Join the Club Review – Can These Women Change the World?

My friend, Dora, and I decided to “join the Club” at The Skokie Theater and we were better for it as were the characters in this musical.  This was charming, fun, funny and real.  Some of the descriptions were so “right on” I felt as though it was my story, too.  Can a group of women really change the world?  Just watch.

 

L to R: Melissa Paris as MC, Anita Silvert as Bette, and Elizabeth Mazur as Sara

JOIN THE CLUB!  is an original musical with book and lyrics by Lauren Taslitz and Leigh Anna Reichenbach, and music by Will Buck, Becky Menzie, Mike O'Mara, Leigh Anna Reichenbach, and Jonathan Wagner.  It is directed by Heather Townsend, with music direction by Julie Crossen, and runs July 9th - July 25th, 2015 at the Skokie Theater, 7924 Lincoln Ave, in Skokie.

 

To be very honest, I have often wondered about the women who were members of Women’s Clubs.  My good friend often told me of her involvement in the projects that were designed to make a better world in some way.  Seeing this production somehow highlighted the value of being a member of “The Club” in a way that gave me a new perspective.

  

L to R: Melissa Paris as MC, Irene Kelly as Gabe, Elizabeth Mazur as SAra, and Anita Silvert as Bette

As the story developed, I found myself relating to each of the characters. Though the topic and presentation seemed superficial and fluffy, there were underlying messages that were real and honest.  Each of the performers was skilled actors developing their characters convincingly, as well as being talented singers.

 

Basically this is the story of “The Club”.  We first encounter the women who are members through the eyes of Sara (Elizabeth Mazur), a young, ambitious attorney, who needs to show that she is doing social service in order to meet her goal of reaching partner in her firm.  In her heart of hearts, she wants no part of this and has nothing in common with the current members, MC (Melissa Paris), Cynthia (Glo Rolighed) and Bette (Anita Silvert). Sara suddenly becomes a part of the committee that is converting an old building into a women’s shelter with their own work, under the guidance of Gabe (Irene Kelly).  Sara's role is central as she and the other women grow and change as a result of their interactions in reaching their goal.

 

Anita Silvert as Bette

 

Each of the songs moved the story forward and some were hysterical.  When Sara sings about the middle seat on the plane, most of us have been there.  When MC and Bette sing, “They Won’t Friend Me”, this was an “OMG” moment.  And with Cynthia’s “Massage Song”, I could only think that I am not the only one who feels this way, see, others do, too.  It was great that the songs kept coming; one was better than the next.

  

L to R: Irene Kelly as Gabe, Anita Silvert as Bette, Elizabeth Mazur as Sara, Melissa Paris as MC, and Glo Rolighed as Cynthia

 

Additional special features were contributed by Stage Manager, Hana Rickert. Musical Director Julie Crossen accompanied on piano, with Vinny Kabat (bass) and Nick Kabat (drums) completing the orchestra. The design team includes Charlotte Rathke (lighting design), Dave Budrys (sound design), and Toby Nicholson (set design), which was simple and contributed to the overall story effectively.

  

L to R: Anita Silvert as Bette, Elizabeth Mazur as Sara, Melissa Paris as MC, Irene Kelly as Gabe, and Glo Rolighed as Cynthia

Especially interesting is that this production is the brainchild of longtime North Shore locals Leigh Anna Reichenbach and Lauren Taslitz (…who will be entering the Musical Theater Writing Master’s program this fall at NYU’s Tisch, as their oldest-ever incoming student), Taslitz/Reichenbach is a fairly unique company in that both ladies came to musical theater and to playwriting later in life, but are deeply passionate and committed to making this a fully viable production company.

 

  

L to R: Melissa Paris as MC, Irene Kelly as Gabe, Elizabeth Mazur as Sara, and Anita Silvert as Bette

This is a great night out, refreshing and fun.  And be sure to pick up your raffle ticket.  You won’t be receiving a potted plant if you win.  Go soon.  The run is short.

 

For more information, tickets and box office hours check the Skokie Theatre website  by phone at 847-677-7761; or at the Skokie Theatre box office at 7924 Lincoln Ave in Skokie. JointheClub website

The production runs through July 25, 2015.

Regular run tickets are $35. Preview tickets (Thu, July 9th, Fri, July 10th) tickets are $30. Student and Senior discount tickets are $29.

The Skokie Theatre is located in downtown Skokie, a half-mile west of the Oakton Yellow Line, and reachable via Pace Bus routes #210, #225, #226, #290, and #413.  

 

Photo Credit: North Shore Photography and Design, Inc 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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