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  Pal Joey at Stage 773

Pal Joey

Stage 773
1225 W Belmont Ave Chicago

Wabash Avenue, Chicago, 1939. Joey Evans, a brash, scheming song-and-dance man elbows his way into a job at a south side nightclub and is soon juggling the affections of a naive shop girl and a wealthy society dame who he hopes will set him up in business. When a meddling punk threatens to shake them down, Joey gets a taste of his own medicine in this ground-breaking, hard-as-nails classic featuring one of the greatest American musical scores including “I Could Write a Book,” “You Mustn’t Kick it Around,” “Zip” and “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.”

Thru - May 26, 2013



Price: $39

Show Type: Musical

Box Office: 773-327-5252

Running Time: 2hrs, 30mins; one intermission

www.porchlightmusictheatre.org


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  Pal Joey Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...The "Bewitched" ballad is just one of the musical gems in this 1940 show (composed by Rogers). McMonagle plays one of those wealthy Chicago women of a certain age. In this strikingly racy affair for its era, her Vera Simpson falls in love with the titular Joey Evans, a handsome if somewhat callow singer-dancer-lover, here played by the young, vocally adroit and nicely eroticized Adrian Aguilar. The ballad is pretty much an exploration of the state of lust - and if you think about it, it nails that state pretty well. And McMonagle offers up a take at once blousy, bluesy and blistering. "I'll sing to him," she sang Monday night, "each spring to him, and worship the trousers that cling to him." Pity those poor suckers who have to stay home, thought I at the moment."
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Chris Jones


Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...it is that brilliant choreographer Brenda Didier, and her purposefully hilarious, second-rate, attitude-aplenty chorus girls who easily steal the show here - most memorably dancing up a storm in "The Flower Garden of My Heart," complete with Bill Morey's laugh-generating costumes."
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Hedy Weiss


Chicago Reader - Recommended

"...Doug Peck's musical direction reflects the story's squalor with tinny trumpet and heavy-handed drums (though pianist Jeremy Kahn's preshow riffs on Rodgers and Hart standards are sublime); so do Brenda Didier's choreography and Bill Morey's costumes, notably in the hilarious second-act opener, "Flower Garden of My Heart," in which a bevy of chorus girls juggle Ziegfeld Follies elegance and burlesque cheesiness."
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Albert Williams


Centerstage - Recommended

"...The show is gleefully cynical and unsentimental. Its explicit and nonjudgemental portrayal of both premarital and extramarital sex would never have flown in the motion pictures of the same era. (A heavily sanitized film version of Pal Joey was made in 1957.)"

Rory Leahy


Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Pal Joey may be important to musical-theater history, but it doesn't hold up well. John O'Hara's book develops a flimsy love triangle between Joey, Vera and his neighbor Linda (Laura Savage serving concentrated ingenue), yet fails to provide solid reasons why any of these characters would actually want to be together. In Act II, the character drama is pushed to the background to make way for a plodding blackmail scheme, slowing the momentum of the production and weakening the integrity of the relationships. The second half of the show is largely saved by the work of the gifted female ensemble, including a show-stopping striptease from Callie Johnson. The story may not be the most satisfying, but Porchlight has assembled a cast that milks it for all its entertainment value."
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Oliver Sava


ShowBizChicago - Highly Recommended

"...The singing and dancing talent of Adrian Aguilar was phenomenal and extremely entertaining. The chorus girl dance team of Sharriese Hamilton, Lexi Lyric, Rachel Osting, Jenna Schoppe, and Jordan Yenta; along with the male counterparts of Daniel Spagnulo, Kory Pullam, Darrin French, Steven Pringle, Ben Chang, and Jim Hetherly strategically moved through Brenda Didier's wonderful choreography. The night-club, Cabaret feel of the ensemble numbers were bawdy and fun. Susie McMonagle flawlessly played the socialite with the desire for a handsome, younger man. She was as bewitching as her musical rendition of "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered". Truly a highlight of this show, this is one of Susie's best performances added to her long list of outstanding performances, awards and nominations. Laura Savage's sweet performance as Linda English, provided the innocence and balance this story needed. Linda's duets with Adrian singing, "I Could Write a Book" and "Take Him" with Susie McMonagle were lovely and inspiring."

