Tag: Jillian Weingart

Review: Dogfight (BoHo Theatre)

Matt Frye, Nick Graffagna, Garrett Lutz, Matt Provencal, Peter Robel and Travis Austin Wright star in BoHo Theatre's "Dogfight" by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Peter Duchan, directed by Peter Marston Sullivan. (photo credit: Amy Boyle)      
      
Dogfight  

Music/Lyrics: Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
Book by Peter Duchan
Theater Wit, 1229 W, Belmont (map)
thru Oct 18  | tix: $27-$30  | more info
       
Check for half-price tickets    
    

September 17, 2015 | 0 Comments More

Review: A New Brain (Brown Paper Box Company)

Nick Shoda and Anna Schutz star in Brown Paper Box Company's "A New Brain" by William Finn and James Lapine, directed by M. William Panek. (photo credit: CB Lindsey)        
      
A New Brain

Written by William Finn and James Lapine  
Directed by M. William Panek  
at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge (map)
thru March 9  |  tickets: $25   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review
     

February 27, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Snow Queen, or When Christmas Freezes Over! (Piccolo Theatre)

Piccolo Theatre's "The Snow Queen, or When Hell Freezes Over" by Jessica Puller, directed by Nicole Keating. (photo credit: Robert Erving Potter III)        
      
The Snow Queen, or
When Christmas Freezes Over!

Written by Jessica Puller  
Directed by Nicole Keating  
at Evanston Arts Depot, 600 Main (map)
thru Dec 21  |  tickets: $10-$25   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review
     

November 18, 2013 | 0 Comments More

REVIEW: Reefer Madness (The Brown Paper Box Co.)

 

Hilarious musical romp through the wide world of weed

 

Reefer Madness - Brown Paper Box Co 003

   
The Brown Paper Box Co. presents
   
Reefer Madness
 
Book and Lyrics by Kevin Murphy
Music by Dan Studney
Directed by M. William Panek
Viaduct Theatre, 3111 N. Western (map)
through October 24  |  tickets: $15-$20  |  more info

Reviewed by Oliver Sava

The 1938 propaganda film “Reefer Madness” sought to teach the ignorant American masses of the dangers of “marihuana”, including but not limited to grand theft auto, sexual deviance, and murder. Paranoid and misinformed to the extreme, the film’s absurd plot and hilarious depiction of drug users have made it a cult classic, and Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney’s musical spoof is a wonderfully over-the-top  expansion of the film’s best ideas, mainly the claims that marijuana turns people into sex-crazed baby-killing socialists.

Reefer Madness - Brown Paper Box Co_ 006Directed by M. William Panek, The Brown Paper Box Co.’s production of Reefer Madness is at its best during group numbers, when the cast fearlessly tackles the offensive subject matter with vocal gusto. During the smaller numbers, some of the actors struggle to adjust to the absence of the group, and the singing loses precision and clarity.

The musical revels in gratuitous sex and violence, and the exaggeration of these elements highlights the ridiculousness of the movie’s plot, the tragic tale of high school students Jimmy Harper (Tyler Davis) and Mary Lane (Anna Schutz). Under the false pretense of swing dance lessons, drug pusher Jack Stone (David Geinosky) invites Jimmy over to the Reefer Den, where his life will be changed forever.

When Jimmy takes a hit of marijuana for the first time, rather than experiencing lethargy and munchies, Jimmy life descends into a mess of unbridled orgies, Jesus hallucinations, and running over old men with Mary’s car. While Davis’ jonesing can get a little grating to watch at times, he and Schutz showcase impressive vocals, and the two actors have no problem transitioning from adorable sweetness to devilish insanity. Some of the high notes could have more power behind them, and there needs to be a better balance between the volume of the principals and the chorus behind them, but Jimmy and Mary’s tragic romance is a constant source of humor throughout the production.

Reefer Madness - Brown Paper Box Co 004 As the denizens of the Reefer Den, junkies Ralph (Michael Gardner), Sally (Jillian Kate Weingart), and Mae (Chelsea Paice) have some of the best moments in the show as stumble around the stage, humping and smoking whatever they can. Wiley is fantastically manic as Ralph, and is extra creepy as Sally’s baby in one disturbing interlude. Paice gets one of the best ballads of the show, and while she handles the lower register well, the big money notes are lacking in energy and support. Weingart has a similar problem, but she makes up for it with her powerful belting and fierce sexuality.

Reefer Madness is a musical that is not afraid to offend. Whether it is through explicit sexuality or graphic violence, the show pushes the boundaries of musical comedy, taking it to hilariously dark place. Brown Paper Box Co.’s production needs a little more polish to be truly memorable, but the actors tackle the material with dedication and courage. Despite the lows, this musical never comes down from its high.

   
   
Rating: ★★½
   
  

Reefer Madness - Brown Paper Box Co 002

October 20, 2010 | 0 Comments More