Marriott Theatre

10 Marriott Drive

Lincolnshire, Illinois

Reviewed by Richard Allen Eisenhardt

“Newsies” is closing out the Marriott Theatre’s 2017 season and the cast is filled with the faces of fresh new talent.

Opening their 2018 season in January will be “Ragtime,” the musical.

The show is being directed and he has also staged some choreography by Alex Sanchez.

The music is by Alan Menkin, lyrics by Jack Feldman with a book by Harvey  Fierstein.

Mr. Sanchez has assembled a cast of twenty-nine performers in a production that runs two hours and twenty minutes.

Patrick Rooney has the role of Jack Kelly, Eliza Palasz has the role of Katherine Plumber, Stephanie Pope is Medda Larkin, Nick Graffagna is Davey and Matthew Uzarraga is Crutchie.

Veterans in the show are Kevin Cudahl as Joseph Pulitzer, Richard Stimer and James Rank.

The show offers such songs as “Carrying the Banner,” “That’s Rich,” “The World Will Know,” and “Seize the Day.”  And you’ll have fourteen others to enjoy.

The staged dancing is incredible and will knock you off your feet.

“Newsies” is based on the real life newsboy strike of 1899.  “Do headlines sell newspapers?” — you will find out that the Newsies do.

It is a most entertaining show for the holidays.

“Newsies” runs through December 31st.  For show days – show times – and reservations call 847-634-0200.  Ticket prices are $50 to $100.  The theatre offers valet parking but has a huge amount of free parking.  You can also arrange lunch or dinner in one of the Marriott restaurants .

Four Stars


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“42nd Street”

“42nd Street”

Drury Lane Theatre

100 Drury Lane

Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois

Richard Allen Eisenhardt

For the holidays the Drury Lane Theatre has revived the classic “42nd Street.”

The show has a book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble and the music and lyrics are by Harry Warren. Al Dubin and Johnny Mercer.

The show previews on November 1st and the press opening is November 5th.

You’ll hear such classic songs as “We’re in the Money,” “You’re Getting to be a Habit with Me,” “Lullay of Broadway,” and “Shuffle off to Buffalo,” to mention a few.

Kimberly Immanuel has the role of Peggy Sawyer. Veteran actor Gene Weygandt is Julian Mash, who plays a producer.   Phillip Attmore is Billy Lawler, who is attracted to Peggy.  Suzanne Douglas has the role of Dorothy Brock.

Mash is holding auditions for the show “Pretty Lady”.  Lawler, the show’s juvenile lead is enamored with her and to get her a date with him hopes to get her to audition for a role on opening night.  Someone bumps Peggy and Dorothy, who is the leading lady, breaks her ankle.  Peggy is fired.  He reconsiders and hires her back.

The singing and tap dancing is great.  For show days, times and tickets call 630-530-8300. Tickets are $45-$60. There is ample free parking plus valet.  Meals are extra but the main dining room offers wonderful food.  I suggest you call ahead for reservations because of the popularity of the venue.

You’ll have a fun evening at the theatre.

“42nd Street” runs through January 7th.




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“Wedding Band”

                                                           “Wedding Band’”
                                                         The Artistic Home
                                                   1376 West Grand Avenue
                                                           Chicago, Illinois
                                     Reviewed by Richard Allen Eisenhardt
John Mossman and his wife, Katy, have maintained the rights to present at their theatre “Wedding Band” by Alice Childress. The show is being directed by Ceciie Keenan.
“Wedding Band” is called “A Love/Hate story in black and white. The show stars Raina Lynn as Julia and the theatre’s ensemble member, Scott Western, as Sherman.
Childress’ drama is set in the summer of 1918. You’ll find that at that time there is a war in Europe with a smaller war in South Carolina. Julia is an African-American seamstress and Herman is a white German-American baker who has kept company with her for ten years. With disapproval of their affair from neighbors as well as family and the laws in Carolina prohibiting interracial marriage it makes it hard for them to stay together. Both are two lonely individuals and found some love and solace with each other.
The story takes pace in 1918, the final year of World War I. Charleston is having a life-threatening influenza epidemic.
Herman’s father was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and Herman took advantage of Klan activities as a child.
Love does not always conquer all, especially racism—and that interracial relationships don’t always have a happy ending.
The show runs well over two hours.
The cast includes Susan P. Anderson, Reid Coker, Laura Coleman, Kevin Patterson and several others in various roles.
“Wedding Band” runs through December 17th. For show days, show times and reservations, call 866-811-4111. You can also purchase tickets online at http://www.theartistichome.org. Tickets are $28 and $32.

                                                                  -Four Stars-

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“Marie Christine”

