Monday, April 29, 2013

Review of Ploughed Under at The House Theatre of Chicago

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Ploughed Under and it was a music show. It wasn't really an acting show; it was a bunch of songs by Kevin O'Donnell about a bunch of different figures from American history. Kevin O'Donnell is a very good music writer and I'm happy he did the music for this show. This play is trying to make even the most of pessimists believe in America. It is kind of telling you that you shouldn't like America and it is kind of telling you you should like America. Even though we have done a bunch of horrible things, we have also done some good things. We did a bunch of terrible things in our history: like we had slaves and we wanted them to just work for us. But we stopped slavery in the civil war. And Americans also hated Indians and killed many of them but as a matter of fact Indians are Americans as well. Some of the songs made me feel happy I was an American and some of them made me feel horrible that we've done so many bad things.

When you walk in, you see a bunch of different tables and chairs and it looks kind of like a music show in a bar--but a fancy bar, not like an old and not very nice bar. It is like this because they want you to feel welcome and they also want it to feel like a real music show, which it did. It is different because they had a giant amazing stage (designed by Collette Pollard) that had all these platforms--otherwise known as tables!--they could go on. As you might know, it is harder to get singing actors that can really really sing. So, in this production they got actors that could really really sing. You don't want to just get actors or just singers, you want to get actor-singers. They were all really great, The songs are performed and sung--because when someone sings a song it is not just a song; it is a story, and all the actors are playing all these different characters.

There was a song about Squanto (Kevin Barry Crowley) who was a very kind Indian who helped the Pilgrims settle in. He had learned English when he was a slave but he got away from being a slave and came back to his land. And then he found the Pilgrims there, and you would suspect that he would be like, "Let's declare war on these people!" but he actually decided he was going to help them. It shows us what is good about America--friendliness and helping each other. They showed you how far and how long he walked by them saying he walked 2000 miles and they showed it by him walking through the audience. Just so you know, the the theatre is not 2000 miles long. It was so happy when he came home and he saw all of his family and friends and hugged them and kissed them and held their hands.

There was this song called "No Cross No Crown" and it was a really catchy tune.  I thought that Carla Kessler's singing was so cool and rocking that it just brought a bunch of happiness to the song and I thought it was amazing. I thought it was really cool how Kevin played a baby drum set and I thought it was super funny.  I think he did it so that people would realize that size doesn't matter.  Size doesn't matter because America won the revolutionary war even though they were a colony an England was a giant Empire.  And to show that he had a great sense of humor.

There was a song called "A Bell is a Cup, Until It is Struck." And it is called "A Bell is a Cup, Until It is Struck" because they are saying that usually washing dishes is a woman's job and working a bell to start the war or tell people what time it is is usually a man's job. But when they strike the cup, meaning when wars start happening, the women start doing a "man's job." I liked this song because it featured Deborah Sampson (Christine Mayland Perkins), who is one of my relations. Deborah Sampson is a woman who decided that she wanted to dress up as a man and fight in the Revolution. It is good and not good because they didn't get any recognition but they did fight for their country. I felt happy that the women decided to fight for their country even if they didn't get any credit.

There was this scene that took place in a slave market--my least favorite thing to see. It was about a man Solomon Northrup (Abu Ansari) who was going to be sold, and he used to be free, and he wasn't anymore. It was sad because the wife (Genevieve VenJohnson) was telling the story of her husband and what he used to be like and now that he had to be sold she was lonely and sad. She is singing a song about Moses because she wants her husband to be freed by somebody like Moses. The song was very moving because they were both so sad and they missed each other. And when they hugged each other I was so happy that they actually found each other. The singing was great and it made me cry--in a good way. If you are making people cry that means that you are doing a good job because you are making people feel emotions.

There was this song that was about a man named John Henry (Ansari). John Henry worked on the railroad and they said "we don't need you to do your job anymore because we have this new machine that can work even better than you." But, still, he wanted other people to have jobs--because there were other people working on the railroad--and he wanted his job. So, he decided, "I'm going to do a contest with this machine to see who can hammer better." Then he beat the machine, but in that doing he had to sacrifice his life because he wants other people and himself to have a job. And his wife (Perkins) was very sad that he had to die because they had just got married. They actually got a real hammer to hammer with and then you felt like he could have really died from this and I could really feel the ground shaking. And when the music was going on, it made it really sad when John Henry died. They buried him by the railroad track so he could hear all the hard work that he did--the instruments were making all these train noises and beautiful sounds. I thought it was so nice that people still remembered John Henry as a great man, which he was.

