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 2019-09-18
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Coraline
by Steven Chaitman
2014-08-20

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


By Stephin Merritt and David Greenspan, based on the book by Neil Gaiman. At: Black Button Eyes Productions at City Lit Theater,1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Tickets: coralinechicago.brownpapertickets.com; $25. Runs through: Sept. 6

Neil Gaiman's work is as beloved as any writer's, and a theatrical setting makes a great deal of sense for Coraline, the abstract, twisted kid-tale-for-grown-ups. And a musical? You have my attention.

Director Ed Rutherford and Black Button Eyes Productions' take on this story is every bit as bizarre and creative as you'd hope—and more gender-bending than you might have guessed—for a Coraline musical. There's an array of unusual and intriguing sights and sounds that give Coraline a distinct tone, something along the lines of a Rocky Horror children's show.

But this production amounts to the sum of its creative choices and production quality, rather than the sharpness of its storytelling. With attention-grabbing moments speckled throughout, Coraline drifts in and out of artistic genius and sheer boredom.

The story follows young Coraline Jones, who just moved into a new house with her inattentive parents and strange neighbors. Longing for adventure, she discovers a doorway in her new house that leads to a bizzaro-world version of her real life only everyone has black button eyes and is way more fun and interesting.

Although the plot is technically basic and the staging perpetually moves and changes throughout the 90-minute runtime ( with no intermission ), Coraline still manages to be tedious and even difficult to comprehend, especially lyrically. The purpose of songs revealing deeper layers of a character gets entirely lost in these brief and flitting "musical numbers" between the abstract lyrics and music that delights in atonalities.

This music intentionally ignores any and all Broadway conventions. Songs are short and rarely follow traditional verse-chorus patterns, and there isn't one memorable lyric in the entire show. Given the source material, this makes perfect sense. Coraline doesn't need show-stoppers. But the line between ingenuity and distraction gets blurred more often than not in this production.

All of Coraline's ( Sheridan Singleton ) solos, for example, are accompanied by an out-of-tune bell piano, which when combined with her intentionally off-key child's voice, borders on intolerable. The songs that do hold attention, however, don't last long enough or add enough to the story to have an impact. The show can be properly summarized by a song featuring the cat ( Kevin Webb ), who provides most of the show's comedy. He sings on the piano and interacts with the on-stage accompanist, and his song has a number of random keyboard slaps written in, but before long, a number that starts out fun and promising becomes distracting with perpetual key-slamming that covers up the lyrics entirely, and the Avant-garde spectacle of it never gives way to the story.

Otherwise, Coraline brims with creativity from costumes and props to sound effects and choreography, and the cast is about as humble and "blue-collar" as they come. So much energy has gone into the details to provide a one-of-a-kind scaled-down musical experience and a true feast for the senses, even if the intellect is left to sit alone at the kids' table.


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

Broadway In Chicago season tickets on sale Oct. 6 2019-09-19 - Broadway In Chicago announced that its next season will go on sale to the public Sunday, Oct. 6. The season includes Moulin ...


Gay News

Second City kicks off 60th with a new book, special events 2019-09-19 - CHICAGO, IL - ( September 19, 2019 ) The Second City turns sixty on December 16, but the celebration kicks off this month ...


Gay News

Broadway In Chicago season includes The Devil Wears Prada 2019-09-19 - CHICAGO ( Sept. 19, 2019 ) — Broadway In Chicago is thrilled to announce its next season will go on sale to the ...


Gay News

Ooh La La Burlesque & Variety Show to benefit Center on Addison 2019-09-18 - Chicago, IL — We are thrilled to announce our upcoming fundraising event for Center on Addison, the social and residential center for LGBTQ ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Tiny Beautiful Things 2019-09-18 - Playwright: Adapted by Nia Vardalos from the book by Cheryl Strayed. At: Victory Gardens Theater at the Biograph, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Tickets: ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Five Presidents 2019-09-18 - Playwright: Rick Cleveland At: American Blues Theater @Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: 1-773-654-3103; AmericanBluesTheater.com; $29-$39. Runs through: Oct. 19 ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Great Leap 2019-09-18 - Playwright: Lauren Yee At: Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted St. Tickets: 312-335-1650; Steppenwolf.org; $20-$89. Runs through: Oct. 20 The year ...


Gay News

The Suffrage Plays to open Nov. 1, director, full cast announced 2019-09-18 - Full casting has been announced for the opening production of Artemisia's season — THE SUFFRAGE PLAYS - an evening of three one-act comedies ...


Gay News

Critics' Picks 2019-09-18 - You Can't Fake the Funk, Black Ensemble through Sept. 22—Funk music tribute with two dozen '60s, '70s and early '80s songs, exceptionally well ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Casa Valentina 2019-09-17 - Playwright: Harvey Fierstein At: The Broadway at Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway. Tickets: $25-40; PrideFilmsAndPlays.com. Runs through: Sept. 29 They ...


 



Copyright © 2019 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


 



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 publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.