What happens when a nationally produced playwright and kindie rock royalty team up to pen a musical? You end up with witty prose, an incredible score and a thoroughly enjoyable theatrical experience for – honestly – everyone in the family.
If you go
Hansel & Gretel at The Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place
175 E . Chestnut St., Chicago
Through Jan. 4, 2015
Hansel & Gretel: A Wickedly Delicious Musical Treat is the latest offering from Emerald City Theatre and Broadway in Chicago – and it’s marvelous. Ernie Nolan’s script enmeshed with Grammy Award-winning musician Justin Roberts’ music turns a beloved fairy tale into a rock musical with humor and soaring melodies.
The story of Hansel and Gretel is well-known … or is it? Here’s where Nolan and Roberts really shine, by taking a popular fable and flipping it on its head. Who abandoned who? Which of the siblings is the “troublemaker” – and who’s the true believer? And just what, exactly, is that witch planning on doing with those children?
Emerald City newcomers Jack Ball and Alissa Walker shine as the traveling twosome, and mainstay Danny Taylor (The Cat in the Hat, The Wicked Witch of the West) is sheer perfection in the role of the Lotte the Witch – and appears to be having the most fun of his career in this spectacular role. The Brothers Grimm – with their Grimm Brothers band members – are startlingly talented in their abilities to shift from musician to narrator to character in an instant, and everyone works incredibly well together as a fluid and exceptionally energetic ensemble.
Sure, the idea of a candy house seems more along the lines of a Halloween event, but don’t be fooled; themes of love, family, and strength permeate this wonderful play, making it a sweeter-than-sweet holiday production to share with your little kinders.