Tag: Michele Lekas

Review: Aladdin (Broadway in Chicago)

Adam Jacobs stars as Aladdin singing Proud of Your Boy, Broadway Chicago           
         

Aladdin

Written by Alan Menken, Tim Rice,
  Howard Ashman and Chad Beguelin
Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph (map)
thru Sept 10  |  tix: $44-$153  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

April 29, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: Sweeney Todd (Paramount Theatre)

Paul-Jordan Jansen stars as Sweeney Todd, Paramount Theatre 2           
      

Sweeney Todd

By Stephen Sondheim (music, lyrics)
    and Hugh Wheeler (book)
Paramount Theatre, Aurora (map)
thru March 19  |  tix: $44-$59  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

March 3, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: Wonderful Town (Goodman Theatre)

Bri Sudia and Lauren Molina and cast in Wonderful Town, Goodman Theatre           
      
  

Wonderful Town

Music by Leonard Bernstein 
Lyrics by Betty Comden, Adolph Green
Book by Joseph Fields, Jerome Chodorov
Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn (map)
thru Oct 23  |  tix: $25-$103  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

September 23, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: If/Then (Broadway in Chicago)

If/Then
Winspear Opera House

Jackie Burns
Tamyra Gray
Anthony Rapp
Matthew Hydzik

Production Credits:
Michael Greif (Direction)
Larry Keigwin (Choreography)
Mark Wendland (Scenic Design)
Emily Rebholz (Costume Design)
Kenneth Posner (Lighting Design)
Brian Ronana (Sound Design)
Carmel Dean (Musical Direction)
Tom Kitt and Michael Starobin (Orchestrations)

Other Credits:
Lyrics by: Brian Yorkey
Music by: Tom Kitt
Book by Brian Yorkey
- See more at: http://playbill.com/events/event_detail/if-then-at-winspear-opera-house-360274#sthash.EEdmyT5i.dpuf

          
      
   

If/Then

Written by Tom Kitt (music)
  and Brian Yorkey (book, lyrics)
Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph (map)
thru Mar 6  |  tix: $25-$98  | more info 
        
Half-price tickets available  

March 1, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Broadway in Chicago)

Adrienne Eller and Kevin Massey star in Broadway in Chicago's "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" by Robert L. Friedman and Steven Lutvak, directed by Darko Tresnjak. (photo credit: Joan Marcus)            
      
A Gentleman’s Guide
to Love and Murder
 

Book/Lyrics by Robert L. Friedman
Music/Lyrics by Steven Lutvak
Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe (map)
thru Oct 11 | tix: $33-$100  | more info
       
Check for half-price tickets  

October 6, 2015 | 0 Comments 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

Check for half-price tickets  
     
        Read entire review
     

October 28, 2011 | 2 Comments More

REVIEW: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Drury Lane)

 

Dynamic choreography, rousing leading lady save flawed musical

 

 (L-R) Cara Salerno, Vanessa Panerosa, Amber Mak, Hallie Cercone, Abby Mueller, Katie Huff, and Amanda Kroiss star in SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS, running through December 19 at Drury Lane Theatre. Photo by Brett Beiner

        
Drury Lane Oakbrook presents
   
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
   
Book by Gene del Paul, Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn
Music/Lyrics by Gene del Paul, Al Kasha, Joel Hirschhorn and Johnny Mercer
Directed by Bill Jenkins
Musical Direction by
Roberta Duchak
at
Drury Lane Theatre, Oakbrook Terrace (map)
through December 19  |  tickets: $31-$45  |  more info

Reviewed by Oliver Sava

In the 1954 movie musicalSeven Brides for Seven Brothers”, when men kidnap women and trick them into marriage, it’s not Stockholm syndrome, it’s love. “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” is one of those movie musicals that is a product of its time, when women were looked at as little more than glorified housekeepers and baby makers, born to do the will of their man. When Adam Pontipee (Steve Blanchard) deceives the sassy Milly (Abby Mueller) into marrying him, his six brothers set out to capture wives for themselves, ambushing six town girls and throwing them in the back of their wagon. It’s offensive, but the music is jovial and melodic, the dancing is energetic and plentiful, and the film’s leading man Howard Keel’s booming voice and charming smile make it difficult to despise the chauvinistic Adam.

(L-R) Richard Strimer (Benjamin) and Abby Mueller (Milly) star in SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS, running through December 19 at Drury Lane Theatre. Photo by Brett BeinerMy problems with the stage adaptation of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers arise from its attempts to flesh out the characters, which sounds like a good thing but ends up backfiring by making them even shallower. The solos do very little to make you sympathize with the characters, with Milly’s “One Man” beginning as a condemnation of her husband’s trickery before devolving into a tribute to female subservience. Conversely, Adam’s big Act Two moment of redemption “Where Were You?” attempts to justify his sexism by giving him a daddy complex, blaming his actions on his absent father instead of taking responsibility himself. It’s not difficult to assume that Adam’s behavior is a product of his environment, but when it is put into song it just makes the already unlikable character seem pathetic. Blanchard’s vocals don’t help matters, lacking the timbre and strength expected from an 1850 frontiersman. And while the added ensemble numbers manage to evoke the musical style of the film, the solos and smaller group sequences have a contemporary feel that is out of place with the rest of the show’s classic musical theater sound.

The highlight of the production is easily Milly and her relationship with her six brothers-in-law. Mueller’s crystal clear tone and powerful belt make her musical numbers stand out, and she has great chemistry with her new relatives as she assumes a dominating mother position in the household. Watching the brothers transform under Milly’s feminine influence is a joy, from learning to dance in “Goin’ Courtin’” to finally appreciating their women in the heartfelt “Glad That You Were Born.” With the brothers, there is evidence of a struggle between the uncivilized way they’ve been brought up and the restraint that makes for successful courting. “We Gotta Make It Through The Winter” is a hilarious exclamation of horny frustration, but it is followed by Daniel (William Travis-Taylor) and Frank (Brandon Springman) ruminating on the somber effects of loneliness in the beautiful “Lonesome Polecat.”

 

(L-R)  Abby Mueller (Milly) and Steve Blanchard (Adam) star in SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS, running through December 19 at Drury Lane Theatre. Photo by Brett Beiner (L-R) Richard Strimer, Jarret Ditch, William Travis Taylor, Chris Yonan, Brandon Springman and (back) Zach Zube star in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  Photo by Brett Beiner.

The brothers learning to dance comes in handy for Tammy Mader’s intense, dynamic choreography. Maybe the reason Adam and Milly’s romance never blossoms on stage is because they don’t have a nice dance together like the brothers and their brides. There isn’t much depth to these characters and their affection for each other, but the substance appears in their dancing, when the chemistry really ignites. The extended town dance sequence in Act I is a mesmerizing affair, albeit a little chaotic and unclear at times, while an Act II all-bride dream ballet brings some sensuality to the affair.

Like the film, this production is propelled by its dancing, but bodies in movement can’t overcome all the flaws of the writing. The changes to the film give the story a more modern context, and the attempt to psychoanalyze the characters through song removes much of the musical’s charm. Drury Lane’s Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a polished, well-performed production, but the questionable source material prevents it from rising to true greatness.

   
   
Rating: ★★½
   
  

(L-R) Chris Yonan, Hallie Cercone, Jarret Ditch, and Cara Salerno star in SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS, running through December 19 at Drury Lane Theatre. Photo by Brett Beiner

 

October 25, 2010 | 0 Comments More