Tuesday August 22nd 2017

“Dancing Queen”

The summer fun has begun- festivals in neighborhoods all over Chicago ( and the burbs as well), Navy Pier with its Cirque Shanghai and fireworks and the second year of a new venue on Chicago Avenue ( located at the Tribune Freedom Building), a tent, but not just a tent! This is a 70 foot high tent with over 22,000 square feet of entertainment space located in a very tranquil quiet spot along the Chicago River. Unlike the tent of last summer, where “Peter Pan” swooped over our city, the new Riverfront Theater will be used for several shows through August. They opened with “The Twelve Tenors”, a short run, which due to the number of openings, I was unable to schedule, but their current show, “Dancing Queen”, billed as the biggest 70’s dance party in Chicago, which will run through June 24th and features David Hernandez ( an American Idol finalist).

This tent theater is set up more like an actual theater and in many ways might be classified more of a “Vegas” type of Cabaret show. There is no story, but a lot of glitz and wonderful music to fill this venue containing 1400 seats. Walking around the set-up, it appeared that the sight lines were as good at the back of the house as in front. The only major problem this production has is the sound system, which does not do the voices of this talented cast its due.The lead singers,Justin Jones, Amanda Kerridge,Jillian Schochet and of course,Hernandez are young and vibrant with beautiful voices and some sexy moves. The dancers (  Choreography by Jillian Sellers) are also young and energetic  with some tremendous tumbling ability in addition to the solid tap and “Chorus Line” type numbers, but there have been just a few to many for some of the routines. I think I counted 19 ensemble members and the stage is not that large.

The show began  with the music of ABBA ( after all, the title is “Dancing Queen” for the first 30 minutes or so and then went to the 70’s starting with “How Deep Is Your Love” by our four vocalists and then a medley from The BeeGees,Sister Sledge ( “We Are Family”),Irene Cara, The Village People (“YMCA”, of course) and then a rousing rendition of “In The Navy” with a big tap dance numbers as well as some kick lines. A Great finish to the first act. The second act began with a “Soul Medley” including the works of Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett. They then did a “Tribute to Donna Summer”, which I found to short and enough. The back of the set was just a glitzy curtain- why not have a screen drop down with some video of the Great work that Ms Summer did? In fact, they could have done some of the others, like the Motown Medley in the same manner.

There was some confusion with the audience when they followed the Summer tribute with three more songs from ABBA and then went into the Motown Medley and after doing a solid job on “Shout”, they returned to do “Thank You For The Music”, more ABBA which they did to end the show including a Megamix, but many people thought it was over and left , missing the last 10 minutes of the biggest party an audience can enjoy as  they were dancing in the aisles, clapping and singing, making the evening a memorable one for all.

“Dancing Queen” ( kind of “Mamma Mia” without the dialogue), will play through June 24th with performances as follows:

Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m.,Fridays at 8 p.m.,Saturdays at 2,5 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 and 5 p.m.

Tickets range from $35 and can be purchased by calling 888-556-9484 or online at www.RiverfrontTheater.com

The theater is located at 650 West Chicago Avenue, so public transportation does work, and they do have parking on premise ($15) and they also have a second tent with food, snacks and drinks

coming up: Spirit of  the Dance  July 11th-July 15th and La Soiree, July 18th-August 5th

again, visit www.Riverfrontheater.com to learn more about future events and to see other stories/reviews on this show, visit the Dancing Queen page at www.theatreinchicago.com

 

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