One of my favorite instruments that they played was a horse's jaw that Maria McCullough banged on and it made this jittery sound. I would like you to look out for the horse jaw in the show because it is an amazing instrument. It makes me think about hunters and pioneers. Just go up to Maria who is the fiddle player and ask if you can play the horse jaw. She is totally nice so she would let you play it. I thought that all the musicians (Matt Martin, McCullough, Yahvi Pichardo, Kevin O'Donnell and the ensemble) were playing together like a entire family. And actually two of them are family. They are married. And I thought it was awesome that they could be in a show together when they are married.

People who would like this show are people who like music, history, and jumping on top of tables. People should go see this show because it is historical, beautiful, and touching. It makes me feel better about our history.

Photos: Michael Brosilow

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Review of Anything Goes (Roundabout Theatre Company / Broadway in Chicago)

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Anything Goes. It was about this girl named Reno (Rachel York) who was in love with this man Billy (Josh Franklin) and they were both also like best friends. But Billy was in love with a girl named Hope (Alex Finke). Reno just wants her friend to be happy, so she is helping to get Hope to marry Billy. And also a man named Moonface Martin (Fred Applegate) was helping. I thought that this was a great musical because it had great musical numbers, the tap dancing was great, and the set looked so much like an actual cruise ship. This play made me feel happ,y and also there were a lot of parts that were really hilarious.

My favorite song in the play was called "You're the Top" and Reno was singing it to Billy because he felt like he wasn't good enough for Hope and he felt really bad about not being good enough. So then she decided to sing a song to make him feel better. And it went something like this: "You're the top! You're the tower of Pisa! You're the smile! On the Mona Lisa! I'm a worthless check! a total wreck! a flop! But if, baby, I'm the bottom you're the top!" It told us that she didn't want to have a full relationship with him. She just wanted to be friends because she knew that he was in love with another girl. Then he is like, she's a great friend too, and he starts singing about her in the same way. I think that is my favorite song because she is saying that he is lots of different kinds of awesome things and also because it is a really really catchy tune. She is talking about historical places and beautiful museums, plays and sonnets, and mickey mouse which is thrown in there. She also calls him different foods, which is kind of strange--but who cares! It is an awesome song!

If you like the title of this play, which is Anything Goes, I think you are going to like this song title. It is called "Anything Goes." The song is sung by Reno at the end of the first act. And it is really fun because it is a really catchy tune and there is a great tap dancing number going on while she is singing. The tap dancing was amazing because all the tap dancers were amazing and the costumes (by Martin Pakledinaz) were fantastic and everything about this number was just great. I was just clapping my hands, bouncing in my seat. I was just so happy! It was so awesome!

So the guy who is supposed to marry Hope, Lord Evelyn (Edward Staudenmayer), he fell in love with Reno because he thought she was pretty and he had heard about her all over. And he had also seen her do "Blow, Gabriel, Blow" where they used to be wearing just robes and priest outfits but then they took them off and they had super revealing outfits that had fire on them. The dancing was really cool. And "The Gypsy in Me" is when Reno fell in love with Lord Evelyn because they have this really romantic and hilarious dance. There was this one part that I thought was really funny: he was just thrown a rose from the orchestra and then he put it in his teeth and then threw it over to Reno. I thought that was really funny because he was trying to be really American and he wasn't exactly succeeding in being really really American. All the way through the musical, he is trying to be American by saying American phrases, but he is not saying them right. When he said that he had hot pants for the gangster, he was trying to just be nice, but he was actually saying something romantic to him. And also at the beginning, he said, "will you get me a cup of tea and, what's the phrase? And step in it!" But he really means step on it, not step in it. I think Reno and Evelyn did make a good couple because they both really liked each other and they were interested in each other's culture.

