Reefer Madness | Madison Street Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through Aug. 26 2012
Price: $26-$30
Once upon a time this was serious stuff. The 1936 movie Tell Your Children, aka Reefer Madness, offered a lurid but earnest look at the depravity (rape, murder, madness, jazz music) that ensues when wholesome teens are introduced to marijuana. By the 1970s the film had become a giggly underground thing to watch while toking up. This 1999 musical completed the transformation, making the joke available to everybody, stoned or straight. Writer Kevin Murphy and composer Dan Studney went so big you can see the campiness from space. Still, there's just the one joke—which is why you had to be high to sit through the entire movie in the first place. Matthew Gunnels's staging is so phenomenally sharp that the limitations of the premise don't matter a bit. But if you're going to see Circle Theatre's great production, make sure you sit in the center section: everything is pitched that way. I sat audience right and missed a lot. —Tony Adler



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