Underscore Theatre — the city’s home for the development of new musical theatrical work — continues Chicago’s grassroots theatrical tradition through the continuation of the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival, running for its sixth consecutive year.
The musical theatre reviews featured here are written by reviewers, not critics. These impressions and opinions are from individuals passionate about musical theatre and represent, in most cases, one observation of one performance. The primary purpose in publishing reviews is to help patrons decide whether a production is a good use of their time and entertainment budget. Our reviewers are also encouraged to creatively shine a light on particularly good work done onstage and backstage, understanding that successful productions happen because of the work of many. Finally, ChicagolandMusicalTheatre's reviewers are asked to walk into a show expecting enjoyable entertainment—because that's the mindset of patrons who buy tickets to professional theatre.
You don’t need an explanation of Riverdance: you just need to experience it. The Riverdance site quotes: “Our ancestors knew fear and joy and fire, worked wood and stone and water to make a place they could call home.” Sure enough, this creative team channels those primordial craftsmen to make a peerless product.
Thirty-two years, a live TV version and countless stagings later, it’s still the word to many musical theatre patrons, and for this reviewer, Marriott’s season opening current production is certainly the one that I want.
Milieu? Classy as hell. Characters? Sure, there are names in the program (“The Soubrette,” say, or “The Jazzbo”), but, dollars to donuts, all that matters is those sophisticated ladies and gents are gonna cut some sharp figures in sharper costumes right before barreling into a high-energy dance break.
In the leading role here, Amanda Giles is every bit Menzel’s/Burns’ equal.