Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended
"...I will say this, though: Carlson has a formidable assignment, singing a huge amount of Brendan Milburn's music and Val Vigoda's lyrics for almost all of the available 90 minutes, not to mention manipulating all the technical elements on which the show, at least initially, depends. She's game, appealing and all-in with this nonsense: totally admirable work in each and every way."
Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended
"...As far as wild premises go, Joe DiPietro's Ernest Shackleton Loves Me (music by Brendan Milburn, lyrics by Val Vigoda, with additional music by Ryan O'Connell), which is now in its Chicago premiere at Porchlight Music Theatre under Michael Unger's direction, checks all the boxes. But though the internal logic breaks down from time to time in this 90-minute show, as a paean to "foolish optimists," it mostly rings true."
Let's Play Theatrical Reviews - Highly Recommended
"...Porchlight Theatre brings a masterpiece of comedy, music, and splendid narrative adventure to its stage in Ernest Shackleton Love Me. Elisa Carlson (Kat) and Andrew Mueller played their roles to perfection. Carlson, a musical savant, has an amazing combination of vocals that match her incredible talents in playing musical instruments. Mueller is a natural with a fantastic comedic style and great singing and musical skills. Together they make this 90-minute production of love and adventure a spectacular evening you wish could continue forever."
Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended
"...I never heard of Ernest Shackleton! At least not until it was announced that Porchlight Music Theatre would have the honor and distinction of hosting the Chicago "premier" of Joe DiPietro's "Ernest Shackleton Loves Me", a new musical ( music by Brendan Milburn and Lyrics by Val Vigoda) on its stage at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. As we learn from this play, he was indeed a real person, a 20th-century polar explorer. If one listens closely to the words in the story and song, one can learn a great deal about this explorer, but thanks to "Google" you can learn more than you want to even know."
The Fourth Walsh - Recommended
"...ERNEST SHACKLETON LOVES ME is a swirl of contemporary and history. Shackleton’s adventure is introduced in such an engaging way that I googled to learn more. Although I found the history aspect more intriguing then the love story, ERNEST is imaginative storytelling."
Chicago On Stage - Highly Recommended
"...That the musician and the explorer, finding solace in each other, come close to finding love across the decades as well is foreshadowed in the show’s title, but a relationship is not the point. In fact, the playwright scuttles it almost as soon as it seems to be happening (which makes sense anyway, as they’d have had a rough go at it given everything lined up against them, not the least of which is that Ernest Shackleton died in 1922). But each of these characters discovers through the other that optimism need not be foolish after all. In fact, it may be all you need to get through the difficulties life presents you with."
PicksInSix - Recommended
"...The dream-like hallucination that is "Ernest Shackleton" combines the mundane struggles of out-of-work electronic music composer Kat with the over-the-top epic tale of 20th century Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton. Like two chaotic glaciers passing in the night, their stories collide at paralleling pivotal points of survival for each. While Kat's circumstance might not be so life-threatening, the unlikely pair team up to face life's unexpected trials to the tune of Kat's music. Driven by her unique blend of stylings, Ernest and Kat venture forth to battle physical and emotional odds, conquering their fears, facing their losses and finding themselves along the way."
BroadwayWorld - Highly Recommended
"...I didn't think I'd ever see a singing Antarctic explorer in a musical, but that's exactly what ERNEST SHACKLETON LOVES ME delivers. This quirky but conventionally structured two-hander introduces audiences to Kat, a struggling experimental musician with a newborn baby and a deadbeat, absent boyfriend who's on tour with a Journey cover band, and the eponymous Ernest Shackleton."
NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended
"...What do an early twentieth-century Arctic explorer and a modern-day single mother and struggling musician have in common? Almost nothing! And yet they make for the most charming companions in “Ernest Shackleton Loves Me,” a tale of existential grief and nautical adventure. This award-winning musical features a book by Tony Award-winner Joe DiPietro and music by Brendan Milburn, directed by Michael Unger."