In Concert

If you like Vegas like I like Vegas, you will love Marriott Theatre’s energetic and top notch, romantic musical comedy production of "Honeymoon in Vegas"!

Jack Singer (Michael Mahler) is in love with his girlfriend of five years Betsy Nolan (played with terrific spunk and formidable singing chops by Samantha Pauly), but was traumatized by the deathbed wish his mother imposed on him never to marry, because no one can love him like she did.  Bea (Marya Grandy) plays his mother with great physical comedy skills and her hospital deathbed scene where she strikes down a passing nurse in order to show jack what she can do to his future brides to be, gets some of the biggest laughs in the show. 

Jack and Betsy get through this flashback scene and resulting panic attack while shopping at Tiffany's for her ring and head straight to Vegas to tie the knot - before he loses his nerve for the umpteenth time. 

Upon arriving in Vegas, Betsy is instantly spotted by Tommy Korman, a rich, handsome but slightly shady businessman played to perfection by Chicago born actor Sean Allan Krill. Betsy reminds Korman of his past wife and then he goes all out to steal her from tentative Singer. His pursuit really begins when he invites Singer to a “low stakes” poker game, letting him win a few hands – a total set up. Singer has a hand next to impossible to beat and the pot becomes so large there is no way he can pay up if he loses. That’s when the fun really begins. Sean Allen Krill was the standby in this role for Tony Danza on Broadway. Krill was just fantastic and I'm not the only critic in Chicago to say Sean Allen Krill should be a huge Broadway star right now. Krill is so smooth in the role of Tommy Korman, so fluid and graceful in his immediate desire for, and courtship of, Betsy that women and men throughout the theater were so wowed by Krill's amazing singing voice and comedic acting chops that they actually wished Betsy would stay with him in Hawaii and not marry the non-committal, bumbling, but kind, Jack Singer. 

Another character actress deserving of special notice is Christine Bunuan, as the funny and fabulous Hawaiian tour guide who helps Jack find Betsy and Korman (yes, the story moves to Hawaii), but not without first trying desperately to make “Friki-Friki with Jack before delivering him to his destination. 

While talented Alex Goodrich is very funny to watch in multiple roles, Steven Strafford also shows off his comedic talent as Korman's sidekick, Johnny Sandwich.  

Several of the leading creators of its 2015 Broadway production were brought in by the Marriott Theater including director Gary Griffin, choreographer Denis Jones, and costume designer Brian Hemesath. The effect of all these highly skilled players coming together is a full-service production that grabs you right from the start with well-paced scenes and challenging, yet humorous, dance numbers that dazzle the audience with beautiful, leggy showgirls - Vegas style. 

I highly recommend this adorably sexy and funny, Elvis-filled production for young and old alike. This production is so well-played and fun to watch that you will feel you have had a honeymoon in Vegas - with a stop-over in beautiful Hawaii to boot!  

Honeymoon in Vegas is being performed at Marriott Theatre through October 15th. For more show information visit www.marriotttheatre.com.

 

Published in Theatre in Review

Led by the original Broadway powerhouse team, including ten-time Jeff Award-winning director Gary Griffin, Tony Award-nominated choreographer Denis Jones, and Emmy Award-winning costume designer Brian Hemesath (PBS’s “Sesame Street”, NBC’s “SNL”), HONEYMOON IN VEGAS, a loving throwback to the classic American musical, makes its Regional Premiere at Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive in Lincolnshire with previews August 23, opening August 30 at 8 pm, and running through October 15. With music and lyrics by three-time Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown and book by highly-acclaimed American screenwriter Andrew Bergman, HONEYMOON IN VEGAS is a hysterical romantic comedy, based off the hit 1992 film. The veteran team also includes Jeff Award-winning musical director Ryan T. Nelson and Jeff Award-winning associate choreographer William Carlos Angulo.
 
“HONEYMOON IN VEGAS brings a modern twist to the beloved classic American musical, written by a contemporary writer for today’s audiences,” says Director Gary Griffin. “And there’s just something about Chicago. I am excited to give The Marriott Theatre audiences unprecedented access to this particular show, with so many touch points coming straight from the Broadway stage.”
 