The main character Billy and the gangster Moonface Martin get thrown in jail because the Captain (Chuck Wagner) is excited that there are two famous criminals on the ship because he wanted celebrities on the ship but he finds out that Billy is not a real murderer. I have three favorite things that happen when they are in jail. One is where Moonface Martin sings this song about a bluebird and he has to go, "tra la, tra la, tra la. tweet! tweet!" It makes it funny because he is a grown man and grown men don't usually sing "tra la, tra la, tra la. tweet! tweet!" And number two is where Billy says, "Give me one reason to live!" and then Moonface Martin says, "cherry cheesecake." I'm not really sure if that is really accurate. There are about 25,000 reasons to live, but I'll give you two: family and friends. Those are way more important than cherry cheesecake. I only like a few kinds of cheesecake. And the third thing is when Billy gets this letter from Hope that says: "There is no hope in love. Love, Hope." It is basically saying the same thing twice, only backwards, and also he is so serious about it. Even if I were actually in jail, I might actually laugh about that.

People who would like this show are people who like music, tap dancing, and cherry cheesecake. People should go see this show because it is funny and is one of the great American musicals. After I saw the show, I had all the songs stuck in my head because they are such great songs and such catchy tunes. The dancing was super jazzy and it made me feel super happy and excited to see this musical.

Photos: Joan Marcus

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Review of Big Love at Strawdog Theatre Company

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Big Love by Charles L. Mee, directed by Matt Hawkins. It was about these 50 brides who were running away from their grooms because they didn't want to marry them. The grooms really wanted to marry them; they said they were going to marry them whether they liked it or not, which is a totally terrible thing. There were not actually 106 people in the show; there are 30 people. I am telling you this so you don't think when you go into the theater that you have to pull up your feet if you are sitting in the front row to let 106 people go on stage. It is about love, hate, trust and what you feel about boys and girls.

There was this scene where all the brides came in singing “You Don’t Own Me” because that is kind of what this entire play is about. The song is about a girl who is on a date or is going to get married and she is telling her husband or boyfriend, “I don’t need you to do everything for me. I can take care of myself. I don’t belong to you anymore.” It is kind of like she is breaking up with him, but it is also like she is just angry at him. That’s their entrance. They are marching in. Then they take off their wedding dresses; that is supposed to show, “We don’t want these wedding dresses. We want to be free!” When Piero (John Henry Roberts) came in, there were just a bunch of ladies in undergarments with spaghetti straps and he was like, "I'm seeing a bunch of ladies in undergarments right outside on my porch." And he was kind of like looking at them like, “Why don’t you have any clothes on?” I thought that was really funny because he had a look of disbelief.

The first time you meet the grooms, they come in with these sunglasses and they are like these rockers. And it is really funny because all of them take off their sunglasses in order, like down this zigzag. It told me some stuff about the grooms; like some of the grooms were serious, some of the grooms were nice, and some of the grooms were funny. Then, Oed (Kyle Gibson), instead of taking off his sunglasses, they are one of the flip-up sunglasses and he flips them up. I thought that was really funny because all the grooms were looking at him like, “What are you doing?” That told you that Oed was a really funny character and that he would be like the comic savior.

There was a scene where the brides say what kind of man they want. Thyona (Michaela Petro), her speech about what kind of man she wanted was completely different. She didn’t even want a man at all because she was a kind of a cranky character. She might actually want some kind of man, but not Constantine (Shane Kenyon) because he is a jerk. I really liked the part where Olympia said "I like men who bring me flowers!" and then one of the grooms (Chris Acevedo) said, "I brought you this flower." I thought that was really funny because he just happens to have a flower in his pocket! Lydia (Stacy Stoltz) wanted to be treated kindly, not just as a wife but as a friend. They wanted you to know what each of the brides wanted in a husband. They are maybe not going to get what they want in a husband if they are just told, “Hey, marry this guy!”

 There was a scene where three of the grooms--Constantine, Nikos (John Ferrick), and Oed--were running and the two people who weren’t telling their story were trying to push the other one down. This scene is scary because there was a lot of the g.d. word. It was because of the way they were saying it and also just that they were saying it; they were yelling it and down on their knees and taking off their coats and ties. This scene is complicated; even though it seems like it is just 3 people running and yelling, it is also all of them saying all their feelings and desires. I thought it was cool that they tried to push Constantine down each time. That showed you that Constantine was really determined to get these wives. Constantine was talking about how sometimes people tell you to be polite and have manners and sometimes people tell you go and sign up for the war. It is kind of the same with women. Sometimes people tell you, "Be ladylike, be a princess, be as nice as possible." And sometimes they tell you you should fight back and not run away and face your fears. And I am not just making this up. This is actually some of my own experience.

