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  All the Fame of Lofty Deeds at Chopin Theatre

All the Fame of Lofty Deeds

Chopin Theatre
1543 W. Division Chicago

While all his contemporaries died tragic, early deaths in the mid century, fictional country music legend Lofty Deeds is alive and bewildered in the present, unsure what to make of the modern-day cartoonish exploitation of his past and his own obsolescence. Sadly reflective and yet hilariously surreal, All the Fame of Lofty Deeds mixes rock biography, live music, puppetry, and stunning visual effects to create a portrait of the demise of country and western’s golden age and the exploitation of its greatest heroes.

Thru - Dec 20, 2009

Thursdays: 8:00pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 8:00pm
Sundays: 7:00pm

Price: $15-$29

Show Type: Comedy/Drama

Box Office: 773-278-1500

Running Time: 2hrs 10mins; one intermision

Nearby Restaurants

  All the Fame of Lofty Deeds Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...This is a very different kind of jukebox musical. But I think Langford’s many fans will immediately sense that this deceptively sophisticated show has deftly caught many of the inspired paradoxes that make up their man: a transplanted Britisher with a cultural affinity for the American badlands; a consummate metaphoric storyteller with a long-established disdain for the music business and a need to peel back the onion and find the folk center of a song."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Playwright/rock journalist Mark Guarino (a frequent Sun-Times contributor) hit on a gold mine of ideas when he partnered with Chicago musician-artist Jon Langford (Waco Brothers) to create this show. Using Langford's country-themed music and art as inspiration, Guarino weaves the story of a washed up honky-tonk singer who looks back at his life to fully understand the effect of his legacy. Director Tommy Rapley has taken all these elements and melded them into a creatively edgy production."
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Mary Houlihan

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...In the second act of All the Fame of Lofty Deeds, Mark Guarino's homage to the music and art of Jon Langford, the title character tells a smarmy rock journalist/horse (stay with me), "You're going to write a piece that in no way represents the people and places my stories come from." Which is funny, because that's exactly what Guarino has done in this ambitious but disappointing production from the House Theatre of Chicago. The band sounds pretty good, but the show suffers from narrative rootlessness and underdeveloped characters. Apparently unable to decide on what story he's most interested in telling, Guarino throws a lot of strands at the wall to see what will stick—and what will allow a segue to a musical interlude."
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Kerry Reid

Windy City Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...Money can't buy happiness. Selling out in exchange for stardom is bad. If these cliches, er, maxims come as revelations, then All the Fame of Lofty Deeds will hold you mesmerized with its revelatory exposition. If, however, they strike you as fortune-cookie banalities, you might want to skip the House Theatre's latest Nathan Allen vehicle, er, world premiere of playwright Mark Guarino's familiar-as-a-corny-country-song musical. In all, director/choreographer Tommy Rapley's cast fails to eke out any emotional truth out of the platitudes on parade."
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Catey Sullivan

Centerstage - Somewhat Recommended

"...The House's fictional bio of Lofty Deeds, a composite of country music legends great and small, is a gratifying, if uneven, showcase for a cabal of Chicago talent. Imaginative designers, triple-threat actors, and meticulous musicians adapt Mark Guarino's poetically formulaic script and Jon Langford and friends' gritty, hard-luck soundtrack, on balance, successfully. But the company's trademark stage flash can't make up for the show's weaker moments."

Justin Sondak

Time Out Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"... the storytelling doesn’t quite live up to the music, culled from a decade’s worth of Langford’s Bloodshot Records catalog and performed by a terrific onstage band. Guarino’s fantasia, inspired by Langford’s visual art as well as his 2004 solo album of the same name, depicts a fading country & western star (Allen) looking back on the indignities of his career. He’s guided by a portentous tumbleweed (Corri Feuerstein in one of costumer Debbie Baer’s more fanciful designs, charming in a seemingly unnecessary role)."
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Kris Vire

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...Jon Langford’s songs were outstanding and they worked nicely with Mark Guarino’s book making this show much more than merely a jukebox revue. There is a a story of a man’s life and a portrait of an era that is cleverly presented to maximize all the theatricality contained. Tommy Raley’s staging was expert and Nathan Allen’s performance highlighted this special treat. I loved the music most. This show combines stunning staging with rich acting with toe-tapping music to thoroughly entertain you. Who could ask for more?"
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Tom Williams

Chicago Theater Beat - Recommended

"...The story is dark; the forgotten celebrity drinking himself to death. The script is complicated; flashbacks with stories within stories. But like enjoying any country song, don’t get too caught up in the story or words. And appreciate art for art! Take pleasure in the music and the colorful images. What came first – the song or the picture? Langford created the character Lofty Deeds in his song “All The Fame of Lofty Deeds” and in his cowboy skull painting. Guarino took the song and wrote the play. The House Theatre took the play, painting and song have brought it to life on stage. The results, All The Fame of Lofty Deeds is a banjo-picking, toe-tapping, tumbleweed-talking good time."

Katy Walsh

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