Review: “MusicalDEEP” at Gorilla Tango Theatre

 Gorilla Tango Theatre presnts:

MusicalDEEP

Directed by Howard Witt
thru November 23rd (ticket info)
reviewed by Timothy McGuire

musicaldeep The new show MusicalDEEP at Gorilla Tango Theatre possesses a lot of potential in its current concept, but the performance is a work in progress. MusicalDEEP is a musical parody about a group of young theatrical hipsters who feel that they must experience life’s hardships and personal struggles in order to create deep meaningful art.

The opening scene is the most stimulating, where knock-out beautiful Jeezy McNeezy performs a burlesque like tap dancing strip tease down to just her lacy purple panties and two feathery stars covering her talented figure. This opening possibly signifies the honesty and “baring of one’s soul” that it takes to create significant art, but I actually saw no correlation between the opening scene and the rest of the play other than serving as an eye-catching opening.

The rest of the play consists of three girls and a guy slowly and methodically discussing how they can create deep art. Their conversations are too scripted and performed as if in a classroom skit.  Although the chemistry between the cast brings out individual personalities between the characters, the dialogue is underdeveloped, leaving one constantly expecting more to happen. The aspiring artists in this musical come off as young, very young, hipsters (most likely 20-22yrs old) with valley girl speech to go along with their hipster clothing.

Jessica Marks developed the strongest individual personality in a girl named Paragraph and provides subtle interactions with humorous and insightful weight. Her storyline is developed around a hidden desire that provides true human conflict, although it is never sincerely developed or expressed.

MusicalDEEP stands out by having a different kind of protagonist; one that is the clear headed and morally sound. Ashley Jennings plays one of the young girlfriends searching for a way to create deep art, but is unconvinced that you must manipulate your life in order to feel pain as a creative stimulus. Her final song might be the best fit for this musical parody. Intentionally singing her song extremely high pitched and without any effort to sing in tune, she made her musical portion satirical rather than lacking in musical strength.

The brevity and promising premise of this play makes it a fun quick stop before calling it a night or heading out to the bars on Milwaukee Ave. The overall performance has its slower moments and the drama needs to be further developed, but if you laugh out loud more than ten times in an hour I consider it a success and MusicDEEP far exceeded that standard.

Rating: ★★

 

MusicalDEEP, performing Mondays at 8pm, November 2 – November 23, 2009 at Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago 60647. Tickets are $10; to purchase tickets call 773-598-4549 or visit www.gorillatango.com.

Chicago theater openings/closings this week

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show openings

A You Like It Loyola University

Burlesque Is More Annoyance Theatre 

Gossamer Adventure Stage Chicago

High Holidays Goodman Theatre

Horrible Apollo Theatre

Murder in Green Meadows Citadel Theatre

The Music Man Rising Stars Theatre

Phedra New World Repertory Theater

The Shape of Things University of Chicago

Shootin’ the Shit with EJ and TJ Annoyance Theatre

The Spectacular Comedy Spectacle Theatre Building Chicago

When She Danced TimeLine Theatre

Young Frankenstein Cadillac Palace Theatre

 

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show closings

An Apology for the Course and Outcome of Certain Events Delivered by Dr. John Faustus on His Final Evening Theater Oobleck 

Arsenic and Old Lace Northwestern University 

Bastards of Young Tympanic Theatre

Calls to Blood The New Colony

Cotton Patch Gospel Provision Theater

Everyone’s Favorite Lobster Gorilla Tango Theatre

Fake Steppenwolf Theatre

The Flowers About Face Theatre

The House on Mango Street Steppenwolf Theatre

Kill the Old Torture Their Young Steep Theatre

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Filament Theatre

Lettice and Lovage Redtwist Theatre

Lucinda’s Bed Chicago Dramatists

Night Watch Jedlicka Performing Arts Center

Rhymes with Evil InFusion Theatre

A Streetcar Named Desire Polarity Ensemble Theatre

Yeast Nation (The Triumph of Life) American Theater Company

 

List courtesy of The League of Chicago Theatres 

Addams Family – an interview with Lurch (Zachary James)

Lurch interview (Zachary James)

Talking With Lurch (Zachary James)

by Timothy McGuire

One could easily make the assumption that Zachary James will be playing quite possibly the most intriguing Lurch ever written, with a musical surprise coming from the man Charles Addams described as a “towering mute.”

