Shut Mouth Karaoke | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Shut Mouth Karaoke 

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If the text in this ensemble-created work sounds familiar at times, it's because the piece is a montage--assembled via a process Free Street calls a mash-up--of lyrics sampled from songwriters as diverse as 50 Cent, Toby Keith, Elliott Smith, and Cole Porter. Given the way pop songs have permeated our national consciousness, rhyme and meter easily yield to conversational rhythms in this story about five citizens (and a silent chorus of "weird sisters") stranded in an urban bus station while a riot rages outside. The youthful players--especially Andrea Long as a chronic naysayer whose pessimism embodies the despair at the root of chaos--deliver vividly etched portraits of characters at once believable and familiar. Through 11/20: Fri 7 PM, Sat 2 PM. Free Street, Pulaski Park, 1419 W. Blackhawk, 773-772-7248. $5-$10 or "pay what you can."

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