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 2020-03-17
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW The Holiday Radio Show: 1944
by Mary Shen Barnidge
2019-12-16

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Gabriella Bonamici, Andre Richardson Hogan II, Laura Scruggs, Rolfe Sick, Jason Paul Smith.

At: Three Cat Productions at the Berger Park Coach House, 6205 N. Sheridan Rd. Tickets: ThreeCatProductions.com and 312-970-9840; $15-$25. Runs through: Jan. 4

In 2017, the playwrights of the Three Cat "Artists Incubator" collaborated on a holiday show replicating a live radio broadcast in 1942, replete with music of the period, messages to troops stationed overseas and tributes to the patriotic "Home Front" volunteers.

When this idea proved successful, Three Cat returned the following year with another faux-radio program, this one set in 1943, composed of newly collected material reflecting a society struggling against despair during a bleak chapter in our history. Audiences in 2019 may be comforted by hindsight regarding THAT war, but so long as families and sweethearts are still forced to spend the holidays far from loved ones, it might as well be 1944.

Our hosts for this occasion are, not surprisingly, all female—even the traditionally male-operated technical equipment is helmed by a woman, with a pianist representing the sole man in the cast. Our emcees are solo chanteuses Dorothy Johnson and Ivy Brown, this year flanked by a trio of warblers wearing non-regulation WAC uniforms ( no nylon stockings, though—there's a war on, you know ).

The evening's agenda is dominated by songs, seasonal and secular, some familiar and some—less so. For example, the song listed in the playbill as "Santa Claus Is Coming" is NOT the "Coming To Town" chestnut, but a vintage 1914 ditty heralding the end of a different war. Even standard repertoire takes on a fresh energy with jazz arrangements by music director/arranger Roy Freeman, like the "Angel" medley combining the "Hark! The Herald" and "We Have Heard on High" carols rendered with a hint of boogie-woogie tempo.

The roster also encompasses dramatic dialogues adapted from authors such as Mark Twain, Willa Cather, Charles Dickens—whose "Ebesneezer McScrooge" now conducts business from his office on LaSalle Street and hoards ration coupons—and African-American journalist Augustus M. Hodges' 1894 poem "The Christmas Reunion Down At Martinsville." Most stirring, however, are the letters, read over the air, reflecting the loneliness of sons, husbands and fathers stranded on military bases, of daughters, wives and mothers training as nurses or toiling in munitions factories and of children exiled to live with grandparents for the duration. Torchlit ballads like "The Man I Love" and "My Buddy" heighten the wistful melancholy of the moment.

The spartan quarters in the Berger Park Coach House, far from detracting from the play's setting, actually enhance the ambience. ( For instance, a comfy chair flanked by decorated trees at stage-side offers a cozy backdrop for bravely cheerful photographs. ) Playgoers preferring snark to sentiment are warned that director Jason Paul Smith never permits cutesy offstage sound-effects to steal focus, and that, yes, a 48-star flag will be saluted with a chorus of "America the Beautiful" but those willing to imagine an age before television and Skype set us right down amid the shrapnel will enjoy this reminder of how our country once kept the fires burning through a dark and seemingly endless winter.


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

STREAMING THEATER REVIEW Teenage Dick 2020-03-27 - Playwright: Mike Lew At: Theater Wit ( on line streaming only ) Tickets: TheaterWit.org; $28. Runs through: April 19 In a ...


Gay News

Raven Theatre postpones world premiere of Eden Prairie, 1971 due to COVID-19 2020-03-26 - CHICAGO ( March 25, 2020 ) — In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Raven Theatre today announced it will postpone its upcoming world ...


Gay News

Tony Awards to be postponed; no new date set 2020-03-25 - The 74th Annual Tony Awards—scheduled to air live on CBS on Sunday, June 7 from New York's Radio City Music Hall—has been postponed ...


Gay News

'Around Broadway' to honor high-school musical-theater students 2020-03-25 - Broadway In Chicago has announced its new social-media program, "Around Broadway in 80 Days." In the wake of the cancellation of The Jimmy ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Terrence McNally dies of coronavirus complications at 81 2020-03-24 - Terrence McNally—a four-time Tony winner who wrote musicals and plays such as Ragtime, Love! Valour! Compassion!, The Full Monty and Kiss of the ...


Gay News

Hell in a Handbag Productions Announces 2020 Season 2020-03-24 - CHICAGO, IL ( March 23, 2020 ) — Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to announce its 2020 Season, plus a move ...


Gay News

Broadway in Chicago updates changes in show schedules 2020-03-24 - (Chicago, March 24, 2020) The safety and health of our patrons, staff and theatrical companies is our top priority. In response to the ...


Gay News

World premiere of Notes & Letters postponed due to Coronavirus 2020-03-23 - CHICAGO ( March 23, 2020 ) — In response to the coronavirus ( COVID-19 ) pandemic, Underscore Theatre Company today announced it will ...


Gay News

Poisoned: A Snow White Rock Musical postponed 2020-03-23 - Statement from Michael Galloway of Pan's Flute Productions: In an effort to do our part in mitigating the spread of Covid-19, we ...


Gay News

Streamed theater review, Methtacular! 2020-03-22 - By: Steven Strafford Via: 16th Street Theater, 6420 16th St., Berwyn. Tickets: 708-795-6704 or 16thstreettheater.org; $12 per person/on your honor. Available through: April ...


 



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.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



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.