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So Fun! Matter Dance Company Presents Once Upon at The Den Theatre (Through May 4, 2019)

It’s opening weekend for Matter Dance Company’s Once Upon and the theatre is packed. A buzz is in the air in the intimate Den Theatre space. Fifteen pieces are tied together with a narrator and the theme of fairy tales. Here are a few of the best:

to destination unknown
Choreography: Mike Ford
Music: Happiness Does Not Wait by Olafur Arnalds

This one has beautiful dancing and beautiful music. The three women gracefully move across the stage as the notes roll over the audience. It’s a fantastic start to the evening.

Wicked Step Siblings
Choreography: Josh Fletcher
Music: Walking on Broken Glass by Annie Lennox

This super fun dance features eight performers fighting over a glass slipper in a tribute to Cinderella. Each dancer has a joyful moment when they have the slipper and are in celebration mode.

Catch of the Day
Choreography: Kristi Rice
Music: Hunter by Bjork

Six woman dressed in all green dance with an animalistic style. Then, a male hunter enters. While at first the women seem scared, they soon over power him and he becomes the catch of the day. It’s a great performance matched with an excellent song.

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Photos by Michael Courier

Happily Never After
Choreography: Josh Fletcher
Music: Hush Hush by The Pussycat Dolls

This is another piece that showcases the joy that Matter Dance Company is best at creating. The dancers look like they are having so much fun and the audience is right there with them often exclaiming out loud in excitement. If you would like join them, they have an open audition in January.

Get tickets now for Once Upon through May 4th!

Cost of a ticket: $25
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value –
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
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Quinn Delaney

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A Natural Performer! Parker Bossley opening for Alice Merton at Bottom Lounge (April 26, 2019)

It’s never easy being the opener. You have to go out and play for a crowd just waiting for you to finish so the headliner can come on. However, Parker Bossley is up to the challenge. Armed with some great songs, a guitar, his drummer, and a laptop, he manages to win over the crowd.

“The next song is called Chemicals, which I am sure some of you are on” he says. He then launches into a very well constructed song “We take the chemicals until they don’t work anymore.” It sounds great in the intimate space of the Bottom Lounge. He also plays “Lifted”, a very upbeat song that displays his natural performer talent and his songwriting.

He proved tonight that he is worthy of being on the same stage as Alice Merton and his future looks promising.

Catch Parker Bossley on tour now!

Cost of a ticket: $30
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
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Quinn Delaney

Rocking and Funny! Broadway in Chicago Presents Rock of Ages at the Nederlander Theatre (Through April 28, 2019)

Rock of Ages first appeared on Broadway in 2009 to great success. A movie version starring Tom Cruise was released in 2012 with moderate reviews. Now, Broadway in Chicago is bringing it back to the theatre in a version that is better than the movie. John-Michael Breen stars as Lonny, the narrator of the story. He plays the 80’s rocker with a mullet acting hilariously as he flirts with a woman seated up front.

Another hysterical scene involves a couple having sex in the bathroom. It is Stacee Jaxx, played hilariously with style by Sam Harvey, and Sherrie, played excellently by Katie LaMark. They get into some really crazy positions partially hidden by the walls of the stall as they sing Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is”. This is just one example of the humor involved which was missing in the movie version.

Rock of Ages is the name of a song released in 1983 by Def Leppard. However, there are no Def Leppard songs in the show. “They wouldn’t give us the rights” says the narrator, which is absolutely true a fun example of them poking fun at themselves. It’s a truly fun experience and a must see for all fans of comedy and 80s rock!

Photo: Jeremy Daniel

Photo: Jeremy Daniel

Get tickets now for Rock of Ages through Sunday!

Cost of a ticket: $50
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It –
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
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Photo: Jeremy Daniel

Photo: Jeremy Daniel

Quinn Delaney

Beautiful Music – Tyler Ramsey at Schubas (April 22, 2019)

Tyler Ramsey has been a guitarist in Band of Horses since 2009. They formed in 2005. Tonight he is performing his solo work with a band consisting of a slide guitar player, a drummer, and a bassist (playing a brand new bass from Guitar Center).