This extremely tall (possibly 12 feet?) handsome, bald man has his character Lurch’s physical demeanor down pat – when he demonstrated how Lurch stands hunched over with his arms locked straight holding a serving tray at his knees, he had me sold. In addition to this, James just happens to be a talented and accomplished opera singer as well as proven acting ability to go along with his powerful voice

James gave credit to producer Stuart Oken saying,

“Stuart took the time to look at each individual.”

James said that the talent in all aspects of this production, on stage and off stage, is what will make Addams Family a great musical.

Admitting to being nervous at first knowing he’d be working with Bebe Neuwirth (Morticia) and Nathan Lane (Gomez), James’ admission that, as a kid, he had watched the movie “Bird On a Wire” over a dozen times proved how he could be slightly intimidated to work with Lane.

 

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But Zachary James is a rising star on his own right. After his role in Broadway’s South Pacific he had a desire to sing more and perform the kind of songs that he wanted to sing. In South Pacific he felt that he was out there singing for five minutes and spent the rest of the time in the dressing room while others performed. He wanted to be on stage singing! With a recent break up motivating his personal story line, Zachary James has created and self-directs his own small New York opera company, which strives to make opera more available and affordable to the public, providing a uniquely powerful experience by performing in smaller intimate settings.

Even with his grueling rehearsal schedule he found time to hold a one night performance of his latest one man opera (Imbecil D’Amour) last Saturday at Gorilla Tango Theatre, giving people a chance to hear a renowned opera singer perform just a couple feet away from them for just $10. His passion drives his performances, and his talent backs him up.

If you see a tall, lean and lanky, bald giant walking on the streets of Chicago, don’t be alarmed, it’s just Lurch in the new Addams Family – The Musical.

 

Chicago theater openings/closings this week

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show openings

Abrose Bierce: Tales and Times Lincoln Square Theatre

Arsenic and Old Lace Northwestern University

Book of Days EverGreen Theatre Ensemble

Death Toll Corn Productions

Estranged Men at Seven Gorilla Tango Theatre

The Flowers About Face Theatre

Frankenstein The Hypocrites

Holes Merle Reskin Theatre

Hunchback Redmoon Theater

Macabaret Porchlight Music Theatre

The Magic Ofrenda Metropolis Performing Arts Centre

Silk Road Cabaret Silk Road Theatre Project

Spoon River Anthology Saint Sebastian Players

These Shining Lives Rivendell Theatre Ensemble

 

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show closings

Alice in Wonderland Metropolis Performing Arts Centre

American Psyche or a Breath of Fresh Care Gorilla Tango Theatre 

Animal Cracker Goodman Theatre    (our review here)

The Last (and Therefore Best) Comedy Show on Earth Gorilla Tango Theatre

The Marvelous Wonderettes Northlight Theatre

 

openings/closings list courtesy of League of Chicago Theatres

Chicago theater openings/closings this week

chicagoriverblast

show openings

Anna, in the Darkness: The Basement

Dream Theatre

Bastards of Young Tympanic Theatre

Calls to Blood The New Colony

Cats Cadillac Palace Theatre

Dooby Dooby Moo Lifeline Theatre

Everyone’s Favorite Lobster Gorilla Tango Theatre

The Flaming Dames in Vamp II New Millenium Theatre

Heroes Remy Bumppo Theatre

The House on Mango Street Steppenwolf Theatre

The Last Unicorn Promethean Theatre

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Filament Theatre Ensemble

The Man Who Was Thursday New Leaf Theatre

Mrs. Gruber’s Ding Song School Gorilla Tango Theatre

Plans 1 Through 8 from Outer Space New Millenium Theatre

Rachel Corn and the Secret Society Corn Productions

You Can’t Take It with You Village Players Performing Arts Center

 

