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  Play Details

Re-Spiced: A Silk Road Cabaret

Chicago Temple
77 W. Washington St Chicago

Re-Spiced: A Silk Road Cabaret is a playful, sexy, occasionally subversive, always entertaining, musical pastiche of Asian and Middle Eastern images in American and British song. From Broadway show tunes to pop, from country to rap, from folk to jazz to rock, Re-Spiced turns the tables on “us” and “them” with panache and glee and leaves us wondering just who’s who?

Thru - May 6, 2012



Price: $20-$30

Show Type: Musical

Box Office: 312-857-1234 x 201

Running Time: 1hr, 35mins; no intermission

www.silkroadrising.org



Nearby Restaurants

  Re-Spiced: A Silk Road Cabaret Reviews

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"... But the eight-member cast and musical director Ryan Brewster bring sardonic lightness to a tongue-in-cheek medley of pop anthems exploiting the exotic other —from "Walk Like an Egyptian" to "Turning Japanese" to "Kung Fu Fighting." Brenda Didier's high-spirited choreography makes the most of the small proscenium space, and if you grab a seat at one of the front-row tables, you're likely to be on the receiving end of extra attention from the performers."
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Kerry Reid


Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"... The show is a smart, incisive, 90-minute collage of songs about the Far East, Southeast Asia and the Middle East —drawn from both the Broadway and pop music songbooks, and deftly interspersed with brief interludes of prose and poetry from writers spanning the 11th to the late 20th centuries. What alters or heightens the meaning and message of these pieces is that they are being performed by eight actors whose varied ethnic backgrounds cannot help but put into sharper relief both the naivete and sentimentality —as well as the idealism and satirical bite —of Western artists writing about places and people perceived as “exotic” or at least different."
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Hedy Weiss


Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...The mix of contemporary and classic tunes alone makes this cabaret worth seeing. But Re-spiced is smarter than your average evening of great music because Jamil Khoury has wittily turned his playlist into a 90-minute meditation on the myriad ways in which the West gets the East wrong."
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Jack Helbig


NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...As staged by director Steve Scott and choreographer Brenda Didier, the show succeeds on the basic level of being an enjoyable cabaret sung and danced with vigor and verve by a cast long on Asians and short on Caucasians. This casting alone creates a running reinterpretation of the texts and lyrics on stage without the need for any overt polemical shading, whether it’s acquainting contemporary audiences with the lyrics to Harry Warren and Mort Dixon’s “Nagasaki” from 1928, long before that city became tragically synonymous with atomic destruction (“Back in Nagasaki/ Where the fellers chew tobaccy /And the women wicky-wacky/Woo”) or giving a whole new level of peril to Toby Keith’s anthemic “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue.”"
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Brian Hieggelke


Centerstage - Highly Recommended

"... Re-Spiced is a rare and admirable production that perfectly combines thought provoking content with an overwhelming sensibility of lighthearted fun."

Rory Leahy


Chicago Stage Review - Recommended

"... There is a great deal of musical, emotional, political and intellectual perspectives that Re-Spiced: A Silk Road Cabaret blazes through in this 90-minute melodic montage. You are left pleasantly shell-shocked by all the ground covered and thrilled to have taken this sometimes sentimental and mostly sensational journey with the beautifully captivating cast."
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Venus Zarris


Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...The blatant exoticism of South Pacific’s “Bali Hai” may seem obvious. But when it’s threaded together with musings on the region and its peoples by everyone from Edith Wharton to Weezer and William S. Burroughs to Ice Cube, Khoury, dramaturg Neal Ryan Shaw and director Steve Scott draw a compelling through line of the West’s long history of alternately fetishizing and fearing those “unimagined lands.” A winning cast of eight ably sells both that story and Ryan Brewster’s accomplished arrangements, which offer musical satisfaction as well as a lyrical clarity that allows us to ponder anew the amiable tone deafness of “Walk Like an Egyptian” and the xenophobic malevolence of Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.”"
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Kris Vire


Chicago Theatre Addict - Highly Recommended

"...This cast of eight is fantastic. Each performer offers a highly unique approach to the material. In addition to those mentioned above, other highlights include Jaii Beckley’s beautifully sung “Bali Hai” from South Pacific, Christine Bunuan’s hysterical “They Ain’t Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore” by country singer and humorist Kinky Friedman, and Dipika Cherala’s gorgeously understated “Baubles, Bangles and Beads.”"
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Bob Bullen


Chicago Theater Beat - Recommended

"...With musical direction by Ryan Brewster, Re-Spiced often takes songs or poetic snippets that are deeply familiar and instills them with fresh, intense meaning. Such is the case with Jaii Beckley’s masterful delivery of the South Pacific chestnut “Bali Hai” – never have I heard the song performed with such haunting poignancy or underscored with such a profound, melancholic longing. It’s simply exquisite; an ode to a lost world of unspeakable beauty. The piece falls into Re-Spiced’s “location medley,” which also includes an insouciant take on “Istanbul (not Constantinople),” the manically proper “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” and several lesser-known gems including Harry Warren’s 1928 tune “Nagasaki.” "

Catey Sullivan


ChicagoCritic - Somewhat Recommended

"...Stronger voices with a clearer focus which may have exuded more empathy and charm like the first Silk Road Cabaret show did would make this revue more stage worthy. As it plays now, there is enough quality tunes to give an honest portrait of Asian and Middle Eastern psyche as part of the unique melting pot know as the USA. Once this revue is trimmed and refocused, it’ll be even more stinging as a playful, sexy and subversive musical pastiche. It is worth a look."
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Tom Williams


Chicago Stage Standard - Recommended

"... I love this concept, and - perhaps because I lived for six months in South Korea recently - it made me hunger for a show featuring artistic voices from the Silk Road countries commenting on the America they have known over the last three centuries. Hopefully the strong points music and poetry can make will continue shaping the essential cultural bridge that Silk Road Rising is building between East and West."

David Zak


Chicago Now - Highly Recommended

"...Creator Jamil Khoury describes the show with ‘no genre left behind.‘ It’s funny and it’s true. Khoury has devised a robust playlist on this road trip to exotic lands. It’s all about diversity... musically, philosophically, symbolically, physically. Under the innovative direction of Steve Scott, the cast mirror Khoury’s melange. The high-energy and talented ensemble are various ethnics, ages, and sizes. Collectively, they homogenize and harmonize with soul searching purpose. When they sang “Bui Doi”, I became incredibly choked up."
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Katy Walsh


Around The Town Chicago - Recommended

"... In this production, while we did have a few tables stage-side, the previous version was much more Cabaret with vocalists telling their stories from every angle of the intimate theater. Yes, some fine music was used, “Arabian Nights” from “Aladdin” ( with some new lyrics to stress a point), “Travelin ‘Man”, “Mad Dogs and Englishmen”, “Bali Hai”, “Istanbul”, “Slow Boat to China”,”One Night In Bangkok”, “Bui Doi”, “Shalom” and as a finale, “Anthem ” from Chess and followed as an encore, “Shakalaka Baby”. Roughly 41 songs, some playful, some sexy, some very though provoking and some very subversive. This was nearly 90 minutes of great music that might have been a better show with less prose and just the music with slight interweaving of the Asian and Middle Easter themes."
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Alan Bresloff



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