Murder Ballad | Flat Iron Arts Building | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through May 9 2015
Phone: 773-969-6201
Price: $30-$40
Last year Bailiwick Chicago gave us a frantically good rendition of The Wild Party, a musical about depraved doings in New York's Jazz Age demimonde. Think of Murder Ballad as the hipster sequel. Just as Wild Party heroine Queenie did 80-odd years before, Sara goes decadent in downtown Manhattan, getting high and having hot sex with her edgy bartender boyfriend Tom. But the life is too much for her, and she's lucky to meet loving, responsible Michael. They marry, move uptown, and procreate. Only now it's the new life that's too much for Sara. She reconnects with Tom and, of course, all hell breaks loose. Artfully performed by Bailiwick's cast and a four-piece band, Juliana Nash's rock-based score uses simple chord progressions and strong beats to mesmeric effect. Julia Jordan's book is another matter, though, offering not one but two ill-conceived surprises. The first is merely cheap inasmuch as it depends entirely on undisclosed information; the other—a last-second, faux-Brechtian fuck you out of nowhere—amounts to a betrayal of both the audience and the material. —Tony Adler



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