There are important things in this play, but also some things that are downright hilarious—like this paragraph is all about. I have four hilarious things that I wanted to mention. One, Giuliano (Paul Fagen) dressed up as a lady. He came out in this black dress with this fake black hairdo, and he had a hairclip and just looked hilarious. It was so funny because he was just dressed up like a lady and he has really strong arms and stuff like that so he didn’t look just like a lady. That would be a very muscular-looking lady! And two is how Giuliano had a collection of Barbies and Kens.  It's funny because he is a grown man and he tells everybody and they are all like "Wo-o-o-w." Three is when Giuliano and Bella (Cheryl Roy) were singing "Call Me Maybe" and "I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You."  I thought that was funny because they just broke into two different songs from two different times. Four is how Eleanor (Anita Deely) and Leo (Carmine Grisolia) were always kissing each other in the middle of sentences.

People who would like this show are people who like being free, being in love, and flip-up sunglasses.  People should go and see this show because it is funny but also very serious.  It has a great set (by Mike Mroch) that is pretty and deadly. The costumes (by Brittany Dee Bodley) are amazing.  The wedding dresses are pretty when you first see them and then they start to get creepy; they reminded me of ghosts  The acting is fantastic.  It made me think that I am not going to let anyone make me marry anyone.  Period.

Photos: Chris Ocken

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Review of Big Fish (Broadway in Chicago)

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Big Fish. It was about this guy named Will (Bobby Steggert) whose father Edward (Norbert Leo Butz) was dying and Will's wife Josephine (Krystal Joy Brown) was pregnant and she was coming with him to see his father before he died. It was really sad because he was really really sick. His father tells a lot of stories that are kind of untrue. Most of the stories were about how he and his wife Sandra (Kate Baldwin) met. The main plot of the story is to not have the father die painfully; when he died they wanted it to be pleasant and have a lot of people who cared about him to be around. Will changes his mind to not be angry at his dad anymore because they had a fight at his wedding because his dad was telling stories that were not true. I loved this show because it was really touching and hilarious and all the actors were really great.

One of my and my mom's favorite parts was the circus where there were these elephant butts dancing. There are three options of what these elephant tushes were. They could have been puppets. They could have been robots. Or they could have been real elephants, except that I didn't hear backstage breaking while the show was going on. I wish there were actual elephants back there, but I think that is pretty unlikely. I think that it must have been puppets because the steps were so perfect that they needed an actual human to do them. I loved these elephant behinds because they were so awesome and when they opened the curtain to show the elephant butts, I was so amazed. I was laughing hysterically.

This is the best kind of transportation to go to college that Edward uses: which is a c-a-n-o-n. Canon! It seemed like he was actually going up in the air because they made a pixel version of him and made it go all the way up into the sky and then it came all the way back down into the college where his love was going to college. They were using a screen behind it. I liked it because it was so funny to see him come all the way back down into the college.

They put all of these daffodils on stage because Edward really wanted Sandra to marry him and those were her favorite flowers. And Sandra finally did say "Ok, I'll marry you" because the guy Don Price (Ben Crawford) who was jealous of Edward was beating him up and she kept saying "Stop! Stop! Stop!" And then she said something along the lines of, "Well, you just beat him up, so I prefer him to you." And she gave back the ring Don had given her. I think it was super adorable that they sang this beautiful song about daffodils.

There was this one scene where the mom, Sandra, was holding the dad in her arms and she was singing this song called "I Don't Need a Roof" and I was sobbing. It was so touching and sad. It was so sad that he was dying. And I am actually about to cry right now, but I think I am going to be able to finish this paragraph. I think she did some really good singing. She was so good that she made me feel so sad for her. The singing was just lovely and so touching I couldn't believe it.

There was a song I really liked and it was called "Start Over." And there was this really funny part where Karl (Ryan Andes) had become a businessman and there was a giant lady--because Karl was a giant--sitting on his desk. And he had found a lady of his own--and I was so excited that he had a girlfriend that I was about to scream and jump for joy. And, also, when Edward came back to the town, he found his old girlfriend Jenny Hill (Kirsten Scott) there. He had to save her from being drowned in the flood. I liked that he found his girlfriend and they were just friends and they didn't have an affair like Will thought. This wasn't one of Edward's crazy, insane, and totally unreal stories. This was something that he really did. (Or one of his old girlfriend's crazy, insane stories!)

