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  A Catered Affair at Stage 773

A Catered Affair

Stage 773
1225 W Belmont Ave Chicago

Set in the Bronx in 1953, A Catered Affair is a bittersweet reflection on the complexities of relationships between husbands and wives and parents and children. A couple must decide whether to spend their life savings on a family business or to celebrate their only daughter's marriage with a lavish catered affair, providing her with the joyful wedding they never had for themselves. A beautiful exploration of the resilience of love, A Catered Affair features a melodious, 50s-inspired score. The production received three Tony Award nominations, eleven Drama Desk Award Nominations as well as the Drama League Award for Distinguished Production of a Musical.

Thru - Apr 1, 2012

Price: $38

Show Type: Musical

Box Office: 773-327-5252

Running Time: 1hr, 35mins; no intermission

Stage 773 Seating Charts

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  A Catered Affair Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...Director Nick Bowling's new Porchlight Theatre production, which looks quite expensively produced and features an eight-piece orchestra, fully commits to the veracity of this piece and features a variety of superb character actors (the remarkable Rebecca Finnegan and Craig Spidle) who know how to show us characters in pain. The acting is frequently excellent. Spidle and Finnegan are relentless (the panic in Spidle's eyes when he realizes money is being spent is strikingly intense), Jerry O'Boyle (who plays the gay uncle who lives on the couch) makes much of Fierstein's sharp observations and paints a full picture of his complex man, and both Kelly Davis Wilson and Jim DeSelm capture the brief buoyancy of youth."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Set in Brooklyn in 1953, “A Catered Affair” is an old-fashioned story (its source is a Paddy Chayevsky teleplay and a subsequent film from the era) about a money-strapped, working class Irish-Catholic family in the Bronx. It is easy to see why the show floundered on Broadway (it lacks any hint of spectacle). But this is precisely what makes it such a triumphant work for Porchlight, where, under Nick Bowling’s skilled direction (and music direction by Doug Peck), it more than compensates for flashy production numbers with intimacy, heart and deeply drawn human relationships."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...Under Doug Peck's musical direction, the score—written in the art-song style also embraced by such post-Sondheim theater composers as Michael John La Chiusa and Adam Guettel—is lovely and lyrical, played by an onstage string quartet supported by offstage keyboard and reeds. Delicate instrumental textures emphasize the emotional fragility of people who conceal their feelings beneath tough exteriors. Audiences seeking an unusual, well-crafted musical drama performed by actors who disappear into their roles rather than dominate them will find much to appreciate here."
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Albert Williams

Centerstage - Highly Recommended

"... The remarkable performers bring their characters to life, fleshing out every subtle nuance in this realistic story about a family’s emotional and financial struggle while planning a wedding. Rebecca Finnegan leads the cast with her glorious, heartbreaking portrayal of matriarch Aggie Hurley. A powerful vocalist, capable of fusing genuine emotion with musical perfection, Ms. Finnegan’s thrilling performance is a must-see. She’s perfectly matched by Craig Spidle’s reticent, hard-working husband Tom who finally explodes with decades of pent up feeling. Jerry O’Boyle brings humor, poignance and grace to Uncle Winston, a role that, in lesser hands, could easily be overplayed. Prepare to smile and shed a few tears at this sublimely perfect marriage of artistry."

Colin Douglas

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"... Director Nick Bowling employs the polished yet unflashy aesthetic he’s honed at TimeLine Theatre, resulting in a sharp, clean production that captures the wedding’s high stakes. Brian Sidney Bembridge’s appropriately drab set accentuates the Hurleys’ modest living."
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Oliver Sava

Chicago Theatre Addict - Recommended

"...Despite the melancholic tone of the piece, Director Nick Bowling brings a tender, hopeful touch, making it easy to connect with this struggling family. Yet there are two big problems with Porchlight’s otherwise fine production: first, the venue is an acoustic nightmare for a such a subtle show (the gorgeous, onstage string quartet overpowers the vocals on many occasions, despite the actors being unevenly miked). Second, Brian Sidney Bembridge’s stage design, though lovely to look at, places many of the key scenes on an awkwardly lit platform, located at the far back of the house and high above the audience, removing us from the intimacy of the moment."
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Bob Bullen

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...Musical director Doug Peck’s adept work embraces polished accompaniment by a string quartet placed off to one side, with piano, bass and clarinet behind an apartment wall. There’s an inviting intimacy about this journey. No matter where you sit for the ride, you will not miss the view."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

ChicagoCritic - Somewhat Recommended

"...The 95 minute slowly paced musical does have a nice string with piano and reeds music (fine music direction by Doug Peck) buy the melodies are filled with melancholy. They overwhelm the singers at times. The singing dialogue together with the wrenching ballads and anthems give the piece an soft foreboding lifelessness. At the show’s end, there is a glimmer of hope for the loveless family – just a sliver. Perhaps casting stronger singers to surround Finnegan would help but ultimately scrapping the singing dialogue would be best. I’d advise making A Catered Affair into a drama with songs. As it plays now, A Catered Affair is mixed bag of operetta, melodrama, and musical theatre- with the music as the main treat."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Recommended

"...Today “A Catered Affair” is reborn as a charming 100-minute chamber musical written by composer/lyricist John Bucchino and book writer Harvey Fierstein. In Chicago it’s also a vehicle for the marvelous Rebecca Finnegan. With the same solid conviction she lavished on Porchlight Music Theatre’s past triumphs, the redoubtable Finnegan is achingly authentic as Aggie, a hard-boiled, time-battered mother who’s crushed by the recent death of her prized son in battle in Korea."

Lawrence Bommer

Chicago Now - Recommended

"...I have some ongoing concerns about the acoustics on the main stage at Stage 773. The audience is in a U-shape around the stage. For this show, I’m sitting center, northeast. The robust string-heavy orchestra is just off the stage, southeast corner. The music is enchanting. Unfortunately, I can’t always hear the singer if they are in the southwest corner. It’s the dandelion in an otherwise lovely bouquet of posies. Still, A CATERED AFFAIR serves up a scrumptious homemade slice of true love."
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Katy Walsh

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"... Anyone who has ever been involved with a wedding and the planning of this major event in a young woman’s life, will get a special feeling in viewing a very special musical treat at Stage 773 on Belmont in Chicago. This is the the Chicago premiere of “A Catered Affair” the musical with a book by Harvey Fierstein and music and lyrics by John Bucchino based on a Bette Davis movie of the 1950′s- an exploration of just how strong love can be. This is 90 minutes of deep emotion brought to the stage under the clear direction of Nick Bowling with musical direction by Doug Peck; need I say more?"
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Alan Bresloff

   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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