(thru June 6th)
by Alan Bresloff
Over the years, we have had many “Cirque” shows come into our theaters, some wonderful experiences and some disappointing. The current show, being presented by Broadway in Chicago, at the Bank of America Theatre is an outstanding production that takes a different approach in its presentation. Creator and director Neil Goldberg takes us on a view of the city, a typical dirty big city turning everyday ordinary into a bright and extraordinary story that tells us that life is what we make of it. He does this by bringing in extraordinary talents from all over the world who balance on wires, twist and turn, dance to some dynamite music and do many of the acts that we have seen before in other productions, but the new twist is that we are not centered on just a performer or a group of performers, but rather a “street scene” that is being taped for a TV documentary in this magical urban metropolis.
The original score by Jill Winters and David Scott is a combination of Jazz, pop and ballroom music with some additional music by Tony Aliperti. The choreography ( this production has a great deal of dancing) by Ruddy Sanchez, makes one want to dance along with the performers who are all gifted dancers as well as “artists”. The set by Jon Craine and the glistening costumes by Heather Hoffman and Santiago Rojo as well as the lighting by Kate Johnston all add to the glamour of the total production which is two hours and ten minutes with a 20 minute intermission.
What makes this production special is the work of the 26 performers and the brilliant saxophone playing by Marybeth Kern. The performers are from the US, Mongolia, Russia, Canada, Uzbekistan, Brazil, Argentina, Ukraine, Cuba, Belarus and Trinidad (the delightful Janine Ayn Romano who handles the vocals as the reporter telling us the story. There is magic (during the opening number “Change” we see the fashion illusion where costumes change in seconds with just a cloth passing by the dancing couple-Vladimir Kurzyamov and lovely Olga Kurzyamova. In many shows of this type, we see the chair climbing, but in most, it is a small female. In this production, a tall male (Andrey Moraru) handles this task to perfection. We have the usual acts, but again, with a new twist. The juggling is not just juggling of balls, but using the balls to play percussion instruments (at one time 8 balls), and Andrey Averyushkin does this in an amusing way. Talk about amusement, our “clown” is cleverly played by Martin Lamberti who communicates with a whistle as his voice and in the first act, as a film director brings three men and a woman from the audiences ( not preselected) to assist in doing a scene. This scene alone was worth coming to the show for- 19 minutes of side splitting laughs. Wow!
There is much more in this fun filled two hours; hand balancing, cube aerialists, Ring rolling foot manipulators ( the amazing Laurinos from Argentina), strap flying, Perch balancing, wire walking and while all these events are taking place other cast members are creating the city scene as objects and people. I would have to say that the only drawback to this production is the length of time it is here. Five days is just not enough time, so if you truly want to be mesmerized, get on the phone to the Broadway In Chicago Ticketline at 800-775-2000, visit any of the Broadway In Chicago box offices or visit any Ticketmaster outlet or visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com
The Bank of America Theatre is located at 18 West Monroe Street. Tickets range from $25-$75 and there are no bad seats for this type of performance art. The remaining shows are as follows:
Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Friday at 8 p.m.
Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m.
Sunday at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
You can also visit www.Cirque Productions.com to see where they are heading