Tag: Sharriese Hamilton

Review: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Porchlight Music Theatre)

Fred Zimmerman and Tyler Ravelson star in Porchlight Musical Theatre's "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" by Frank Loesser, directed by Rob Lindley. (photo credit: Kelsey Jorissen)        
      
How to Succeed in Business
  Without Really Trying

Book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock, Willie Gilbert
Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser
Directed by Rob Lindley
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (map)
thru June 1  |  tickets: $30-$43   |  more info
       
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May 20, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Porchlight Music Theatre)

Lorenzo Rush, Jr. and Lina Wass star in Porchlight Music Theatre's "Ain't Misbehavin," directed and choreographed by Brenda Didier. (photo credit: Kelsey Jorissen)        
      
Ain’t Misbehavin’

Conceived by Murray Horwitz, Richard Maltby Jr.
Music by Thomas ‘Fats’ Waller 
Directed and Choreographed by Brenda Didier
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (map)
thru March 9  |  tickets: $30-$44   |  more info
       
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February 26, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: We Three Lizas (About Face Theatre, 2013)

Mark David Kaplan, Bethany Thomas and Danielle Plisz star in About Face Theatre's "We Three Lizas" by Scott Bradley and Alan Schmuckler, directed by Scott Ferguson. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)       
      
We Three Lizas

Book and Lyrics by Scott Bradley
Music, additional lyrics by Alan Schmuckler
Directed by Scott Ferguson
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (map)
thru Jan 5  |  tickets: $45   |  more info
       
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December 13, 2013 | 1 Comment More

Review: Pal Joey (Porchlight Music Theatre)

Adrian Aguilar and Rachel Osting star in Porchlight Music Theatre's "Pal Joey" by Rodgers and Hart, directed by Michael Weber. (photo credit: Brandon Dahlquist)        
       
Pal Joey 

By Richard Rodgers (music), Lorenz Hart (lyrics)
    and John O’Hara (book)
Directed by Michael Weber
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (map)
thru May 26  |  tickets: $41   |  more info
       
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April 27, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: See What I Wanna See (Bailiwick Chicago, Garage Rep 2013)

Danni Smith (front) and Peter Oyloe (back) in Bailiwick Chicago’s "See What I Wanna See" with words and music by Michael John LaChiusa, directed by Lili-Anne Brown and music direction by James Morehead, presented as part of Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Garage Rep 2013. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)        
      
See What I Wanna See

Words and Music by Michael John LaChiusa
Directed by Lili-Anne Brown  
Steppenwolf Garage, 1624 N. Halsted (map)
thru April 21  |  tickets: $20   |  more info
       
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March 8, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: We Three Lizas (About Face Theatre)

Dana Tretta, Scott Duff and Sean Blake star int About Face Theatre's "We Three Lizas", directed by Scott Ferguson. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)        
       
We Three Lizas 

By Scott Bradley (book and lyrics) and
   Alan Schmuckler (music, additional lyrics)
Directed by Scott Ferguson  
Steppenwolf Garage, 1624 N. Halsted (map)
thru Dec 23  |  tickets: $15-$25   |  more info
       
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December 9, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: A Class Act (Porchlight Music Theatre)

Bill Larkin and Dana Tretta in Porchlight Music Theatre's "A Class Act", directed and choreographed by Stacy Flaster. (photo credit: Jeremy Rill)        
       
A Class Act  

Music and Lyrics by Edward Kleban 
Book by Linda Kline and Lonny Price 
Directed and Choreographed by Stacy Flaster 
at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont (map)
thru Oct 7  |  tickets: $39   |  more info
       
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September 5, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Little Shop of Horrors (Street Tempo Theatre)

John Sessler as Seymour and Erin Creighton as Audrey in Street Tempo Theatre’s “Little Shop of Horrors” at Stage 773. (Photo credit: Linda Gartz)       
      
Little Shop of Horrors  

Book and Lyrics by Howard Ashman  
Music by Alan Menken
Directed by Brian Posen and Kory Danielson
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (map)
thru May 27   |   tickets: $38   |  more info
       
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May 10, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Passing Strange (Bailiwick Chicago)

  
  

Bailiwick takes us on a sublime musical journey

  
  

Clockwise from left: LaNisa Frederick, Osiris Khepera, Whitney White, Sharriese Hamilton, Aaron Holland, Steven Perkins in Bailiwick Chicago's 'Passing Strange'. Photo by Jay Kennedy ©2011

