Chicago Theatre Review
Lightweight Summer Entertainment with Heart
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change
When the calendar says June and Chicagoland is perched on the brink of warmth and escapism, those looking for a way to pass those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer in the air-conditioned comfort of a theatre seat may find a good choice in Lincolnshire. This sweet, humorous revue about love, dating, relationships and marriage is like a good beach book. However, Joe DiPietro (book and lyrics) and Jimmy Roberts’ (music) romantic romp is more like the theatrical equivalent of a short story collection than a novel.
Different scenes featuring four of Chicago’s finest triple-threats take us on a fast trip through the awkwardness of blind dates, gender differences, the first sexual experience, parental expectations and ultimately marriage. The second act chronologically continues by satirizing post-marriage: the career bridesmaid, the first baby, challenging family relationships, and how life and love goes on, even after the death of a spouse.
Chicago favorite Bernie Yvon is hilarious in “Tear Jerk,” about a real macho man, reluctantly forced to sit through a chick flick only to end up sobbing loudly and uncontrollably to the embarrassment of his date. He shifts gears with “The Baby Song,” a touching number sung against a film featuring the actor and his sweet little bundle of joy. Alex Goodrich, Jeff Award-winner for Marriott’s recent hit, “Hero,” sparkles in numbers like “A Stud and a Babe,” with Bernie Yvon in “Why? ‘Cause I’m a Guy” and in the sexually charged “Marriage Tango.” But Mr. Goodrich is particularly wonderful in the evening’s most poignant song sung to his wife of several years, “Shouldn’t I Be Less in Love with You?”
The wonderfully talented and versatile Kelly Anne Clark, a long-time veteran of this show everywhere from Off-Broadway (where it’s advertised as New York’s longest-running Musical Revue) to the first Marriott production, dazzles in each of her scenes. From her duet with Alex in “A Stud and a Babe” to her heartfelt, “I Will Be Loved Tonight,” Kelly is funny, charming and sincere. Johanna McKenzie Miller, not only a beautiful vocalist in shows like “Alice in Wonderland” and ”The Music Man,” shows wonderful comic timing in her scenes. Joined by Kelly, she attacks “The Single Man Drought” with relish, teamed with Alex she nails “The Marriage Tango” and agrees to new beginnings in her twilight years with Bernie in “I Can Live with That.” However Ms. Miller, costumed in one of Nancy Missimi’s funniest creations (a frock resembling a pile of green chiffon pumpkins), stands out with the best song of the show, “Always a Bridesmaid.”
Although director/choreographer Matt Raftery has attempted to update the revue with some excellently chosen projections and by injecting some clever touches (such as his rolling tables-and-chairs choreography), the show seems to remain firmly rooted in the ’90’s, almost making it a period piece. However, the sentiments and themes remain timeless and true. For a summer night of theatre, this production is the perfect light entertainment. Filled with humor and heart, the strength of this pleasant pastime is in reminding us of the good things in life.
Reviewed by Colin Douglas
Presented June 12-August 11 by The Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, IL
Tickets are available by calling 847-634-0100 or go to www.MarriottTheatre.com.
Additional information about this and other area productions can be found at www.theatreinchicago.com