Voice Lessons | Steppenwolf Theatre, 1700 Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge French Stewart and Laurie Metcalf

French Stewart and Laurie Metcalf

Ed Krieger

When: Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through June 11 2016
Price: $65-$75
Scholars are now certain that Mr. Kurtz was referring to this imbecilic little comedy by Justin Tanner when he croaked out "The horror! The horror!" and died. Starting with an Alzheimer's joke and running downhill from there ("retard" quip, fat lady sight gag, bizarre reference to smelly Latinos), Tanner gives us Ginny, a trailer-trash Florence Foster Jenkins whose experience in community theater has convinced her that she's got star potential. She hires vocal coach Nate to take her there, but he's stymied by her utter talentlessness, unnerving stupidity, and refusal to take instruction. We're supposed to find this amusing—and even, in the end, goofily romantic. But neither the script nor the lead performances by Laurie Metcalf and French Stewart yield a single moment's fun, much less honesty. The old critique of Steppenwolf was that its actor-centered ensemble valued fat parts over quality scripts; brought to the company as a vehicle for Metcalf, this 55-minute . . . thing . . . gives the old critique scary new life. —Tony Adler

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