The Incredibly Famous Willy Rivers | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Incredibly Famous Willy Rivers 

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Though Sinnerman Ensemble is a brand-new company, its inaugural offering is a throwback. In Stephen Metcalfe's disquieting, disjointed 1984 portrait of post-Lennon rock stardom, Willy Rivers attempts a comeback after being shot by a fan during a televised concert. But when he connects with people from his past, he discovers he's more cipher than substance. Music-scene cliches abound: drug abuse, groupies, upper-middle-class kids feigning working-class roots. Jeff Ginsberg's enthusiastic cast tackles the sometimes creaky material with gusto, making even the sentimental scene with Willy's dad watchable. As Willy, Levi Petree understands that his character acts as a sponge for the insanity around him and tends to underplay as needed. Calliope Porter's fame-hungry Blonde reflects the present-day pursuit of empty-calorie stardom. --Kerry Reid a Through 6/23: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 6:30 PM, Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western, 773-728-3361, $15, industry shows Thu and Sun except Sun 6/17.

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