   
Bailiwick Chicago presents
  
Passing Strange
   
Written by Stew and Heidi Rodewald
Directed by Lili-Anne Brown
at Chicago Center for the Performing Arts, 777 N. Green (map)
through May 29  |  tickets: $25-$35  |  more info

Reviewed by Lawrence Bommer

Passing Strange is a supple title for this coming-of-age rock/soul musical/concert. It refers to how life looks to this young black man from Los Angeles–and to how he moves through it as his hero journey takes him to Amsterdam, Berlin and back home. With one of the richest scores this entertainment genre ever needed and a Midwest premiere by Bailiwick Chicago that’s nothing short of terrific, “Passing Strange” is 150 minutes of smart showbiz. Until now I never knew how much a record album could resemble a family album—until it’s, as the British say, a distinction without a difference.

Jayson "JC" Brooks" as the Narrator in Bailiwick Chicago's 'Passing Strange'.It’s also a very specific journey. It begins in 1976 and ends in the early 80s with the protagonist still only 22. Narrating it with a passion to equal the events is Jayson “JC” Brooks, noted for his Coalhouse Walker in Porchlight’s Ragtime. Known simply as Youth (galvanic Steven Perkins), the seeker is first seen trying out and rejecting religions, to the confusion of his tough-loving, church-going mother (a remarkable LaNisa Frederick), who indulges in her own less-than-sacred “Baptist Fashion Show.” The “call and response” fervor of the revival meetings that Youth attends (“Church Blues Revelation/Music Is the Freight Train in Which God Travels”) becomes a style, if not a subject, that he can share in his own songs. But the youth choir is no inspiration, neither is the girlfriend who rejects him because he’s not black enough.

Influenced by the American-fleeing James Baldwin, Youth journeys to Amsterdam to join the reefer rebels at the Headquarters Café Song, find inspiration with the comforting Marianna (Sharriese Hamilton) who gives him her “Keys,” and get stoned in this punk-rock “Paradise.” But it’s all too perfect. There’s no friction to generate the songs expected from an ex-pat alien on the lam from L.A.

This “fiery pilgrim” finally ends up in still-Communist Berlin where Youth gets sucked into the righteously rebellious performance-art scene. There he cultivates his angry “Negritude” and sticks out as “The Black One,” savoring his outsider identity as he joins a commune of agitprop-crazy Reds. (Their cruel Cold War concept is that “What is inside is just a lie,” that we’re just the creatures of capitalism unless we free ourselves through anti-social theatrics.)

     
Clockwise from top left: Sharriese Hamilton, Aaron Holland, Jayson “JC” Brooks, Osiris Khepera, Steven Perkins. Photo by Jay Kennedy, ©2011 Bailiwick A scene from About Face Theatre's 'Passing Strange'. Photo by Jay Kennedy, ©2011
A scene from About Face Theatre's 'Passing Strange'. Photo by Jay Kennedy, ©2011 A scene from About Face Theatre's 'Passing Strange'. Photo by Jay Kennedy, ©2011 A scene from About Face Theatre's 'Passing Strange'. Photo by Jay Kennedy, ©2011 A scene from About Face Theatre's 'Passing Strange'. Photo by Jay Kennedy, ©2011

But one lonely Christmastide, the Youth discovers that even radicals have families to which they return. Perhaps he should go back too. But his mother’s death makes the prodigal’s return to L.A. a bittersweet homecoming (“Passing Phase”). So the Youth’s perpetual tug of war between life and art finally ends in a sardonic thought: “Life is a mess that only art can fix.” Better of “Work the Wound.”

Youth’s quest inevitably conjures up images of Beat Poets on the road, Kerouac-style, as they try by process of elimination to find out what they’re not. Then can come the slow creative accretion that forges their art. It’s never been so eloquent however, with this Tony Award-winning book by Stew (who played the original Narrator) and his cunning, memorable songs (co-written with Heidi Rodewald in collaboration with Annie Dorsen). James Morehad music directs the 22 numbers with a singular love for every note. The Bailiwick ensemble couldn’t be tighter or truer to this multi-textured material.

  
  
Rating: ★★★★
  
  

From left: David Keller, Billy Bungeroth, Kevin Marks, Jayson “JC” Brooks, Ben Taylor. ©2011 Bailiwick Chicago, Photo by Jay Kennedy

All photos by Jay Kennedy, © 2011

     
April 28, 2011 | 2 Comments More