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 2020-05-27
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



THEATER REVIEW Saving the World
by Jonathan Abarbanel, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Author: Marc Kelly Smith ( libretto ), Diana Lawrence ( music )

At: Chicago Tap Theatre at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: 773-327-5252;; $30-$40. Runs through: June 30

The literary aspects of dance get scant attention, but think how many dance works have characters and narrative lines. Someone had to write the scenarios for Swan Lake, Slaughter on 10th Avenue, The Rite of Spring and countless others, and it rarely was the composer. Many distinguished literati have prepared librettos for dance works, among them Jean Cocteau who did several.

Mark Yonally, founder/artistic director of Chicago Tap Theatre, calls such works "Story Shows" ( his caps ) and other dance troupes also use the term. Yonally wrote several himself before partnering with Chicago poet and storyteller Marc Kelly Smith. This world premiere of Saving the World is Kelly's sixth collaboration with Chicago Tap Theatre.

The story is simple and simplistic, but no more so than the great ballets cited in the opening paragraph of this review. Idealistic June Pasteur ( Jennifer Pfaff Yonally ) creates Disaster Relief Control ( DRC ), which helps resettle folks left homeless by natural calamities. DRC wins international renown but has no visible means of support, so it partners with smarmy billionaire Max Worthington ( Mark Yonally ), who soon coopts June and the DRC. With the help of her longtime DRC partner ( and maybe boyfriend ), David Hart ( Isaac Stauffer ), June and her allies rally to take DRC back from Worthington.

The entire tale is told through Yonally's tap choreography and original music—sometimes lilting, sometimes driving—composed by Diana Lawrence ( also musical director ) and played on keyboards ( with a good deal of sampling ), cello and bass guitar. They've worked with director Raphael Schwartzman on the staging, in which Smith himself provides bits of wry narration.

Yonally's engaging choreography runs through every possible dance combination from numerous solos through duets ( even a pas de deux for June and David ), trios, quartets on up to full company ( 12 dancers ) unison. There's even a brief company kick-line. Yonally's patterns are relatively simple—circles, lines, v-formation and two lines/groups facing each other—but entirely effective in communicating the gist of each situation. For instance, the ensemble dances the natural disasters before assuming positions as victims, and it's clear when they are a tornado, a wave or a hurricane.

For reasons that are arbitrary, Smith's libretto includes a danced version of a computer game, Pong Ping, played three times by different people. The third match, a duet by ensemble dancers Sterling Harris and Case Prime, is notably athletic and dazzling. The Pong Ping sequences also show off Jeffrey Bivens' fun projections. Of course, Yonally saves several excellent bits for himself—song and dances minus the song—clicking his heels in snazzy two-tone Oxford tap shoes.

Saving the World runs 90 minutes and is easy to take, easy to like—and is family-friendly.

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.

Copyright © 2020 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  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar 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.