Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-07-11
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Broadway transfers
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times
2017-12-27

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Chicago has an established reputation as a major tryout town for Broadway musicals. Some become big New York hits ( The Producers, Movin' Out ), some are misses ( Big Fish, Sweet Smell of Success ) and some don't even make it in ( First Wives Club ).

One Chicago tryout that has the all makings to be an all-audiences smash is SpongeBob SquarePants The Broadway Musical. It made its world premiere last year at the Oriental Theatre with the slightly different title of The SpongeBob Musical.

Now some theater purists might moan and groan about yet another commercial corporate musical adaptation, especially one based upon the popular Nickelodeon cartoon TV series. But those who saw the SpongeBob musical know that lesbian director and Steppenwolf ensemble member Tina Landau made certain that the show maintained its own vital and creative theatricality. So SpongeBob SquarePants doesn't at all come off like a by-the-numbers theme park show.

I checked in with SpongeBob SquarePants during a recent New York trip to see what other changes the show has undergone besides its new moniker. Let's just say that all the tweaks have only made the show stronger, timelier and truer ( SpongeBob actually wears pants now instead of shorts ).

Casting changes have been blessedly minor ( Brian Ray Norris is now Eugene Krabs ), so New York audiences get to revel in the champion chameleon-character skills of the extremely talented ensemble. They collectively buoy each other up, especially Ethan Slater who wows with amazing physicality and pathos as the never-ending enthusiast title sponge.

Also emerging with a stronger profile are Lili Cooper as the bad-ass scientist squirrel Sandy Cheeks, Gavin Lee as the uptight Squidward Q. Tentacles ( hilarious as ever in his multi-leg costume and tap dancing ) and Danny Sknner as the not-too-bright starfish Patrick Star.

David Zinn's psychedelic set depicting the underwater town of Bikini Bottom may feel a tad squeezed-in on Broadway, but it still bursts out beyond the proscenium to make the Palace Theatre into a tropical paradise. Expect expect the yet-to-open Jimmy Buffett jukebox musical Escape to Margaritaville to receive unfavorable comparisons.

Zinn's neon-bright costumes also help to make SpongeBob a constantly eye-popping visual spectacle, as do the flashy lighting design of Kevin Adams and the precision projection designs of Peter Nigrini.

The current political climate has made Kyle Jarrow's zany book more relevant. Its plot hinges on how townsfolk become distrustful anti-science xenophobes when faced with an impending disaster ( here an underwater volcano eruption ). This helps to ensure that the musical isn't all fluff, or as an occasionally jumbled showcase for celebrity songwriters like Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Sara Bareilles and more who have all contributed peppy pop tunes for the score.

SpongeBob SquarePants is an undeniable charmer, with all of its theatrical spectacle both grand and simple. So if you're looking for a guaranteed show for fun, you can't go wrong with this musical and its very absorbent hero.

Visit SpongeBobBroadway.com for more information.

London transfer

Broadway isn't just devoted to shows that feed on corporate Hollywood. "Snob appeal" shows, frequently imported from London, have been known to brave the treacherous commercial waters of Broadway, too.

One current candidate is Claire Van Kampen's Farinelli and The King. It originated at the candlelit indoor Sam Wanamaker Playhouse attached to Shakespeare's Globe in London.

This play with music is based upon the interesting historical relationship between the mentally unstable King Philippe V of Spain ( 1683-1746 ), and the superstar Italian opera castrato Carlo Boschi, who became famous with the stage name of "Farinelli." The latter confounded his fans by giving up his career to become King Philippe's personal music maker.

Two-time Tony Award-winner Mark Rylance ( and Van Kampen's husband ) is a joy as the batty Philippe. Meanwhile, Farinelli is split into two performers: Sam Crane for dialogue and countertenor Iestyn Davies to sing Baroque opera arias.

While this staging device by director John Dove has the potential to confuse, Van Kampen attempts to explain it away by having Farrinelli bemoan his duality of a private life versus the in-demand persona of a stage star.

The enjoyable performances all around ( especially the leading men ) make the play worth your time. Also quite good are Melody Grove as the noble Queen Isabella and Colin Hurley as the sarcastic theater manager John Rich.

As a probing look into the notion of whether or not music has the power to heal, Farinelli and The King doesn't quite pass muster. It would also have been more interesting if Van Kampen had framed the play with higher dramatic stakes instead of just offering a pleasant stroll of a script.

Yet the fine performances and antique atmospherics are all undoubtedly enjoyable and sophisticated. Since it all looks like the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse has been imported to Broadway ( candelabras included ), consider it all a savings from actually crossing the pond to London.

Farinelli and The King continues in a limited run at New York's Belasco Theatre through March 25. Visit FarinelliAndTheKingBroadway.com for more information .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

THEATER South Side native comes home for 'The Color Purple' 2018-07-18 - South Side native Carla R. Stewart looks to Rihanna when summing up Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1982 novel "The Color Purple." "It's ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Pamplona 2018-07-18 - Playwright: Jim McGrath At: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Tickets: GoodmanTheatre.org; 312-443-3800. Runs through: Aug. 19 Stacy Keach tried to ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Topdog/Underdog 2018-07-18 - Playwright: Suzan-Lori Parks At: Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, 927 Noyes St., Evanston. Tickets: $15; Noyes Cultural Center; 847-866-5915. Runs through: July 29 In the ...


Gay News

Critic's Picks 2018-07-18 - Support Group for Men, Goodman Theatre, through July 29. These are confusing times for everyone, but Ellen Fairey doesn't neglect the other half ...


Gay News

SPOTLIGHT Bus Stop 2018-07-18 - In Bus Stop, director Steve Scott takes on William Inge's classic about a bus stranded by a snow storm and the group of ...


Gay News

Ysaguirre named new Court Theatre ED 2018-07-18 - Angel Ysaguirre has been appointed executive director of the University of Chicago's Court Theatre, effective Sept. 4. Ysaguirre will join Marilyn F. Vitale ...


Gay News

Emanuel announces plan to reopen Uptown Theatre 2018-07-18 - Recently, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Ald. James Cappleman, Jam Productions and Farpoint Development to announce Chicago's Uptown Theatre will be restored and ...


Gay News

'Carnaval of New Latinx Work' July 19-21 2018-07-18 - The Latinx Theatre Commons ( LTC ) is presenting the 2018 LTC Carnaval of New Latinx Work ( Carnaval 2018: ConeXion! )—featuring readings ...


Gay News

THEATER Medieval morality makeover 'Everybody' at Pride Arts Center 2018-07-18 - A 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist for drama, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' Everybody is a modern retelling of the 15th-century morality play Everyman, an allegory where ...


Gay News

Grace under pressure, Ernest Hemingway in 'Pamplona' 2018-07-18 - No matter how impressive their canon, glamorous their lifestyle or enduring their legacy, there is nothing more unexciting to watch than a writer ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.