Theatre in Review

Kokandy Productions is pleased to announce casting for its Chicago premiere of BONNIE & CLYDE, the musical story of two small-town nobodies searching for meaning at the height of the Great Depression from the creative team of Frank Wildhorn, Ivan Menchell and Don Black. 
 
BONNIE & CLYDE will feature Desiree Gonzalez as Bonnie, Max DeTogne as Clyde, Missy Wise as Blanche and Cisco Lopez as Buck. The cast also includes Patrick Tierney as Ted, Nathan Carroll as Preacher, Tia L. Pinson as Young Bonnie, Jeff Pierpoint as Young Clyde and Sarah Hayes as Emma, with an ensemble including Brittney Brown, Erin Creighton, Ann Delaney, Jacob Fjare, Jon Patrick Penick, Maisie Rose and Jonathan Schwart.
 
Directed by Spencer Neiman, with music direction by Allison Hendrix and choreography by Aubrey Adams, BONNIE & CLYDE will play August 27 – October 15, 2017 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at www.kokandyproductions.com, by calling (773) 975-8150 or in person at the Theater Wit Box Office. The press opening is Saturday, September 2 at 8 pm.
 
BONNIE & CLYDE centers on real-life Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, the ill-fated lovers and outlaws whose story has been infamous since they achieved folk hero status at the height of the Great Depression. Fearless, shameless and alluring, the Tony Award-nominated musical from the legendary Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll & Hyde, Civil War, Dracula) is the electrifying story of love, adventure and crime that captured the attention of an entire country, with a non-traditional score featuring blues, gospel and rockabilly music.
 
The world premiere of BONNIE & CLYDE was presented at La Jolla Playhouse in 2009, and transferred to Broadway in 2011. There, it was nominated for three Outer Critics Circle Awards and five Drama Desk Awards (both including Best New Musical), as well as two 2012 Tony Awards nominations.
 
The production team for BONNIE & CLYDE includes: Ashley Ann Woods (scenic design), Robert S. Kuhn (costume design), Alexander Ridgers (lighting design), Michael J. Patrick (sound design), Jaq Seifert (violence/intimacy design), Lindsay Brown (production manager) and Kait Samuels (stage manager).
 
PRODUCTION DETAILS:
 
Title: BONNIE & CLYDE
Book: Ivan Menchel
Music: Frank Wildhorn
Lyrics: Don Black
Director: Spencer Neiman
Music Director: Allison Hendrix
Choreographer: Aubrey Adams
Cast: Brittney Brown (Stella), Nathan Carroll (Preacher), Erin Creighton (Cumie), Ann Delaney (Trish), Max DeTogne (Clyde), Jacob Fjare (Bud), Desiree Gonzalez (Bonnie), Sarah Hayes (Emma), Cisco Lopez (Buck), Jon Patrick Penick (Henry), Jeff Pierpoint (Young Clyde), Tia L. Pinson (Young Bonnie), Maisie Rose (Eleanor), Jonathan Schwart (Sheriff), Patrick Tierney (Ted) and Missy Wise (Blanche).
 
Location: Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago
Dates: Previews: Sunday, August 27 at 7 pm, Monday, August 28 at 7 pm, Thursday, August 31 at 8 pm and Friday, September 1 at 8 pm
Regular run: Sunday, September 3 – Sunday, October 15, 2017
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will be added matinee performances on Saturday, September 30 at 3 pm, Saturday, October 7 at 3 pm and Saturday, October 14 at 3 pm.
Tickets: Previews $25. Regular run $33 - $38. Tickets are currently available at www.kokandyproductions.com, by calling (773) 975-8150 or in person at the Theater Wit Box Office.

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre

It’s the wild 1930’s in Berlin and it’s anything goes at the Kit Kat Klub where an impish Emcee feasts on making the haunt as alluring as possible to its guests. He loves the boys, he loves the girls and he loves the orchestra. Headliner Sally Bowles leads the cabaret dancers in the playful club where one can phone table to table if interested in another. Bowles is brassy, commanding and she flat out belts, leaving little doubt who runs the show. This is quickly evidenced in her racy opening number “Don’t Tell Mama”. It is a place of decadent carnival where boundaries do not exist and guests are endlessly entertained by its sexy performers. 

