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 2017-11-22
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Marie Christine
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jonathan Abarbanel, Windy City Times
2017-11-06

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Michael John LaChiusa

At: BoHo Theatre at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. Tickets: 773-975-8150; BoHoTheatre.com; $33-$35. Runs through: Dec. 10

BoHo Theatre Company's production of Marie Christine is powerful, moody and even sensual at moments, with some of the finest singing and playing I've encountered in off-Loop theater, especially from a troupe of BoHo's modest size. Nonetheless, Marie Christine—the piece itself—is not easy to like. It's easy to admire, respect and understand, but finding yourself emotionally attached is very, very difficult.

The reason why is that composer/lyricist Michael John LaChiusa is an extremely gifted, singular artist who refuses to compromise with popular taste. Any time he chooses he could write a musical filled with hummable tunes and catchy hit numbers, but he adamantly refuses to do so. Instead, he writes serious, complex jazz operas ( if one must pigeonhole his music specifically, it is jazz ) frequently with wrenching, unhappy stories. They are richly-textured, musically-challenging works but they also are somber, dark and chilly and go for the guts rather than the heart.

Such is Marie Christine, modelled closely upon the myth of Medea, the glamorous witch who sacrificed everything—even resorting to murder—in order to marry Jason, the great hero of the Golden Fleece. When he ditched her for a more politically powerful marriage, Medea's vengeance was terrible, unforgiveable and unforgettable.

LaChiusa's Medea is Marie Christine L'Adrese ( Kyrie Courter ), a high-born, wealthy 1890s New Orleans Creole beauty with voodoo knowledge. She marries a dashing and passionate white ship's master from Chicago, Dante Keyes ( Ken Singleton ). In 1890s New Orleans, he's her social inferior but not in Chicago where his racially-mixed marriage is a secret. When he dumps Marie Christine for political opportunity, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

The story is strongly told through LaChiusa's clear lyrics and driving, rhythmically-complex music. He channels bits of ragtime and honky-tonk typical of the 1890s time period, but chiefly uses a variety of jazz idioms, among them close-harmony singing for the important chorus part. Musical director Aaron Benham leads a splendid six-piece orchestra, and also has guided his singers to superb performances in partnership with director Lili-Anne Brown and clever choreographer Breon Arzell ( who is everywhere these days as actor or choreographer ). I have issues with how LaChiusa closes the work, but they mustn't be the focus of this review.

Brown's casting couldn't be better. Alto Kyrie Courter, previously seen at Kokandy Productions, personifies wounded innocence-turned-to-fury as Marie Christine, her passion hardening into obsession. As romantically named Dante, baritone Ken Singleton couples a huge, operatic voice with true leading-man looks. It's apparent from the first smoldering moment that they are a fatal pair. The supporting players, some with meaty singing roles, are capable and well-cast. All wear Izumi Inaba's stylish, sometimes elegant costumes. Sentimental Marie Christine is not—but impressive it is.


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

Spotlight on Irving Berlin's White Christmas 2017-11-22 - Get in a Broadway holiday mood by taking in the touring return of Irving Berlin's White Christmas. The popular screen-to-stage show not only ...


Gay News

Critics' Picks 2017-11-22 - Becky Shaw, Windy City Playhouse, through Dec. 17. "Love is a by-product of Use" says a cynical cad in Gina Gionfriddo's slyly Machiavellian ...


Gay News

'Tis the Seasonal Depression 2017-11-22 - Authors: Sarah Collier, Katie Cutler, Evan M. Duggan, Julie Fishbach, Clay Goodpasture, Christopher "Tito" Thies Lotito, Greg Phelps and Laurel Posakony. At: Pride ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Escape to Margaritaville 2017-11-22 - Score: Jimmy Buffett; Book: Greg Garcia & Mike O'Malley At: Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St. Tickets: 800-775-2000 or BroadwayinChicago.org; $35-$115. Runs through: ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Importance of Being Earnest 2017-11-22 - Playwright: Oscar Wilde At: Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. Tickets: writerstheatre.org; $35-80. Runs through: Dec. 23 On the evening of ...


Gay News

OUT FRONT seeks play submissions 2017-11-21 - About Face Theatre is seeking play submissions for its OUT FRONT Series, an annual line-up of workshops and readings of new and developmental ...


Gay News

Gift Gala on Dec. 1 at Copernicus 2017-11-21 - The Gift Theatre will present its 16th annual benefit, Gift Gala 2017: Revolutions on Friday, Dec. 1, 6-10 p.m., at the Copernicus Center, ...


Gay News

Magic Cabaret closing Dec. 27 2017-11-19 - After a decade-long run, The Magic Cabaret is ending. David Parr and Joe Diamond are wrapping up the run with four more ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Fade 2017-11-19 - Playwright: Tanya Saracho At: Victory Gardens Theater at the Biograph, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Tickets: $15-$56. Runs through: Dec. 23 During ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Breath, Boom 2017-11-19 - Playwright: Kia Corthron At: Eclipse Theatre Company at the Athenaeum, 2936 N. Southport Ave. Tickets: $30 Runs through: Dec. 17. ...


 



Copyright © 2017 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

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.