A delightful and bouncy mix of old-time Vegas and contemporary musical theatre, HONEYMOON IN VEGAS tells the story of Brooklyn couple Jack Singer and Betsy Nolan, who have escaped to Las Vegas to tie the knot. Everything changes when the couple encounters Tommy Korman, a dashing Vegas gambler who believes Betsy is a spitting image of his deceased wife. With Tommy’s determination and Jack’s hopeful heart, HONEYMOON IN VEGAS throws the audience on a hilarious rollercoaster ride of love, humor, and competition for true romance.
 
HONEYMOON IN VEGASstars Jeff Award Winner Michael Mahler as “Jack Singer” (Broadway: Miss Saigon; Marriott Theatre: October Sky, Hero,City of Angels); Samantha Pauly as “Betsy Nolan” (Marriott Theatre: Evita, Elf the Musical); Jeff Award Winner Sean Allan Krill as “Tommy Korman” (Broadway: Mamma Mia!, Honeymoon in Vegas, and On a Clear Day; National Tour: Thoroughly Modern Millie; Marriott Theatre: Brigadoon, 1776, and Pirates of Penzance); Cole Burden as “Buddy Rocky/Roy Bacon” (National Tours: Les Misérables, The Bridges of Madison County; Marriott Theatre: Legally Blonde); Marya Grandy as “Bea Singer” (Broadway: Les Misérables; Marriott Theatre: How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, Sister Act, and On the Town); and Steven Strafford as “Johnny Sandwich” (National Tours: Spamalot, Peter Pan, Cinderella, and Grease; Marriott Theatre: She Loves Me and Madagascar). Also starring in HONEYMOON IN VEGAS are DeShawn Bowens, Christine Bunuan, Aaron Choi, Shana Dagny, Devin DeSantis, Alejandro Fonseca, Alex Goodrich, Anne Gunn, Kristina Larson, Tyler John Logan, Richard Manera, James Rank, Jessica Wolfrum Raun, Drew Redington, Laura Savage, Allison Sill, and Ambria Sylvain.
 
The production will feature set design by Kevin Depinet, lighting design by Jesse Klug, sound design by Robert E. Gilmartin, properties design by Sally Weiss, projections design by Anthony Churchill, and musical supervision and orchestra conducted by Patti Garwood.
 
The performance schedule for HONEYMOON IN VEGAS is Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., with select Thursday 1:00 p.m. shows. Ticket prices range from $50 to $60, including tax and handling fees. Call for student, senior and military discounts. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings there are a limited number of FREE dinners available with the purchase of a full-priced theatre ticket, which can only be purchased through the Marriott Theatre Box Office. To make a restaurant reservation, please call 847.634.0100. Free parking is available at all performances. To reserve tickets, please call The Marriott Theatre Box Office at 847.634.0200 or go to www.ticketmaster.com. Visit www.MarriottTheatre.com for more information.

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre
Friday, 19 February 2016 13:01

Sister Act is Outta Site!

What happens when a 1970s dance diva goes into hiding as a nun in a neighborhood parish, you might ask? Well, let’s just say she definitely makes an impact. After Delores witnesses a murder by her boyfriend (a gangster who is married), the sassy disco queen is thrust into a witness protection program by the Philadelphia Police Department where she assumes the identity of a nun, much to the dismay of Mother Superior. Two completely different worlds collide, as the strict and disapproving Mother Superior is forced to work side by side with Delores, who is more about living on the wild side and prefers beer and cheesesteak sandwiches over the church served mutton. Though completely at opposite spectrums from each other the two eventually teach each other valuable life lessons, which plays out nicely in this humorous and charming script.  

When we first hear the weak, out of key singing by the nuns, it doesn’t take us long to figure out that Delores, a seasoned vocalist, will serve a useful purpose in her new surroundings. We just don’t’ realize how amusing the journey will be.   

