Tag: Tommy Rivera-Vega

Review: La Havana Madrid (Teatro Vista)

Sandra Delgado stars in La Havana Madrid, Teatro Vista Chicago            
       
  

La Havana Madrid

Created by Sandra Delgado
1700 Theatre at Steppenwolf (map)
thru May 28  |  tix: $15-50  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
    

May 7, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: A View from the Bridge (Teatro Vista)

Ayssette Muñoz and Tommy Rivera-Vega star in Teatro Vista's "A View from the Bridge" by Arthur Miller, directed by Ricardo Gutierrez. (photo credit: Joel Maisonet)        
      
A View from the Bridge

Written by Arthur Miller  
Directed by Ricardo Gutierrez
VG Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln (map)
thru May 18  |  tickets: $25-$30   |  more info
       
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April 30, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: Kiss of the Spider Woman (Boho Theatre Company)

Jennifer T. Grubb, Nathan Carroll and Evan Tyrone Martin star in Boho Theatre's "Kiss of the Spider Woman" by Kander and Ebb, directed by Peter Marston Sullivan. (photo credit: Peter Coombs)        
       
Kiss of the Spider Woman 

By John Kander (music), Fred Ebb (lyrics) 
    and Terrence McNally (book)
Directed by Peter Marston Sullivan
at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont (map)
thru June 30  |  tickets: $25-$27   |  more info
       
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June 4, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Pippin (Music Theatre Company)

Joey Stone as the Leading Player, in The Music Theatre's "Pippin", directed by Jessica Redish.       
      
Pippin

Music/Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Book by Roger O. Hirson
Directed by Jessica Redish
Karger Center, 1850 Green Bay Road (map)
thru May 6  |  tickets: $40   |  more info
       
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March 31, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: My Fair Lady (Paramount Theatre)

     
Andrea Prestinario and Nathan M. Hosner - My Fair Lady Paramount Theatre
My Fair Lady
 

Written by Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe 
Directed by Jim Corti
at Paramount Theatre, Aurora (map)
thru Oct 2  |  tickets: $35-$47  |  more info

Check for half-price tickets

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September 18, 2011 | 0 Comments More

REVIEW: Cats (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre)

Update – now extended through Jan 20th!

  
  

This show’s the cat’s meow!

 
  

The Company in Jellicle Songs. Photo by Gary Ward of G. Thomas Ward Photography

  
Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre i/a/w Michael James presents
  
Cats  
 
Music by Andrew Lloyd Weber
Book/Lyrics by
T.S. Eliot
Directed and Choreographed by
Brenda Didier
at
No Exit Café, 6970 N. Glenwood (map)
through January 2  |  tickets: $30-$35  |  more info

Reviewed by Paige Listerud

How to take a mammoth Broadway production and shrink it without sacrificing dramatic quality or big, broad, showbiz appeal? Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre accomplishes that transformation with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, under the lively direction and choreography of Brenda Didier. Didier’s collaborations with Theo Ubique’s Artistic Director Fred Anzevino bore fruit last spring with their Jeff award-winning production of Chess (our review ★★½). Well, it looks like Cats is poised to pounce on the holiday theater season and swipe all the public’s attention.

Elliot Burton as Skimbleshanks. Photo by Gary Ward of G. Thomas Ward PhotographyWhittled down to two hours and only 13 actors, Theo Ubique’s production is a model of economy and stagecraft. But, rather than going along with the old “less is more” meme, it seems Didier’s modus operandi is to give the audience more with less–driving her exuberant cast to make immediate, intimate and vivid connections with the audience while precisely mixing dance elements to build excitement and evoke huge emotional response. Her gamble pays off—Broadway excitement achieved on a stage 8 feet by 22 feet. In the whirlwind of musical numbers, it’s a wonder none of the dancers bump into each other or fall off the stage.

Naturally, it helps to have a super-tight ensemble orchestra under the direction of Ethan Deppe. They are the train that drives this production. Every other layer of theatricality has been preserved as much as possible. Costumes (Matt Guthier, with Michael Buoninconto on wigs) and makeup (Izumi Inaba) maintain the big, Broadway tradition while Michael Narduli’s lighting design reinforces the magic evoked by orchestra and cast. Even the old-fashioned Christmas lights circling up above the stage imply a magical setting to the audience enjoying dinner before the show.

Opening night’s energy started a bit slow. Beginning with T.S. Eliot giving his poetry to a girl in a white dress with a blue satin sash, the initial introduction of “Jellicle Cats” came off a touch stagy until “The Rum Tum Tugger” (Tommy Rivera-Vega) gave the audience a bit of Brando-slash-Elvis for us to remember him by. “Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer” (Elliot Burton and Maggie Portman) boost the proceedings with a ton of delightful play and buoyant energy. The cast’s build-up to the entrance of Old Deuteronomy (Matt McNabb) really sets the element of magic and mystery; McNabb’s elegant tenor voice certainly confirms his mystical authority among the Jellicle Cats. At the introduction of Grizzabella and the first round of “Memories,” Sydney Charles delivers an unmistakable depiction of feral abandonment and alienation.

Emily Rogers as a Siamese in Growltiger. Photo by Gary Ward of G. Thomas Ward Photography. Rebecca Pink as Jennyanydots in Old Gumbie Cat - Cats - Theo-Ubique-Cabaret
Roy Brown as Munkustrap in Naming of Cats. Photo by Gary Ward of G. Thomas Ward Photography. Tommy Rivera-Vega as Rum Tum Tugger in The Rum Tum Tugger. Photo by Gary Ward of G. Thomas Ward Photography

Cats’ theatricality truly soars in the second act. Growltiger (Brian-Alwyn Newland) and Griddelbone (Hillary Patingre) nearly bring the house down with the lush gorgeousness of “The Siamese Italian Aria.” Costuming goes the extra mile by donning the enemies of Growltiger with elaborate Thai headdresses and tunics and the women of the company really get their Siamese on to take out Growltiger. Burton gets a chance to shine again as “Shimbleshanks: The Railway Cat” but his triumph is really the cast’s in their coordinated build-up to the number’s complex and colorful finale. By the time Old Deuteronomy must select the cat that will go on to live another cat life in “the Heaviside Layer,” the audience has become heavily invested in this alternate world and the logic by which it exists. In fact, so long as the music and dance keep going, we might never want to leave.

Theo Ubique has put another feather in its cap (or should I say “cat on its lap”?). Hooray for them and lucky for us to get this furry, magical and whimsical dream against the darkening winter ahead.

  
 
Rating: ★★★★
  
  

The Company in Old Gumbie Cat. Photo by Gary Ward of G. Thomas Ward Photography

All photography by Gary Ward of G. Thomas Ward Photography

     
     
November 22, 2010 | 0 Comments More