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  The Gifts of the Magi at Stage 773

The Gifts of the Magi

Stage 773
1225 W Belmont Ave Chicago

Around and about, New York City, 1905. Newlyweds Jim and Della, foolish and wise at the same time, lovingly sacrifice their greatest possessions and find a holiday treasure. O. Henry’s immortal masterwork is joined by his tale of “Soapy Smith,” a cheerful bum who only wants to get arrested so he can spend Christmas in a warm jail cell. The music is gorgeous, the stories are human and charming, and the message for the season is one that you'll want to bring your whole family to enjoy again and again.

Thru - Dec 30, 2012



Price: $39

Show Type: Musical

Box Office: 773-327-5252

www.porchlightmusictheatre.org


Stage 773 Seating Charts


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  The Gifts of the Magi Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"..."The Gifts of the Magi" is certainly a well-intended diversion, quite brief and suitable for all. And Elizabeth Doran's musical direction is very solid. But the show falls between a lot of sweet spots: It's not expansive enough for you to feel as if you are experiencing the pageantry of 1905 New York, but it's also too diffuse in style and focus for you to fully feel like you are sharing in a difficult but very intimate Christmas."
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Chris Jones


Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...Opening up the "Magi" story turns out to be a mixed blessing, with some of the jewel box-like intimacy and intensity of the Dillinghams' devotion and gift-giving becoming dispersed. But the show, directed by Mark E. Lococo and choreographed by Brenda Didier, has a lovely, character-defining score that is being beautifully sung here. Elizabeth Doran's musical direction is impeccable, as is her lush piano accompaniment, with Christina Foster and Brent Roman on percussion."
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Hedy Weiss


Centerstage - Somewhat Recommended

"...How far will people go to demonstrate their love? Jim and Della, an impoverished young married couple trying to survive in turn-of-the-century New York City, discover the lengths to which each is willing to sacrifice for their devotion. O. Henry’s cherished short story, melded with another of his favorite tales, comes to life and is transformed into an 80-minute musical by Mark St. Germain and Randy Courts. Porchlight’s production marks Chicago’s premiere of a holiday treasure that’s a bit tarnished."

Colin Douglas


Time Out Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...Porchlight's production fares best in the vignettes featuring Jim and Della, warmly portrayed by relative newcomers Chelsea Morgan and Jason Richards; Nate Lewellyn charms as a sort of magical-newsie narrator. But the usually dependable McKillip's vaudeville interludes feel too big for the intimate space, and Courts's score doesn't provide many memorable hooks. Much like the Christmas windows at Marshall Field's (sorry-Macy's), Mark Lococo's staging seems padded out with empty wrapping."
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Kris Vire


Chicago Theatre Addict - Recommended

"...Porchlight, under director Mark E. Lococo, presents a clean, polished production featuring excellent musicianship, led by music director Elizabeth Doran on piano and Christina Foster skillfully navigating a whole slew of percussion instruments to add color to the lilting score. Unfortunately, the venue at Stage 773 has always proved horrible acoustic-wise, and this show suffers as well. From my seat far stage right, many lyrics got gobbled up in the black box space."
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Bob Bullen


Chicago On the Aisle - Not Recommended

"...the weaknesses of this show are intrinsic. If neither Richards nor Morgan displays the vocal wherewithal to give their songs wing, it's also true that the music and lyrics seldom rise above the banal. The same applies, even more pointedly, to the featureless acting and overmatched singing of Heather Townsend and Gerald Richardson as The City pair. The strongest vocal effort - and most engaging personification - comes from Nate Lewellyn as the narrator-chorus-town crier Willy."
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Lawrence B. Johnson


ChicagoCritic - Not Recommended

"... After all the distractions,the act of love by Jim and Della seemed as anticlimactic. The dull songs and the redundantSoapy scenes made this show neither a worthy holiday show nor a vibrantmusical. This show simply tried too hard to do too much, proving that less, is, indeed more. Too bad O Henry’sshortstorieswerenotplayed as dramas. That might have worked but this piece just doesn’t sing."
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Tom Williams


Chicago Stage Standard - Somewhat Recommended

"...Randy Courts' pseudo-Sondheimesque songs advance the stories but muddle the emotions: His and St. Germain's lyrics restate the obvious and explain what doesn't need it. Mark E. Lococo's sprightly staging benefits much from Heather Townsend and Gerald Richardson as a crisp chorus, Jason Richards and Chelsea Morgan as the misgiving lovers, and a chipper Nate Lewellyn as the puckish narrator. Finally, Kevin McKillip's fraudulent Soapy managed to not amuse on opening night. As his cop might say, Show's over, folks. Nothing to see here. Please move on."

Lawrence Bommer


Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Somewhat Recommended

"...I’m a huge fan of the profound and simplistic message of O. Henry’s short story. To me, it symbolizes the crux of the holiday. Mark St. Germain takes this beautiful lovers’ story and interweaves it with slapstick comedy. As Jason Richards (Jim) and Chelsea Morgan (Della) tenderly express their love, Kevin McKillip (Soapy Smith) yucks it up with vaudevillian-style schtick. The combination definitely loosens up the holiday drama. Under the direction of Mark Lococo and choreography of Brenda Didier, one scene twirls into another. “The Restaurant” bit gets laughs and then the mood shifts as we return to Jim and Della’s financial woes. The balancing act keeps the sentimentality from getting too sappy or melodramatic. Although I tend to like my O. Henry straight up and tear-inducing, this amalgamation works as a light-hearted, holiday romp."
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Katy Walsh


Around The Town Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"... This year, there is a new holiday musical. Think back t the charming love story that was written by O. Henry, “The Gifts of The Magi” that shows the true meaning of Christmas, and add music, and you will have the new holiday production now onstage at Porchlight Musical Theatre. With a book by Mark St. Gemain and music and lyrics by Randy Courts with some lyrics by St. Germain, this 90 minutes of story telling with music is charming, but perhaps needs to be worked on just a little bit more. Directed by Mark E. Lococo on the intimate stage at Stage 773 with a solid, albeit small cast, what we have is a talented cast with some okay music, clever choreography ( Brenda Didier) and a delightful story, yet, it just doesn’t shake the holiday mistletoe as I had hoped it would."
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Alan Bresloff



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