Tag: Johnny Rabe

Review: She Loves Me (Marriott Theatre)

David Schlumpf and Jessica Naimy star in She Loves Me, Marriott Theatre LL           
      

She Loves Me

By Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick (score)
   and Joe Masteroff (book)
at Marriott Theatre, Lincolnshire (map)
thru June 18  |  tix: $50-$60  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

May 17, 2017 | 2 Comments More

Review: Jacob (Provision Theatre)

Johnny Rabe and Chuck Spencer star in Provision Theater's world premiere of "Jacob" by Timothy Gregory, directed by Lia Mortensen and Timothy Gregory. (photo credit: Megan Gallagher)        
      
Jacob

Written by Timothy Gregory  
Directed by Timothy Gregory and Lia Mortensen  
Provision Theater, 1001 W. Roosevelt (map)
thru June 15  |  tickets: $10-$32   |  more info
       
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May 11, 2014 | 1 Comment 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
       
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                   Read review
     

November 10, 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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        Read entire review
     

April 13, 2013 | 3 Comments More

Review: The Music Man (Paramount Theatre)

Stef Tovar), although Marian the librarian (Emily Rohm,        
      
The Music Man

Book, music and lyrics by Meredith Willson
Story by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey
Directed by Rachel Rockwell
at Paramount Theatre, Aurora (map)
thru Feb 3  |  tickets: $35-$47   |  more info
       
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January 30, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: A Christmas Story the Musical! (Chicago Theatre)

Clarke Hallum as Ralphie Parker - A Christmas Story       
      
A Christmas Story 

Book by Joseph Robinette  
Music/Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Directed by John Rando
at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State (map)
thru Dec 30  |  tickets: $35-$79   |  more info
       
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December 15, 2011 | 0 Comments More

Review: For The Boys (Marriott Theatre)

     
FOR THE BOYS Michele Ragusa 1
For The Boys
 

Written by Aaron Thielen
Directed by Marc Robin
at Marriott Theatre, Lincolnshire (map)
thru Oct 16  | tickets: $41-$49  | more info

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August 29, 2011 | 0 Comments More

REVIEW: The Music Man (Marriott Theatre)

         
        

Iowa Splendid

 

 

Bernie Yvon and Danny Coonley in The Music Man - Marriott Theatre

    
Marriott Theatre presents
   
The Music Man
   
Book/Music/Lyrics by Meredith Willson
Directed by
Gary Griffin
at
Marriott Theatre, Linconshire (map)
through Jan 9  |  tickets: $40-$48  |  more info

Reviewed by Lawrence Bommer

For reasons we can only guess at, Marriott Theatre has picked it for their holiday offering. But if ever a show spelled out summer, it’s Meredith Willson‘s 1957 masterpiece The Music Man. Throughout the rollicking story the title character exudes sunny optimism, a flimflam that "Professor" Harold Hill wants to believe as much as the suckers who take it in. His buoyant drive fits the season like a picnic. You’ll forget about the winter completely over the next 150 minutes.

Johanna McKenzie Miller and Bernie Yvon in The Music Man - Marriott TheatreOf course Hill is a 1912 confidence man who hornswaggles a ragtag band into playing music, a shy boy into speaking, a town into believing in itself and a librarian into love. The sturdy story is perfectly embedded in a very particular time capsule, with Willson meticulously employing with glorious abandon assorted slang, celebrities and colorful metaphors from the era and the state.

Helping this miracle worker Hill cast his spell, Willson gives him such powerful persuasion as "Seventy-Six Trombones" and "Trouble," the famous snake-oil sermon. By the musical’s end Hill has sold far more than he knows, a passel of dreams for River City to grow on. It’s a great formula: A mysterious stranger comes to town and changes everyone for the best, including himself when he realizes that what he gives is worth far more than what he sells.

Few shows strike such a shrewd balance between downhome decency and showbiz savvy. Because The Music Man wears its songs on its sleeve, it can’t seem too slick or smooth. What matters is the tender loving care.

The heart comes through like a charm in Marriott Theatre’s easy-winning, arena revival. Intimately homespun yet always knowing, Gary Griffin’s staging trusts the material, Willson’s fast-moving book, deceptively clever lyrics and unimprovable melodies–and gets them right throughout.

The look, for instance: Tom Ryan‘s clever, flexible and detailed set pieces combine to create a richly nostalgic Iowa setting, and Nancy Missimi’s fashionplate period costumes complete the illusion.

The human illusions are equally on target. Conning with unforced charm, Bernie Yvon offers a Harold Hill who listens as much as hoodwinks; like a good salesman he connects with the townsfolk until you see how much he means it. His charm is non-negotiable, though the changes he undergoes are a bit harder to measure under Yvon’s boundless confidence.

Barbara Cook and Shirley Jones notwithstanding (comparisons are odious), Johanna McKenzie Miller nicely inhabits Marian’s rich mix of spinster standoffishness and idealistic yearning. Her "Till There Was You" is earned by every line she’s said. (The fact that she also sounds just like Cook in her perfect prime doesn’t hurt in the least either.)

The cast of The Music Man - Marriott Theatre 2

Johnny Rabe and Danny Coonley in The Music Man - Marriott Theatre Johanna McKenzie Miller and Bernie Yvon in The Music Man - Marriott Theatre 3

Like the leads, the supporting roles betray much more life than art, even the hammy stock roles like John Reeger‘s pompous mayor, Iris Lieberman as his starched-blouse wife, Mary Ernster as Marian’s matchmaking mother and Andy Lupp as Hill’s gleeful trickster accomplice.

As the decent local kids whom Harold helps, Adrian Aguilar and Amanda Tanguay carry the romantic subplot with goofy grace. Special credit goes to little Johnny Rabe whose bashful Winthrop wails out "Gary, Indiana" as if he just made it up.

Finally, Matt Raftery‘s unshowy choreography reminds us that these are unpretentious Iowans whooping it up as best they can: There’s no showoff hoofing here. The “Shipoopi” explodes with prewar pep and a palpable joy that makes the most difficult dancing seem a gift to perform as much as perceive. David Kreppel’s musical direction is assured, especially in the barbershop-quartet offerings.

 

  
  
Rating: ★★★★
 
 

The performance schedule is Wednesdays at 1pm and 8pm, Thursday and Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 4:30pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 1pm and 5pm.  There will be an added performance Tuesday, 11/23 at 8pm and Friday, 11/26 at 4:30pm.  No performances Tuesday-Thursday, Nov 24th and 25th.

The cast of The Music Man - Marriott Theatre

 

 

November 16, 2010 | 0 Comments More