Tag: Garth Helm

Review: Brigadoon (Goodman Theatre)

Olivia Renteria, Roger Mueller and Jordan Brown star in Goodman Theatre's triumphant "Brigadoon" by Lerner and Loewe, directed by Rachel Rockwell. (photo credit: Liz Lauren)        
      
Brigadoon

Written by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe 
Revised book by Brian Hill
Directed by Rachel Rockwell
at Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn (map)
thru Aug 17  |  tickets: $25-$97   |  more info
       
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July 10, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: Shrek the Musical (Chicago Shakespeare Theater)

Michael Aaron Lindner as Shrek and Summer Naomi Smart as Princess Fiona in Chicago Shakespeare Theater's production of "Shrek The Musical", staged and choreographed by Jeff Award-winning director Rachel Rockwell. (photo credit: Liz Lauren)        
       
Shrek the Musical 

Book and Lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Directed by Rachel Rockwell
Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Navy Pier (map)
thru Sept 1  |  tickets: $18-$25   |  more info
       
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July 21, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Oliver! (Drury Lane Theatre)

Brady Tutton stars as Oliver in Drury Lane Theatre's "Oliver!" by Lionel Bart, directed by Rachel Rockwell. (photo credit: Brett Beiner)        
       
Oliver! 

Book, music and lyrics by Lionel Bart  
Directed by Rachel Rockwell
Drury Lane Theatre, Oak Brook Terrace (map)
thru June 2  |  tickets: $35-$49   |  more info
       
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April 13, 2013 | 3 Comments More

Review: Xanadu (Drury Lane Theatre)

Chris Critelli (Sonny) and Gina Milo (Clio/Kira) star in "Xanadu", directed by Rachel Rockwell. (photo credit: Brett Beiner)        
       
Xanadu 

Book by Douglas Carter Beane
Book/Lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar 
Directed/Choreographed by Rachel Rockwell 
Drury Lane Theatre, Oak Brook Terrace (map)
thru Oct 28  |  tickets: $35-$46   |  more info
       
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September 17, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Chicago Shakespeare)

Emily Rohm as Belle, Beauty and the Beast, Chicago Shakespeare       
      
Beauty and the Beast 

Alan Menken (music), Linda Woolverton (book),
     Tim Rice and Howard Ashman (lyrics),
Directed, Choreographed by Rachel Rockwell
at Chicago Shakespeare on Navy Pier (map)
thru Aug 26  |  tickets: $18-$25   |  more info
       
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July 9, 2012 | 1 Comment More

Review: The Sound of Music (Drury Lane)

Katie Huff, Zachary Keller, Laura Nelson, Ben Parkhill, Arielle Dayan, Emily Leahy, Julia Baker       
      
The Sound of Music 

Written by Richard Rodgers (music)
and Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics)
Book by Howard Lindsay, Russell Crouse
Directed by Rachel Rockwell
Drury Lane Theatre, Oakbrook Terrace  (map)
thru Jan 8  |  tickets: $35-$45   |  more info

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October 28, 2011 | 2 Comments More

Review: Sweeney Todd (Drury Lane Theatre)

     
SWEENEY TODD--Heidi Kettenting and Gregg Edelman
Sweeney Todd
 

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Hugh Wheeler
Directed by Rachel Rockwell
at Drury Lane Theatre, Oakbrook Terrace (map)
thru Oct 9   |   tickets: $35-$46  |   more info

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August 18, 2011 | 3 Comments More

Review: White Noise (Royal George and Whoopi Goldberg)

        
        

Though it doesn’t quite rock the hard place, it still rocks

  
  

MacKenzie Mauzy and the ensemble in Whoopi Goldberg's 'White Noise' at the Royal George Theatre in Chicago.

  
Whoopi Goldberg presents
  
White Noise: a cautionary musical
  
Book by Matte O’Brien
Music/Lyrics by
Robert Morris, Steven Morris, Joe Shane
Directed and choreographed  by
Sergio Trujillo
at Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted (map)
through June 5  |  tickets: $50-$65  |  more info

Reviewed by Barry Eitel

Neo-Nazism, maybe now more than ever, is definitely a lonely philosophy, with both sides of the political spectrum trigger-happy to brand their opponents as followers of the Fuhrer. Unlike the more fashionable discrimination against Latinos, Muslims, and gays, wholesale white supremacy is not in vogue these days. White Noise, the new “cautionary musical” produced by Whoopi Goldberg, asks what would happen if subtle and coded racist rhetoric went viral? It’s already sort of happening over on 4Chan; in this way, Matte O’Brien’s book is screamingly relevant. He’s assisted by well-wrought, if often disturbing, songs and Sergio Trujillo’s snappy staging. However, by using tired Nazi philosophy Emily Padgett and MacKenzie Mauzy in Whoopi Goldberg's 'White Noise' at the Royal George Theatreas its punching bag, White Noise fails to present a nuanced reflection on racism in today’s America—something we desperately need.

