The Rascals captivate fans once again

2013-11-07T17:15:00Z The Rascals captivate fans once againEloise Marie Valadez Eloise.Valadez@nwi.com, (219) 933-3365 nwitimes.com

Their songs continue to fill the playlists of classic music stations and retro radio formats.

Now, fans of The Rascals can groove to the sounds of the innovative '60s band on stage in the Windy City. And this time it's not a recording or a cover band recreating the hits but the real thing.

"Once Upon A Dream Starring The Rascals" opened Tuesday and runs through Nov. 10 at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre. The production, created by Maureen and Steven Van Zandt reunites the original band for a show that Van Zandt has called a "hybrid," which is part concert, part biographical format.

Felix Cavaliere,  Dino Danelli, Eddie Brigati and Gene Cornish, better known as The Rascals, are in superb form during the two-hour show which traces the history of the band, in abbreviated form, while interspersing tunes from the group's catalog.

Fans of The Rascals will, no doubt, be in their glory as the four musicians, who are now in their late 60s and early 70s, roll out their hits and other cuts. It's been four decades since the band has made music together and the tunes still stand as some of the best loved songs from that era.

While audience members don't get the definitive Rascals story in this show, it's quite interesting to hear the various members' takes on their start, their career, the tunes and various incidents in their lives via video clips. There are also actors portraying the Rascals showcased during selected vignettes. The production features energized live performances by The Rascals interspersed with the other multi-media aspects.

Songs starring in the show include "A Girl Like You," "Lonely Too Long," "It's a Beautiful Morning," "Heaven," Baby Let's Wait" and more.

Fans cheered hits such as "Groovin,' How Can I Be Sure," which featured Brigati's exceptional vocals, and "People Got To Be Free," a feel-good tune which touched on the group's civil rights mentality.

Drummer Danelli proved fascinating to watch throughout the production with his unique style and quick yet smooth drumming technique.

Though hearing their collection of musical gems cements the fact The Rascals were gone from the music scene way too soon, breaking up in the early 70s, "Once Upon a Dream" makes it clear this is still a musical entity with much to offer. And fans are welcoming them with open arms to the stage once again.

As Steven Van Zandt  told The Times in a recent interview, "The Rascals are finally getting the accolades they deserve."

FYI: "Once Upon A Dream Starring The Rascals" runs through Nov. 10 at Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago. Tickets are $45 to $75. Call (800) 775-2000 or visit BroadwayInChicago.com

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