Tuesday January 23rd 2018

“Route 66”

Recommended*** There is no question that audiences love a show that has them clapping their hands and tapping their feet to the music that brings back fond memories. The new “musical revue” “Route 66” now on stage at the intimate Copley Theatre ( sister venue to Paramount Theatre) in downtown Aurora is just that! A highly energetic, roughly 90 minutes of a trip down memory lane. This particular memory lane is “Rout 66” itself. In our area, that is Ogden Avenue and so to make the evening start off right, I left my office in Cicero, hung a right on Ogden Avenue ( rte 66) and headed out to Aurora. As I drove, I recalled my youth, when we would use this route to take road trips to St. Louis. There were no superhighways or expressways and along this colorful road, we made many a pit stop, for gas or food or even just to take a walk and get the kinks out of our legs. These were glorious memories. Memories that n longer exists because our world is fast and furious; no one takes the time anymore to just see the world we live in.

While, “Route 66” is more of a “cabaret” type of evening, with no real story, Roger Bean has put together some wonderful songs that allow us to take a trip along “Route 66”, although, an imaginary trip through some great tunes by Willie Nelson, Woody Guthrie,Roger Miller and even the Beach Boys. All of the music is related to the cities and towns along old “Route 66”, roughly 32 songs that will bring a smile to your face and a memory to your heart ( at least for those who traveled on this famous road). Under the direction of Stacey Flaster, who also does some limited , but clever, choreography, this is a well cast revue, filled with performers who can play instruments ( some of them play four or more), sing a song to the nth degree and have fun with the audience. Theater is a diversion, a chance to break away from the problems of the work day or at home and who could ask for more that 90 minutes of pure fun and great music.

The set by Angela Miller is a clever rendition of an old Texaco gas station ( in fact the show starts out with the Texaco theme- I was waiting for Milton Berle to start his show) as these 8 talented performers take us on a road trip that brings back fond memories- either for the trips you may have taken on the road or just for the music and the clever orchestrations (Alan Bukowiecki). Jesse Gaffney’s props brought back dome memories as well and the lighting (Jesse Klug & Greg Hofmann) worked perfectly.

But, what makes this show work as well as it does is the music and voices of the talented cast;  Dan Anderson ( who plays many an instrument, Tom Leddy, who is the percussion section, Rusty Koenig, who can play almost any instrument ( and does), Dan Beno, Doug Pawlik, Rockin’ Adam Michaels, Robert Deason ( his keyboard playing is sensational and he even does a Jerry Lee Lewis take-off) and Courtney Crouse ( who gets to really show his range in this show). Stacey- you sure picked the right guys to make this show special! I guess the only reason, I cannot place this in the highly recommended position is that it is not really a play, but it is a wonderful evening of entertainment and the tickets are only $29.

The show will run through June 10th with performances as follows:

Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.,Friday at 7:30 p.m.,Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Copley Theatre, just accross the street from The Paramount Theatre on Galena Street in downtown Aurora.

To order your tickets go to www.ParamountAurora.com   or call the box office at 630-896-6666

There are lots of great dining spots in walking distance and of course the casino is right there, so make a day of it and visit a city that is bigger than you think with lots to offer.

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