Monthly Archives: April 2017

Great Fun! Random Acts Presents Strangest Things! The Musical at Greenhouse Theatre (April 14, 2017)

Strangest Things! the Musical follows the storyline of the complete first season of the hit Netflix series, but with many twists. The four young boys are played by women. Also, instead of bikes, they ride around on scooters. When Barb goes off to sit alone by the pool at the party, it’s a small kiddie pool. These and many more funny little things make this show an excellent parody.

The actors do a fantastic job of recreating the characters and then accentuating their quirks to make it hilarious. “Juice” Byers freaking out about Will. Copying the way Dustin speaks. Steve being full of himself. Eleven being very odd. It’s all in there.

And last, but not least, is the great music. There are so many 80s hits rewritten to be about the show which are sung fantastically by this talented cast. Here is the full list!

“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper

“Can’t Fight This Feeling” REO Speedwagon

“Sweet Dreams” Eurythmics

“Endless Love” Lionel Ritchie/Diana Ross

“Let’s Hear it for the Boy” Footloose

“Like a Virgin” Madonna

“Hello” Lionel Ritchie

“Alone” Heart

“Xanadu” Xanadu

Get tickets now for Strangest Things! The Musical through May 13th!

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Quinn Delaney

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Alternative Rock: The Inventors at Quenchers (4/13/2017)

In a small room lit by a few small spotlights facing the band, and string lights behind them, the audience waited as the musicians tuned up their instruments. Ray, Joe, and Nick began their set drawing us in with their light, fluid guitar riffs and heavy percussion. No vocals. Leaving us full of wonder and anticipation of what would be next.

Without skipping a beat, they dove right into an upbeat, catchy tune that they call “Land/Water.” Nick switched from keyboard to bass, and Joe began singing from his drum set. Each of the three performed differently. While Ray had a look of concentration on his face and would sometimes move the neck of his guitar back and forth, Nick bobbed his head constantly, hunching over his bass. Joe sometimes wouldn’t even look at his drums, as he hit each piece from memory and sang into the microphone in front of his left shoulder.

The most striking thing about “Land/Water” to me was the lyrics. As light reflected from the tuners on Ray and Nick’s instruments, we heard “I’ve got friends, and they’ve seen God/ And they said He’s not lookin’ for me.” Each verse is profound and storybook-like—outstanding at penetrating its audience.

An impressive alternative rock band from our very own Chicago, it was nothing but a pleasure getting to know their style and music.

Liz Lawson

 

Award Worthy! Linda Vista at Steppenwolf (April 11, 2017)

Wheeler is a 50-year old man who is moving into a new apartment in Linda Vista, a mostly Latinx and Vietnamese neighborhood in San Diego, from his ex-wife’s garage. As the audience takes their seats, Wheeler and his best friend, Paul, are carrying in boxes. This technique gives the story a big world. It feels like the characters have been around for a long time and the audience is just getting a glimpse into their life now. Paul and his wife invite Wheeler on a double date to meet Jules. They go to a karaoke bar where she sings Ironic by Alanis Morissette. “It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take!” This line provides a bit of foreshadowing.

Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and Tony Award Winner (the only person in history with those two awards) Tracey Letts has written another award worthy piece. It’s incredibly funny, emotional, powerful, and exciting. See him talk about it here:

The production is extremely impressive. The stage rotates to reveal different expertly designed rooms. It is used to great effect as Wheeler goes from the bar, to his front door, to his living room, and then to his bedroom as the stage spins. The music choices are excellent as well. Wheeler mentions Steely Dan as one of his favorite bands and they play a lot of their music including “Hey Nineteen”.

Get tickets for the World Premiere of Linda Vista now through May 21st!

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Quinn Delaney

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See our review of Mary Page Marlowe, also written by Tracy Letts.

Amazing Lineup! Blackbird Productions Presents The Last Waltz at The Chicago Theatre (April 9, 2017)

On Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1976, The Band played their final show in San Francisco. This concert was filmed and turned into a film by Martin Scorsese in 1978. It has been called one of the greatest concert films ever made.

On April 9, 2017, The Last Waltz 40th Anniversary tour rolled into the Chicago Theatre. Warren Haynes (who is best known as a longtime guitarist with The Allman Brothers band and Gov’t Mule) lead many of the songs. He was joined by an all-star cast of musicians including some very special guests.

Dr. John (who was a special guest at the original), came out to play “Such a Night” and “Down South in New Orleans”.

Out of the five members, only two are still alive, Robert Robertson and Garth Hudson. Hudson came on stage very late into the second set to play a long piano intro to “The Weight” and a few other songs to thunderous applause.

Get tickets now for the last few remaining performances of The Last Waltz!

See the full setlist here.

Go here for a series of videos on the PlaylistHQ page.

Quinn Delaney

Southern Alt-Rock! Melodime at Subterranean (April 8, 2017)

Melodime are a Southern Alt-Rock band from Virginia. Bradley Rhodes is up front on vocals and guitar. He has a great stage presence and wears a baseball cap which fits with their southern style. Jon Wiley is on lead guitar, mandolin, and background vocals. He has some fantastic solos throughout the night.

Sammy Duis rocks the keyboard and the bass. His fingers fly with a flurry of notes. And backing it all up on drums, is Tyler Duis.

They close with “Halo”, which sounds fantastic with everyone singing along. “I lift my head just like you said, I dust off my halo. I feel the beat beneath my feet,
and I hear the echo.” It’s a fantastic close to a great set of music that leaves the audience wanting more.

Quinn Delaney

 

Joyful! Mary Poppins at Mercury Theatre (April 7, 2017)

Mary Poppins, the movie, was released in 1964 starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. That year, the movie took home Oscars for best score and best song (“Chim Chim Cher-ee”) and Julie Andrews was awarded the Oscar for Best Actress.  In 2004, the musical version opened in London’s West End. In 2006, the show debuted on Broadway and now on April 7, 2017, it opens at Mercury Theatre.

 

The show stopping songs are the highlight of the show. “Spoonful of Sugar”, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, and “Feed the Birds” top the list. Not to mention, it’s pretty great when Poppins pulls out a tall coat rack out of her bag.

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Nicole Armold is fantastic as Mary Poppins. This talented actress says this is one of her dream roles and it is clearly displayed on stage by her big smile and endless charm.

Matt Crowle is excellent as Bert.  His dancing and singing of “Chim Chim Cher-ee” is a major highlight of the show.

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Leah Morrow is also fantastic as Mrs. Corry and Miss Lark. Leah’s talent brings so much to these small roles which make for a very memorable performance.

Get tickets now for Mary Poppins through May 28th!

Quinn Delaney

Review: Love Me Tinder: Swipe Right at Gorilla Tango Theatre (April 5, 2017)

It’s a cold and rainy night in Chicago. The audience enters the theatre and the entire cast is sitting on a bench on their phones. They are all millennials and the idea is that they are all using dating apps. They don’t look up at all for the 15 to 20 minutes until the show starts.

The show features a whole lot of different scenarios including two threeways. One is an all-female threeway where one of the girls feels left out. The other is an all-male threeway where one the guys is disinterested. They both draw a lot of laughs from the awkwardness of the situation. Are these really based on real life stories?

One of the guys keeps ruining dates by describing his love for Game of Thrones. So, he tries to pretend he has never seen the show on a future date, but he just can’t resist. It’s hilarious watching him struggle. Later on, he discovers his parents met via CB radio, aka, 1970s Grindr.

Get tickets now for Love Me Tinder: Swipe Right through May 24th! You  won’t be disappointed.

Quinn Delaney