A rising Starr (named Hannah) and their Boombox | Performing Arts Feature | Chicago Reader

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A rising Starr (named Hannah) and their Boombox

In a solo show, the Jeff nominee chronicles the rat race of working Chicago actors.


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Hannah Starr has been on a tear lately. Last year, they appeared as college-aged Alison in the critically-acclaimed production of Fun Home at Victory Gardens. Chris Jones praised Starr as being, "well, quite perfect," and the performance netted the comedian a Jeff nomination. Appearing solo at the Frontier, Starr will be deconstructing a typical 16-hour day in the life of a working actor, with musical support from a big vintage boombox, a gift from her late aunt Jean, whose death the play mourns. This is the third version of the show, which most recently traveled to the Minnesota Fringe Festival in 2017 for a sold-out run.

Putting the piece on alone was something of a necessity, Starr writes over email. "There's a period that I think every comedian or performer who makes their own work deals with, where it feels like pulling teeth to get people to work with you," they explain. "Not necessarily because they hate you, but because of scheduling. There's not enough hours in the day.” One of the show's songs, "Freeze," uses the form of a classic improv game to analyze this competitive rat race side of Chicago acting. Another sketch depicts Starr being recognized—"Oh my god, you were in Fun House!"—while in the act of cleaning a ladies’ toilet. With Starr's gifts for the tender and the ludicrous, audiences are sure to welcome this two-night event as a faithful self-portrait of the storefront scene by one of its emerging, uh, stars.   v

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