Tuesday June 27th 2017

“We Three Lizas” a Holiday Bender

Recommended***  I must preface this by explaining my confusion as to exactly what About Face There is bringing to the stage at the Steppenwolf Garage on Halsted Street. The show is called “We 3 Lizas”a Holiday Bender and it is a “cabaret” 90 minutes of fun and frolicking over a dark, sexy holiday musical for a queer new world. Written by Scott Bradley who wrote the lyrics to Alan Schmuckler’s amazing music, there are some funny and touching moments in this search for power and glory.Some of the additional lyrics were written by Schmuckler ( who also serves as musical director and piano player. I must tell you that there are many, what I term “Sondheim moments” in this production. Times where I can just see the great Sondheim giving Schmuckler a broad smile and a “high five”.

The evening starts with a “cabaret” evening of it’s own. A 45 minute “cocktail period” precedes the actual start of the show. This allows many audience members to drop their inhibitions and let it all hang out for a 90 minutes of camp comedy. If you are prudish in any way or are unable to have fun with the subject matter, this show is not for you. Otherwise, have a ball!                                                                                                                                                        

The Hero of the show, if one can call him a hero is one Conrad Ticklebottom ( this strange name comes back to be a “bit” later in the show) a fashion designer ( Scott Duff plays it to the hilt and does so with style and grace), who fears he is losing it. His assistant, Reggie ( Dana Tretta in what I might call a ‘break through “role for her is hysterical, shows her solid timing off and allows us to hear her wonderful vocal range) who as it turns out has been working on some of her own designs. Fearing a loss of glory, Conrad along with his assistant try to secure the special power to conjure up the ” The Great Queen of Wishes” so they can be granted the “trinity of power” ( youth wealth and beauty). The ensemble members are all solid in song and dance with some very “Fosse” characters and others that are “there”!:

John Francisco, Arturo Soria, Sharriese Hamilton,Sean Michael Hunt, Andrew Swan and A.J. Ware in addition to the aforementioned performers.

Turns out the Trinity is represented by three versions of Liza Minnelli ( Danielle Pliaz as Liza was, Scott Bradley ( who wrote the book) as Liza is and Sean Blake as Mystique ( theGreat Queen of wishes who also becomes a form of Liza Directed by another Scott ( isn’t that strange? 3 Lizas/3 Scotts),Ferguson on a slickly designed Cabaret set (Jerre Dye), wild costumes (Mieka van der Ploeg and Robert Kuhn),Lighting (Mac Vaughey) sound ( Josh Horvath) and some wild and crazy choreography ( Patrick Andrews, who works a small space to perfetcion).

This show is fun, but again, not for those who are a bit prudish. About Face Theatre is known for its work with exploring gender and sexual identity in theater- this is a testament to this credo, so be prepared and you will have a great time. I just don’t want anyone to walk into a surprise “gay party night out”. It is what it is and what it is is fun!

“We Three Lizas” will continue at The Steppenwolf Garage through December 23rd with performances as follows:

Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. Saturdays at 3 and 7 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $25 ( $15 students) and can be purchased by calling 312-335-1650 or online at www.steppenwolf.org

The Garage is located at 1624 N. Halsted and they do have beverages and some snacks on hand.

to see more opinions, visit www.theatreinchicago.com  go to review round-up and click on “we 3 Lizas”


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