Deeply Rooted Productions | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Deeply Rooted Productions 

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This company has found its niche. The expansive, uberexpressive choreography created by artistic director Kevin Iega Jeff and associate artistic director Gary Abbott can seem unanchored on a program containing several pieces. But this new venture--a reworked 1977 musical--provides an enveloping context that supports and drives the dancing. Originally scored by David Spangler and written by Christopher Gore (who died 20 years ago--his brother Rick helped revise the book and lyrics), Nefertiti: A Concert of Music and Dance delivers a pacifist tale about the Egyptian queen, her husband Akhenaten, and the general Horemhab. Spangler calls the new version, which features a major dance component, "a gift--I've been waiting for this." The large cast of actor-singers and dancers creates a strong sense of community; live music is provided on two keyboards and a drum kit. When everybody cooks at once, the blazing fusion of music, dance, and storytelling is breathtaking. a Preview Thu 10/4, 7:30 PM. Through 10/7: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 312-902-1500, $25-$45. Thursday's performance is "Gospel Night," hosted by BET star Bobby Jones, and Sunday's performance is an awards benefit ($70 for show and party). --Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Ken Carl.

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