A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO THE ANDREWS SISTERS Review – Theo Ubique’s Pitch-Perfect USO Show

 

If you haven’t discovered Theo Ubique’s stunning musical magic, it’s time you did! And A Musical Tribute to the Andrews Sisters a great place to start. 

Strategically timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary celebration of America’s WW2 knockout punch attack on D-Day, this  USO show could hardly be more authentic.  It even includes a Bob Hope-esque master of ceremonies, cornball jokes and all!

During WW2,Patty, Maxene and LaVerne Andrews lifted the spirits of our troops on their USO tours and remained popular long after. Their repertoire of catchy, peppy, positive, melodic music is still popular today: who can’t hum In the Mood?” Who’s never heard “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy?” or “Nice Work if You can Get It?” This is quintessential American Songbook , the Theo Ubique specialty.

The trademark  Andrews Sisters three-part harmonies were sung with ease and technical mastery by Casi Maggio, Sarah Larson and Jordan Yentz, three young performers who have been attracting lots of attention on the Chicago musical theater scene.

Casi Maggio was Jeff-nominated for her Kate Monster in Night Blue’s Avenue Q. Sarah Larson is coming directly from her run in Theo Ubique’s Passion, and Jordan Yentz has appeared in Pal Joey for Porchlight Music Theatre as well as Man of La Manchaand Camelotfor Light Opera Works. Joined by one male singer, as the Andrews Sisters often were, Will Lucas, a sensation in last summer’s A Cole Porter Songbook at Theo, fills in for all the men who typically joined the sisters on stage. And he got the Bob Hope-like character right on the nose!

Make no mistake about it, The No Exit Café, home of the Theo Ubique Cabaret Theater, is a tiny, intimate space. Great praise for inventive stage-craft is well-deserved: without extraordinary creative skill, it would simply be impossible to mount any production there. Yet, despite the space challenges, Theo even has some pretty impressive choreography.

 

Veteran Theo Director and Choreographer David Heimann--assisted by Christopher Logan-- somehow just makes it all happen! Additional members of the creative team are Music Director Alex Newkirk, and Music Arranger Aaron Benham.

 

From the beginning of the show, the audience was taken back to the 40’s and 50’s (right down to those shoes!) and the USO shows many of us never attended but recognized instantly!  Thanks to the Production Design Staff: Paige Keedy (Production Stage Manager), Adam Veness (Scenic Designer), Jess Goings (Lighting Designer), Bill Morey (Costume Designer) and Michael Buonicontro (Wig Designer), everything was exactly as we “remembered it!”

 

Moreover, we got a glimpse of glamour (complete with the right shoes!) in the second act climaxing with William Lucas’ poignant interpretation of “I’ll be Seeing You.” 

 

As if it’s not enough to pull off a polished production in a challenging space, you can also order dinner complete with dessert (during intermission) served by the actors! This is a delightful touch!  Here’s your chance to get to know the cast “up close and personal!”  And the food, prepared by nearby Heartland Café, is delicious and “Heartland healthy.”

COMING IN THE FALL:

September 22—October 19: A Kurt Weill Cabaret, Arrangements and Musical Direction by Jeremy Ramey

November 17—December 18: Always… Patsy Cline, By Ted Swindley, Directed by Theo Ubique Founder, Fred Anzevino

March 9—April 26: Jesus Christ Superstar, by  Andrew Lloyd Webber and Rice

June 8—July 26: A Marvin Hamlisch Songbook

 

All performances are held in the No Exit Café at 6970 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago

 

For tickets and information, visit the Theo Ubique website.

 

 

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