Elle Casazza leads her band with a strong stage presence an fantastic voice as the lead singer. Jarad Kleinstein on drums and Ben McFadden on bass provide a solid baseline for the night. Jon Gould shreds on guitar utilizing many effects. All together they create a sound which blends the styles of rock, jazz, and pop. One song sounds like a track out of Heart’s catalogue. Another one sounds like a jazz standard. Catch this up and coming band now all around Chicago.
(Listen to this song while reading the review)
Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding is a night of all the best parts of a wedding without any of the stress of an actual one. Here are 10 of the best moments.
- Sing along to and listen to the future nun belt out “Jesus Is Just Alright”. Don’t sing during her solo though! By the way, Robert Randolph’s version is great too (this is the song at the top.)
- Score drugs from the best man.
- Eat bottomless pasta, salad, and cake.
- Slow dance to Prince’s “Purple Rain” as sung by Donnie Dulce.
- Catch the bouquet or the garter.
- Beat up the drunken ex of the bride.
- Dance to YMCA, the chicken dance, and join the conga line!
- See the priest get loaded and slur through his blessing.
- Witness Tony almost get in a fight with a random driver while blocking traffic on the walk from the church to the reception!
- Watch the nun close out the show by singing Last Dance by Donna Summer!
RSVP now for Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding at Chicago Theatre Works!
(Listen to this song while reading the review)
True to form, Trap Door Theatre presents a wildly bizarre performance of Fantasy Island for Dummies. As you enter the theatre, one of the actors (playing the role of a dummy) is being moved around by another, often to comedic effect. Also, a man is sitting on a hut strumming on a ukulele. The show boasts original songs by Pink Velvet and Mike Mazzocca. All these elements help transport the audience to a magical island atmosphere with an air of mystery.
The costumes for this production are excellent; especially the white suits worn by Mr. Roarke and Tattoo. The rest of the cast wears very colorful outfits that create a fun tropical feeling. It’s a fantastical show that is truly unique in the Chicago theatre scene. It’s so strange and that’s what makes is so fun and artful.
Escape now to Fantasy Island for Dummies through November 5th.
The Kongos are originally from South Africa. Thus, it makes sense that they play a version of arena rock blended with African rhythms. The song “I Don’t Mind” features guitar work very common in African Rock. Also, the accordion player plays a major role, especially on “I Want It Free”. He has the picture of the gorilla from the cover of their album, Egomaniac, printed on his instrument which grows and shrinks as he plays. Also, behind the band, they show images of animals in the wild projected on a line of screens. Elephants, lions, flamingos, and more appear. Along with a large assortment of lights flashing and shining in all directions, the show is chalk full of visual stimulation. It’s definitely arena ready and quite a spectacle in the medium size Vic Theatre.
To close out their set, the Kongos drummer bangs his drums twice and two swirling rings of smoke fly into the crowd. The effect is amazing. Each time the singer says “What are you smoking?”, more rings of smoke shoot out into the audience. When you put your hand into the ring, you can feel the air moving. Afterwards, the crowd cheers and demands an encore. They tell us they have to make it quick to finish by 10pm according to Chicago rules for all-ages shows. They close out with a great cover of “Blue Monday” by New Order. Wednesdays don’t get any better than this!
See the latest posted setlist here.
How We Got On is the story of Hank, a teenager that moves from the city to the suburbs and wants to be a rapper. After his move, he meets Julian, whom he quickly challenges to a rap battle. He loses badly to Julian but then they decide to team up with Hank doing the writing and Julian doing the singing. Along comes Luann, who wants to join the group. Julian doesn’t want her in the group which leads to a big confrontation with her. The ensuing rap battle between them is a highlight of the show.
The play shares similarities to Straight Outta Compton. They are both about the early days of hip-hop. They both have a lot of songs in them but not so much that they would be considered musicals. Hank even mentions how Ice Cube ghost wrote for Eazy-E, just like he is doing for Julian.
The soundtrack for this show is fantastic. Set It Off by Big Daddy Kane, The Message by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five featuing Melle Mel & Duke Bootee, and Rapper’s Delight by The Sugarhill Gang are just a few of the great songs included. Hopefully the cast will record the songs from the play also. For all fans of 80’s hip hop, this play is a must see.
Get tickets now for How We Got On through November 12th!
Two arms negotiators break from the job and take a walk in the woods. The young American woman (Honeyman) wants to discuss business. The old Russian man (Botvinnik) wants to indulge in a frivolous conversation. Botvinnik is tired of work and wants to take a break from the negotiations. He wants to befriend Honeyman. She has no interest in friendship, at least not until the negotiations are complete. She refuses to believe that their work is simply a “nuclear nightlight”.
Sara Pavlak McGuire has a fantastic performance as Honeyman. She is very eager to work and display her talent. Vincent P. Mahler is excellent as Botvinnik. He is calm and charming throughout the production. The actors feed off each other’s energy and develop a unique collegial relationship. This Tony-nominated play is in good hands with The Spartan Theatre Company.
Buy tickets now for A Walk in the Woods through October 23rd!
Still is the story of Constantinople, a stillborn boy searching for his mother. Everything is new to him and amazing. A very tall man plays the role of the infant which makes for some very funny moments. He meets Delores, a dominatrix struggling to make meaning of her own losses, who agrees to help him find his mother. But when Delores does find his mother, she can’t bring herself to say she met her dead son. Morgan is the midwife who delivered the stillborn. She craves punishment and seeks it from Delores. She’s never been to a dominatrix before which leads to a humorous encounter.
The sound design for this play is very interesting and draws the audience in. Also, the costumes are very well done, especially for the dominatrix. The play runs 90 minutes without an intermission. The production successfully tells a poignant story about love and loss, and about finding human connection in unexpected places.
Get tickets now for Still through October 30th.