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  Baritones Unbound at Royal George Theatre

Baritones Unbound

Royal George Theatre
1641 N. Halsted Chicago

Conceived by three-time Tony Award nominee Marc Kudisch, and written by Kudisch along with Broadway veteran Merwin Foard, Metropolitan Opera star Jeff Mattsey, and Musical Director Timothy Splain, BARITONES UNBOUND explores "the uncommon voice of the common man." Starting in 1791 with the first major baritone role, Papageno in Mozart's The Magic Flute, our Baritone guides create for our eyes and ears each musical period raising the Baritone's stature making him hero, anti-hero, and ultimately the romantic voice of the common man. Using theatrical and musical mechanisms, world-renowned voices but, above all, a lot of comedy, Broadway star Marc Kudisch, and international opera stars Nathan Gunn (amusingly referred to as the Barihunk or the Hunkitone) and Mark Delavan (The Voice of God) give you an unforgettable, laugh-filled, thoughtful and ultimately moving musical theatrical evening.

Thru - Jan 3, 2016

Price: $60

Show Type: Musical

Running Time: 2hrs, 10mins

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  Baritones Unbound Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...Impresario Hershey Felder, who is presenting this show, has carved out a very viable and populist niche of shows that celebrate the history of classical music and, of course, the American songbook. His core audiences are a bit like elder hostel learners, eating up the chance to better appreciate the context of the art they are enjoying. "Baritones Unbound" sits very easily and enjoyably in that sector; there is just yet more work to be done."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Conceived by Kudisch, who created the show with Merwin Foard, Jeff Mattsey and Timothy Splain (who also serves as the superb onstage piano accompanist), the show has been directed by David Dower, who has given his engaging performers plenty of room for improv, with results that can be both charming and a bit awkward. It hardly matters, for as the three baritones lead us through the ups and downs of the baritone “songbook” the intersection of social change, artistic evolution and popular taste is revealed in a way that is fascinating rather than pedantic. And with a little tightening and polishing this show could easily become an instant pickup for wider viewing over the PBS network."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...Kudisch's upper-register nasality and Delavan's sometimes foggy tone produced an uneven blend and some out-of-tune harmonies in the group numbers, and Delavan's rendition of the great "Lonely Room" aria from Oklahoma! substituted a showoffy and dramatically unearned alternate ending for the one Richard Rodgers wrote, reminding me of Wagner's famous phrase "effects without causes." (But the audience ate it up.) Directed by David Dower, this Boston-born touring show features musical direction by pianist Timothy Splain."
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Albert Williams

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...So don't come expecting a stodgy recital with human bullhorns in penguin suits belting forth leather-lunged fortissimi. Don't assume, either, that physique is always an indication of laryngial prowess ( forgive us, Rick Astley! ). Our friendly hosts acquit themselves capably on Western-style guitars, as well as hoofing ( kind of ) and frequently share lyrics-performing the "Soliloquy" from Carousel as a three-way dialogue between buddies, for example-to keep the visual picture moving at all times. The patter on preview night was still a bit rough around the edges, but by the time pianist/musical director Timothy Splain ( who's not a baritone ) joined the trio downstage for a Johnny Cash encore, we wouldn't trade them for a whole roomful of chirpy tenors."

Mary Shen Barnidge

Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...A showcase for all seasons, Baritones UnBound is impeccably mounted on a museum-quality set by producer Hershey Felder, its cyclorama embellished with appropriate projections, and superbly accompanied by picturesque Timothy Splain. No need to pick favorite selections among the three belters, where each magisterial sound captivates you until the next conquers the field. Unbound indeed!"
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...The excellent piano work by music director/accompanist Timothy Splain and the polished direction by David Dower add pleasure to this stellar work. Baritones Unbound! is a holiday treat running only through January 3, 2016. Baritones Unbound! is a slick, richly sung baritone's delight. It is a "can't miss" theatrical event that begs to be seen. It is one of the best production seen on a Chicago stage this year!"
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Tom Williams

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...When one sees “Hershey Felder Presents” on the marquee (or on a poster) of a theater, one expects the highest of quality on the stage of that theater. Once again, with his newest entry into the season of Felder at The Royal George Theatre in Chicago “Baritones Unbound”, exceeds these expectations! Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!, rang out through the theater from the first song to the finale."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...This is all highly entertaining, sure. But to be totally honest, my eyes involuntarily rolled in the first few minutes of the show when I thought, "Great. Another show with an all-male cast." The recent shortage of baritones in pop culture seems to coincide with significantly shifted concepts of gender-smooth, womanizing Sinatra no longer being the pinnacle of manhood. But this show proves that there is still plenty of room for gushing and unabashed celebration of the male (baritone) voice."
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Joy Miller

Chicago Theater Beat - Highly Recommended

"...Baritones Unbound is a beautifully produced and performed mixed bag. It's a fun idea and a collection of wonderful songs rendered by three of the musical world's best and brightest. It's also occasionally dated and clueless, not to mention lengthy. If I were only reviewing the three performers, I'd easily give them four stars, but the source material and concept of Baritones Unbound gives me pause."

Lauren Whalen

Chicagoland Musical Theatre - Recommended

"...Partly your favorite college lecture and partly a bro-out; three heavyweight baritones from opera and Broadway–Mark Delavan, Nathan Gunn and Marc Kudisch–take their audience on a rich two-thousand-year journey of a vocal register that they claim is taken entirely for granted. Being neither here nor there, the baritone is, instead, everywhere: in churches, on the stage, on the screen, and on the radio. And being neither hero nor villain, they are the common man, caught “between heaven and earth.”"
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Patrick O'Brien

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