CHICAGO – Jamal Howard, director and choreographer of the company’s show for the holiday season, 8-TRACK, has announced his cast and creative team for this sung-through musical built around hit songs from the 1970s. 8-TRACK was devised by Rick Steves, who created the long-running hit revue BEEHIVE: THE 60’S MUSICAL and features the music of The Emotions, The Carpenters, Labelle, Barry Manilow, The Doobie Brothers, The Bee Gees, Helen Reddy, and more! 8-TRACK premiered at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre in 2001, has enjoyed long runs at Detroit’s Century Theater and St. Paul’s Ordway Center and has been a hit in regional theaters across the country. Jeremy Ramey will be music director. 8-TRACK will be performed December 3, 2021, to January 23, 2022. Press opening performances are Sunday, December 12, 2021, at 7:00 pm and Monday, December 13, 2021, at 7:30 pm.
8-TRACK tells, entirely through hit songs of the seventies, the story of four young people as they navigate their lives through the many challenges and changes of that tumultuous decade. They live through the final years of the Vietnam War, the early days of the LGBTQ rights movement, the rise of feminism, and finally enter the Disco Era and its legendary party scene. The score ranges from soft pop/rock to R&B and Motown and reflects the social consciousness of the 1970s in songs like Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” as well as its the party spirit in K.C. and the Sunshine Band’s “Get Down Tonight.” The MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE called 8-TRACK “an infectious, joyous celebration — a ritual really — as each song brings up specific memories of time and place. While each individual is different, these memories coalesce into a gleeful spirit.”
Playing the four principal characters is a quartet of Theo Ubique newcomers with impressive credits in Chicago and across the US. Wesly Anthony Clergé (he/him), is a classically trained baritone whose credits include great musical theater leading roles like Sweeney Todd, The Phantom of the Opera, and Sky Masterson, as well operatic leads like Don Giovanni. Mia Nevarez (she/her), a 2020 graduate of Northwestern University has had credits at the Goodman, the Marriott, and has appeared in Porchlight’s New Faces Sing Broadway 1979. Patrick O’Keefe (he/him) has Chicago credits including MAMMA MIA! (Music Theater Works); PETER AND THE STARCATCHER (Big Noise); A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE (PrideArts); HEAD OVER HEELS (Kokandy); and the premiere production of Michael Potsic’s FLIGHT (Beverly Arts Center). Jasmine Lacy Young (she/her) was most recently seen LEGALLY BLONDE and MY WAY: A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO FRANK SINATRA at Metropolis PAC. They will be joined by ensemble members Alli Atkenson (she/her), Chamaya Moody (she/her), Matt Patrick (he/him) & Roy Samra (he/him).
The production team will include Mara Ishihara Zinky (she/her, Scenic Designer), Jazmin Aurora Medina (she/her, Costume Designer), Piper Kirchhofer (she/her, Lighting Designer), Stefanie M. Senior (she/her, Sound Designer), Kaitlyn Souter (she/her, Stage Manager), J Alan (J/she, Assistant Director/Assistant Choreographer), Nicholas Reinhart (he/him, Production Manager), Christopher Pazdernik (any, Managing & Casting Director), Fred Anzevino (he/him, Artistic Director).
Director/Choreographer Jamal Howard says 8-TRACK will be “an honest look at the ‘seventies that celebrates, not satirizes, the decade. While people today poke fun at the ‘seventies for their flamboyant and now-dated fashions and hair styles and party scene, it was a time of major changes in society that affected the lives of most everyone. The ‘seventies were much like our current decade in terms of their pace of change – and I think our show’s themes will resonate as much for audiences who weren’t around during the ‘seventies as for those who were.” He promises a show with lots of dancing – “and not just disco, though there will be a good dose of that, but also the signature moves of Motown and 1970’s stage and screen musicals. Our dances will be inspired as much by The Temptations or CABARET and A CHORUS LINE as by disco.”
As the LOS ANGELES TIMES said, “8-TRACK replays good times of ’70s. Life may not be a musical comedy, but everyday existence does unfold to a sort of soundtrack: the songs that follow you around from car radio to home stereo. These tunes acquire a resonance as they become associated with events of the day. They become, in essence, little time capsules, capable of transporting listeners back in time.”
Single tickets for 8-TRACK will go on sale beginning November 3rd at www.theo-u.com. Prices are $35.00 for previews December 3-12, and $42 – $54 for regular performances December 13 – January 23 except that ticket prices for the New Year’s Eve show (including a champagne toast) are $70 for the show only. Optional three course prix fixe dinners are available for $29.00 per person, per show. 3-show subscription prices: Previews:$75, Thurs/Sun: $110, Fri/Sat: $125. Dinner subscriptions $75 additional.
The menu for 8-TRACK, catered by Good To Go Jamaican Cuisine at 711 Howard Street next to Theo Ubique, is:
Jerk chicken wings OR
Veggie spring rolls
Curry chicken OR
*All entrees are served with Rice & peas, fried plantains, and steam cabbage.
Dinner reservations must be placed one week in advance of the desired performance date.
Following 8-TRACK in the season will be the musicals ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, playing March 11 – May 1, 2022; and GODSPELL, playing June 10 – July 31, 2022. Season packages for the remaining three shows are available. Preview subscriptions are $75 for show-only and $150 for dinner and show; regular performances are $110 show-only and $185 for dinner and show on Thursdays and Sundays; and $125 show-only and $200 for dinner and show on Fridays and Saturdays.
Theo Ubique will be requiring all audience members to be fully vaccinated from COVID-19 this season. Photo ID and proof of vaccination (photos or photocopies are acceptable) will be required at the door.