Tag: Peter Hylenski

Review: Something Rotten! (Broadway in Chicago)

Something Rotten  cast at Broadway in Chicago (JD)            
        

  

Something Rotten! 
 
By Karey Kirkpatrick, Wayne Kirkpatrick
   and John O’Farrel
at Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph (map)
thru July 23  |  tix: $27-$98  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

July 15, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: Annie (Broadway in Chicago, 2016)

Tori Bates stars as Annie, with Sandy, Broadway in Chicago tour           
      
  

Annie

Written by Charles Strouse (music),
Thomas Meehan (book), Martin Charnin (lyrics)
Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph (map)
thru Apr 13  |  tix: $25-$110  |  more info      

Check for half-price tickets    
     

November 13, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: Gotta Dance (Broadway in Chicago)

Ande De Shields and Georgia Engel star in the pre-Broadway world premiere of "Gotta Dance", directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell. (photo credit: Matthew Murphy)         
      
Gotta Dance

Book by Chad Beguelin, Bob Martin
Music by Matthew Sklar, Marvin Hamlisch
Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe (map)
thru Jan 17  |  tix: $38-$105  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets    
  

December 30, 2015 | 0 Comments More

Review: Annie (Broadway in Chicago)

Issie Swickle and Sunny star as Annie and Sandy in Broadway in Chicago's "Annie the Musical" by Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin and Thomas Meehan. (photo credit: Joan Marcus)     
        
      
Annie

By Charles Strouse (music), Martin Charnin (lyrics)
   and Thomas Meehan (book)
Directed by Martin Charnin
Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph (map)
thru Nov 30  |  tickets: $25-$105   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review
     

November 20, 2014 | 1 Comment More

Review: Motown the Musical (Broadway in Chicago)

Broadway in Chicago's "Motown the Musical," written by Berry Gordy, directed by Charles Randolph-Wright. (photo credit: Joan Marcus)        
      
Motown the Musical

Book by Berry Gordy
Music/Lyrics from Motown catalog
Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright  
at Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph (map)
thru Aug 13  |  tickets: $30-$138   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review
     

May 12, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: How To Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular! (United Center)

Rarmian Newton as Hiccup - How To Train Your Dragon, Dreamworks        
       
How to Train Your Dragon
       Live Spectacular!
 

Adapted and Directed by Nigel Jamieson 
at United Center, 1901 W. Madison (map)
thru July 29  |  tickets: $26-$141   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

July 29, 2012 | 0 Comments More

REVIEW: Shrek The Musical (Broadway in Chicago)

Big, green, and immensely entertaining

 

 Shrek - Eric Petersen as Shrek and Alan Mingo Jr as Donkey

   
Broadway in Chicago presents
   
Shrek the Musical
   
Book and Lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire
Music by
Jeanine Tesori
Directed by
Jason Moore and Rob Ashford
at
Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph (map)
through September 5th  | 
tickets: $25-$90  |  more info

reviewed by Catey Sullivan

Shrek (L-to-R) Eric Petersen as Shrek, Alan Mingo as Donkey, Haven Burton as Princess FionaAsk any fifth grader. All those after school specials and heart-felt parent/child talks about how everybody is beautiful are a load of hooey. “You’re ugly,” Shrek’s father tells the seven-year-old ogre during the first scene of the green guy’s eponymous musical, “That means life is going to be much harder for you.”  There’s something almost subversive (not to mention laugh-out-loud funny) about such bracing honesty.

And indeed, life for little Shrek is no frolic.  His parents’  heartfelt warning to “watch out for men with pitchforks” is grounded in reality.  While the normal kids are off learning to read and dancing around maypoles and such, poor little outcast Shrek finds himself being barbequed by angry villagers.  So begins the story of Shrek’s life as told with wit, wisdom and no small degree of sophistication by David Lindsay-Abaire (book and lyrics) and Jeanine Tesori (music).

Fractured fairytales are nothing new –  Spamalot, Into the Woods, Honk! and even Once Upon a Mattress have trod such ground. Shrek succeeds with the best of them. This is no grating child’s cartoon or soulless movie rip-off.   With one significant caveat, directors Jason Moore and Rob Ashford’s staging is marvelous. Shrek is innovative and irreverent  and – thanks to it’s affirming exhortation to let your freak flag fly – a show that feels like a celebration.

Speaking of letting your freak flag fly, Shrek is also a big fat green slice of musical-theater-geek heaven.  Insider references to GypsyDreamgirls, A Chorus Line, Wicked, Les Miserables, The Lion King and Sweet Charity pop-up in the score like little balloons of laughing gas.  And within this whackadoo land of misfit fairy tale creatures, Shrek even manages a shout-out to Judy Blume, the now-and-forever patron saint of  misfit middle schoolers.

Shrek - Haven Burton as Princess Fiona

It matters not whether you get all those inside musical theater jokes. Shrek  is mightily entertaining if you don’t know Mama Rose from “Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret.” How can one not be taken with a show wherein the Big Bad Wolf laments the mean villagers who “tore my cotton granny dress (and) call me a hot and tranny mess.”  (Which he totally is, btw, not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

The creative ingenuity of the production is exemplified by the ongoing sight-gag that defines the bullying tyrant, Lord Farquaad. His stunted stature is a feat of clever puppetry and movement. Despite the fact that the joke is pretty much the same every time his wizened little poppet legs wobble across the stage, it never gets tired no matter how many times it is trotted out.

Shrek 02 Which brings us to Shrek’s glaring shortcoming.  The performances are all terrific, but for this touring production, all kinds of corners seem to  have been cut in the special effects department. A crucial scene involving a fiery demise-by-dragon looks cheaper and cheesier than a hunk of cut-rate Velveeta. Ditto the transformations of Princess Fiona from traditionally pretty porcelain princess to  Elphaba-chartreuse green goddess. Such bargain-basement production values are maddening beyond their skinflint looks. Producers, apparently, see nothing wrong with demanding ticket prices for a show that’s been significantly cheapened. Maybe they think audiences are stupid, and won’t notice the sloppiness. They’re wrong.

That said, Shrek’s cast is faultless. As the titular ogre, Eric Petersen’s booming voice matches his huge-hearted performance.  Haven Burton’s Princess Fiona is delightfully off-kilter, displaying just the kind of crazed mania you’d expect from someone locked in a padded tower for over a decade . David F. M. Vaughn’s  vainglorious Lord Farquaad has a smirky demeanor utterly befitting a man sporting a Prince Valiant bowl-cut on purpose. And as Donkey, Alan Mingo Jr. is worthy sidekick.

Josh Prince’s choreography is a hoot, from the chorus line of rats  (“Morning Person”) to the march of the misfits (“Freak Flag.”) And when everybody  rocks out to “I’m A Believer,” the sense of joy is so palpable you almost forgive those chintzy special effects .

   
   
Rating: ★★★½
   
   

Shrek Cast 01

   
    
July 26, 2010 | 1 Comment More