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  Gotta Dance at CIBC Theatre

Gotta Dance

CIBC Theatre
18 W. Monroe Chicago

In 2007, a group of expert dancers was tasked with getting professional basketball's first ever senior citizen dance team performance-ready. The venue? Center court. The genre? Hip-hop. Over the coming months, bonds would be formed, generation gaps would be crossed, and, eventually, some pretty hot moves would be busted. Gotta Dance tells the remarkable true story of these wildly diverse seniors with a common goal, the young coaches who help them achieve it, and the unlikely art form that brings them all together.

Thru - Jan 17, 2016



Price: $38-$105

Show Type: Musical

Running Time: 2hrs, 30mins; one intermission

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  Gotta Dance Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"..."Gotta Dance" contains a couple of songs by the legendary "A Chorus Line" composer Marvin Hamlisch, who died while this show was in development - his duties were assumed by his very talented protege, Matthew Sklar, working with the witty lyricist Nell Benjamin. One of Hamlisch's tunes, penned for the cool DeShields character and titled "Prince of Swing," is a formidable ditty, although Sklar's catchy "Princess" (a lovely duet and motif for a dancing grandmother and granddaughter, beautifully played by White and Joanna A. Jones) sounds exactly like something the melody-master could have written. That's even right down to the distinctive kind of Hamlisch melodic hook. Perhaps he hummed an idea, or maybe Sklar just knew how to learn from the best. Either way, the score is generally a pleasing suite of songs, albeit still lacking a real hip-hop tour de force."
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Chris Jones


Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...A sweet, mostly light-hearted, entirely predictable feel-good show, it is infused with many of the familiar messages that boil down to "you're only as old as you think you are," and (to paraphrase the lyrics of a song) "you can't go backward, but you can go on." That's about as deep as it gets."
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Hedy Weiss


Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...Stopping in Chicago on its way to a Broadway run, the new musical based on a 2008 film documentary follows a bunch of senior citizens as they train to become a hip-hop dance squad, supplying half-time entertainment for a pro basketball team. Matthew Sklar's tunes are generic, as are Nell Benjamin's lyrics. Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin's book is a skeleton hung with trite backstories. And why doesn’t anybody say the obvious: That the squad is just a novelty designed to amuse fans with the spectacle of cute oldsters acting silly? Maybe because Gotta Dance is precisely the same thing."
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Tony Adler


Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Ultimately, the show doesn't yet have much to distinguish it from any of countless other let's-put-on-a-show underdog narratives. To piggyback on the basketball theme, Gotta Dance has perfected a few sure-scoring plays. But it'll need a lot more coordination to win the game."
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Kris Vire


ShowBizChicago - Highly Recommended

"...Gotta Dance, the latest Broadway bound musical which opened last night at the Bank of America Theatre, proves with no certain terms that Jerry Mitchell has become musical theater's most prolific directors in decades. If Kinky Boots didn't cement this notion, Gotta Dance certainly will.Based on the true story of an over 60 hip-hop dance troupe, Gotta Dance has an incredibly memorable and energetic score with music and lyrics by Matthew Sklar and Nell Benjamin, which effectively moves Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin's humane, funny and relevant book."
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Michael J. Roberts


Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...Earning its name, Gotta Dance works best as a splendid showcase for a richly mixed crew. A populist pleaser with almost too much heart to process, it's a "comfort musical" for any hard times. Considering so many compelling detailed differences among the dancers, the ultimate uniformity of their act-ending hip hop numbers ("Swagger" and "Get Up") is all but awesome. The serviceable score serves the story well enough, but the main miracle is the ensemble, themselves a true team, ripe or ready. The unlikely amalgam of senior strivers and a hip hop backdrop makes strange sense. As the show argues, old folks who don't want to go gentle into that good night have much in common with a pop genre that serves the dreams of overlooked aspirants. Attention must be paid."
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Lawrence Bommer


ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"...The greatly experienced ensemble interact with each other quite believably, and the key to Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin's success as bookwriters is their respect for the people at every point in life. It's true that they do not delve into the issues facing the characters nearly as deeply as they could, and while Nell Benjamin's lyrics for inspirational act closers "Swagger" and "Get Up" are rousing, others sound like they were inserted with a sledgehammer. But for a feel-good musical, Gotta Dance is well done indeed, and on the way out of the theatre, every face was cracked with a grin."
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Jacob Davis


Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Get ready Broadway! Chicago is about to send you another BIG HIT- "Gotta Dance" will run here thru January 16th and then re-tool itself to open in the fall in New York City. In past years, the shows that have started here have proved to be highly successful. Chicago audiences are great! They truly know good theater and the production team uses their knowledge to make the changes as they get settled in for their pre-Broadway stay."
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Alan Bresloff


Chicago Theatre Review - Recommended

"...Jerry Mitchell has again brought his unstoppable passion, pluck and pizzazz to direct and choreograph another Broadway bound musical. Like his recent productions of “On Your Feet,” “Kinky Boots,” “Legally Blonde” and “Hairspray,” to mention a few, Mr. Mitchell’s shows are wholesome and inspiring, while excitingly filled with memorable performances, toe-tapping songs and graceful, innovative choreography. This musical about individuals showing “What I Did For Love,” is a heartwarming story that will speak to everyone about the underdog finally making it. With just a little fine tuning, this promising production of “Gotta Dance” will become another “Gotta See.”"
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Colin Douglas


Chicago Theater Beat - Highly Recommended

"...Mitchell and company's energy is infectious: Gotta Dance radiates positivity and sweetness from beginning to end. The inspiring story of a group of determined seniors is perfect fodder for a musical comedy, but the production doesn't resort to caricature. Bad eyes, dated pop culture references and all, the elders of Gotta Dance demand respect and admiration. And they earn it, and then some."

Lauren Whalen


Chicagoland Musical Theatre - Recommended

"...It’s a fun premise supported by a rather strong songbook by Matthew Sklar of Elf renown with clever lyrics of Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde) and contributions from Marvin Hamlisch, his last work before his 2012 death. Some terrific individual performances, especially by Engel, DeShields, Ticotin and the gorgeous and talented Haven Burton as aged-out-at-27 dancer Tara, the group’s coach, highlight the overall strong ensemble."
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Barry Reszel


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