Archy and Mehitabel | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Archy and Mehitabel 

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Center Theater's droll, zesty, and imaginatively performed revival of this ahead-of-its-time 1957 Broadway flop has proven a holiday hit with family audiences looking for something both kids and parents can dig. Based on the newspaper columns of satirist Don Marquis, this jazz musical by Joe Darion, Mel Brooks, and George Kleinsinger (originally called Shinbone Alley) started out as a concert vehicle for Carol Channing, then became a stage showcase for Eartha Kitt; it's the story of a free-loving alley cat, the cockroach philosopher who pines for her, and the lessons in life that their semifunctional friendship illuminates. A funky fable with a flip sensibility, Archy and Mehitabel is one of those small, surprising shows that register a strong postperformance impact. Center Theater, 1346 W. Devon, 508-5422. Through January 17: Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 PM; Sundays, 3 PM; Monday, December 21, 7 PM; Sunday, December 27 and January 3, 3 and 7 PM; no show Thursday, December 24 and 31, or Friday, December 25. $15-$18.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Danny Bright.

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