Highly Recommended **** When it comes to “Cabaret” theater, nobody does it better than the folks at TheoUbique at their No Exit Cafe location in Rogers Park. While this Award winning theater company is unique in its ability to bring us full scale musicals in a storefront space, they shine at bringing us “chamber pieces” and true Cabaret, such as their current production ,”A Musical Tribute To The Andrew Sisters”. Alright! I know that many of you youngsters do not even know who the Andrew Sisters were, but if you are over 50, you should. If you go back in time, let’s say to World War Two, these famous sisters Patty, Maxine and LaVerne charmed the soldiers as they made their way to the bases during their USO Tours.
In TheoUbique’s version, conceived by Fred Anzevino with direction and choreography by David Heimann, the first act is the USO Tour concept with the sounds of the time( many written by Johnny Mercer). Songs such as” “In The Mood”, “Chattanooga Choo Choo”, ” Tico Tico”, a true salute to The armed Forces, with an act ending rousing version of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” ( even the younger members of the audience knew this one).
The second act take sus to Chicago, after the war, when the returning soldiers would get honored as they went out to supper clubs ( a kind of night club that had dining, drinking and entertainment), where the Andrew Sisters worked their magic again with music such as “Oh, Johnny! Oh, Johnny!”, “Don’t Fence Me In”, “Nice Work If You Can Get It”, their trademark song, “Bei Mir Bist Du Schon” and ending with “I’ll be Seeing You” a solid ballad performed by the male performer in the show, William Lucas, who is a fine singer and dancer, but due to the material of the time not a great comic. Of course, the comedy of the time was not near what it is today, and to be honest, Bob Hope ( many of the jokes done by Lucas were surely his) wasn’t always “right on” himself!. I also want to applaud the cast and crew on their handling of the flag as they switched from Act 1 to Act 2. perfection!
What makes this show so special is the three ladies that they have found to bring these ladies to life. Sarah Larson, Cassie Maggio and Jordan Yentz. All three with nice voices, high energy, enticing smiles and very strikingly reminding us of the power that these three women had over America during a time of danger for our country. When they do the Polka Section in act two, they want the audience to participate. In fact, the ladies come into the audience and pick some men to join them, and guess what? I did, and it was fun, so do not be one of those fraidy cats, dance, smile and clap your hands- forget about the trouble of the world and have a ball. Remember, these ladies brought happiness to American during a time when fear was high, so whatever ails you, this two hours of the Andrew Sisters will give you a warm feeling all the ay home ( and maybe even then some).
I must tell you that the musicians, four very talented men, Alex Newkirk on the piano, Anthony Scandora on drums and Jared Montgomery/Derek Fitting on the Trumpet ( pretty exciting during “Boogi Woogie” and “You’ve Got To Get Up In The Morning”. The arrangement of the music by Aaron Benham are unique and very special. In fact, while the show is divided into two acts ( because of the change from USO tours to Supper Clubs) it easily could be done with no break and still be enjoyable. As it is, the total time for the show is under two hours , and it is a joyous two hours of solid music performed by a very able cast ( they keep finding them, dont they?).
Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Sundays at 7 P.M.
No show June 29th
Tickets are $29- $34 depending on the night and seniors and students $24-$29
If you want the full experience that includes dinner, add $25 and this MUST be ordered in advance.
appetizer, tomatoes and cottage cheese
Entree, Chipped Beef and gravy. (Thinly sliced flank steak served over toasted sourdough with a vegetable medley
Desert, 1940’s Chocolate Cream Pie with fresh whipped cream
To order your tickets call 800-595-4849 or visit www.theo-u.com
Parking is on the street, some metered , some not and the Red Line stop at Morse Avenue is a half block from the No Exit Cafe/theater.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “A Musical Tribute To The Andrew Sisters”.