Titlow | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Titlow, Corn Productions, at the Cornservatory. Crime musicals generally don't pay. Even Stephen Sondheim's track record is hit-or-miss (Sweeney Todd=hit, Assassins=miss). But the 2001 Chicago Sun-Times story on which this play is based certainly has the makings of meaty high drama. Titlow conspires with his gambling-addict cousin to kill their wealthy uncle to get money for Titlow's sex-change operation. Postchange, she advertises herself as an escort-dominatrix and falls in love with a lounge singer. Unfortunately, playwright-lyricist-director Robert Bouwman dwells ad nauseam on Titlow's masculine-feminine conflict, focusing on the inner woman's need to break out.

The man and woman who share the role of Titlow, Brad Larsen and Sarah Clare Meyer, mirror each other's hand gestures--reaching, stroking, miming a falling tear with a pinky finger across the face. He says, "I've been waiting so long." She says, "I've been waiting so long--to become." Cue music. The lyrics: "I've been waiting so long [repeat three times] for becoming." Tedious and grammatically incorrect. Bouwman's preoccupation leaves no time to delve into other aspects of the killer's psyche or move the supporting characters beyond foulmouthed caricatures. As director, though, Bouwman makes efficient use of the Cornservatory's tiny space and the supporting cast, which functions as a Greek chorus. The ensemble's rapt focus and modulated chanting would greatly add to the tension--if the story actually had any.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Kim Wilson

Popular Stories