City of Angels | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

City of Angels 

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Too seldom seen, this 170-minute musical by the terrific trio of composer Cy Coleman, book writer Larry Gelbart, and lyricist David Zippel--a dazzlingly witty parody of hard-boiled Raymond Chandler with a stylized score--brilliantly lampoons Hollywood stereotypes and censorship. It contrasts a young writer and his film noir screenplay with the real-life 40s producer-director who threatens his vision. Despite an impressive revolving art deco set by Rick and Jackie Penrod, the staging in One Theatre Company's revival doesn't distinguish the black-and-white screenplay from the Technicolor reality, the jumpy pacing complicates the already dense plot, and the singing, accompanied by an often overwhelming 21-piece jazz band, sometimes sounds strained. Still, it's a splendid exercise in style, and it has several stunning performances. Through 8/7: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 2 PM. Athenaeum Theatre, main stage, 2936 N. Southport, 312-902-1500. $15-$28.


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