Ricky and I have seen a lot of theatre (and one evening of dance) lately and each time I think "I can't wait to tell my blog buddies about this show!" But I just haven't gotten around to it, so here are little mini-reviews of the things we've seen recently...
- Mamma Mia--We saw the Broadway tour of Mamma Mia a couple of weeks ago. I've seen the movie and obviously knew the music, but had never seen the stage version. I loved the set, and the woman playing Donna, Susie McMonagle, was fantastic, as was Sophie, Rose Sezniak. I really enjoyed the cast with one exception--Sky, Geoffrey Hemingway. He was super-bland. I could not see why Sophie would want to marry this guy. BORING! I know some people are going to gasp at this, but even though I enjoyed the show, I do prefer the movie. I feel like the characters were better developed on screen. I also felt that the stage version was rushed at times. It almost felt like the cast was ready to get the show over with and go home. However I will say that the Mamma Mia mega-mix at the end of the show is FANTASTIC and worth the ticket price! The energy of the choreography, the fun costumes, the audience on its feet singing along--it was great!
- DanceWorks Chicago--DanceWorks is a fairly new dance company committed to helping young pre-professionals get ready for a professional dance career. The company is small--only 6 young (early 20s-ish) dancers and their talents and backgrounds are varied. One of the dancers has danced in Celine Dion's Vegas show, a couple have ballet backgrounds, some are contemporary dancers. The evening we went to DanceWorks they performed a Dance Flight. Much like a flight of wine they were offering a variety of styles. Some were better than others, but overall the creativity of each piece was fun to watch. My biggest criticism with the company is that there is no sense of ensemble. Each dancer had some good individual moments, but when they were all supposed to be dancing together the pieces suffered. There was no sense of space, staging, continuity--ENSEMBLE. They were never totally together. Hopefully as this young company grows those things will come. I know I'm going to enjoy watching them as they mature and change.
- Caroline or Change--We saw this show last weekend at the Court Theatre. Wow! I don't know if anything I can say will do justice to this incredible show. The cast was amazing, the set was great. I was sucked in from the moment the show started until the end. Apparently word has gotten out about how good this show is, because the night I was there it was sold out and there were even folks who stood in the back the whole show. Glad we reserved our tix ahead of time! Caroline or Change runs 2 more weekends. If you are in Chicago--GO! It's even worth standing in the back; its that good!
- The Laramie Project--This Monday was the 10th anniversary of the Matthew Shepard attack. About Face Theatre produced a one-night only benefit reading of The Laramie Project with some of Chicago's best talent. Deanna Dunagan, recent Tony winner for August:Osage County, was in it, as were a couple of the Tectonic Theatre Project members. It was such a beautiful, moving experience. From the moment the lights went down everyone, cast and audience alike, were captivated by this story. I'm so glad Ricky and I got to experience this reading, but I'm still so saddened that things like this continue to happen to people just because of who they are and who they love. (I could go off on a political rant now about hate crime legislation and a certain president who resolves to veto it everyone it comes his way.....but I won't.)
So those are our recent theatre-going experiences. Tonight we are going to the Harris Theatre to see Hubbard Street perform. Hopefully it won't take me a week or 2 to write about this performance!