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  The Ballad Of Lefty and Crabbe Reviews
The Ballad Of Lefty and Crabbe
The Understudy

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended

"...It's a rip-roaring time, but the ground note of melancholy never fades away. Elisabeth Del Toro plays a starlet named Lolo Carmichael who's engaged to an asinine producer. Lolo, like Lefty, has melancholy threaded through her character, but she understands, and becomes Lefty's teacher in understanding that laughter doesn't have to be about being happy. It can work as a disguise. You don't even have to mean it when you smile, it turns out. But there happens to be no other way to stay alive in a world that's gone haywire overnight."
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Max Maller



Windy City Times- Recommended

"...The Ballad of Lefty and Crabbe is a bouncy, good natured, lickety-split new musical set around 1927-28, when Hollywood switched to talkies but still made silent films as well."
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Jonathan Abarbanel



Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...Set in Hollywood during the early 1920's, the steady decline of vaudeville is tracked through the life and careers of this fictional comedy team. Finding themselves down on their luck motivates the two men to endure humiliation and take on roles in Hollywood in an ever-changing world of entertainment. At first just trying to survive, when fame and fortune come knocking, the boys are enticed to sacrifice their scruples and longtime friendship for a material world. But eventually morality wins out in the end and audiences will find themselves cheering for these two likable guys with heart and a dream."
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Colin Douglas



Buzznews.net- Highly Recommended

"...It is hard to imagine anyone not being smitten by it; it is just the type of show that you can imagine endearing itself like Hand to God or Avenue Q to an Off-Off-Broadway audience as it works its way into the hearts of investor angels."
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Bill Esler



Chicagoland Musical Theatre- Highly Recommended

"...Penned by visiting Missourians Ben Auxier, Brian Huther and Seth Macchi, and directed by their cohort Rusty Sneary, this gag-a-second, mile-a-minute romp just goes to show that sometimes, the oldest jokes in the book are still in the book for a reason."
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Patrick O'Brien



Storefront Rebellion- Somewhat Recommended

"...The Ballad of Lefty & Crabbe, then, which opened Tuesday night at the Understudy, is a reminder that they can’t all be hits—or at least they can’t always be fully formed by opening night. This breakneck-paced comedy about a vaudeville duo that struggles to find a foothold in Hollywood has moments of promise, but at present they’re mostly submerged in a sea of competing bits."
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Kris Vire



Chicago On Stage- Highly Recommended

"...Rusty Sneary directs this fast-paced, very funny musical as if he indeed is putting on a vaudeville show. There are silly sight gags, huge popping personalities and wonderfully sharp dialogue; even the “band” is a lone pianist (Annabelle Revak). The songs, by Brian Auxier and Brian Huther (who also play key roles in the show; Huther is a hoot), are enjoyable, entertaining, and varied. Natalie Rae shines as a would-be starlet who is eking out a living singing in speakeasies. And the book, by Auxier, Huther and Seth Macchi), though predictable, is a lot of fun. In fact, the whole thing is an absolute joy."
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Karen Topham



Picture This Post- Recommended

"...This is a Day at the Races style marathon of fun. The cast seems to be having a ball—and you feel it. If you just can’t get enough of those oldie comedy flicks born more of Vaudeville stages than silver screen, you are well-advised to change your schedule to catch this show. And if you just want a couple of hours of fun escapism, this is a good pick too."
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Amy Munice