victorian males.

HOT_MIKADO--Aurelia_WilliamsA Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre revival (Marriott’s Lincolnshire Theatre "premiered" this version in 1993), Hot Mikado is director/choreographer David H. Bell‘s sizzling homage to those ever-young jitterbug versions. (Purists may carp but then nothing in Sullivan’s music was any more "Japanese" than are these jazz translations, while Gilbert’s satire is timeless.) This time it’s a proscenium presentation and that gives it even more depth and scope than the original arena production.

Retaining the topsy-turvy tale of how Nanki Poo, the Mikado’s son who poses as a wandering minstrel, falls in love with the aggressively demure Yum-Yum; pursued by the voracious harridan Katisha, he’s almost executed by his rival Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner. The Mikado’s arrival causes instant confusion, then the requisite resolution.

Based on a successful 1986 production that Bell first mounted at Ford’s Theatre in Washington that has gone on to play London’s West End, Dublin and Prague, Hot Mikado is blessed with music director Michael Mahler‘s period-perfect musical Midas touch. It also has one of the loveliest looks of a Drury Lane show: Marcus Stephens’ set enchants illuminated Japanese footbridge, pavilion and cherry trees with leaves of fans and Japanese lanterns. Jesse Klug lights it like a rainbow in heat, though Jeremy Floyd‘s time-traveling costumes would be bright in the dark.

True to its name, Hot Mikado sizzles with David Bell‘s Lindy-hopping, be-bopping, high-stepping dances; dolled up in Zoot suits or bodice bursters, the all-dancing cast turn the Mikado’s entrance into a tap-dancing tour-de-force (led by Ted Levy’s inexhaustible Bojangles imitation in the title role) and hoof up a storm to "Swing a Merry Madrigal." "Three Little Maids" here becomes a hep-swinging Andrew Sisters ballad. The red-hot first act finale comes straight from Stork Club heaven, with a hint of gospel and a highly anachronistic allusion to disco.

 

HOT_MIKADO--Ted_Levy HOT_MIKADO--Devin_DeSantis_and_Summer_Smart

Bell’s troupe (which includes Susan Moniz, who was Yum-Yum 17 years ago in Lincolnshire) sing and dance into a lather. A throwback to classic vaudeville (as veteran Ross Lehman was in Lincolnshire), Stephen Schellhardt gives Ko-Ko alternate touches of Groucho and, even, in his crying fits, Stephen Colbert showing some sentiment. Surprisingly self-effacing even at his hammiest, Schellhardt shows the gentle wistfulness of Keaton and Chaplin and his double takes show stopwatch timing.

As the cavorting cuties, Devin DeSantis’ crooning Nanki-Poo and Summer Naomi Smart’s demure but designing Yum-Yum bring new life to "This Is What I’ll Never Do." Todd M. Kryger oozes pomposity out of Pooh-Bah and Moniz’ Pitti-Sing belts to beat the Big Band.

But the stand-out show-stopper is easily Aurelia Williams, a powerhouse to equal Felicia Fields in Bell’s Lincolnshire debut. Playing the awesome Katisha as a blues-wailing big mamma, she tears the heart out of "The Hour of Gladness" and wipes the set with "Alone and Yet Alive." No surprise that Williams got the biggest ovation at the curtain call: She supplies the heat in Hot Mikado.

Pizzazz-packed as it is, it’s still possible to wish that, color-blind casting aside, Hot Mikado was, like its original, all-black (instead of, as here, fitfully integrated). It’s weird to hear white performers sing what you know would be cooked to a crisp by a black cast. Soul singing, especially of blues standards, will belong culturally to some folks more than others. But then Marriott’s production was equally opportunistic, so I’m resigned to it.

   
   
Rating: ★★★★
 
 
August 24, 2010 | 1 Comment More