As we head into the holiday season , with all its many holiday shows, it is nice to find a restful spot where for an hour or so, we can rest our stressed out bones and just relax, listen to some wonderful music, performed by a talented group of singers and with this hour plus of entertainment have a drink and even some pudding. That is what is being served up in my favorite little “store-front” TheoUbique Cabaret Theatre, located in Rogers Park, as they present a special holiday show called,” A Very Merry Madrigal”
Madrigal is an old tradition where a combination of merriment, food, poetry, skits all in a period of time less than 90 minutes and yet with a warmth that will capture your heart- perfect for families. Imagine the works of Shakespeare, Frost and Dante being shared on a stage with music of Gilbert and Sullivan ( “A Very Merry Madrigal” is adorable and well handled by Tom Chiola and the ensemble),Bachrach, Berlin and many traditional Holiday songs. Conceived and directed by David Heimann with musical direction by Jeremy Ramey, who also handles the keyboards, and is amazing. This is a show that is designed to bring the audience to a relaxed nature- it is a concert of sorts but the ensemble does move through the small theater and has some relationship with the audience. In fact, as is the custom for a Madrigal, a King and Queen must be chosen and this was done in a very cute manner on the opening with two men sharing the honors and bringing us lots of laughs to boot.
The show, however does not start when the music begins. Oh, no- it is when we enter the No Exit Cafe at 6970 N. Glenwood Avenue, where our Town Crier/Jester ( the adorable Sarah Grant) announces your arrival as you are being seated. As usual, your wait staff are the performers in the show and Greg Foster ( he of a solid comic touch, may come by your table and do some card tricks right before your very eyes). Yes, the entire cast of six will start to entertain you as you enter the “kingdom” an dleave reality at the doorstep. From that time forward, you will have a festive time filled with lots of laughs, great music and a little drink ( we were all served Wassail/Apple Cider) and at about the half-way point, a bowl of yummy “fiigy pudding”.
Part of the complete Theo Ubique experience includes dinner, served by the actors before the show, with dessert during intermission! Dinner reservations are accepted at the same time as you place your ticket order. For an additional $15, make it a three-course meal with an appetizer and entree before your complimentary figgy pudding! Please note that we are no longer able to accept pay-at-door dinner reservations.
A VERY MERRY MADRIGAL MENU
Appetizer: Cheese, Grapes & Bread
Entree: Gilded Hen — Roasted Cornish Hen served with root vegetables (carrots, turnips and potatoes) resting in a savory broth.
Vegetarian Entree option:
Savory stew with root vegetables (carrots, turnips and potatoes)
Dessert: Custard Bread Pudding
The other cast members ( wait staff as well) are the highly talented, Missy Aguilar, Molly Kral( who does an outstanding, and very sexy “Santa baby”, and Andrew Sickel, who along with the piano playing of Jeremy Ramey, make this a truly enjoyable experience. You do not have to be in the “Christmas Mode” to enjoy this rousing good cheer musical. The salutes are to the music and they even do a very high spirited Christmas Can-Can where they do a little Channukah musical number and even mention Kwanza. While it is more of a “Cabaret” performance than a Theater experience, since TheoUbique is known for “Cabaret theatre”, I am classifying it as both and suggest that if you have some open time between your holiday obligations and desire some warm and cozy entertainment, you might put this one on your list. Performances will continue through December 22nd as follows:
Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. 12/5, 12/12 and 12/19
Fridays at 8 p.m. 12/6,12/13 and 12/20
Saturdays at 8 p.m. 12/7/,12/14 and 12/21
Tickets are a mere $25 ( $15 for children under 12) and can be purchased by calling 800-595-4849 or going to www.theo-u.org
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to review round-up and click at “A Very Merry Madrigal”
Parking is a bit of a problem in Rogers Park, but if you look around you will find a spot. The Red-Line, Morse Avenue stop is the best as you are right there when you exit.