The events of the play were inspired by a little duo of white nationalists who formed a band called Prussian Blue. The two tween girls sang about race wars and crushes on skinheads, nearly immediately gaining the ire, and spotlight, of the national media. However, the pinnacle of Prussian Blue’s career was playing a state fair or two. The titular band in White Noise is sexier, more talented, and more marketable—singing their ciphered bigotry, they become YouTube darlings and put out a number one single.

One wonders how their repulsive beliefs are kept hidden from the media – something the show never explains. In fact, you aren’t really told much about how those beliefs came to be; there is never the searing indictment of inherited racism you find in American History X.

What we’re left with is the terrifically short rise and fall of White Noise, which is comprised of sisters Eva and Eden (Mackenzie Mauzy and Emily Padgett), skinhead/bassist/Eva’s boyfriend Duke (Patrick Murney), and Jake (Eric William Morris), who’s slapped onto the band by record exec Max (Douglas Sills as a lukewarm Bobby Gould-lite) with the mission of repackaging the group. The show becomes a battle between the greed of the amoral Max and Duke’s desire to vocalize his disgusting views on a national platform. Eva and Eden are caught in the crossfire. Eden just writes the tunes; she’s never really that concerned with the message. Eva fully believes the stuff, but she’s also a capitalist.

This story is juxtaposed with Max and Jake’s attempts to repackage backpack rappers Dion (Wallace Smith) and Tyler (Rodney Hicks) as gangstas. It doesn’t help that the two’s original ideas are pretty lame (like a rap version of the Declaration of Independence – not kidding), lacking the intelligence of Lupe Fiasco or De La Soul. Against their will, Max turns them into Blood Brothers and Jake writes them a little tune called “N.G.S.,” a smash hit about N’s (think N.W.A.) shooting “white boys.” Obviously, Jake and Max are guilty of racist double-dipping, but Max could care less and Jake is concerned with making his career. The whole musical leads up to a giant concert featuring a double bill of White Noise and Blood Brothers. Needless to say, it doesn’t go down as smooth as “Ebony and Ivory.”

     
Eric Morris, Emily Padgett, MacKenzie Mauzy, Patrick Murney in Whoopi Goldberg's 'White Noise' at the Royal George Theatre
Rodney Hicks and Wallace Smith as the "BloodBrothas" in Whoopi Goldberg's 'White Noise' at the Royal George Theatre in Chicago. MacKenzie Mauzy and Emily Padgett in Whoopi Goldberg's 'White Noise' at the Royal George Theatre

Mauzy and Padgett give great performances and nail the musical numbers. Their tunes, penned by Robert Morris, Steven Morris, and Joe Shane, are legitimately catchy. Murney is chilling and Morris, who becomes the romantic lead in this tale, is decent. Max is a wannabe Mamet character who just isn’t quite ballsy enough, but Sills does the best he can.

I have to give props to this show – which has Broadway-level production design – for not shying away from the vile language. The show may be as blunt as Nazi propaganda. It presents racism in a polarized manner that doesn’t speak to the insidious, quieter racism that we see today. But White Noise still asks some relevant questions. The Hitler salute-inspired choreography in the video of White Noise’s hit single, “Mondays Suck,” inspire rounds of fan vids on YouTube, a la “Single Ladies.” At the end of the night, I was wondering how stupid all those kids must feel after they realize they posted videos of themselves goose-stepping.

  
  
Rating: ★★★
  
  

Eric Morris, Emily Padgett, MacKenzie Mauzy, Patrick Murney in Whoopi Goldberg's 'White Noise' at the Royal George Theatre

White Noise: a cautionary musical continues at the Royal George Theatre through June 5th, with performances Tuesday-Thursday at 7:30pm, Fridays 8pm, Saturdays 5pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm and 5pm. Tickets are $49.50-$64.50, and can be purchased online or via the box office (312-988-9000). For more info, download the

.

All photos by Carol Rosegg

     
April 16, 2011 | 0 Comments More