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show closings

Ah, Wilderness! Loyola University Chicago Theatre

Bad Touch and the Deep End Annoyance Theatre 

Dirty Talking Amish Gorilla Tango Theatre

Dracula Oak Park Festival Theatre

The History Boys – Timeline Theatre 

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Court Theatre

The Night SeasonVitalist Theatre

Rent Big Noise Theatre

Sleeping Beauty Big Noise Theatre

Stripped: An Unplugged Evening with Marilyn’s Dress Gorilla Tango Theatre

Chicago theatre openings/closings this week

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show openings

Ah Wilderness! Loyola University Chicago Theatre 

Alice in Wonderland Metropolis Performing Arts Centre

Anton in Show Business Theatre Building Chicago

Baroque and Beatles Chicago a cappella

The Berenstain Bears Northbrook Theatre

Cats Cadillac Palace Theatre

C’est La Vie Light Opera Works

Death of a Salesman Raven Theatre

Disturbed Oracle Productions

Dracula Oak Park Festival Theatre

The Dreamers Apollo Theatre

Fedra: Queen of Haiti Lookingglass Theatre

Lettice and Lovage Redtwist Theatre

Lucinda’s Bed Chicago Dramatists

Pericles O’Malley Theatre

Rhymes with Evil InFusion Theatre

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Writers’ Theatre

Scared Stiff Chemically Imbalanced Comedy

Slavic Strings McAninch Arts Center 

Two by Pinter Piven Theatre Workshop

 

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show closings

1001 Merle Reskin Theatre

Creepy Hug: Dirt Nap Gorilla Tango Theatre 

The Darkest Pit Prop Thtr

It’s Good for You 2 Gorilla Tango Theatre

Moonlight and Magnolias Buffalo Theatre Ensemble

Pericles O’Malley Theater

Stoop Stories Goodman Theatre

Taking Steps UIC Theatre

The Thin Man City Lit Theater

Village of K_ Bruised Orange Theater

show openings/closings this week

chicagoriverblast

show openings

1001 The Theatre School at DePaul University

American Psyche or a Breath of Fresh Care Gorilla Tango Theatre

Bucket of Blood Annoyance Theatre

The Castle of Otranto First Folio Theatre

Dirty Talking Amish Gorilla Tango Theatre

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity Victory Gardens Theater

Endira Aguijon Theater

The Hundred Dresses Chicago Children’s Theatre

Kill the Old, Torture Their Young Steep Theatre

The Last (and therefore Best) Comedy Show on Earth Gorilla Tango Theatre

The Mercy Seat Profiles Theatre

Mouse in a Jar Red Tape Theatre

Richard III Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Salem! The Musical Annoyance Theatre

Sleeping Beauty Big Noise Theatre

Sleepy Hollow Theatre-Hikes

A Streetcar Named Desire Polarity Ensemble Theatre

Taking Steps UIC Theater

Ten Square Pegasus Players and MPAACT

 

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show closings

 

All My Sons TimeLine Theatre (our review)

Baroque and Beatles Chicago a cappella 

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Circle Theatre

Desperate Gorilla Tango Theatre

A Hampstead Hooligan in King Arthur’s Court Chicago dell’Arte

High Fidelity…The Musical Route 66 Theatre

Lorca in a Green Dress Halcyon Theatre

Merce Cunningham Dance Company – Dance Center of Columbia College

Miami City Ballet Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University

The Miracle Work Village Players Performing Arts Center

The Set Up Prop Thtr

A Shroud for Lazarus Halcyon Theatre

Texas Sheen Chemically Imbalanced Comedy