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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08



THEATER A Musical Theater Preview: Sing Out, Louise!
Urinetown, Hairspray Among Touring Treats

This article shared 5127 times since Wed Sep 17, 2003
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In the next 12 months, the 200 theater companies in Greater Chicago will produce around 900 shows, a very high percentage of which will be musicals. The Broadway shows, musical revues, tuners for tots, Christmas season songfests and original musicals will number in the hundreds, and that's not counting opera. Indeed, several Chicago theaters produce only musicals; among them the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, the Black Ensemble Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago, Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre, New Tuners, Music Theatre Workshop and Light Opera Works.

However, the real surprise is how many other theaters are doing musicals this year: Steppenwolf, Goodman, Northlight, Apple Tree, eta Creative Arts Foundation, Lookingglass, Pegasus Players, About Face, Circle, Noble Fool ... the list goes on and on. Even Court Theatre—with a self-proclaimed devotion to classics—will stage three musicals this season out of five productions. That's rather amazing.

Whether your taste runs to Broadway's Golden Age ( 1920s-1970s ) , or to the avant-garde, there's likely to be an exciting or intriguing musical that's right up your Tin Pan Alley and down your musical lane. Excluding revivals of holiday musicals ( The Christmas Schooner at Bailiwick, The Dead at Court Theatre, etc. ) , here are two dozen tuners to grab your attention.

Tintypes, American Theatre Company, Sept. 15-Oct. 12. A portrait of urban America just after the turn of the last century: Teddy Roosevelt, George M. Cohan, the urban melting pot; waltzes, marches and sentimental ballads. This musical revue is an oldie-but-goodie, in a new interpretation at ATC.

Symphony of Sex, Shakura Ensemble Ritual Theatre at Theatre Building, Sept. 25-Oct. 5. Music, chant, video, drama and dance employed to explore modern attitudes about sex—especially women's sexuality—from debasement to the divinity of the body as a temple.

Show Boat, Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Oct. 1-Nov. 30. Director Gary Griffin tackles this large and unwieldy granddaddy of modern musicals. Will he stick to the difficult basics of the music and dance? Or attempt to emphasize the themes of alcoholism, miscegenation and abandonment that drive the story?

The Sound of a Voice, Court Theatre, Sept. 23-Nov. 2. World premiere of an opera by composer Philip Glass and librettist David Henry Hwang ( M Butterfly ) . Certainly not Broadway-bound, but very high prestige esoterica.

Love Pollution, Nomenil Theatre at Rhino Fest, Oct. 2-30. Described by its creators as a 'Tekno-Pop opera,' it sounds like an edgy entry into the realms of romance and music.

My Night at Jacques, Light Opera Works at McGaw YWCA, Evanston, Oct. 10-Nov. 11. World premiere of a revue built on the fulsome and frolicking melodies of Jacques Offenbach, and described by its compilers as 'an Offenbach folly.' I can Can-Can, can you?

Cabaret, Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago at Theatre Building, Oct. 19-Dec. 7. Director L. Walter Stearns and musical director Eugene Dizon put their generally tasteful and dynamic stamp on the Kander and Ebb classic, casting a women as the androgynous Emcee. A separate version of Cabaret plays the Metropolis Centre in Arlington Heights, Sept. 28-Nov. 2.

Jammin' with Pops, Apple Tree Theatre, Highland Park, Dec. 5-Jan. 4, 2004. A musical revue in which Ella Fitzgerald visits Louis Armstrong and his All Stars. The jam session that follows features great tunes from New Orleans and Brodway. With Felicia Fields as Fitzgerald.

She Loves Me, Circle Theatre, Forest Park, Oct. 31-Dec. 4. This Golden Age classic by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock ( Fiddler on the Roof ) is an all-time delight for lovers of musical romances, based on the film The Shop Around the Corner. Circle Theatre generally has a way with musicals.

Urinetown, Shubert Theatre, Dec. 9-21. Far too short a run for the national tour of this off-beat Broadway hit, written in Chicago by Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis. Borrowing from Brecht and Weill, it provides both musical and political satire in its tale of a town where one must pay to pee.

