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All That He Was
All That He Was

All That He Was
Pride Arts Center - The Buena
Thru - Sep 15, 2019

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Show Information

Pride Arts Center - The Buena

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Recommended

"...I found it a profoundly emotional experience. The production values are very modest and the accompaniment merely a keyboard, but the cast (ably led by Matthew Huston, Sarah Hayes and Joe Giovannetti) is made up of singers of great honesty and feeling. Not every moment ranges as deep as it might - but that dig would, of course, be immense. At no point do you feel like anything is contrived or insincere; even the flaws here seem to come from a determined kind of intensity, a collective recognition of what here was at stake. And many of the songs are beautiful."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Reader- Somewhat Recommended

"...But the show's youthful vigor can pluck the heartstrings, especially in moments revisiting the darkest days of the epidemic. Director Cousineau's earnest if at times overwrought performers sing the stuffing out of a demanding score. Even the wish-fulfilling finale, perfectly devoid of cynicism, feels like something of a tonic."
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Justin Hayford

Stage and Cinema- Highly Recommended

"...Engagingly shaped by musical director Cody Michael Bradley, each song carries industrial-strength conviction from a consummate cast. Delivering some very great goods, director/author Cousineau has crafted a very communal labor of love. Pride Films and Plays’ show is in effect a musical “panel” from the AIDS Quilt. It works wonderfully as both a sharply focused memoir from a corrosive epidemic and some very universal discoveries."
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Lawrence Bommer

Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...I love when I go to a world premier play, knowing nothing about it, and come out impressed, with my new best musical. And one thing about The Buena, Pride Arts Center on Broadway, is that happens a lot. As you can tell by past reviews anything that David Zac touches, turns to gold. How do you take a play about a topic like AIDS, in the year 1992, and come out feeling good? I remember that year, I lost friends to it, I just finished my medical training a year earlier, and the topic was fresh on my mind, with absolutely no cure around."
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Frank Meccia

Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...Some of us have actually lived through this horrible, frightening period of time. We’ve watched helplessly as friends, relatives and loved ones suddenly became mysteriously sick and then wasted away into living corpses. We’ve buried too many kind and talented young men and women to ever become complacent about the AIDS epidemic. To younger audiences, this dark era of illness and death is something vague from the past that they’ve only heard or read about. However, like the Holocaust, it’s a moment in history that must never be forgotten. In Larry Todd Cousineau and Cindy O’Connor’s moving new musical, being given a remarkably moving Chicago production, as part of Gay History Month, every theatergoer, young and old, will always, always remember."
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Colin Douglas

The Broadway Blog- Recommended

"...The strongest aspect of All That He Was is its stellar cast. Huston is a relatable narrator, gently guiding us through the ups and downs of his short existence, and creates loving, believable chemistry with Giovannetti in the touching duet "Our First Christmas." Warren's little brother is a perfect blend of frustrated teenage angst. He's attending the funeral against his parents' wishes with a wide-eyed resolve to be better in ways he doesn't quite yet know how. In a gifted ensemble, Brown is the standout. Fresh off a triumphant turn as Yitzhak in Theo Ubique's Hedwig and the Angry Inch, she brings a darkly funny self-awareness to what could have been a tired stereotype. Because ex-girlfriends who still carry a torch for their gay best friends are everywhere, and just like the men they mourn, these women deserve a little dignity."
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Lauren Emily Whalen