                                                        “Marie Christine”
                                                            BoHo Theatre
                                                             Theatre Wit
                                                 1229 West Belmont Ave.
                                                         Chicago, Illinois
                                   Reviewed by Richard A. Eisenhardt
Peter Marston Sullivan, BoHo Theatre’s Artistic Director, is ending his 2017 season with a production of Michael John Lachiusa’s “Marie Christine” for which he has written the words and music. After you see the show you’ll know what it was like in the 19th century.  The show is being directed by Lili-Anne Brown and she has a cast of fifteen. Musical direction is by Aaron Benham and choreography is by Breon Ariel.
Kyrie Courter, an African-American actress, has the role of Marie Christine and Ken Singleton has the role of Dante. The show combines voodoo and the Greek myth Medea.
The show deals on the life of Marie Laveau, the famed voodoo queen of New Orleans. Marie Christine is a visceral re-imaging of Medea. Ask yourself as you see it if there is sorcery at work.
Some of the others in the cast are Averis Anderson, Curtis Bannister, Neal Barron, Patrick Byrnes, Kevin Webb and Katherine Bourne.
The show opens with a prelude which takes place in a prison. The opening has three numbers — “Before the Morning,” “Mamzell Marie,” and “Ton Grand Pere est Le Soleil,” which means ‘your grandfather is the sun’. Act One takes the time zone of 1894 and Act Two the time zone of 1899.  Some of the many songs included are “Beautiful,” “C’est L’Amour,” “Danced with a Girl,” “Tell Me,” “Never Fall Under the Spell,” “And You Would Lie,” and “I Will Give.”
“Marie Christine” runs through December 10th. For show days, show times and reservations, call 773-975-8150 or visit the website at http://www.botheatre.com. Tickets are $33 and $35.
                                                               -Three Stars-

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“In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play”

                                    “In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play”
                                                        TimeLine Theatre
                                                             at Stage 773
                                                        1225 W. Belmont
                                                        Chicago, Illinois
                                    Reviewed by Richard Allen Eisenhardt
While “The Audience,” has been extended at their home theatre on Wellington Avenue through December 3rd, Sarah Ruhl’s play has opened at Stage 773 until December 13th.
The show’s playwright is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and a Tony Award nominee.
Since the show has a long title I will refer to it as “In the Next Room.” It is being directed by Mechelle Moe. She has assembled seven perfect performers for the production.
Anish Jethmalani is Dr. Givings; Edgar Sanchez is Leo Irving; Dana Tretta is Annie; Melissa Caniller is Sabrina Daldry; Joel Ewing is Mr. Daldry; Krystel McNeil is Elizabeth and Rochelle Therrien is Catherine Givings.
The story is set in 1880’s New York and tells how the newly invented vibrator was used by doctors to induce orgasms in women who are diagnosed with hysteria.
The story takes pace in the home of Dr. Givings and his wife. On a deeper level, the play exposes how the emotional and physical neglect endured by women in a male-dominated society takes place in the next room.
The show runs two hours and twenty minutes but is very engrossing. The Victory Gardens Theater first did it several years ago.
We find the vibrator was made possible by the invention of electricity and is based on historical fact. Mrs. Daldry is Dr. Giving’s first patient and she arrives with her husband, Mr. Daldry.
Annie, played by Ms. Tretta, is wonderfully cast and should be on the stage more often You’ll find he has other patients that will take you and show other effects of the vibrator.
“In the Next Room” runs through December 16th. For show days, times and tickets call 773-397-5252
                                                                -Four Stars-

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“The School of Rock” – The Musical

                                     “The School of Rock”  –  The Musical
                                                 Broadway in Chicago
                                                                at the
                                               Cadillac Palace Theatre
                                               151 W. Randolph Street
                                                     Chicago, Illinois
                                Reviewed by Richard Allen Eisenhardt
Those of you who are fans of Andrew Lloyd Webber are in for a major surprise when you see “The School of Rock” at the Cadillac Palace Theatre.
The show is based on the Robert Linklater movie of 2003 of the same name.
The show runs two hours and thirty minutes and features fourteen new songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Some of the songs are “When I Climb to the Top of Mount Rock,” “Give Up Your Dreams,” ”If Only You Would Listen,” and “Stick it to the Man.”
The musical you’ll find sticks fairly close to the screenplay, retaining some of its zinger dialogue.
Dewey is a slob who takes up a career as a substitute teacher after he is kicked out of his rock band.
There is a love story in this show.
Desperate for money, Dewey cons Rosalie Mullins, the uptight principal of a respected prep school, into thinking he’s a qualified teacher. But little Summer, a child in Dewey’s class of over-achieving kiddies, has doubts.
“School of Rock” runs through November 19th. For show day, show times and reservations call 800-775-2000. Tickets range from $24 to $127.
                                                              -Four Stars-

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“Jackie Taylor’s ‘The Black Renaissance'”

                                              “Jackie Taylor’s ‘The Black Renaissance’”
                                                 A Musical Resistance Against Racism
                                                           Black Ensemble Theatre
                                                              4450 N. Clark Street
                                                                 Chicago, Illinois
                                              Reviewed by Richard Allen Eisenhardt
“Ms. Taylor’s opening remarks in the program couldn’t be better said — that we are in troubling times with a President that stirs racial hatred, dictates separatism and glorifies oppression.
We live in a racist world and no matter our race, religion, creed or color we are all affected negatively by racism.
Ms. Taylor has written this story lesson and directed thirteen professional performers who act, sing and dance to perfection. Taylor has written all the songs featured in the show with the exception of “Oh, Freedom,” and “We Shall Overcome.”
It takes two hours with intermission to give audiences a history lesson. You should come out uplifted, inspired and motivated. The story tells of slavery to Obama to Trump and that we should live together as one race — the human race.
Songs you’ll hear that tell some of the story are “The Slave Syndrome Blues,” “Let’s Go Down the River,” “The Color of your Mind” and “I’m Walking, Talking and Praying About Freedom.” There are a lot more.
This is a very thought-provoking production that should not be missed.
“The Black Renaissance” runs through November 26th. For show days, show times and tickets call 773-769-4451, Tickets are $55 to $65. The website is http://www.blackensemble.org.
                                                               -Three and a Half Stars-

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