For many years, “Riverdance” was the spectacle of dance for theater audiences. While it was primarily Irish music and dance, America love dit and it played the world over and over with very little change except attracting new audiences.While “Riverdance” and “Lord Of The Dance” had their days, as the time went by, it lost its lustre, perhaps due to it being so one-sided in today’s world where we are far more diverse than ever before. Well, those producers, seeing the need for something that would be far more attractive to today’s more diverse audiences has brought to America ( and it is starting in Chicago, where it should!), “Heartbeat of Home”, a stylish two plus hours of music and dance that appeal to many ethnic groups, while staying true to the original, Irish flavor.
This dance spectacular is about all of those who bring traditions from their home-land to their lives and is filled with music that brings us to the heart and soul of Afro-Cuban music and dance, Spanish/Latin and of course the traditional Irish folk with the high kicking , tap dance that we have grown used to over the years, but with a new vibrancy ( and the arms seem to move in this decade of change).
While the dance is spectacular, the music , played by a live ten piece “orchestra” who are onstage for the entire show is wonderful and grabs the audience from the opening number until the very end. Conceived and Directed by John McGolgan with music composed by Brian Byrne this is a show that you will be talking about for years to come- yes! And when it comes back, you will want to see it again. The energetic cast of 37 dancers, under the choreography of David Bolger and John Carey ( Irish Dances) is mind-boggling and unlike previous shows, is also tantalizing and very sexy. Not to be missed!
This show combines the high energy, “high-octane” cast with some great special effects- the use of an IMAX type screen creates some visuals that are worth the price of the ticket alone. The rooftop number, a special tap number with 8 dynamic men atop a skyscraper in what appears to be Manhattan is incredible. In fact, each and every dance number is unique. The featured Irish Dancers: Clara Sexton ( she is a bubbly pleasure to watch), Emma Warren,Olivia Griffin, Bobby Hodges ( who will have you saying , “Michael Who?),Ryan McAffrey and Jason O’Neill- The Latin dancers: Clare Craze ( te blonde bombshell), the sultry Vanessa Guevara,Curtis Angus and Angelo Giofre along with the Flamenco dancers, Rocio Montoy and Stefano Domit- and then the Afro-Cuban dancers: Tenisha Bonner, Kieran Donovan and Renako McDonald are all solid and tireless as they just keep getting stronger.
The musicians are having as much fun as we are as they play this wonderful music. and the vocals by Lucia Evans and fiddle Athena Tergis along with the Kit Drummer/Musical Director Guy Rickarby truly make this theatrical experience, just that! An experience that young and old will enjoy from start to finish. Here is the only negative part of this production. It will ONLY be here through March 16th at The Oriental Theatre ( 24 West Randolph Street) so you need to order your tickets right away- if you have plans during this period, might I suggest you change them.
Tuesdays 7:20 p.m.
Wednesdays 7:30 p.m.
on 3/12 there is also a 2 p.m.
Thursdays 7:30 p.m.
Fridays 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays 2 and 8 p.m.
Sundays 2 and 7:30 p.m. ( except 3/16- no evening)
Tickets range from $30-$85 and can be purchased at any of the Broadway In Chicago theater box offices, by phone at 800-775-2000, the BroadwayInChicago Ticketline or online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com where you can also purchase discount parking. You can also get your tickets at any of The Ticketmaster outlets.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Heartbeat of Home”- You will be glad you did!