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 2018-12-12
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Playwrights: Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick

At: The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway. Tickets: 773-999-9541;; $ 32.50-42.50. Runs through: May 6

Chicago Theatre Workshop is presenting Disaster!, a musical comedy set in the '70s that pokes fun at natural disaster films from the past. The setup is simple, a wide array of characters are thrown together and put into survival mode while singing classic hit songs onboard a casino cruise in this fish out of water comedy musical.

The show hits the ground running from the jump introducing strong personalities ranging from a disco diva to a nun with addiction problems. Director Ben Baylon stays in the tradition of past productions by keeping the show concise and quickly paced. It moves so fast sometimes a few of the lines were covered up by laughter throughout the opening night performance.

There are too many standouts in the cast to mention, but this simply shows how well rounded and smartly written the characters are. The actors were able to put their own spin on it and had moments to shine with fully developed characters. The old expression about being upstaged with children certainly holds true here. The talented, young Pierce Cleveland plays twin roles and switches genders between Ben and Lisa while taking no prisoners along the way.

Britain Gebhardt steals every scene as the wide-eyed Sister Mary Downer, and her pronunciation of Jesus was unforgettable. Melissa Young and Shane Roberie, as Shirley and Maury, reminded me of the Ropers, and Marcellus Burt and the dance ensemble stepped it up and did the hustle with toe-tapping results.

Similar retro hit musicals like Mama Mia! sometimes have awkward transitions from the plot to the playlist, but this project turns that idea upside down. The lyrics would answer the characters questions that continued to bring the house down. There were a multitude of song choices to pick from and obtain the rights to that it must have been challenging to produce. Another blockade was the fact that some of the songs were only allowed in past New York productions did not make it to Chicago this time out because of regional rules.

The obscure tracks selected were certainly enjoyable for old and new generations. When was the last time you heard Jigsaw's "Sky High" or Mary MacGregor's "Torn Between Two Lovers?" Times seemed so much simpler when these were the soundtrack to our lives. While songs like "Disco Inferno" would seem obvious, we at least had "Hot Stuff" to start the fire.

"Feelings" worked really well being both humorous and touching at the same time. The hits kept on coming and pushed the campy plot right along. Using a live band located on the wings instead of piped in tracks was a smart move. Singers in the cast like Nathan Cooper and Jessica Van have the chops and vocal range to add some really nice nuances to their perspective songs thanks to being supported by the band. From a large catalogue of artists such as Diana Ross, Donna Summer, and Barry Manilow this team continued hitting all the right notes.

Co-creator Seth Rudetsky attended a post show talk back on April 21. He gave advice to the cast and spoke of the show possibly heading to the West End in London in the future.

Don't miss Disaster! in this local production before a hurricane sweeps it out of town.

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.


Gay News

Raven Theatre sets casting for Pulitzer winning How I Learned to Drive 2018-12-17 - CHICAGO ( December 13, 2018 ) — Raven Theatre is pleased to announce casting for Paula Vogel's Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece HOW I LEARNED ...

Gay News

Hellcab 2018-12-17 - By: Will Kern At: The Raven Theatre, 6157 N Clark St. Tickets:; pay-what-you-can ( suggested $20 donation ) . Runs through: Dec. ...

Gay News

The Play That Goes Wrong 2018-12-12 - Playwright: Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields At: Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St. Tickets: . Runs through: Dec. 16. ...

Gay News

Hedwig' tour in Chicago in 2019 2018-12-12 - John Cameron Mitchell—the Tony-winning, Golden Globe-nominated co-creator of Hedwig & the Angry Inch—will bring his rock spectacle to the United States for the ...

Gay News

The Second City 107th Mainstage Revue, Algorithm Nation or The Static Quo 2018-12-11 - Writers: Ryan Asher, Tyler Davis, Jeffrey Murdoch, Emma Pope, Nate Varrone, Kimberly Michelle Vaughn At: The Second City Mainstage, 1616 N. Wells ...

Gay News

T.R. Knight talks about upcoming 'Dream' role 2018-12-11 - T.R. Knight might still be best known for his five-season run as Dr. George O'Malley on ABC's Grey's Anatomy—and for the infamous 2007 ...

Gay News

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins 2018-12-10 - Author: Michael Daily, from the book by Eric Kimmel At: Strawdog Theatre, 1802 W. Berenice Ave. Tickets:; $20-$25. Runs through: Jan. 5 ...

Gay News

The Santaland Diaries 2018-12-10 - Playwright: Steve Scott, adapted from the essay by David Sedaris At: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Tickets: $15-45; . Runs through: ...

Gay News

Critics' Picks 2018-12-10 - Buttcracker: A Nutcracker Burlesque, ( Sub )version Productions at Reggie's Music Joint, through Dec. 26. Fan-dancing snowflakes, a glass-eating "Calavera Catrina" and a ...

Gay News

Stomp 2018-12-10 - By: Luke Cresswell and Steve MacNicholas At: Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St.. Tickets:; $39-$84. Runs through: Dec. ...


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.








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.