American writer Cliff Bradshaw soon arrives via train ride where he meets new friend Ernst Ludwig. The two quickly hit it off. While getting to know each other, Bradshaw reveals he is looking for a place to stay, so Ludwig recommends a boarding house run by Fraulien Schneider. Searching for inspiration for his second novel, Bradshaw visits the nearby Kit Kat Klub where he is opened to a world he never knew existed. 

While Bradshaw and Bowles get to know each other (and then some), Herr Schultz, an elderly German, regularly visits the boarding house where he shows his affections for Schneider by bringing her fruit from the nearby produce store that he owns. Soon Schultz and Schneider agree to marry, while Bowles and Bradshaw become cozier, the two now living together. The club is thriving and all seems well in 1930’s Berlin. 

But the shadow of the Nazi regime is gradually becoming much more apparent. Slowly, the danger of a growing Third Reich is affecting Berlin. Gradually, the carefree mood of many Berlin residents becomes that of one awaiting impending doom. Some sense a mounting tragedy afoot and fear a change for the worse in Germany. 

Yet, the threat is still in its infancy stage, whereas Schultz, a Jew, naively states, “Everything will be fine. After all, I am a German.” At the same time, Schneider fears her association with Schultz will put her business under as the hatred against Jewish-Germans becomes more apparent. 

Cabaret is the gripping account of how a circle of friends and businesses in Berlin are overcome by the inevitable Nazi threat, from the story's hopeful beginning full of modernization and progressive views to its haunting end. 

The production is seamlessly woven together. Throughout the musical, there is an ongoing collocation of dialogue scenes and songs that serve as explanation to the story while a series of distinct cabaret numbers provide a public observation for the times. 

Cabaret continues to attract both new audiences and return visitors more than fifty years after its initial Broadway production, because it has everything – fascinating characters, iconic music, a dazzling look that transports us to a different world that is still incredibly timely and relevant today,” says Artistic Director Linda Fortunato.

Her statement couldn’t bear more truth as the production has won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Original Score. 

The casting in Theatre at the Center’s Cabaret is very strong. Danni Smith, who recently impressed theatre goers in the leading role of “Donna” in Marriott Theatre’s Mamma Mia! is sensational as Sally Bowles. Smith’s robust, velvety vocals along with just the right air of confidence make for yet another successful leading role for the fetching stage star. Smith’s astounding performance alone is worth the ticket cost and drive to Munster, Indiana. Yet, the same impressionable effect on the audience can be said for co-lead Sean Fortunato as the mischievous Emcee, who is a pure delight to watch as he captures a changing Berlin within his character most effectively through a well-acted gamut of emotions. We watch on as the whimsical Master of Ceremonies is sincerely affected by what he recognizes is the beginning to the end of an era, yet we see his strength as he bravely presents an amusing appearance for his club-goers to distract from the imminent threat. 

Patrick Tierney (Bradshaw), Craig Spindle (Schultz), Iris Lieberman (Schneider), Christopher Davis (Ernst) and a very capable ensemble round out this talented cast that help in creating a magical Cabaret experience, along with an extraordinary creative team that so well brings the period to life. 

Based on a book written by Christopher Isherwood, with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, Cabaret is loaded with wonderful show tunes that include “Perfectly Marvelous”, “The Money Song”, “Married”, "Willkommen", “If You Could See Her” and Bowles highly-charged title song “Cabaret”. 

Well-constructed, finely acted and beautifully sung, Cabaret is an epic theatre experience not to miss.   

Cabaret is being performed at Theatre at the Center (1040 Ridge Road, Munster, IN) through June 4th. For show times, tickets and/or more show information, visit www.TheatreAtTheCenter.com

 

Published in Theatre in Review

 

 

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