“Support Group for Men”

                                                    “Support Group for Men”

                                                          Goodman Theatre

                                                      170 N. Dearborn Street

                                                           Chicago, Illinois

                                     Reviewed by Richard Allen Eisenhardt

“Support Group for Men,” by Playwright Ellen Fairey, opened for a brief run at the Goodman’s Albert Theatre and is being directed by Kimberly Senior.

If you enjoy laughing you’ll find it in this ninety-minute production led by seven very talented actors who are Anthony Irons as Delano; Ryan Kitley as Brian; Keith Kupferer as Roger; Jeff Kurysz as Alex; Sadieh Rifai as Officer Caruso; Eric Slater as Officer Nowak and Tommy Rivera-Vega as Kevin.

The show deals with and is a warm and comical look at what might take place if four mismatched men get involved with each other with the hopes that it will bring their lives forward.  It deals with what a man is today in the eyes of a woman.  These men open up their lives with one funny line after another.  You laugh for ninety minutes.

Brilliant acting by a phenomenal cast!

“Support Group for Men,” runs until July 29th.  For show days, show times and reservations call 312-443-3800.  Tickets are $25 — $80.

                                                                        -Four Stars-

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“Avenue Q”

                                                                       “Avenue Q”

                                                                  Mercury Theatre

                                                             3745 N. Southport Ave.

                                                                 Chicago, Illinois

                                             Reviewed by Richard Allen Eisenhardt

      “Avenue Q” has returned to Chicago with some new cast members and some who appeared in the first tour back in 2014.

The production is under the direction of L. Walter Stearns and the Musical Director is Eugene Dizon.

The show runs two hours and thirty minutes.

Rick Lyon is the puppets’ designer and they look great as the cast of twelve maneuver the puppets across the stage.

“Avenue Q” is Sesame Street, x-rated.  The actors on stage stay fully dressed.  It’s the puppets that are naked.  It is not a show for small children.  Kevin Bellie handles the dancing.

Musical numbers are “It Sucks to be Me,” “If You Were Gay,” and “Everyone is a Little Bit Racist.”

The story is a racy cross between South Park and Sesame Street and is a modern musical of personalities who are making their way in a big city seeking a purpose in life.

The cast includes Jackson Evans as  Princeton; Leah Morrow as Kate Monster; Matthew Miles as Brian; David S. Robbins as Gary Coleman; Audrey Billings as Christmas Eve and the list goes on.

“Avenue Q” runs through September 9th.  For show days, show times and reservations call 773-325-1700.  Tickets are $35 – $65.

                                                                        -Four Stars-

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“The Cher Show”

                                                          “The Cher Show”

                                                          Oriental Theatre

                                                      24 West Randolph St.    

                                                          Chicago,  Illinois

                                   Reviewed by Richard Allen Eisenhardt

“The Cher Show” is one outstanding musical based on the life of Cher and is headed to New York and Broadway.  The two and a half hour show has a book by Rick Elice.  The show is under the direction of Jason Moore and the fabulous costumes are by costume designer Bob Mackie.

There are three females who play the role of Cher and all are exceptionally talented.  They are Micaela Diamond as Babe, Teal Wicks as Lady and the fantastic Stephanie J. Block as Star.

The music is all the songs made famous by Sony and Cher.  Jarrod Spector plays Sonny Bono and looks like the real one.  Familiar songs are “I Got You Babe,” and “Bust Out.”

The story covers six decades and features thirty-five songs.  The story takes place as a TV Special with Cher telling her life story.

It takes twenty-seven actors to tell her story.  All roles of those who played major roles have supporting roles such as Emily Skinner, Cher’s mother.  Michael Berresse plays three characters — Mackie, Robert Altman and Artie.  The list goes on.

“The Cher Show” runs through July 15th.  For show days, show times and reservations call 800-775-2000.  Tickets range from $35 to $115.

                                                         -Three and a Half Stars-

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Waitress”

                                                                   “Waitress”

                                                            Broadway in Chicago

                                                          Cadillac Palace Theatre

                                                          151 W. Randolph Street

                                                                Chicago, Illinois

                                         Reviewed by Richard Allen Eisenhardt

      What a cast!  What a musical!  This show was inspired by Adrienne Shelly’s film, “Waitres.”

The show’s playwright is Jessie Nelson with music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles.  In this fun evening of two and a half hours, Chicago actress Jessie Mueller had the role of Jenna in New York on Broadway and was nominated for a Tony for “Best Actress in a Musical.”  For the Tour the show’s director has found no slouch of a personality in Desi Oakley, who has the role now.