People who would like this show are people who like songs that are super sad and touching, people who are shot out of canons as a bus to college, and big fishes. And did I mention elephant butts? People should go see this show because it makes you have lots of different emotions and has great singing and the actors are really good at expressing the characters' feelings. I think this show is ready for Broadway!

Photos: Paul Kolnik

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Review of Augusta and Noble at Adventure Stage Chicago

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Augusta and Noble. And it was about a girl (Gabriela Mayorga) whose parents (Ivan Vega and Isabel Quintero) used to live in Mexico and her name was Gabi. She is trying to find out where she comes from; she has to ask her mom bunches of questions for school, but she learns it from her dreams. Her dreams tell her about how her mother and father got over to Chicago which was an illegal way. The story was about how the father might never come back in real life because if the police find him they will say, "hey, you are supposed to be in Mexico. What are you doing over here?" Then they will go and take the wife and then they might not even take the kids with them because they are American citizens. The play makes you think about what it is like to move to a different country. The playwright Carlos Murillo was trying to show you that people should be able to cross from country to country for a better life.

There was this story that Gabi told her younger brother, Jesus (Tommy Rivera-Vega). It was about this coyote (Miguel Nunez) and this rabbit. The coyote wanted to eat the rabbit, but the rabbit was like, "I know some tasty chickens. I'll go and get them if you will wait here." And the coyote was excited about those chickens, but then the bunny was hiding. But then he found the bunny and the bunny was like, to the coyote, "Oh I got a little distracted. I should go, but I'm holding up this mountain." And then the coyote decides to hold up the mountain because he really wants those chickens. In the end the rabbit makes a circle of fire around the coyote and then he burns up. It is a little bit gross that he has to burn up the coyote completely because I can imagine what a burned up coyote looks like, and it is not very pretty. The story is in this play because it is an interesting story about one of the themes of the play, and it is that a coyote is also a name for somebody who helps people cross the border and takes advantage of them. The story says that the coyote is a very terrible guy and that you should never trust a coyote. The rabbit is just trying to defend himself, so you can't really blame the rabbit.

Gabi has this stuffed animal which is a rabbit named conejito, which means little rabbit. I think that it is representing that Gabi is a rabbit--that she is metaphorically the rabbit in the story. She is going to be clever and fight back. In her dreams she is clever and fights back instead of just taking it and being like "I don't care. I just have to." She goes to school and she's scared about that because it is her first day of high school and she also has to take a train and a bus to get to her school. She acts like the clever rabbit because she doesn't just run away because she is scared. She goes with it and says, "Okay, I can do this."

There is also a spirit in this show and she was a Mujer Azul (Lisandra Tena) or woman in blue. She saves people from coyotes--metaphorical coyotes--and from getting caught by the police. She is an important character in the play because she helps the father and Gabi cross from Mexico to Chicago. Gabi is crossing in her dream only; the dad is actually crossing. There is a similarity between Ms. Chan and the woman in blue. They are both played by the same person and the teacher helps her the same as the woman in blue. Ms. Chan helps her in finding out who she really is and also helps her with the problem with her mom. The problem is that her mom doesn't want to tell her how they crossed because she is afraid that Gabi might tell some people about it and then they would have to be transferred back. Miss Chan says, "Ask things about her childhood and what she dreamed about when she was your age." And that works!

I thought that it was cool when the director (Tom Arvetis) chose, instead of having desks on stage, to have Gabi and Ricardo (Kieran Kredell) go into the audience and sit next to the people in the audience. I think he made that choice for two reasons: 1) because it is cheaper because you don't have to buy the desks or make the desks and 2) because then the audience gets to kind of feel like they are in the class with Gabi and Ricardo. That was so awesome.

People who would like this show are people who like Mexican culture, metaphoric coyotes and rabbits, and sitting in a theater on the street where the show takes place. People should go see this show because it is educational and makes your feelings come out. It teaches you about how people can be deported, what a metaphorical coyote is, and it teaches you some spanish language. You want the characters to stay together as a family.

