OFF BEAT

OFFBEAT: Marriott Theatre World Premiere Andrew Lloyd Webber music salute a fan feast

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2013-02-02T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Marriott Theatre World Premiere Andrew Lloyd Webber music salute a fan feastBy Philip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

Vocal talent and stage presence are the leading stars of Marriott Theatre's world premiere of "Now and Forever: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber" the two-hour musical revue playing until March 17.

Featuring the legendary composer's greatest musical treasures, Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Ill., billed as "Chicago's longest running musical theater," was chosen in particular to unveil this new production, which launches the venue's 2013 season.

Co-created by Marriott Theatre Lead Artistic Director and Jeff Award-winner, Aaron Thielen and 16-time Jeff Award-winner Marc Robin, this all-in-one homage to one of the most successful musical composers of all-time includes a cast of Broadway and Marriott favorites, from young rising stars, concert dancers to musical theater veterans of the stage.

Among the beloved Webber musicals highlighted are "Evita," CATs," "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Whistle Down the Wind," "Starlight Express," "Sunset Boulevard," and of course, "Phantom of the Opera" and its sequel "Love Never Dies," the latter which has yet to play in North America.

The duo worked with co-choreographers Harrison McEldowney of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, River North Dance Chicago and Dance Works and stage and dance favorite name Matt Raftery.

Broadway veteran and Marriott Theatre alumnae Linda Balgord is often center stage for this production, right where she belongs, belting out all the greats, with "Memory" being a sure standout, especially considering she starred as "Grizabella" in the Original Broadway Production of "CATs."

She is joined by Erin Stewart, who was in "A Little Night Music" on Broadway, as well as playing "Christine" in "Phantom of the Opera."

Susan Moniz, Stephanie Binetti, Catherine Lord and Brian Bohr all have their moments to shine, with Binetti's sizzling rendition of "Buenos Aires" lighting up the entire stage, from "Evita."

Max Quinlan, who joined this cast straight from the 25th Anniversary National Tour of "Les Miserables" is fantastic, as joined by Ben Jacoby and Travis Taylor for "Love Changes Everything."

Show-stopping moments come courtesy of Jameson Cooper and his guitar for songs from "Joseph," like "Any Dream With Do." 

This powerhouse group is backed by dancers Lauren Blane, Michael Darnell, Ellen Green, Monique Haley, Raymond Interior, Luke Manley, Sam Rogers and Melissa Zaremba.

Tickets are $40 to $48, excluding tax and handling fees. Students 17 and under and senior citizen 62 and older receive $5.00 off a full price theater ticket for Wednesday Matinee, Saturday Matinee, Sunday Matinee and Sunday Afternoon performances. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings a limited number of Dinner and Theatre tickets are available for $55 per person. FYI: (847) 634-0200 or MarriottTheatre.com

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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