Ramsey is a bit disheveled tonight. When talking about writing a song, he can’t remember when he wrote it. “Who cares anyway?” he says. The reason for his absentmindedness is that last night he slept on an air mattress in his van while camping in Turkey Run Sate Park in Indiana. He kept falling off the mattress and didn’t sleep very well. However, when he plays and sings, he enters the zone and there is no evidence of a lack of sleep. His beautiful music brings everyone into the zone with him with it’s sweet melodies and calming lyrics.

Today. He writes his music out in the woods by his home, outside of Asheville, North Carolina. And his music has that natural sound that gives one the calmness of nature. Towards the end of the set, he takes a minute to thank the opener, Matthew Fowler, who could be seen moving throughout the crowd taking pictures of the band playing.

Catch Tyler Ramsey on tour now!

Cost of a ticket: $15
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
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Quinn Delaney

 

Absolutely Hilarious! Brad Williams at City Winery Chicago (April 20, 2019)

Brad Williams is a very funny guy. He is a dwarf, but he doesn’t let that stop him from doing anything. It also allows him to poke fun at others with disabilities. For example, he told a story about making fun of man in the audience who had no legs. It made the crowd uncomfortable, but the man was enjoying it immensely. He told Brad that he was currently going through a divorce. And that she really did take half of everything!
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He went on to tell the story of how he met his wife, who is a tall Asian. They met through an app where couples look for a third person. “I know”, he says, “a hot Asian woman who likes dwarfs and threesomes! I scored the jackpot!” He says it is very easy for them to find women to take home. When they approach girls, they say, wow, this completes two items on my bucket list! It’s a joy to hear him talk about this and he does it with style.
Before leaving the stage, he goes over a few rules for meeting him at the merch table. Firstly, you can kneel down or stand up, he doesn’t care. Secondly, don’t pat him on the head. Lastly, and he can’t believe he has to say this, don’t pick him up! He’s even funny when he is explaining rules!
See his standup special now on Netflix, The Degenerates.
Cost of a ticket: $20
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
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Quinn Delaney

So Fun! Carbon Leaf at City Winery (April 19, 2019)

Carbon Leaf are a very fun band to see live. Their songs are great sing to along with. Take “Life Less Ordinary”, which they play mid way through their set. “Live a life less ordinary, live a life extraordinary with me!” It’s a joyous tune that is so catchy.

The band is in a good mood tonight despite dealing with vehicle issues causing them to arrive to the venue with only an hour to set up. Also, even though they have been playing as a band since 1992, they still enjoy making music together. They formed the band back in Richmond, VA, the same city that Dave Matthews Band started in.

Another great song that they play is “Let Your Troubles Roll By”. “When all of your tears dry, let your troubles roll by!” sings the entire audience joyfully. The lead singer uses a tin whistle, which looks like a large recorder. This adds an Irish sound to their music that suits them well. He also plays a piccolo excellently.

Catch Carbon Leaf next in Chicago at the Chop Shop in Chicago!

Cost of a ticket: $30
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
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Quinn Delaney

Broadway Worthy! Porchlight Music Theatre Presents A Chorus Line at Ruth Page Center (Through May 31, 2019)

Twenty-four performers are auditioning to be in a chorus line. Only eight are needed for the show. After about ten minutes of dancing, six of the performers are dismissed. The remaining performers are asked by the director to talk about themselves and answer the following question: How did you get into dancing? Everyone has a deep story to tell.
Laura Savage is excellent as Cassie, the woman who had a relationship with the director. She expertly displays the awkwardness of the situation while pleading for a spot in the cast. Her chemistry is great with Richard Strimer, who plays the director. He is clearly conflicted over whether it’s a good idea to hire her.
Erika Evans is hilarious as Sheila, the woman with a very strong attitude. With just a look, she can get everyone laughing. Natalie Welch is superb as Val singing “Dance: Ten; Looks: Three”. “Tits and ass” she sings as she dances around the stage seductively! Also, Taylor Lane is delightful as Judy, always forgetting her number.
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The show is two hours long without an intermission. This puts the audience through a marathon, just like the performers auditioning. It really should have a break.
This dancing and acting in this production are fantastic all around. The choreography is excellent. The music is superb. It is truly Broadway worthy.
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Get tickets now for A Chorus Line through May 31st!
Cost of a ticket: $60
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
Quinn Delaney