Photos: Johnny Knight

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Review of The Elephant and the Whale at Chicago Children's Theatre

Once upon a time I went to a show, and it was called The Elephant and the Whale.  It was about a whale (Becky Poole) and an elephant (Kasey Foster ) who were best friends.  But the whale lived in the water and the elephant lived on land.  So it was hard for them to get to know each other until the whale, when they were baling out water to give to Quigley (Kurt Brocker) for his mermaid show, got in with the rest of the water.  He needed 1000 gallons of water.  That's a lot of water!  And there used to be this very nice family who all of them were in the circus: there was ma (Becky Poole), the narrator (David Caitlin), and the Elephant and the gorilla.  At one point in the show, they said they had been performing for 49 years.  That means they would have to be 60 or 70 years old because they couldn't have started it when they were born!  They are too old and want to retire, but then Quigley comes along and says sell me that Elephant!  They have to because they only have 1 dollar and some cents.  This show is trying to say be kind to animals--not cruel like Quigley is.  It is trying to say, be kind and make new friends.

When I go to this theater they always give me giant program, which I think is really cool; I can understand why they are so big.  There is like an entire activity book in there.  That means you'll remember this experience even more; when you save the program, you'll see what you did with the activities.  When I went, there was a school group there.  So, if you are with a school group, remember that the school group is just happy to be out of school and they just want to be kind of noisy.  This is supposed to be an audience-participation show, but they kind of audience-participated too much sometimes.  I think the actors handled this kind of behavior by just going along with it.  I think that is a good idea because then people won't feel bad.

In the opening scene they put money in a machine, and the music comes on, and they start bouncing at the same time because they are having fun.  And then they start telling the story about who they are.  One of my favorite props in the show was a four-seated bike.  There was one in the front, and the narrator threw off the other guy so he had to sit in the back.  I have only seen a three-seated bike.  There are some pictures in the middle that tell the story by pictures scrolling across this kind of screen. I thought that it was a cool idea to have those pictures scrolling, and it was pedal operated.  I thought that was really cool.

In this play there are a bunch of puppets.  I think they could have done it without puppets, but puppets make it seem more realistic because they can't just have somebody grow a trunk suddenly or grow fifty feet tall.  The puppets look more like an elephant than a human wearing a trunk and ears and a blue suit and a tail would.  They could show the feelings of these characters with these puppets because they had slides of different kinds of eyes.  The movement can show the feelings too: by Ella putting down her head, by the whale flipping up its tail.

The projections I thought were really really cool because you can do a giant sperm whale going through downtown Chicago on a projection but not as well on a stage.  I thought some of the projections were funny like when Ella is running so fast and so stompily that it actually made Quigley go back and forth on his bike and he couldn't jump this ditch.  And then when they showed a close-up of him, his eyes were rolling around like so fast.  I thought that the hot dog cart was really funny because you saw it in a previous scene and then you just saw it floating underwater.

I reviewed a few Redmoon shows in my life--that is how I recognized that the projections and the puppets were by Redmoon.  Just so you know,  I have not tricked you or anything.  It is Chicago Children's Theatre and Redmoon doing a show together.  You know you are looking at a Redmoon production when you see the projection having a lot to do with the plot and not just being there for no particular reason.  They like to use lots of different kinds of puppets, but mostly they like to use giant flat puppets.

I thought that the music was really awesome.  The music was by Kevin O'Donnell.  I liked the music because at the beginning they all began bouncing up and down and the music was like bump-ah bump-ah bump-ah bah.  It was like a circus theme, and it made me feel like I was in a circus.  One of my favorite songs was where the elephant and the whale were singing together.  At the beginning the elephant was saying la la la la la la .  And it was just las and you couldn't understand what she was saying, but a little bit later they changed it so you could.  Once they translate the elephant you can understand what the whale is saying because she is repeating back what he is saying.  They use a saw to make the sound of the whale.  I know that sounds weird; they aren't going to just wave the saw in the air.  That would make a clang.  They have to make it sound like just murmurs.  They do that with a saw and a violin bow.  So they put the violin bow on the saw and they cut off the sharp part of the saw.  By bending the metal of the saw, they make different kinds of notes.  And it did sound a lot like a whale, and I thought them using a saw was a really great idea.  I have seen Becky Poole play the saw before, and she is really good.

People who would like this show are people who like circuses, family, and whale language. I think this show should be for ages 1 and up because I think that babies would really enjoy the humor and the audience participation and would be really happy.   I really want to take my baby cousin Zoe to the show because I think that she would like being squirted by the whale which happens in the show.  It is real water!  People should go see this show because it is funny, great for the whole family, and for some kids they learn something new about some animals.

