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  Jack Lemmon Returns at Royal George Theatre

Jack Lemmon Returns

Royal George Theatre
1641 N. Halsted Chicago

Jack Lemmon's lifelong dream was to be an actor, head to New York from his hometown of Newton, Mass. and "Save Broadway." At the urging of a show-biz minded mother, but a serious business-minded father, Jack pursued his dream and, due to a remarkable set of events, became one of the world's all-time great movie stars. Believing that no actor should ever be pigeonholed into being either a comedian or a serious dramatic artist, Jack Lemmon broke barriers, and played everything. As the first actor to win Academy Awards as both Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor, Jack Lemmon's talents knew no bounds. But with every blessing there can also be a curse, and Jack's son Chris was witness to it all.

Thru - Jul 20, 2014

Wednesdays: 7:30pm
Thursdays: 7:30pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 2:00pm & 8:00pm
Sundays: 3:00pm

Price: $55

Show Type: Performance Art

Running Time: 1hr, 30mins

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  Jack Lemmon Returns Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...If you go to "Jack Lemmon Returns," you'll likely struggle with the first few minutes, which are a fairly standard and dull chronological trot through the early years of the Lemmon career, as narrated by Chris in character as the man himself. The show picks up greatly when Chris Lemmon comes into existence — and we start to see the emergence of a portrait of the elder Lemmon as a father. In the show (both the writing and direction are credited to Felder), the idea is that Jack Lemmon (played by his son) addresses an unseen son (which was Chris). That device actually works very well, not least because it has emotional resonance. The flat sections of the 90-minute show come when Chris Lemmon is off stage, so to speak."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...Written and directed by Hershey Felder (known here for his one-man shows about George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein and Beethoven), this 90-minute piece is longer on storytelling than on music. Jack Lemmon was an enthusiastic pianist, with a jazzy style that echoed his distinctive, rubato-like semi-stutter. He had a passion for Gershwin. And early on, as an unemployed New York actor, he even earned his suppers playing in a joint. Chris is a classically trained pianist, but stays true to his dad's level."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...All in all, Jack Lemmon Returns reminds me of the final scene in Orphans, the play by Lyle Kessler: When a needy young man comes home to discover his newfound father figure sitting on a couch, dead, the young man sits down next to the corpse and tries to get its limp arm around his shoulder in a paternal hug. The sad fact, though, is that the father figure can't do it. He's dead."
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Tony Adler

Talkin Broadway - Highly Recommended

"...Felder's script keeps the point-of-view as Jack's, but Chris' perspective has certainly guided the piece. The relationship between Jack and Chris is shown to be a close, loving one in spite of Jack and Cynthia's divorce. Though Jack and Chris lived apart after the breakup, we're told Jack made daily visits to spend time with the son he affectionately called "hotshot." Equal importance is given to Jack's close friendship with his frequent screen partner Walter Matthau (whom Chris impersonates quite skillfully)."
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John Olson

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...With little more onstage than a piano and stark projection screens that flash images of Lemmon’s most famous films like—Some Like It Hot, Mister Roberts, The Odd Couple, The China Syndrome—and scenes of his childhood and family, we’re asked mainly to listen. What we hear is an affectionate and all-together absorbing tribute."
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Gwen Purdom

ShowBizChicago - Highly Recommended

"...Over the course of a quick-paced ninety minutes, Chris, as an actor playing his father, goes to some very dark places and truthful places, which cannot be an easy task night after night. After all, this was his father who wowed us in Mister Roberts, cemented his stardom in Some Like It Hot, became the first to accurately portray the life of an addict in The Days of Wine and Roses, and then take his fame to new heights when he met his on-screen "brother" Walter Matthau in The Odd Couple and Grumpy Old Men. But this is the same man whose addiction predicated many of his life's choices and affected his only son in the most profound ways."
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Michael Roberts

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...Hershey Felder (George Gershwin Alone, Maestro Bernstein, and recently The Pianist of Willesden Lane) is master storyteller who uses music as the ultimate metaphor as he weaves that engrossing style to keep audiences engaged in his productions. His shows catch fire with audiences and have extended runs here. Chicago loves well crafted one person shows and so do I."
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Tom Williams

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...One thing I have found over the years is when the name Hershey Felder appears on any show, whether he is in it or has had something to do with the creation of same, you are in for a treat. This is the case with his newest venture, The World Premiere of Chris Lemmon, as his father in "Jack Lemmon Returns", now on the stage of The Royal George. Felder is a true story teller and always mixes in music to complete the experience."
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Alan Bresloff

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"..."JACK LEMMON RETURNS" is a wonderful true story of a man that so many of us know, remember, and love. It is a real treat for the audience to witness the extreme love that Chris Lemmon has for his beloved father Jack with the beautiful portrayal of his dad. Hershey Felder has created another masterpiece. I can honestly say that I can't wait to see what is next."
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Russ Goeltenbodt

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