Highly Recommended ***** Most everyone knows my love affair with that little storefront in Rogers Park, TheoUbique. In this little “cabaret” theater, a storefront from my past , The No Exit Café (a sort of beatnik, folk song hang-out). From the first time I watched a production as smartly directed (or perhaps the better word is orchestrated) by Founder, Creative Director Fred Anzevino, I felt the intimacy that this little venue brings to a production. They have taken large production shows and brought them down to cabaret size, never missing a beat or taking anything out of the story, and now, they are doing a Chicago premiere, an off-Broadway musical, “Fly by Night”, written by Will Connolly, Michael Mitnick and Kim Rosenstock. One might call this a Chamber Musical, although it has more dialogue than most of them, but in the intimacy of this storefront on Glenwood, I think, Chamber Musical works best!
The story is a love story, as told as a “rock fable” . Two sisters head off to New York seeking their true destiny and perhaps even fame and love. They meet a young man, who is mourning the recent death of his mother. He wants to be in love and loved. He is a sandwich maker. The sisters are Daphne ( marvelously played by Meredith Kochan), an aspiring actress , and Miriam (the lovely Kyrie Anderson, who is hypnotic) a waitress. These two lovely girls, along with our hero Harold (deftly handled by James Romney, who is as high energy as one can get) form a love triangle that defies explanation (and it would ruin the ending if I tried to explain any of what takes place).
To make the story easier to follow, we have a Narrator (Jordan Phelps is becoming type cast doing this, but he is darn good, so why not?) who takes on many personas during this two and a half hours of solid acting and music (with a 15 minute intermission).The other characters in this sage are Sean Thomas as the grieving Mr. McClam, Harold’s father, Daniel Waters as the very funny sandwich maker, Crabble (Harold’s boss) and Jonathan Stombre as Joey Storms, a New Yorker who is writing the musical that will make Daphne a star.
The year is 1965. It is November 9th and if anyone recalls that particular date, the Northeast was hit with a major blackout, which changed the course of many lives. This play uses that for the backdrop, so you can guess that there is probably some bearing on the outcome of this love story. It is enchanting! It is romantic! The music is charming ! The cast is perfect! You will probably not walk out of the theater humming any of the music. That is okay, because you will walk out of the theater feeling good despite some of the parts of the story that bring us to the special ending. No, I will not divulge any more. I will only tell you that this show, under the musical direction of Jeremy Ramey and his three musicians (Perry Cowdery, Alex Piazza and Carlos Mendoza) never drown out the powerful voices of this strong cast. I guess the best way to describe this show is a musical, theatrical experience that you will not forget!
“Fly by Night” will continue at TheoUbique through November 6th (almost the actual date) with performances as follows:
Fridays 8 p.m.
Saturdays 8 p.m.
Sundays 7 p.m.
The No Exit Café is located at 6970 N. Glenwood, and the Morse Avenue Red Line stop is a few steps from the theater. Tickets are $34- $39 with a $4 discount for seniors and students. There is a dinner option for $25 and advance reservations are required for dinner. Drinks are served prior to and during the show. To purchase your tickets call 800-595-4849 or visit www.theo-u.com
College students can purchase day of tickets on a first come first served basis for last minute tickets right before the curtain (subject to availability , of course). This is a very intimate space, so I suggest you run do not walk to your phone or computer and get your reservation in. You don’t want to miss this marvelous love story!
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Fly by Night”