Tag: Robert Ollis

Review: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Pride Films and Plays)

Honey West stars in Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Pride Films and Plays           
      
  

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert 

Book by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott
Pride Arts Center, 4139 N Broadway (map)
thru Feb12 Mar 12  |  tix: $10-$40  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

January 26, 2017 | 5 Comments More

Review: Haymarket – The Anarchist’s Songbook (Underscore Theatre)

LaKecia Harris, Tyler Merle Thompson, David Kaplinsky, Victoria Olivier, Khaki Pixley, Summer Hofford           
    
  
Haymarket:
  The Anarchist’s Songbook
 

Music by David Kornfeld
Book and Lyrics by Alex Higgin-Houser 
Edge Theatre, 5451 N. Broadway (map)
thru June 12  |  tix: $20-$25  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

May 29, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Boy from Oz (Pride Films and Plays)

Chris Logan stars as Peter Allen in Pride Films and Plays' "The Boy From Oz" by Peter Allen, Martin Sherman and Nick Enright , directed by David Zak. (photo courtesy of PF&P)   

           
The Boy from Oz 

Written by Peter Allen (music, lyrics),
  Martin Sherman, Nick Enright (book) 
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (map)
thru Aug 30 | tickets: $25-$40  | more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
    

August 17, 2015 | 0 Comments More

Review: Songs from an Unmade Bed (Pride Films and Plays)

Kevin Webb and Jordan Phelps star in Pride Films and Plays' "Songs from an Unmade Bed", lyrics by Mark Campbell, directed by Derek Van Barham.        
      
Songs from an Unmade Bed

Lyrics by Mark Campbell  
Directed by Derek Van Barham
at Apollo Studio Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln (map)
thru April 27  |  tickets: $25   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review
     

March 30, 2014 | 1 Comment More

Review: Under a Rainbow Flag (Pride Films and Plays)

Nick Stockwell and Sam Button-Harrison in Under A Rainbow Flag by Pride Films and Plays.        
       
Under a Rainbow Flag 

Book, Music and Lyrics by Leo Schwartz
Directed by David Zak 
at The Main Stage, 4139 N. Broadway (map)
thru April 21   |  tickets: $10-$25   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review 
     

March 28, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Assassins (Viaduct Theatre)

Edward Fraim as Charles Guiteau, in Billy Pacholski's "Assassins" by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman.  (photo credit: David Turner)        
       
Assassins 

Music/Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim 
Book by John Weidman
Directed by Billy Pacholski
at Viaduct Theatre, 3111 N. Western  (map)
thru Nov 10  |  tickets: $45   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

October 16, 2012 | 2 Comments More

Review: Violet (Bailiwick Chicago)

     
Harmony France and Jim DeSelm - Violet, Bailiwick Chicago
Violet
 

Written by Brian Crawley (book, lyrics)
and Jeanine Tesori (music)
Directed by Elizabeth Margolius 
at Mercury Theatre, 3745 N. Southport (map)
thru Oct 16  |  tickets: $27-$32  |  more info

Check for half-price tickets
   
     
        Read entire review

     
October 4, 2011 | 2 Comments More

Review: The First (and Last) Musical on Mars (New Rock)

     
     

Too messy, even for schlock

     
     

Gina Sparacino and Meghan Phillpp in New Rock Theater's "The First (and Last) Musical on Mars", by George Zarr.

  
New Rock Theater presents
   
   
The First (and Last) Musical on Mars
   
Written by George Zarr
Directed by Kevin Hanna
at New Rock Theater, 3933 N. Elston (map)
through June 19  |  tickets: $10-$15  |  more info

Reviewed by Paige Listerud

I generally love schlock musical comedy. The emotions are elemental, the humor, raw, the plots, joyfully ridiculous. Yet, is it possible for schlock to be too schlock-y, even for schlock? Of course—and as Exhibit A, I present to you The First (and Last) Musical On Mars, onstage now at New Rock Theater. New Rock rocked Chicago twice with its utterly gnarly and awesome crowd-pleaser, Point Break Live! (our review Leah Isabel Tirado in New Rock Theater's "The First (and Last) Musical on Mars", by George Zarr.★★★). But it seems that they’ve taken this fledgling comedy review too early from its nest.

Written and composed by former Sirius Satellite Radio spoken word maven George Zarr and directed by Kevin Hanna (musical direction Robert Ollis), The First (and Last) Musical On Mars still looks like it doesn’t quite know what it wants to be when in grows up. Angel Tuidor’s costuming and Ellen Ranney’s set design suggest heavy influences from 1970’s David Bowie and Roxy Music. Indeed, the use of glitter is almost blinding. But Zarr’s musical compositions are a hodge-podge of pop and Broadway. In fact, hodge-podge is a nice way of putting it. The tune “Sweet Alien Boy” is overlaid on the chord structure of Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady,” but its execution just doesn’t rock. The first act finale, “Sibling Rivalry”, can’t be described as anything other than a messy attempt at pop-operetta.

As space opera, The First (and Last) Musical On Mars is just too jumbled and patched together to excite. Add awkward scene transitions and the show barely holds together. But it does have a few fun and tender moments. Rock star James (Sam Button-Harrison) is forcibly teleported to Mars for the coronation of twin princesses Hendrixia (Gina Sparacino) and Hollilia (Meghan Phillipp) and, ta-da, romantic entanglements ensue. It’s certainly fab to watch the girls zoom about in their ship to the song “Retro-Rocket Warp Speed.” Once James lands, a few tender, romantic moments stand out with the coy duet between him and Holliliah with “Different Beings, Different Worlds” and Button-Harrison’s warm reprise of “You Take Me to Paradise.” It must be noted that the entire cast’s voice quality is quite above standard for musical comedy review. Now, if they only had the material to match their talents.

     
Sam Button-Harrison in New Rock Theater's "The First (and Last) Musical on Mars", by George Zarr. Meghan Phillipp and Sam Button-Harrison in New Rock Theater's "The First (and Last) Musical on Mars", by George Zarr.

So far as comedy goes, Matthew Isler’s dry robot servant, Electrolux, stands out–and that’s mostly because he has great miniature signage that he flourishes most effectively. All the same, with the exception of brief one-liners like “Earth guys are easy!” the entire book badly needs a rewrite. Dallia Funkaster (Casey Kells) and Zabathoo (Leah Tirado) make decent evil villains, attempting to kill the princesses and take over Mars, but that has entirely to do with their level of enthusiasm and not the writing. Meanwhile, the Chorus (Rachel Bonaquisti, Liz Hanford, and Allison Toth) always comes across sweet and lovely, while Jonas Davidow has to be thanked just for wearing a g-string.

But it’s back to the drawing board for the creator. Or his venture into the heart of shlock will be, dare I say, lost in space.

  
  
Rating: ★½
   
  

Gina Sparacino, Meghan Phillpp, Sam Button-Harrison and Chorus Rachel Bonaquisti, Liz Hanford, and Allison Toth in New Rock Theater's "The First (and Last) Musical on Mars", by George Zarr.

The First (and Last) Musical on Mars continues through June 19th at New Rock Theater, 3933 N. Elston (map), with performances Fridays and Satrudays at 10pm and Sundays at 8pm.  Tickets are $15, and can be purchased by phone (773-639-5316) or online at http://www.newrocktheater.com/tickets.htm.

  
 
May 24, 2011 | 8 Comments More