Tag: Merritt David Janes

Review: School of Rock (Broadway in Chicago)

School of Rock cast at Cadillac Palace Theatre, Broadway in Chicago            
  
         

School of Rock

Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber (music),
    Julian Fellowes (book), Glenn Slater (lyrics)
Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph (map)
thru Nov 19  |  tix: $27-$105  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

November 6, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Phantom of the Opera (Broadway in Chicago)

Cooper Grodin and Julia Udine star in Broadway in Chicago's "Phantom of the Opera," directed by Laurence Connor. (phtoo credit: Matthew Murphy)        
      
The Phantom of the Opera

Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber (music),
  Charles Hart (lyrics), Richard Stilgoe (book)
Directed by Laurence Connor
Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph (map)
thru March 2  |  tickets: $25-$115   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review
     

January 20, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: Catch Me If You Can (Broadway in Chicago)

Stephany Anthony stars as Frank Abagnale, Jr. in Broadway in Chicago's "Catch Me If You Can" by Terrence McNally, Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, directed by Jack O'Brien. (photo credit: Carol Rosegg)        
       
Catch Me If You Can 

By Terrence McNally (book), Scott Wittman (lyrics)
    and Marc Shaiman (music and co-lyrics)
Directed by Jack O’Brien
Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph (map)
thru April 14  |  tickets: $18-$85   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

April 4, 2013 | 2 Comments More

REVIEW: Beauty and the Beast (Broadway in Chicago)

A fractured fairytale

 

Liz Shivener - captioned

 

 
Broadway in Chicago presents:
 
Beauty and the Beast
 
book by Linda Woolverton
music/lyrics by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman
directed by Rob Roth
Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph (map)
through April 4th (more info | tickets)

reviewed by Keith Ecker 

Disney’s musical Beauty and the Beast may be a tale as old as time, but time has definitely taken its toll.

The current touring production, which is making a brief stop at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, comes across as, well, amateurish. Riddled with technical problems, it appears Disney isn’t even trying to spice up its usual schlock before serving it up to eager audiences.

Liz Shivener and Justin Glaser The musical follows closely to the animated feature’s plot. Belle (Liz Shivener) is the most beautiful girl in the village. Not so bad, right? The problem is she’s an oddball because she has an active imagination and enjoys getting lost in a good book. It doesn’t help that her father Maurice (Christopher Spencer) is an eccentric inventor.

The dashing yet brutish and egocentric Gaston (Nathaniel Hackman) has a thing for the lovely Belle. The only problem is that his extreme hubris is a huge turnoff to the lass, which only fuels the fire in Gaston’s heart even more.

One day, father/inventor Maurice ventures out into the woods where he is attacked by wolves (made possible through some fairly frightening puppetry, so frightening in fact that it terrified the little girl sitting in front of me to the point that she and her mother had to leave the theater). The old man seeks shelter in a castle, which unbeknownst to him is inhabited by a bunch of talking appliances and a Beast (Justin Glaser).

We all know where the story goes from here. The Beast makes a trade—Maurice for Belle. Slowly but surely the two opposites attract and lo and behold the magic spell that has been cast over the kingdom is finally lifted.

The only significant plot difference in the musical is that more attention is paid to the castle’s ensemble, which includes Cogsworth the clock (Keith Kirkwood), Lumiere the candelabra (Merritt David Janes) and Mrs. Potts the teapot (Sabina Petra, whose British accent is all over the U.K. map). In this version, the servants are slowly transforming into these objects, upping the stakes for the Beast to break the spell sooner rather than later.

Throughout the entire show, from the beginning to the end, there were issues with performers’ microphones. Cracks and pops would occasionally drown out dialogue or interrupt a melody. Normally I wouldn’t put so much weight on a technical issue like this, but it was never resolved throughout the two-hour musical. In addition, whereas most audiences might not notice if a microphone is temporarily tuned down too low, people sitting around me began to moan and groan with the more rustling and crackling we had to endure.

There was also a faulty light cue (Spoiler alert for anyone not familiar with the story.) The musical handles Gaston’s death in the most G-rated manner possible. It only alludes to him falling by showing him teetering over the ledge of a balcony. My assumption is that the lights are supposed to go down at the moment right before we see him fall. When I saw it, Gaston regained his footing, stared blankly out at the audience and then the lights went down.

Liz Shivener and Justin Glaser 2 Merritt David Janes - captioned

The actors were all decent, but there were no showstoppers. However, there were some impressive acrobatics, especially from Michael Fatica, who played Gaston’s right-hand man Lefou.

For a musical, there seemed to be a dearth of big numbers throughout the first part of the show. You would think that the opener “Bonjour” would be high energy, but, despite involving the whole cast, it seemed much less lively than the cartoon. The standout song was by far “Be Our Guest,” which was truly a spectacle, complete with dancing plates and forks and a tumbling rug. One of the other big numbers, “Gaston” was a miscalculated headache thanks to the incorporation of clinking metal steins into the choreography.

Small children who are fans of the cartoon will probably enjoy the show, granted they aren’t scared of some of the darker scenes, including the stabbing of the Beast. It may instead be the adults who are squirming in their seats, wishing they had just rented the cartoon instead.

 
Rating: ★★
 

Nathaniel Hackmann - captioned

      
March 27, 2010 | 1 Comment More