The show has a singing, dancing and acting group of twenty-one and Diane Paulus’ cast includes Charity Angel Dawson, Lenne Klingman, Nick Bailey, Larry Marshall, and Jeremy Morse, as some of the supporting characters.

Seventeen musical numbers include “What Baking Can Do,” “Never Getting Rid of Me,” and “You Will Still Be Mine,”  to name a few.

With all the pies on stage you will want to go out and have one.

There is a story but I urge you to see the musical.

“Waitress,” runs until July 22nd.  For show days, show times and reservations call 800-775-2000 or go on-line to http://www.BroadwayinChicago.com.  Tickets are $27 to $105.

                                                                       -Four Stars-

 

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“Broadway, The Bard and Len Cariou”

                                               “Broadway, The Bard and Len Cariou”
                                                                           Stage 773
                                                                    1225 W. Belmont
                                                                     Chicago, Illinois
                                               Reviewed by Richard Allen Eisenhardt
Ever since I have been a major fan of Angela Lansbury’s “Murder She Wrote” and currently on Friday nights of “Blue Bloods,” I’ve become a major fan of actor and singer, the magnificent Len Cariou.
His one-man show of “Broadway, The Bard and Len Cariou” is a gem of a production and one that should not be missed. I hope he comes back for a longer run with this show before he takes it to New York and Broadway, as he hopes.
Cariou is 79 in age but doesn’t look it as Tom Selleck’s father on “Blue Bloods” every Friday night.
Cariou won a Tony Award when he was in “Sweeney Todd” and is a fantastic singer which many may not know if you have not followed his career.
He is Canadian-born and a major follower of Shakespeare. The production runs eighty minutes and his performance has several musical numbers as well as several Shakespeare monologues. One of his favorite Shakespeare roles was “King Lear.” Barry Kleinbort and Mark Janas are his pianist and from time to time his dialogue partner.
Many of the musical numbers are from shows that were based on Shakespeare plays and he will end it with “Brush Up Your Shakespeare,” from Kiss Me Kate.
Unfortunately the show closes on June 10th but it deserves to come brak. Tickets are a mere $35.
                                                                            -Four Stars-

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“The Pirates of Penzance”

                                                             “The Pirates of Penzance”
                                                                 Music Theatre Works
                                                                    Cahn Auditorium
                                                                  600 Emerson Street
                                                                    Evanston, Illinois
                                          Reviewed by Richard Allen Eisenhardt
Light Opera Works has a new name for the 2018 season — The Music Theatre Works. The first show of the season is Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance,” and is a terrific production. It has a cast of twenty-nine who sing and dance.
It runs one hour and fifty-five minutes with a twenty minute intermission.
The remarkable Jim Harms, who is seventy-five, will amaze you when he does a double somersault on stage. His singing is first rate as is the singing of Larry Adams as the Pirate King. Harms is Major General Stanley.
The show is under the direction of Rudy Hogenmiller. Clayton Cross staged the dancing and Linda Madonia conducted the twenty-six member orchestra.
Two young bright talents who are on their way to stardom on Chicago stages are Ben Barker and Nancy Hays. Both are outstanding singers and actors. When you attend the theatre, look for them. Others in the cast are Cary Lovett, Cecilia Iole, and P. J. Wilborn as well as many others.
The show offers such familiar songs as “Poor Wand’ring One,” “Oj, Better Far to Live and Die,” and “I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General.”
In August, Music Theatre Works will do Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes.” In October “Judy Garland: Come Rain or Come Shine” starring Angela Ingersoll will be on the docket. Closing out the 2018 season will be “Into the Woods” in December.
“Pirates” runs until June 17th. Tickets start at $34. For information call 847-920-5360 or http://www.musictheatreworks.com.
                                                                         -Four Stars-

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“Cry It Out”

                                                                “Cry It Out”
                                                         Northlight Theatre
                                                           9501 Skokie Blvd
                                                            Skokie, Illinois
                                 Reviewed by Richard Allen Eisenhardt
“Cry It Out” concludes Northlight Theatre’s 2017-2018 season. The show is by Playwright Molly Smith Metzler and is being directed by Jessica Fisch. The show deals with motherhood and has its comedy.
The show’s a cast of four that are Laura Lapidus, Gabriel Ruiz, Darci Nalepa and Kristina Valada-Viars and runs ninety minutes.
Cooped up on maternity leave and eager for companionship and conversation, Jessie, played by Nalepa, invites the funny Lina, played by Lapidus, for coffee. You’ll find what motherhood is like, plus the dilemma of returning to work vs. staying at home, and how this affects friendship.
“Cry It Out” runs through June 17th. For show days – times and reservations call 847-673-6300. Tickets are $30 to $81.
                                                               -Three Stars-

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