* Somewhat Recommended * I was really looking forward to seeing “Pride and Joy: The Marvin Gaye Musical” because I’ve always loved Marvin Gaye’s music. What a disappointment! The cast is talented – they all have really good voices – and the music is Motown, but the book (the storyline) is awful! If I were to rank the jukebox musicals I’ve seen over the years, “Pride and Joy” would probably come in dead last. 1 Spotlight
**** Highly Recommended **** I have a new entry to my personal top ten musicals, “Six”! I loved this new pop-rock concert musical starring the six wives of Henry VIII so much that I’ve downloaded the soundtrack – and bought tickets to see it again! How’s that for a recommendation? I’m telling you, I LOVE this show! 4 BIG Spotlights
**** Recommended **** “Falsettos” is an unusual musical in that it defies classification. It’s about the angst-ridden lives of six New Yorkers, but it’s not annoying – at least most of the time. It has funny bits, but it’s not a comedy. It has really sad bits, but it’s not a tragedy. The entire script is sung, but it’s not an opera or even an operetta. It’s actually a musical soap opera about “homosexuals with children”, but it’s also a beautiful musical experience sung by six outstanding voices. 4 Spotlights
*** Recommended *** I’ve had a hard time writing about Court Theatre’s production of “The Adventures of Augie March”. If you haven’t read Saul Bellow’s 1953 coming-of-age novel about a man-child – and I haven’t – you’ll probably have a hard time with this adaptation. It was difficult to keep track of the forty-some characters played by an ensemble cast of thirteen. I read somewhere that Bellow’s novel meanders through several hundred pages – this stage production meandered through three long acts, coming in at a little over three hours (and two intermissions). 3 Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** I was delighted when I read that Teatro Vista was restaging “La Havana Madrid”, this time at the Den Theatre. Sandra Delgado’s well-researched play about La Havana Madrid, a nightclub which was located on the second floor of a building on the corner of Belmont and Sheffield, melds the sounds of mambo and salsa with some of the stories of the people of all ages who frequented the club. “La Havana Madrid” is in my top ten favorite shows of all time! 4 BIG Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** I have to confess, I am a Cub fan, so, of course. I loved “Miracle”. If I were a Sox fan – or a fan of any other major league team - I doubt if I’d be so excited. “Miracle” is the perfect musical for Cub fans of all ages, because the 2016 World Series win meant so much to so many people. I am here to tell all of those fans that for me, watching “Miracle” was like watching the World Series all over again! 4 BIG Spotlights
**** Recommended **** I enjoyed everything about the Goodman Theatre’s production of “The Winter’s Tale”, which is so rarely produced I’d only seen it once before. “The Winter’s Tale” is not one of Shakespeare’s comedies, although it has some rather hilarious comedic elements. On the other hand, it’s not a tragedy, either. This tale of lost children, star-crossed lovers, murder and mayhem might just qualify as a rom-com. 4 Spotlights
**** Recommended **** If you’re looking for something fun to do, then Theatre at the Center’s new musical comedy, “Dames at Sea”, is the show for you. “Dames at Sea”, a 1969 off-Broadway hit, is an old-fashioned ‘boy-meets-girl, girl-becomes-star’ tap dance show, kind of. At any rate, this campy mash-up of “42nd Street”, “Anything Goes” and “On the Town”, this is the show that made Bernadette Peters a star! 4 Spotlights
** Somewhat Recommended ** I was really disappointed in “August Rush: The Musical”, the new production at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora. Although the music was gorgeous, the story was curiously unfinished and confusing. It wasn’t a big, showy, ‘ready-for-Broadway’ premiere, it was more like the first workshop of a new musical. The cast made the most of what they had, so I give “August Rush: The Musical” 2 ½ Spotlights.
**** Recommended **** “Chicago” is one of my absolute favorite musicals. I think I’d go almost anywhere to see it, so I was delighted that the tour came back to Chicago, this time starring former NFL star, Eddie George. I’m happy to say it did not disappoint – the music is sexy and jazz-y, the dancing is sexy and very ‘Fosse’, and the voices are gorgeous! 4 Spotlights.