Tuesday December 12th 2017

“(title of show”)

Somewhat recommended** I suppose that I have gotten used to a higher quality of shows at Northlight Theatre in Skokie, and went into the theater expecting ” (title of show)” to be something up their usual standards. This new musical about two struggling writers who enter a competition for a theater festival, written by Jeff Bowen ( music and lyrics) and book by Hunter Bell. This production becomes more of a sit-com with music and might have been the perfect fodder for one of the early Seinfeld TV shows, but for the more sophisticated Skokie audiences, this could be considered a “throw-in” for an otherwise solid season.

While it might be authentic in parts as to what it takes to create a musical, this is around 100 minutes of what these writers did to create a show that made it. If this is a show that made it, then I would love to see what the competition was. The four actors that bring this hsow to life, directed by Peter Amster on the near bare stage of Northlight, with musical direction by Doug Peck ( one of the shining moments in the 100 moments we sat) are strong singers with some solid talent, but, to be fair the show itself is not worthy of the talent they bring to the stage-

The two writers are played by Stephen Schellhardt ( Jeff) and Matthew Crowle( Hunter). They both have solid voices and work hard to make this story have meaning to the audience. The women they bring into the show are the delightful Christine Sherrill ( Heidi) who has a powerful voice and McKinley Carter ( one of my favorites, whether it be The Marriott,Goodman Theatre or Shakespeare) as Susan. These ladies, base don the script really never had a chance, but they are fun to watch onstage and both are terrific singers.

There is no set to speak of and the lighting(Christine A. Binder) is perfect for hwta they do as are the simple costumes(Rachel Laritz). Victorio Delorio’s sound is perfect as we hear every word, and while this is based on an actual story about the writers of the play, who entered a contest with a play about two writers who enter a play and write a musical about two writers who write a play- A wonderful concept with some songs that will make you tap your feet, but to be honest, not up to the standards that Northlight has set over the years.

Tonight’s audience was made up of mostly couples with an average age of 60 or so. Many of them did not “get it”, but most laughed at the right places an dthe man behind me fell in love with Chritine Sherrill when she sang “A Way Back To Then” ( I may have done so as well). I found most of the music fairly weak ( that song really hit a chord) , but the show has some entertainment value as it gives us an inside look at what the determination of a writer can be and of the actresses who sign on and want to see success.

The role of Larry, the piano player is handled by Musical director Doug Peck, who is one of the best and although he is only allowed to speak when the “union” says it is okay, he makes the piano sound like a band and the melodies feel good and when he does speak, he is funny!

“(title of show)” will continue at Northlight Theatre located at 9501 N. Skokie blvd, in Skokie through June 10th with performances as follows:

Tuesdays, (May 29th only), Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.,Fridays and Saturdays  at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. ( except 5/13.5/20 and 6/10)

Matinees and afternoon performances are: Wednesdays at 1 p.m. ( except  5/23), Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. (except 5/20 and 6/10)

Tickets range in price from $25-$65 and those under 25 can buty a ticket for $10 ( subject to availability)

The box office is located at 9501 N. Skokie Blvd in Skokie ( just south of Golf Road) near Old Orchard with plenty of free parking. To order your tickets visit the box office, call 847-673-6300 or visit www.northlight.org.

to see more on this show, visit the review roundup at www.theatreinchicago.com and click title of show.

                                              

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