Broadway In Chicago is happy to introduce “Short and Sweet,” a quick view of our shows courtesy of Diana Martinez, who will give you the lowdown on Broadway In Chicago productions from the perspective of an audience member. Diana has more than 25 years of experience as an entertainment executive, most recently as President of The Second City. She has directed and produced over 40 live Broadway musical theatre shows and has presented more than 350 world-class Broadway national tours, dance, headline comedians and concert. We hope you enjoy this quick insight into our shows, and since this is all about our audience, share your own thoughts with us in the comments below.
Do anything to see Anything Goes
This Tony Award®-winning Broadway National Tour of Anything Goes is the real deal. Right off the bat these cats sweep you into the swanky, salty 1930’s with their fabulous double-talk and witty banter. This is solid cast with veterans all the way around and the sets are straight from the Broadway Stage.
Within the first few bars of leading lady Rachel York’s smoky and silky rendition of “I Get a Kick Out of You,” I knew I was for a real treat. She has an unmatched smooth, mezzo voice that oozes with a style and control that is hypnotic, giving you a hankering for a sloe gin fizz. But don’t let it fool you, as the show continues she lets it rip and can belt it out against the best.
My guest for the evening was Emily Martinez, my 24- year-old niece, recent DePaul graduate, a Chicagoan and one of Kraft’s newest brand assistants. As the lights came up at intermission she was still looking at the stage and said, “I love the ’30s and now I love them more. There isn’t anything I don’t like about this show. It’s perfect”.
This production is truly everything a national Broadway musical tour should be: huge production numbers, show-stopping tap breaks, opulent sets and costumes and a story filled with humor and romance. This production is timeless and it is played and timed perfectly. Big kudos to director Kathleen Marshall for knowing just how to hit each beat and appeal to a modern-day audience. Instead of feeling dated, the show actually feels fresh and makes you realize just how smart, sexy, racy and edgy the ’30s were – the humor was sharp and filled with sophisticated wit. One interesting thing I noticed is that the show hits almost every classic comic style imaginable from mistaken identities, play on words and puns, to vaudeville “Who’s On First” style bits, slapstick and double-entendres. It was all here – and masterfully executed by this distinguished cast making the opening night audience LOL throughout the show.
The sets are opulent massive and impressive, and they keep coming scene after scene. The costumes designed by Martin Pakledinaz are stunning and the sleek and flowing designs and fabric choices always included a gorgeous visual payoff from the back of each dress.
The chemistry and spark between Josh Franklin and Rachel York in the duet “You’re the Top” was one of the highlights of the show for me; by the sounds of a show-stopping ovation complete with hoots and hollering from the opening night audience I think the sentiment was shared. Other show stoppers were the act I finale “Anything Goes” with 22 hoofers bringing it home, “Blow, Gabriel, Blow,” and the finale which brought this Chicago audience to an immediate standing ovation. This is a show you can bring the entire family to, so get them together fast because the show is only sailing through until May 5. Honestly, this is an amazing cast and production not to be missed.