What does it feel like to experience a performance of some of your favorite songs from musical theater classics such as Oklahoma, South Pacific, The King and I, The Sound of Music, The Flower Drum Song, and more by Rodgers & Hammerstein? It feels great! In a no-frills storefront tucked away in an [alley] under the el at the Morse Red Line is the No Exit Café, 6970 N. Glenwood, where THEOUBIQUE, in association with Michael James, opened Monday night (March 13, 2011) to perform“ Some Enchanted Evening. The No Exit Café is an unlikely place for dinner theater but it works. The stage is wherever the performers are during the show. In fact before the curtain (Ooops no curtain), during intermission and after the curtain, the troupe waits tables and tends bar. The vocalists are very talented and make you feel they are performing just for you, their guest.
As I warily entered the store front door of this unmarked building, a new world immediately opened to me. The room is softly lit with 50 to 60 people sitting at tables or in chairs near a back corner. A white luminescent stage is street front, home to a white baby grand piano. An area with a dressing table is left of stage.
As one sits down, from somewhere in the room comes the cry “15 minutes to show time”. Three females and three males begin moving around the room. One male, Justin Cook, music director/singer, sits at the piano. The other 5 singers, Evan Tyrone Martin, Sara Schoch, Danni Smith, Jeremy Trager, and Dana Tretta, begin the overture of Some Enchanted Evening capturing many of the song titles you love in a musical medley. As they move around the room and stage, one wonders is this the show or are they warming up?
No, the show has begun and not only are you entertained by songs sung beautifully, tragically and in a comedic manner, but you get an opportunity to talk to the performers as they wait on tables during the intermission. The arrangements are fresh and the transitions are original. The pianist and singers open with a medley of songs that anticipates what is coming and close with a medley that leaves the audience wanting more….
Some Enchanted Evening is running until April 30th, Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 except for Saturday when the cost is $30. A 3-course dinner, including salad, main course, and dessert, can be added for $20 per person. Dinner is served before the show. Tickets can be purchased online at WWW-THEO-U.ORG or 800-595-4849. Call 773-347-1109 for theatre and show information.
If you want a truly “enchanted” evening, this is the place to go. See you there. I plan to visit again very soon.
Photos: G. Thomas Ward Photography