Cookin' at the Cookery, Northlight Theatre, Dec. 10-Jan. 11, 2004. A combination revue and biography of late blues queen Alberta Hunter, looking back on her and showcasing 'Downhearted Blues,' 'Sweet Georgia Brown' and other standards. Tony Award winner Ann Duquesnay stars.

Hairspray, Ford Center/Oriental Theatre, Dec. 16-Feb. 15, 2004, by Broadway in Chicago. This year's Tony Award mega-hit, based on the John Waters film. Former Chicagoan Bruch Vilanch—yes, of Hollywood Squares—having shaved his beard will play the drag role created by Harvey Fierstein.

The Light in the Piazza, Goodman Theatre, Jan. 10, 2004-Feb. 15. Goodman has been tryin' and tryin' to come up with a musical hit. Maybe this will be it, with a book by Craig Lucas and music/lyrics by the gifted Adam Guettel, and based on the novel of the same name ( film, too ) . A romantic drama and a chamber musical, not a Broadway blockbuster.

Guys and Dolls, Court Theatre, Jan. 22-March 28. Great Abe Burrows book, glorious Frank Loesser songs. Everyone's favorite musical, right? Well, maybe not. Depends on what concept director Gary Griffin does with it. If he strips out the production numbers, as he did with My Fair Lady last season, it'll be a catastrophe.

The Pirates of Penzance, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Feb. 2-March 1. Having staged Candide and Sweeney Todd in previous seasons, Lyric's entry in the Lite Opera category this season is the Gilbert and Sullivan fave. With Elizabeth Futral as Mabel and Sir Andrew Davis wielding the baton.

The House That Rocked, Black Ensemble Theater, from March 18. World premiere revue that includes songs of, and biographical material about, Little Richard, Fats Domino and Chuck Berry. Black Ensemble turns out these shows with a cookie cutter, but the musical values always are strong and the performers rock.

Anyone Can Whistle, Pegasus Players, April 8-May 25. This early failure by Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents, now a cult-status musical, has one of Sondheim's most musical-comedy-ish scores. It's the off-beat tale of inmates who take over the asylum, literally. It was a Pegasus hit years ago, and now they're doing it again.

The Good War, Northlight Theatre, May 12-June 20. There's very little chance that you'll recognize Studs Terkel's book about World War II, not with high-concept boys David H. Bell and Craig Carnelia using it as the basis of a musical revue and adding lots of 1940s tunes ( and a few left over from WWI ) .

Philosophy of the World, Lookingglass Theatre, opens May ( dates TBA ) . Odd name for a musical about the 1960s girl group, The Shaggs. World premiere with book/lyrics by Joy Gregory, music by Gunnar Madsen.

A Man of No Importance, Apple Tree, June 16-July 17. A small-scale, heartfelt work by the Ragtime team of Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, combining the true tale of an Irish bus driver with inspiration from Oscar Wilde.

The Mikado, Noble Fool Theatre, June 23-Aug. 21. How the Noble Fool will squeeze all those Gentlemen of Japan, and kimono's ladies, too, onto their tiny stage is anyone's guess, as is whether they play it straight or go concept with it. One way or another, it is Gilbert and Sullivan.

Eyes, eta Creative Arts Foundation, June 24-Aug. 8. A tribute to great Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston via a musical adaptation of her short story, Their Eyes Were Watching God. With book and music by Mari Evans.

Winesburg, Ohio, About Face and Steppenwolf, June 17-July 18. An enlargement of last year's outreach production, a musical adaptation of the novel of Midwestern small town life by Sherwood Anderson. Book/lyrics by Eric Rosen, music by Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman.

Also on the musical theater horizon: The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Chicago center for the Performing Arts, previews start Oct. 16. Call ( 312 ) 327-2000.

The Producers, the acclaimed Mel Brooks musical, is stopping here on its national tour, Oct. 14-Nov. 30, ( 312 ) 902-1400, as part of the Broadway in Chicago season. Current BIC shows include The Lion King and Chicago.

This article shared 5127 times since Wed Sep 17, 2003
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