Russell Goeltenbodt


Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...There's a lot to love about Porchlight's intimate perspective, from the dynamism of Michael Weber's stage direction to the 1930s Chicago razzle invoked by music director Doug Peck and choreographer Brenda Didier. But ultimately "Pal Joey" hangs on the style and chemistry of the two characters at its center - that manipulative cad and Vera Simpson, the rich, middle-aged society matron who rents Joey's boudoir bounty for the price of setting him up in his own nightclub."
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Lawrence B. Johnson


Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...The ensemble just triples the fun, as in the chorus girls' clumsy Ziegfeld imitation, "The Flower Garden of My Heart," sung with Burlesque bravado by Jim Heatherly, or the burlesque ballad "That Terrific Rainbow." My favorite, "You Mustn't Kick It Around" (which is also a warning to critics about bad-mouthing this show) suddenly turns the skuzzy South Loop Club into a Chicago Copacabana. Pal Joey is SO worth seeing. As the song says, "Plant You Now, Dig You Later.""
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Lawrence Bommer


ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"...But the evening's highest honor undoubtedly goes to Susie McMonagle as Vera Simpson. Ms. McMonagle's effortless musical phrasings give the unexpected romantic longing of Hart's lyrics their full due, serving to anchor Pal Joey in something arguably more "real" than even O'Hara or Hart could have anticipated. And if O'Hara's wayward plot just so happens to throw McMonagle's Vera inexplicably centerstage, you will find few this time around willing to complain."
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Anthony J. Mangini


Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Highly Recommended

"...I love the song "I could write a book." Yet, I wasn't completely crazy about John O'Hara's book. This play premiering in 1940 most definitely had tongues wagging. The scandalous premise is about a kept man. Ballsy, indeed! The story gets a little tired in the second act. And even the dynamic Aguilar can't make the character of Joey likable. Still, PAL JOEY knows how to entertain with musicality, movement and the marvelous McMonagle."
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Katy Walsh


Around The Town Chicago - Recommended

"...Michael Weber, Artistic Director of Porchlight Music Theatre has taken on this challenge. Since their “anthem” says they will bring to the stage, American Musicals- Chicago Style”, why not take on one that few have seen. To make his mission even more special, Weber , the Director as well, he has brought on a staff that is pure Chicago Musical- Doug Peck as the Musical Director and the highly talented Brenda Didier ( master of making a small stage appear larger when filled with dancers) as Choreographer. With these three at the helm, we know that the effort will be 200% from start to finish!"
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Alan Bresloff


Chicago Theatre Review - Recommended

"...This seldom-produced musical is worth seeing for its music, O'Hara's snappy dialogue, the premiere of the antihero in dramatic literature and, most certainly, for this talented cast led by Ms. McMonagle and Mr. Aguilar in their "Den of Iniquity.""

Colin Douglas


Huffington Post - Highly Recommended

"...Yes, the story is slight (aside from a limp blackmail subplot, there aren't any real high stakes at play), but that's not the reason to see this excellent production. Under Michael Weber's direction supported by Brenda Didier's delightfully period choreography, Porchlight captures the mood, tone and excitement that drives this musical's vintage heartbeat. It's a quintessential Chicago production that celebrates the working class nightlife that once permeated that "great big town on a great big lake.""
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Robert Bullen


Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Recommended

"...Choreographer Brenda Didier captures the tacky flavor of the second rate nightclub environment of the time as executed by a chorus line of a half dozen female dancers of assorted sizes and shapes. The small stage allows for no permanent sets but scenic designer William Boles takes the action from place to place by the placement of props efficiently moved by members of the cast between scenes. Bill Morey's costumes neatly capture the look of the late 1930's and his tinsel and rhinestone outfits for the chorus girls are first rate. Nick Belley and Greg Hofmann designed the lighting and Victoria Deiorio designed the sound, which consisted largely of replicating the sound of elevated trains oaring past the nightclubs. Director Michael Weber keeps the musical numbers and verbal action moving at a sprightly pace."

Dan Zeff


  Pal Joey 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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