Photos: Charles Osgood

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Winner of Ada Grey's 100th Play Review Contest

I have just put up my 100th play review and chosen the winner of my 100th review contest. I loved all of your entries. I would have loved to go to a play with any of you. My mom gave me all of the entries without names, so I didn't know who I was taking to a play, but I am excited about going to a play with Miss Rachel Harper whose entry was: "People who would like Ada Grey Reviews for You are people who like laughing out loud, noticing thoughts and feelings, and 'traveling back in time...sort of.'"

Thank you to all of you for reading my blog and making me feel so glad to be a reviewer!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Review of Catch Me If You Can (Broadway in Chicago)

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Catch Me If You Can and it was about a guy who made a lot of bad decisions. And the guy's name was Frank Abagnale, Jr. (Stephen Anthony). He had crushes on a bunch of different girls and he made fake checks and turned them into the bank. He had lots of different professions that he didn't actually do them; he didn't have any training so he had to make fake i.d.s that said he did do that profession. He did do the actual work, but he didn't do it well. He was a pilot and he was a doctor and he also said he was a lawyer. He is actually the hero, kind of. You are kind of saying, "don't let that policeman catch you!" But you are also kind of thinking, "Policeman, go and catch him!" This play, Catch Me If You Can, is actually based on a real man's life. You would think, "this is just a fake story"--because he does all these horribly-weird and why-would-you-do-that? things. It is fun to watch it because you shouldn't actually do these things and then you don't have to because you can just watch this person do them and it won't hurt anybody.

In the play they had this song which was sung by the detective/policeman Hanratty (Merritt David Janes) who wanted to get our "hero." It was about why he got into the FBI--because he wanted everybody to obey the rules. Why did he want everybody to obey the rules? Because when he was a kid he was very serious and he always wanted people to obey the rules in games and stuff like that. And when they played gangster and policemen he always wanted to be the policeman and never he wanted to be the crook. I liked that character's singing because that character wasn't exactly somebody who would be a rock star or something like that, but he still could sing really well. He didn't seem like a character that would dance either, but he danced like he was in a musical--which he was in one, but he wouldn't be in one if this story was real--he would be having his actual life being in the FBI. I thought that that was a funny element to this musical.

There was one song I thought that showed you how much Frank really liked girls because the only reason he became a doctor was because there were nurses. It was called "Doctor's Orders," and he was singing with a bunch of ladies, and he started flirting with all the nurses. They were dressed like nurses in old-fashioned t.v. shows and they were dancing like can-can dancers. It is important to know that he likes nurses because that is one of his faults. You should become a doctor because you want to be a doctor not because there are girls. When he became a pilot, it also had to do with girls because there are flight attendants. He needs to find the girl that he really likes and not just one just that he finds and thinks is pretty--because he thinks every single one is pretty!

There was this one song that was called "Fly, Fly Away" that I thought was really pretty and touching. Frank's fiancee Brenda (Aubrey Mae Davis) sings the song because she's sad that he's leaving and she's singing about how she wants him to come back to her. But at the end of the play he says that she married a real doctor--somebody who actually wasn't queasy at the sight of blood. When she went away and married somebody else it was because she knew Frank wasn't going to come back because she'd been waiting so long. She liked Frank because he was actually in love with her too not like the other man who was supposed to marry her before Frank. I thought she had an amazing voice!

One of the last songs was called "Good-Bye." And you would think that meant "Good-bye, that's the end of the show." But it didn't; there was one more song. But "Good-bye" is about him saying "Good-bye, that's the end of the show, there's nothing else to see." He is saying that because he doesn't want to go to jail. And if the show keeps going, he's going to jail. The writers (Terrence McNally, Scott Wittman, and Marc Shaiman) thought, "Oh, wow, wouldn't that be awesome if Frank just wanted everybody to leave the show before he went to jail so that it wouldn't actually happen." It shows us that he is saying "My life is just a play; my life doesn't actually exist" because then he doesn't have to go to jail. Wouldn't it be funny if everybody left and they didn't get to perform the song?!

People who would like this show are people who like FBI agents, fake checks, and nurses! I think this show should be for ages 7 and up because kids who are 6 might not understand why he is so obsessed with ladies. People should go see this show because it has some great acting and it is an awesome fun story that they bring to life in a very cool way. It is a broadway musical and an autobiography at the same time.

Photos: Carol Rosegg