Written by Mark Guarino
Based on and featuring the music and artwork of Jon Langford
Directed by Tommy Rapley
Produced by The House Theatre of Chicago
At Chopin Theatre
Strong music, compelling book, and stunning production values launch All the Fame of Lofty Deeds
They’re back! The magic of what made The House Theatre of Chicago the darling of the hip, 20-soemthing theatre crowd over the past few years is evident in their terrific production of All The Fame of Lofty Deeds. After exhausting their core members from writing new works, the guys at The House went out to find some new blood and indeed they have found journalist/playwright Mark Guarino and the excellent music from legend Jon Langford. Under the smart and clever direction by Tommy Rapley and with the everyman qualities of Nathan Allen as Lofty Deeds–the elements of a memorable show are present.
All The Fame of Lofty Deeds is a true musical with a fantastical surreal book that tells the story of a washed-up cowboy singer as he enters his golden years. Nate Allen’s acting chops were evident as he embodies the melancholy and angst of being ‘the last cowboy singer.’ Knowing that all his contemporaries died tragic and early deaths including his brother left Deeds (fine work form Patrick Martin), Lofty laments his past and wonders why the modern day marketeers present him as a cartoonish caricature from the past. Sadly, Lofty reflects about his past with the help of Tumbleweed (Corri Feuerstein), the woman in the Dollar Dress (Lucy Carapetyan) and Mr. Pokey (Brandon Ruiter) his horse.
This amazingly engrossing show mixes the surreal with stunning visuals and lighting with puppets, unique props that produce biting satire, humor and stinging pathos along with a superb songbook of outstanding cowboy, country, bluegrass, blues and pop rock to enhance the biography of a 50’s country and western star. We witness the rise and fall of cowboy music.
Jon Langford’s songs were outstanding and they worked nicely with Mark Guarino’s book making this show much more than merely a jukebox revue. There is a a story of a man’s life and a portrait of an era that is cleverly presented to maximize all the theatricality contained. Tommy Raley’s staging was expert and Nathan Allen’s performance highlighted this special treat. I loved the music most. This show combines stunning staging with rich acting with toe-tapping music to thoroughly entertain you. Who could ask for more?
At Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division Street, Chicago, IL, call 773-251-2195