Based on the Whoopi Goldberg hit film, Sister Act is a ton of fun. Not only does the production nail the 1970s, parodying the era to perfection with spot on costume design and stereotypical character traits, but it is plenty funny and has a slew of enjoyable song and dance numbers such as “Take Me to Heaven”, “It’s Good To Be A Nun” and “Sister Act”.

Pairing perfectly are Hollis as Mother Superior and Broadway veteran Stephanie Umoh as Delores. Umoh is absolutely adorable in the role while Resnik displays an acting presence that of the talented veteran she is. It is not Resnik’s first run at the role as she had played Mother Superior is national touring productions in the past. Umoh and Resnik’s chemistry make this production work ever so smoothly as they play off each other flawlessly. And though both Resnik and Umoh each provide show-carrying caliber performances, they get a lot of help from a wildly hilarious and talented ensemble.    

Every time gangster Curtis Jackson and his band of cronies come onto the stage you can expect a few good laughs. Mark Hood as lead thug, TJ, often steals the show with his far out boogie-like moves and 1970s jive talking while Todd A. Horman as Joey also makes several splashes as the wannabe hard ass sidekick. The gang hits the audience full throttle and are highlighted in their very funny number “Lady in the Long Black Dress”, a smooth ode to the ladies where they each think they are God’s gift to women.   

Mary Robin Roth, Marya Grandy and Lillian Castillo add a lot of oomph and personality to the flock of nuns while Johnathan Butler-Duplessis shines and Eddy otherwise known as “Sweaty Eddy”, the Philadelphia cop whose rich vocals really come to life in “I Could Be That Guy”.  

Don Stephenson’s directorial debut at The Marriott Theatre is “right on” while Melissa Zaremba works her magic on the show’s choreography, making this a well-rounded production that has a bit of everything one would look for in a musical comedy. 

Thoroughly entertaining, Sister Act is playing at Marriott Theatre through April 3rd.  For tickets and/or more show information visit www.MarriottTheatre.com.  

Published in Theatre Reviews
Saturday, 23 August 2014 19:00

A Great Way to Spend a Night "On the Town"

"On the Town" with music by Leonard Bernstein; book and lyrics by Tony-winning writing partners Betty Comden and Adolph Green is about to be staged on Broadway but the Marriott Lincolnshire has beat Broadway to the punch with this thoroughly entertaining and beautifully staged rendition which has never before been staged in Chicago.

Three young sailors arrive in New York City with just one night, 24 hours to have fun and find love hopefully in the arms of one young lady named "Miss Turnstiles" for the month of June. "On the Town" really captures the frantic energy of youth and love, when every hour of your life, indeed every minute counts desperately to you as life calls you to return to work, or other duties forcing you to leave your hopes and dreams behind. 

The two young leads, Max Clayton & Alison Jantzie are both very, very talented young dancers and singers.  Alison Jantzie is lovely and is absolutely delightful in her role as "Miss Turnstiles" a struggling actress who is bullied into burlesque dancing as a way to stay afloat in the big city.

Marya Grandy and Johanna McKenzie Miller were perfectly cast as the other two female leads. Grandy and Miller are both mature actresses with great voices and superb comic timing which held the whole show together and gave it real belly laughs and heart as well.

Alex Sanchez’s choreography and director David H. Bell use the intimate space at Marriott Theatre to their full advantage filling the stage with 22 dancers and some of the most exciting and even classically erotic ballet and modern dance numbers I have seen in a long time. 

Nancy Missimi’s period costumes are so much fun to watch on the dancers. I absolutely love this period of fashion especially for the women Thomas M. Ryan’s brightly light New York City  set caught my eye even before I entered the theatre and utilizes a turntable effect to show cabs driving through the city and other action in a fun and exciting way visually.

I highly recommend seeing "On the Town" while it is here in Chicago. "On the Town” is a funny, and romantic way to end the summer and remind yourself that life goes by fast, you have to get out "On the Town" once in a while to really celebrate it!

“On the Town” is playing at Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire through October 12th. For tickets and/or more information, visit www.marriotttheatre.com.

Published in Theatre Reviews

 

 

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