Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Pal Joey
THEATER REVIEW Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jonathan Abarbanel, Windy City Times
2013-05-01

This article shared 2482 times since Wed May 1, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: John O'Hara (book), Richard Rodgers (music), Lorenz Hart (lyrics). At: Porchlight Music Theatre at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: 1-773-327-5252; www.stage773.com; $39. Runs through: May 26

John O'Hara (1905-1970) is acknowledged to have been a conservative curmudgeon and blowhard self-promoter. Critics consider him a great writer or a third-rater depending on their tolerance for his personality, but his popular success as novelist and short story writer is beyond dispute.

O'Hara also had a deep understanding of the popular music of his day, much of it originating in Broadway musicals. When George Gershwin passed away in 1937, O'Hara famously wrote "George Gershwin died today but I don't have to believe it if I don't want to." Three years later he partnered on Pal Joey with the only song-writing team the equal of Gershwin and his brother (Ira) who wrote lyrics: composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Lorenz Hart. It was the last Rodgers and Hart show as Hart, a self-loathing gay man, drank himself to an early death (at 48 in 1943).

Pal Joey was a hit O'Hara novel written as a series of letters. In scripting the Broadway musical adaptation, O'Hara completely abandoned the epistolary form and fashioned an exemplary musical theater book: fast-moving, tight and cracking-wise, while Rodgers and Hart provided short, punchy songs with virtually more than over three minutes long. In so doing, they gave Broadway its first-ever antihero: charming heel Joey Evans, a singer/dancer (the role made Gene Kelly a star), schemer and user of women who is lucky to walk away without his fleet legs broken. Set in Chicago, Pal Joey also was sexually frank for its time.

Pal Joey rarely is revived today and when it is producers often rewrite it in some way. Refreshingly, this production uses O'Hara's original script, which proves such revisions wholly unnecessary. Under director Michael Weber, choreographer Brenda Didier and musical director Douglas Peck, Pal Joey is a sparkling, brash, jazzy gem of a show with a near-perfect cast, seamlessly-integrated period-style dance integral to the enterprise and crisply-played and sung numbers, among them "I Could Write a Book" and "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered."

Adrian Aguilar is ideal as Joey, the brash two-bit entertainer with good looks and big dreams. He's so right for the role that I wish he had more dancing. The women he loves, after a fashion, are "good" girl Linda and worldly-wise older woman Vera, played and sung with verve and longing by Laura Savage and Susie McMonagle respectively. Among the capable secondary players, two stand out to particular advantage: Jim Heatherly crooning the comic "In the Flower Garden of My Heart" and Callie Johnson letting her hair down in the witty striptease show-stopper, "Zip." The six-piece band cooks (especially trumpeter Derek Fitting) under conductor Jeremy Kahn.

Musical theater doesn't get much better, especially on such a delightful intimate scale. Catch Pal Joey now and dig it later.


This article shared 2482 times since Wed May 1, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

MUSICALS 'Pretty Woman' tickets go on sale Oct. 15 2021-10-15
- After a pre-Broadway run in Chicago and being on Broadway, Pretty Woman: The Musical, based on one of Hollywood's most beloved romantic stories of all time, returns to Chicago. The production will run at the CIBC ...


Gay News

THEATER Broken Nose presenting looter drama 'Primer' Nov. 15-Dec. 5 2021-10-15
- Broken Nose Theatre, a pay-what-you-can theater company, will run the world premiere audio drama Primer, described in a release as "a deeply honest look at the prioritization of property over people. Ensemble member Spenser Davis wrote ...


Gay News

THEATER 'A Rocky Horror Picture Party' at The Den on Oct. 30-31 2021-10-12
- Haven is presenting Science Fiction / Double Feature: A Rocky Horror Picture Party—an immersive Halloween experience that brings to life in vivid technicolor the world of the cult-classic film—directed by ...


Gay News

THEATER Rivendell's '8:46' to run Oct. 21-23, stream Nov. 1 2021-10-12
- Rivendell Theatre Ensemble (RTE)—Chicago's only Equity theater dedicated to producing new work with women at the core—announced 8:46 (Breathing Room), a new play festival of four commissioned plays each eight ...


Gay News

COMEDY Janeane Garofalo at The Den Theatre on Nov. 19-20 2021-10-12
- The Den Theatre will present comedian Janeane Garofalo for four performances on Nov. 19-20 (at 7 and 9:30 p.m. each night) on The Heath Mainstage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. Garofalo has had many memorable and critically ...


Gay News

DRAG Utica Queen finds a home in Chicago 2021-10-12
- Ethan Mundt rose to fame as Utica Queen in season 13 of the Emmy-winning show RuPaul's Drag Race. Ultimately placing sixth in the competition, this young, gay 25-year-old showed creativity and personality. Mundt's latest project, Homecoming ...


Gay News

THEATER 'Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog' running through Nov. 6 2021-10-12
- Black Button Eyes Productions is welcoming back live audiences with the popular internet musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog—an authorized fan production to benefit the Chicago charity Season of Concern—playing through ...


Gay News

THEATER 'I'm Not A Comedian… I'm Lenny Bruce' returns Nov. 5 2021-10-08
- Theatre 68 and the Venus Cabaret Theater, 3745 N. Southport Ave., announced the return of the critically acclaimed production, I'm Not A Comedian… I'm Lenny Bruce, to Chicago beginning Friday, Nov. 5. Ronnie Marmo wrote and ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Songs for Nobodies 2021-10-07
- Title: Songs for Nobodies. Playwright: Joanna Murray-Smith At: Northlight Theatre at the North Shore Center for the Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd. Tickets: $30-$89. Runs through: Sunday, Oct. 31 You won't find their names in the history ...


Gay News

Chicago Inclusion Project offers anti-racism workshops for arts organizations 2021-10-05
--From a press release - Chicago, IL—The staff of The Chicago Inclusion Project is excited to launch a new workshop and continuum developed by staff members Jessica Vann and Arti Ishak. The workshop, entitled "Being Anti-Racist: An Active Action," is designed ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW: American Mariachi 2021-10-02
- Title: American Mariachi. Playwright: Jose Cruz Gonzalez At: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Tickets: $25-$98; GoodmanTheatre.org. Runs through: Oct. 24 From the first moment, when a shrill "grito" proclaims the commencement of a Mariachi bolero, ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Thirteen Days 2021-09-29
- Thirteen Days. adapted by Brian Pastor from the book by Robert F. Kennedy At: City Lit Theatre at Edgewater Presbyterian Church, 1030 West Bryn Mawr Ave., Tickets: $27-$32. Runs through: Oct. 24 Palace Intrigue has been ...


Gay News

THEATER 'The Last Pair of Earlies' running Oct. 27-Dec. 12 at Raven 2021-09-28
- Raven Theatre, Chicago's newest Equity-affiliated theatre, is welcoming back audiences this fall with the world premiere of Joshua Allen's The Last Pair of Earlies, directed by Wardell Julius Clark. This new drama—which follows the hardships ...


Gay News

Next OUTspoken 'Storytelling Night' Oct. 5 2021-09-27
--From a press release - Six Chicagoans will tell compelling stories with a LGBTQ+ perspective when another OUTspoken "Storytelling Night" takes place Tuesday, Oct. 5, starting at 7 p.m., at Sidetrack Bar, 3349 N. Halsted St. All attendees must be masked ...


Gay News

THEATER 'Moulin Rouge!,' gay play 'The Inheritance' win top Tonys 2021-09-27
- Moulin Rouge! The Musical was the runaway winner at the Tony Awards on Sept. 26, snagging 10 awards. Among its honors were Best Musical, Best Performance By an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.