WINDY CITY TIMES
by Mary Shen Barnidge
This article shared 3617 times since Wed Aug 31, 2011
Playwright: Barbara Lhota. At: Babes With Blades at Lincoln Square in the Berry Methodist Church, 4754 N. Leavitt St. Phone: 773-904-0391; $20, Runs through: Sept. 24
Listen up, kidshere's your premise: It's 1940 and, in support of women's contribution to the war effort (Rosie the Riveter, don't ya know?), Broadway producer Saul Bloomfield is financing a modern-day production of Cyrano de Bergeracwith Roxane fighting alongside her beloved men at the frontthat he hopes Warner Brothers will consider for a possible movie. To that end, he has assembled a bevy of Hollywood personalities, among them a female fencing master whose younger sister has, coincidentally, been hired to stunt-double for the leading lady.
Welcome to the world of screwball comedy! Barbara Lhota's homage to the film classics of this romantic genre adheres to formula with a plot encompassing elements of the backstage-intrigue scenario (lecherous leading men, temperamental divas, etc.), the class-differences scenario (stage vs. cinematic acting styles) and no less than three pairs of lovers unsure of their affectionsespecially two young women, initially enamored of the same man, who find themselves increasingly drawn to one another. Lhota's cupid being an equal-opportunity facilitator, everyone eventually gets what they want.
Oh, but not until an escalating series of complications have threatened to scuttle the best-laid plans of sweethearts and show biz. Will ex-spouses Charles Fontaine and Rosalind Rollins (the latter played by Lisa Herceg in full Rosalind-you-know-who drag) reunite? Will onscreen villain George Hall overcome his shyness and profess his passion for his feisty swordmistress? Will childhood companions Minnie Sparks and Olivia Wood acknowledge their mutual attraction and come up with a scheme for preserving their careers guaranteeing their likewise lavender swain safety as well? Will the West Coast moguls applaud the experimental Cyrano and make everybody rich?
Lhota's dialogue for this Babes With Blades production crackles with rat-a-tat authenticity (despite being sometimes blurred by its church-basement acoustics), while Leigh Barrett's direction keeps the pace crisp and high-stepping. The athletic cast combines precision comic timing and unflagging agilityDid I mention Alison Dornheggen's swing-dance numbers?to fulfill the demands of this period romcom. Theatergoers dismissing the Babes With Blades as a stunt troupe instead of a bona fide theater company are advised to re-assess their assumptions, even as they thrill to Libby Beyreis' dazzlingand hilariousclimactic swordplay scene featuring BWB founding member Kathrynne Wolf swinging steel in the role of the entire attacking Spanish army! How can you pass up spectacle like that?
This article shared 3617 times since Wed Aug 31, 2011
| ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE
|THEATER When growth is paramount: Jim Corti helps fuel Aurora theater expansion 2024-03-01
- Out actor/director/choreographer Jim Corti made his Broadway debut in 1974, in the ensemble of Leonard Bernstein's musical Candide. Director Harold Prince's acclaimed Tony Award-winning revival is often cited as a ...
|Theater Review: Billy Elliot, The Musical 2024-02-19
- Book and Lyrics: Lee Hall; Music: Elton John. At: Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora Tickets: 630-896-6666 or Paramountaurora.com; $28-$79. Runs through March 24 Billy Elliot: The Musical may nearly be two decades old, but ...
|'West Side Story' gets a sex-positive spin with new burlesque show 2024-02-19
- In partial observance of National Condom Day, which was Feb. 14, Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) presented A West Side Story Burlesque at the Harris Theater for two hour-long performances on Feb. 17. The show, ...
|Second Glance Productions hosts LGBTQupid Soiree 2024-02-16
- In celebration of Valentine's Day, Chicago based film and media production company Second Glance hosted The LBGTQupid Soiree. The event, which was focused on spinning attitudes on this particular day, was presented at The iO ...
|Carisa Hendrix mesmerizes as Lucy Darling in Teatro ZinZanni 2024-02-12
- Since 2019, Teatro ZinZanni has gathered together amazing performers from all over the world to create an experience in Chicago under the Spiegeltent in the Cambria Hotel building, 32 W. Randolph St. Over the years, ticket ...
|THEATER Dot-Marie Jones talks Goodman production, 'Glee,' 'Bros' 2024-02-12
- Running through Feb. 18 at the the Goodman Theatre, the production Highway Patrol works with a script conceived entirely from Emmy-winning actor Dana Delany's (TV's China Beach) digital archive of hundreds of tweets and direct messages ...
|Dr. Lady J explains how opera can be a drag 2024-02-10
- On Feb. 8, Center on Halsted, in partnership with Lyric Opera of Chicago, presented a lecture by historian, drag activist, podcaster and curator Dr. Lady J. The event, titled "Castrated Superstars, Cross Dressed Divas, and Queer ...
|SHOWBIZ Raven-Symone, women's sports, Wayne Brady, Jinkx Monsoon, British Vogue 2024-02-09
- In celebration of Black History Month, the LA LGBT Center announced that lesbian entertainer Raven-Symone will be presented with the Center's Bayard Rustin Award at its new event, Highly Favored, per a press release. She joins ...
|Chicago-based production company to host all-inclusive, LGBTQ-focused Valentine's Day event 2024-02-07
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Second Glance Productions will host the LGBTQupid Soiree this Valentines Day, Wednesday, February 14, 2024. The event will be held at the iO Theater, 1501 N. Kingsbury St., from 6 pm to 11 pm ...
|THEATER Nostalgic 'Sunsets' still offers a timely reflection of LGBTQ+ community 2024-02-07
- Nostalgia reigned on a variety of scales this past weekend in Chicago. During her Celebration tour, at a majestically packed United Center, Madonna acknowledged the last 40 years of her career, highlighting her '80s interactions with ...
|The Jeff Awards announces the 50th-anniversary non-Equity theater nominations 2024-02-06
--From a press release - (Feb. 6, 2024 - Chicago) — Celebrating its 50th anniversary awarding recognition for Non-Equity theater, the Joseph Jefferson Awards announces its nominations for theater excellence among Non-Equity theater during the ...
|DANCE Choreographer Dwight Rhoden talks David Bowie, Alvin Ailey, queerness 2024-01-31
- In "STAR DUST: A Ballet Tribute to David Bowie," Complexions Contemporary Ballet co-founders Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardsonbacked by their Alvin Ailey lineageand their dance troupe tackle many of the ...
|Broadway star Chita Rivera dies at 91 2024-01-30
- Chita Riveraa Broadway legend with more than seven decades of creditshas died at age 91 after a short illness, People Magazine reported. "It is with immense personal sorrow that I announce the death of the beloved ...
|Rue-ing the day: Vince Kelley drags out Blanche's charm in Golden Girls spoof 2024-01-26
- Picture it. Broadway Playhouse. 2024. Four queer men dress in drag to portray iconic women. Murray & Peter present Golden Girls: The Laughs Continue, a parody written by Robert Leleux and directed by Eric Swanson. The ...
|Out truth-teller Jeff Hiller takes his act on the road 2024-01-21
- Jeff Hiller is an openly gay American storyteller who is bringing his act to the Midwest in February. He's making his way across the United States while filming the third season of HBO's Somebody Somewhere and ...