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  Grand Hotel at Theater Wit

Grand Hotel

Theater Wit
1229 W Belmont Ave Chicago

Inspired by the novel and the 1932 Academy Award-winning movie of the same name, which starred Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford and John and Lionel Barrymore, the musical Grand Hotel is set at the tail-end of the Roaring Twenties. With the world between wars and the stock market booming, a crew of eccentric characters meets at the Grand Hotel: the fading ballerina, the charming but destitute Baron, the fatally ill bookkeeper, the honest businessman gone bad, the typist dreaming of Hollywood success and the doctor who foreshadows the coming Depression. The musical, which opened on Broadway in 1990 and won five Tony awards and five Drama Desk Awards, is now playing at Chicago's Theater Wit. Issues of life and death, financial ruin, love and murder all converge as people come and go through the lobby of the Grand Hotel.

Presented by Kokandy Productions

Thru - May 27, 2018

Show Type: Musical

Box Office: 773-975-8150

  Grand Hotel Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...Kokandy's production takes us on an emotional journey not often associated with this show. By the time the ensemble drapes the furniture in dust cloths, we're saying goodbye not just to a hotel and a way of life but to a group of characters we've grown to care about, no matter how fleeting our time with them has been."
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Kerry Reid

Daily Herald - Recommended

"...The challenge of steering "Grand Hotel" clear of melodrama falls to Glover, who crafts authentic moments that add substance to the show. Trager's conflicted Preysing wrestles with his conscience over whether to "take the crooked path." Norton's anguished Raffaella pines for a woman she will never have. And Dohner's tragic baron imagines a future he will never experience."
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Barbara Vitello

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...The show's script and score are credited to playwright Luther Davis and songwriters Robert Wright and George Forrest, with additional material by Maury Yeston. But the real strength of Grand Hotel lies in the way its original director-choreographer, Tommy Tune, along with original musical supervisor Wally Harper, edited merely serviceable material into a fluid, compelling theatrical narrative. This strength is evident in Kokandy Productions' intimate revival, directed by John D. Glover with imaginative choreography by Brenda Didier."
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Albert Williams

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...I've always loved "Grand Hotel," since I first saw the 1932 film with its incredible all-star cast that only begins with Greta Garbo, John Barrymore and Joan Crawford. In 1989, the film, based on a novel by Vicki Baum and a play by William A. Blake, was transmuted quite successfully into the musical that Kokandy Productions now offers in a concept and cast that get right at the poignant heart of the story."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...Sedately slumping in this Lobby of Fools, Miller's cynical doctor sums it all up: "Grand Hotel, Berlin. Always the same - people come, people go - one life ends while another begins - one heart breaks while another beats faster - one man goes to jail while another one goes to Paris - always the same... I'll stay - one more day." Alas, we know exactly what's heading his way and it won't be "the same": Next year stocks crash and, four years later, Germany goes toxic. The colonel's slice of life is very thin."
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Lawrence Bommer

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...They are currently bringing to the intimate Theater Wit /Theater One , “Grand Hotel: The Musical” with a book by Luther Davis( based on the original film of the same name by Vici Baum) and music and lyrics by Robert Wright and George Forrest, with additional music and lyrics by Maury Yeston ( who brought us the “other” Phantom)!."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...Frustratingly, the performances are incredible. As the problematic Baron, Erik Dohner’s voice soars through the space in a way that’s impossible to deny. Leryn Turlington’s performance as Flaemmchen, the typist, evokes Sutton Foster, not just in vocal quality and dance prowess but in charm and style. Jonathan Schwart’s Otto Kringelein, the accountant, is deeply sympathetic and masterfully danced. But the direction of this production, and the choice of this script, leaves them all treading water in a show that would have been better left on the shelves of a History of Musical Theater course."
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Emma Couling

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...Kokandy Productions has yet another breathtaking hit on its hands. John Glover’s storefront production of a forgotten classic is spectacularly performed, gorgeously staged and technically perfect. In two-hours that pass all too quickly, this exquisite musical reminds us that, as the Doctor muses, “It’s always the same. As one life ends another begins; as one heart breaks another beats faster; and as one man goes to jail as another man goes to Paris.” How true."
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Colin Douglas

The Fourth Walsh - Highly Recommended

"...GRAND HOTEL is THE place to be for one last pre-war/depression indulgence. The beauty of the place belies the despair beneath the glitter and pearls. Based on Vicki Baum's 1928 play and novel Menschen im Hotel (People in a Hotel) and the subsequent 1932 MGM feature film, Playwright Luther Davis weaves together the stories of people desperate to hang on to their yesterdays and others searching for the promises of tomorrow. Glover's crew welcomes us to experience the pleasure and pain of both."
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Katy Walsh

Chicagoland Musical Theatre - Somewhat Recommended

"...It’s commendable that Kokandy tackles this monster as well as it does. Any lacking in this show is through no fault of the company’s, aside from its choice to do it in the first place. The design is gorgeous and the performances, solid. The book is simply so weak that even Broadway’s biggest stars couldn’t make this Hotel grand."
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Jane Recker

Chicago Theater and Arts - Highly Recommended

"...This classic, Tony-Award-nominated musical comes to life in the hands of Kokandy Productions in Theater Wit. The moment you enter, the elegant set creates a warm ambience and violin and percussion sounds welcome you."
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Mira Temkin

Chicago On Stage - Highly Recommended

"...Step into the space at Theatre Wit for Kokandy Theatre's production of Grand Hotel and you are transported somewhere elegant. Chandeliers hang from the ceiling. Beautiful architecture and twin balconies overlook a sparse but stylish hotel lobby. A pianist plays on a white piano, accompanied by a violinist. Everything about Jeffrey Kmiec's set design screams "opulence," and that is the point: the year is 1928 and, in Berlin, the place to go is the Grand Hotel. It is a time of prosperity, when the affluent flaunt the wealth they have amassed and the poor dream of better times ahead or become angry at the disparity between the monied and non-monied classes. It is the year before the stock market crash, before a worldwide depression and then a World War, when decadence was celebrated."
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Karen Topham

PicksInSix - Highly Recommended

"...In the expert hands of director John D. Glover with Musical Director Aaron Benham and Choreographer Brenda Didier, Kokandy's Grand Hotel is a fast-paced, non-stop gem. The broadsheet program lists nearly two dozen in the cast. Several of the high-stepping dance numbers had over twenty onstage - no small feat of traffic control by the seasoned Didier to pull off so marvelously in Wit's Theater One."
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Ed Tracy

Picture This Post - Recommended

"...Great thought has obviously been given to the staging of this production (Director John D. Glover, Music Direction Aaron Benham, Choreography Brenda Didier) and the end-result is riveting. Every inch on the stage seems to have been examined for how it can add or subtract from the dramatic moment at hand. The staging often struck this writer as a moving Bruegel painting, and also with one especially memorable shift to a Black Painting of Goya pose to convey the deformity of moral compromise."
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Amy Munice

  Grand Hotel Photo Gallery

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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