John Wayne Gacy and lighting-based dance: the week in performing arts reviews

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The Hero of Hero: The Musical? The unhappy-looking guy on the right
  • Peter Coombs
  • The Hero of Hero: The Musical? The unhappy-looking guy on the right
Though it gets off to a strange start with a "smarmy opening song," the new Second City E.T.C. show We're All in This Room Together gets its act together and proves to be a "very fine, very funny revue," according to Reader culture editor Tony Adler. Similarly, David Bell's world-premiere production of Hero: The Musical overcomes a plausibility problem to tell a sweet tale delightfully.

Dance Union takes an unconventional tack with "Salon Solarium—Dancing to Lighting." "Here's a new one: take a lighting design, ask four choreographers to build a dance apiece around it, then put them together on a single program," writes Laura Molzahn. The end result is electrifying, with one piece "evoking the creep of aging through pedestrian movements that almost imperceptibly morphed as they were repeated."

Though it doesn't earn a full-out recommendation, Albert Williams allows as how Calamity West's examination of serial killer John Wayne Gacy, The Gacy Play, offers plenty of chills.

In other action: Spectralia Theatre brings an outdoor, touring version of Shakespeare's As You Like It to various Chicago parks; plays by the celebrated Edna St. Vincent Millay and the presently unknown Lorenzo B are paired in Renny Black's Delightfully Doomed Door of Decadent Disarray; and Harold Pinter goes Neil Simon-esque in his 1962 The Lover, a one-act about a middle-aged couple trying to spice up their relationship.

Want something other than the weather to get steamy about? There's Hooter Rangers: A Spicy Morphin Burlesque, which has the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers doing stuff they didn't do on TV, and Naked July: Art Stripped Down, a festival of performance pieces celebrating the human body.

Finally, for laughs, try comedy duo My Mans. Mark Raterman and Tim Robinson "may be the slipperiest improv team in Chicago," says Reader contributor Justin Hayford.

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