Honeymoon in Vegas and Bonnie and Clyde both good theatre options

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DESIREE GONZALEZ AS Bonnie and Max DeTogne as Clyde with the cast of Kokandy Productions’ Chicago premiere musical Bonnie & Clyde. Photo by Evan Hanover

By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., Chicago Crusader

Honeymoon in Vegas

“Honeymoon in Vegas” is such a good play and a “hilarious rollercoaster ride of love, humor, and competition for true romance” in a run now at Lincolnshire at the Marriott Theatre. I laughed all the way through, even at all the flying Elvises, strutting their stuff. It’s a familiar play, where the man wants to marry his girlfriend, but he’s been putting it off for years. He finally gets enough guts to go through with it, but he’s met with many obstacles.

They leave New York to go to Vegas to get married, but Jack Singer is haunted by the memory and strange surprise appearances by his late mother, which sort of still prevent him from fully committing to the love of his life, Betsy Nolan. After arriving in Vegas, Jack gets caught up in a scheme, and loses her to a bet that has her stuck with a Vegas gambler named Tommy Korman. She travels with this gambler to Hawaii, and Jack is hell bent on rescuing her. But, of course, he runs into other obstacles, as well. Besty resembles this gambler’s late wife, who died from skin cancer, so the entire “basking-in-the-Hawaii-sun” isn’t a good idea.

SAMANTHA PAULY, MICHAEL Mahler and other cast members are ready to board a plane in their quest to marry in the hilarious “Honeymoon in Vegas.” Photo by Liz Lauren.

The scenes where Jack actually flies across the stage after jumping out of a plane in an effort to hang with the flying Elvises is priceless. This version of “Honeymoon in Vegas” is really top notch. ‘Honeymoon in Vegas’ brings a modern twist to the beloved classic American musical, written by a contemporary writer for today’s audiences,” says Director Gary Griffin. “And there’s just something about Chicago. I am excited to give the Marriott Theatre audiences unprecedented access to this particular show, with so many touch points coming straight from the Broadway stage.”

The Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire has great offerings in local theatre on the North Shore. It is located at 10 Marriott Drive in Lincolnshire. “Honeymoon in Vegas” runs until October 15. For more information, visit http://www.marriotttheatre.com/

Bonnie and Clyde

Kokandy Productions is pleased to continue its 5th anniversary season with the Chicago premiere of “Bonnie & Clyde,” the musical story of two small-town nobodies searching for meaning at the height of the Great Depression, from the creative team of Frank Wildhorn, Ivan Menchell and Don Black. “Bonnie & Clyde” centers on real-life Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, the ill-fated lovers and outlaws, and this performance that puts their hi-jinks to music and songs brings this brazen story to a more vivid realization.

The eclectic, interracial casting of the young Bonnie as a Black girl and then later as a Latina was a welcome surprise. The story is told through a framing of the depression and the constant influence of religion, as it relates to the crimes that Clyde and his brother were committing. Clyde met Bonnie, who wasn’t too impressed at first, because she yearned to be the next Clara Bow. Clyde wanted to be a gangster in the vein of Al Capone, and he has a fondness for fast cars. Slowly but surely Clyde wears her down with his mellow words and exciting plans for the future.

Fearless, shameless and alluring, the Tony Award-nominated musical from the legendary Frank Wildhorn (“Jekyll & Hyde,” “Civil War” and “Dracula”) is the electrifying story of love, adventure and crime that captured the attention of an entire country, with a non-traditional score featuring Blues, Gospel and Rockabilly music.

I wouldn’t imagine that a production company could bring “Bonnie & Clyde” to audiences with a score and musical numbers that are so upbeat and thrilling. I never got bored watching this performance about historical figures who literally died for each other. The play is now running at Theater Wit, which is located at 1229 W. Belmont Ave. The play runs through October 15 and is directed by Spencer Neiman, with music direction by John Cockerill and choreography by Aubrey Adams. For more information, visit www.kokandyproductions.com or call (773) 975-8150.

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