Somewhat recommended ** (for show/story) Recommended *** (talent)
There are often times when reviewing a production is difficult. Tonight, I saw a short ( roughly 75 minutes BUT in two acts) dance performance called “La Raison d’Etre”, presented by Tapman Productions, a fairly new company with a mission to highlight the tap dance in their productions. This particular show, which is on the stage of the 3rd floor studio at The Athenaeum Theatre located at 2936 N. Southport has some solid dance, a mix of modern dance and tap.
I have had to use two ratings for this one, only because the talent on the stage far outweighs the story, which is a nightclub owner, being cheated on by his wife, who he loves more than anything, at his own club. His Emcee knows of the affair , but does not tell him. As the story progresses, and we watch some excellent modern jazz along with some very special tap, we often lose sight of the story. The musical numbers, “The Way You Look Tonight”, “Jitterbug Waltz”, “Exploration”, “Come Fly With Me” and others are either sung or danced to by a strong cast of dancers:
Tristan Bruns as the owner (a solid tap man and guitar player), Kate O’Hanlon a shis wife (truly a jazz performer) and Javiar Villamil as the suave Emcee/Maitre d (nice vocal range) along with Mike Ford, Megan Davis, Cindy Hsu, Carmen Paquette, Kelsey Schlabaugh, Star Dixon, Gloria Mwez, Tyler Jack Sheets and Jessica Williams. The choreography was by O’Hanlon, Villamil, Ford, Davis and Burns.
This is a solid dance group that needs to find someone to weave the story with greater detail. Act two begins with the evening being over and the bar closing. Why even have two acts? I would think 75 minutes of show can be handled by the audiences. Yes, I know that the actors need a break here and there, as dancing can take its toll ( they were feeling the heat), but if woven properly, they could leave the stage while others were doing their numbers and the story would be able to continue with no breaks in mood. Just an idea!
If you are into Tap and modern dance, you will find this an easy show to watch. Don’t think about the storyline, just watch the talented dancers do their thing. “La Raison d’Etre will continue through June 7th with performances as follows:
Fridays at 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Sundays at 2 p.m.
Tickets are general admission/seating starting as low as $17 for children and the top price is $27. They can be ordered by calling 773-935-6875 or bu visiting www.AthenaeumTheatre.org
There is plenty of free parking in the area. To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “la Raison d’Etre”.
The theater is located at 2936 N. Southport Avenue ( at Lincoln )