Hello Again | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Hello Again 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Hello Again, Circle Theatre. A major miscalculation dogs Michael John LaChiusa's 1995 musical trivialization of Arthur Schnitzler's La ronde. In 1900 Schnitzler's bittersweet depiction of intersecting lovers indulging in a sexual round dance--the first and last lovers come full circle--was bold comedy. Its game of erotic tag created a democracy of desire. Wisely, LaChiusa (known for The Wild Party, also produced by Circle) updates the soldier, governess, writer, count, and other characters and adds some same-sex couplings.

LaChiusa goes wrong, however, by spreading their liaisons across the entire 20th century--presumably to show off a pastiche score that, sadly, remains generic and uninspired. Even worse is his choice to run the scenes in an odd order: plucked out of steerage by a randy tycoon, the pretty boy who does a stupid tango on the Titanic (as it goes down) becomes in the next scene a disco bunny ogled by an ego-ridden screenwriter. With each scene you can only ask, "Why?" and "So what?"

Happily, the physical attractiveness and inexhaustible energy of director Kevin Bellie's supple young cast make this 95-minute show far sexier than it deserves. But despite their lustful characters, they seem curiously innocent. And as a reward for all their high-spirited crooning and hoofing, these wonderful overachievers simply reinvent sexist or misogynist stereotypes in silly shenanigans. Bellie's time-capsule costumes chart the decades but stand out too starkly against a bland burgundy backdrop.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Lawrence Bommer

Popular Stories