About Face Theatre in Chicago has something new to offer for holiday stage spoof fun.
Described as a blend of classic Christmas tales with pop culture, the result is last weekend's world premiere holiday production "We Three Lizas" with book and lyrics by AFT Artistic Associate Scott Bradley, music and additional lyrics by Alan Schmuckler, and directed by AFT Artistic Associate Scott Ferguson.
It's playing until Dec. 23 in The Steppenwolf Garage, 1624 N. Halsted St., Chicago and the show times include a 45-minute "cocktail hour" in Liza's Lounge with special opening acts by guest artists.
The actual show is about 90-minutes without an intermission.
My biggest baffle about this production is that it took nearly 45 minutes before an actual appearance by the recognized grand lady herself from the show's title. (A Christmas diva fairy with Liza-like moments, played by Sean Blake, arrives sooner, but it's well before any "full-on" Liza entrance.)
Billed as "a dark, sexy holiday musical for a queer new world," the story is about business-driven fashion designer Conrad Ticklebottom, played by fussy Scott Duff, and his anxious (gender non-specific) assistant Reggie, played with spunk by Dana Tretta. The two conjure the Great Queen of Wishes (played by Blake) to bestow upon them the trinity of power: youth, wealth and beauty. Instead, they find Liza Minnelli knocking at Conrad's door bearing holiday gifts that must be gained.
Of the Liza trio, by far, Danielle Plisz is the favorite and fits the role, from bangs to bangles. Playwright Bradley dons drag to provide a lanky version of one of the Lizas as well.
It also stars talented John Francisco (who provided a very fun original holiday song as part of the pre-show opening) and Arturo Soria with Sharriese Hamilton, Sean Michael Hunt, Andrew Swan and AJ Ware. Some of the plot becomes rather muddled at moments, with references to witches and a couple of sneaky UPS delivery men up to no good.
Musicians include Alan Schmuckler (Piano), Jed Feder (Drums) and Brandon Mitchell (Bass).
Tickets are $25 at steppenwolf.org or (312) 335-1650.
A special visit
Dani Shay, of TV's "The Glee Project" and "America's Got Talent," is on the IU Northwest campus 8 p.m. tonight for a musical performance followed by a discussion with the audience. She will be in the Bergland Auditorium located in the Savannah Center. I'm told this is a free event, open to the campus and public, sponsored by the IU Northwest Office of Student Activities and the Broadway Drama Society of Theatre Northwest. You can find out more about the singer at danishay.com.
For details about the campus event, contact Emily Banas, IU Northwest Office of Marketing and Communications, at (219) 980-6536.