Once in a Lifetime | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Sarah Goeden, Justine C Turner, and Nicole Bloomsmith

Sarah Goeden, Justine C Turner, and Nicole Bloomsmith

Tom McGrath

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through June 5 2016
Price: $28
George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s insubstantial 1930 Hollywood satire gets an unsettled treatment in Strawdog’s Theatre’s final production in its 26-year Lakeview home. Director Damon Kiely styles the opening scene perfectly, as two-bit vaudevillians May, Jerry, and George ditch their act and head to Hollywood, convinced they’ll cash in on the new talkies craze. Guided by Kat McDonnell’s period-perfect precision as May, the trio are endearing, pathetic, and stylishly convincing. But the slew of Hollywood types—know-nothing producers, know-less starlets, embittered writers, self-important critics—who overpopulate the remaining three acts are played mostly to frenetic excess. It’s ridiculous, energetic, and at times effective, but it’s rarely true. The group performances of contemporary pop songs (Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus) during excessively long scene changes add little beyond extra running time. —Justin Hayford
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