Stacy Jancosek, director of Chicago Heights’ Drama Group's production of ‘Eating Raoul’ is quick to dispel her musical production from its original, big screen origins.
“I don’t want people to think this is a dark comedy,” she said. “My way to best describe this show is “Sweeney Todd’ meets ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’ meets ‘Laugh-In.’ It’s so silly with doors slamming and bodies falling out of closets.”
Opening Friday and running through Nov. 19 at Drama Group’s Milord Studio Theatre, “Raoul” is the tale of Mary and Paul Bland, a struggling couple from Hollywood whose deadly business partnership with the musical’s namesake landlord results in chaos, comedy and romance.
Taking its cue from the 1982 indie film that includes Buck Henry and Ed Begley Jr. in its cast and has grown in stature over the years as a cult classic, “Raoul” was adapted as a musical. Featuring songs such as “Think About Tomorrow,” “You Gotta Take Pains” and “Swing, Swing, Swing,” “Raoul” was an off-Broadway favorite when it was first staged in 1992.
“The film was beyond low-rent, B-movie (style), but there was a caricature style to those characters that I think really played well,” Jancosek said. “And I think that plays better in the musical format than the movie.”
Dave Chapleau and Gina Vitucci are Paul and Mary Bland and Ken Garner is Raoul in Drama Group’s production of the musical. The trio lead a cast of a dozen Region-based thesps and singers.
“It’s a small cast with people playing multiple roles that allows for a lot of creativity,” Jancosek said. “My cast is great. It’s a cast of 12 playing a cast of thousands.”
Due to adult content and themes, “Eating Raoul” may not be appropriate for young or sensitive audiences.
Next up for Drama Group is a production of the drama “Whiskey Neat,” scheduled to open at Drama Group’s Milord Studio Theatre Jan. 12.