CHICAGO (CBS) — From singing into your hairbrush to theater under the stars, 2’s Got Your Ticket.
Arts and entertainment reporter Vince Gerasole takes a look at two productions whose creatives say their shows are the perfect fit for where we find ourselves at this moment in time, but each for a different reason.
Yes, there will be spandex, and all those great Abba songs sung into a curling iron or hairdryer.
“Thank goodness we’ve got that hairdryer in the show,” said Shanna Vanderwerker, choreographer for Music Theatre Works’ production of “Mamma Mia” at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts.
Mamma Mia! is a global phenomenon and arguably the first jukebox musical.
“There’s a lot more to the layers of Mamma Mia,” said the show’s director, Justin Brill.
It artfully weaves the songs of Swedish pop sensations Abba into the story of a young daughter searching for her father, and her frazzled mother confronting a lost love.
“It speaks to the idea of family connection,” Vanderwerker said.
The themes of old friends uniting aren’t unlike the rest of us coming together after months of lockdown.
“The show is rooted in so much joy and celebration,” Brill said.
An authority figure spinning fantastical yarns is at the center of Oil Lamp Theater’s latest outdoor production, “Shipwrecked! An Entertainment,” where audiences sit in socially distanced Adirondack chairs on the grounds of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Glenview.
“This script, in particular, was a great, I think, celebration of the live event of actor and audience,” said director Corey Bradberry.
“Shipwrecked! An Entertainment” is the story of the so-called 19th century swiss explorer or con artist Louis de Rougemont. Presented as an evening with de Rougemont himself, it’s up to the audience to decide if his tales of flying wombats or a man-eating octopus are fact or fiction.
“This play, even though it’s a lot of fun, offers a pretty apt warning to what happens when you accept what’s being told to you at wholesale,” Bradberry said.
Back in 1899, The Wide World Magazine wrote “truth is stranger than fiction but de Rougemont is stranger than both.” You can judge for yourself.