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  The Most Happy Fella Reviews
The Most Happy Fella
The Most Happy Fella

The Most Happy Fella
Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre at No Exit Cafe
Thru - May 14, 2017

Show Information


Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre at No Exit Cafe

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Highly Recommended

"...Productions of this work are rare in Chicago these days. Loesser always insisted that "The Most Happy Fella" was just a musical comedy, but it's really an operetta, a genre that has waned in popularity even as it has remained costly to produce. There are more than 40 wildly diverse musical numbers in this three-act show - enough for at least three musicals by modern standards - and most of director Fred Anzevino's cast members, all clearly laboring for love, are operatically trained."
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Chris Jones



Chicago Sun Times- Highly Recommended

"..."The Most Happy Fella," Frank Loesser's rarely revived 1956 musical, opened Monday night in a glorious Theo Ubique Cabaret Theater production. And by the time it was all over I was ready to tack a sign on this inimitable Rogers Park storefront operation's door that would read: The Little Opera House on Glenwood Avenue."
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Hedy Weiss



Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended

"...Theo Ubique's staging in an intimate cabaret space brings out the best in Loesser's finely shaded character development, an effect heightened by director Fred Anzevino's preference for fine actors, like Molly Hernandez, who communicate volumes with a tiny movement of the hand or a slight twitch of the mouth. And when Loesser's show transitions from dialogue to song, watch out! His full-throttle operatic score, sung by a strong-lunged, open-throated cast, blasts like heavy metal turned to 11."
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Jack Helbig



Stage and Cinema- Highly Recommended

"...At the beating heart of this lovely epic are Roberts’ magnificent baritone and concentrated honesty and Hernandez’s sweet soprano and open-eyed embrace of unexpected tenderness. That combination proves as real as music makes life. Loesser’s lovely line says it all: “There is no room for anything more.”"
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Lawrence Bommer



Splash Magazine- Recommended

"...Director Fred Anzevino is well-known for taking large pieces and downsizing them to work in a small theatre through immersive staging. Admirable, yet I struggle to understand why "Fella" needed this. Instead of adding intimacy this whole production felt unnecessarily compressed. "Fella" is a wide-ranging exhaustive operatic piece, set in the vast spaciousness of a Napa Valley winery. Therefore, it's clearly intended to be in a large auditorium. So why do it in such a small cabaret-style theatre? It's ambitious for sure, but totally unjustified by the material."
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Justin LeClaire



ChicagoCritic- Highly Recommended

"...The story is a touching love story, a fine romantic operetta with intense dramatic arias and splashy Broadway tunes. You’ll love these characters and you’ll admire their stage craft and, of course, their strong singing. The Most Happy Fella is a blend of art and entertainment as the fabulous singing carries you off an a romantic trip to the wineries of Napa Valley. This is a first class version of Loesser’s “magnus opus” that will impress and engage you from the start. Kudos to Theo Ubique for mounting such a wonderful (and difficult to cast) operatic musical. Come hear terrific voices sing a lush score and enjoy am old fashion romantic love story. You leave No Exit Cafe feeling good and entertained. That’s what excellent live stage shows do."
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Tom Williams



Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...If you have never been to TheoUbique a/k/a The No Exit Café located at 6970 N. Glenwood, you owe it to yourself to find a date in your busy calendar to fit this show in. You will thank me later, and you will thank the cast that night If you have been to this venue ( then I am sure you know that you will have a great experience)."
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Alan Bresloff



NewCity Chicago- Somewhat Recommended

"...The capitol combination of director Fred Anzevino, musical director Jeremy Ramey and choreographer James Beaudry slims down the fulsome song-and-dance piece to perfectly suit No Exit's intimate space. As always, Bill Morey gets the costumes just right. Sarah Simmons makes the desperately meddling sister Marie easy to hate, despite her pliant singing voice. The archetype second bananas of Herman and Cleo are played delightfully by Chicago newcomer Joe Giovannetti and Courtney Jones. Both of their bright, full voices carried easily over the orchestra."
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Aaron Hunt



Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...This production is certainly one of the finest that this impressive company has ever presented. And that’s saying a lot, because almost every show they produce is golden. Possibly because of Fred Anzevino’s Italian roots, this musical is resplendent in its classical sound and authentic feel. The intimate venue is beautifully converted into a rustic, wood-hewn series of decks, stairs, pergolas and gazebos, designed by Adam Veness, covered with grapevines and accented with festive lighting, courtesy of James Kolditz. Bill Morey’s beautiful costumes bespeak those innocent Eisenhower years with style and color. In other words, Fred Anzevino’s new production is an abbondanza of heart, talent and artistry that shouldn’t be missed."
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Colin Douglas



Chicagoland Theater Reviews- Highly Recommended

"...It's unlikely that many audience members will have seen "The Most Happy Fella" before attending this revival, so they will enjoy both a wonderfully staged musical and a fresh viewing experience. This is a production that would honor large Chicagoland theater houses like the Light Opera Works, the Marriott Theatre, Paramount Theatre, and Drury Lane. Indeed the Theo Ubique version may have an advantage with its intimacy. And some day lucky attendees will reminisce with satisfaction that they saw the great Molly Hernandez when she was a teenager."

Dan Zeff



Chicagoland Musical Theatre- Highly Recommended

"...So take a trip to Anzevino's "whole Napa Valley" in Rogers Park, where his Most Happy Fella offers a perfectly executed, big, old-fashioned musical that's lovingly sculpted into an intimate space to share insight into the subtleties of human love."
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Barry Reszel



Picture This Post- Highly Recommended

"...Since the space is minimal, the team behind the show needs to be creative. The set is minimal, so lighting design becomes crucial. James Kolditz creates moods and settings with lighting that speak for themselves. The simple changing of a light quality and maybe adding a bench completely alters the show. Observing the actors moving around and obtaining props from clever hiding places gives the show an added layer. The audience becomes privy to the process behind the production."
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Stephanie Dykes



In The Loop Magazine- Highly Recommended

"...And about the cast: there is not a weak voice among the large ensemble. From Courtney Jones, who as Cleo (Rosabella's best friend) brings a wry spunk to her songs, to Joe Giovannetti, who is instantly likable as the sunny Herman, to Roberts, who powerful, operatic voice adds a whole new level of sympathy to Tony."
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Peter Thomas Ricci