Starting Here, Starting Now | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Starting Here, Starting Now 

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Prologue Theatre Productions, at the First Unitarian Church of Chicago.

First produced in the 70s at the Barbarann Theatre Restaurant, Richard Maltby Jr. and David Shire's musical revue is every bit as shallow, trivial, and silly as you'd expect from a dinner-theater show created during the "me decade." There are some vaguely bittersweet love songs. There are a few somewhat amusing songs about the difficulty of relationships. There's even a stirring self-help anthem or two, including one that announces without a trace of irony: "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." (I always preferred the National Lampoon version: Today is the next day to the end of your life.)

I suppose in its time--with a great cast, a terrific steak, and several cups of really strong coffee--this show might have made for an OK evening. But 20 years later, with a merely adequate cast, an uninspired director, and a ragged shoestring production, this show gets tiresome pretty fast.

It doesn't help that little of the revue's mildly amusing comedy (two women singing about a man, for example, discover they love the same man) survives the inept acting. As happens all too often in music theater, the actors seem to have been cast more for their (mostly beautiful) singing voices than their (mostly limited) acting abilities. Of the six cast members, only Rebecca Kolber and Rob Krahenbuhl have a flair for comedy--which is deadly for a revue as dependent as this one on terrific singer-actors.

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