The first time this 1996 Broadway hit played Chicago, in 1998, headliner Savion Glover did not perform the role he originated: "da beat," our rhythmic guide through the show's history of tap dance. It was nevertheless not only educational but fun--and it should be fabulous with its star in place: Glover, who also did the Tony-winning choreography, is joined by four other deft dancers. Helping flesh out the show's historical narrative are two percussionists, a singer, and a narrator, who delivers Reg E. Gaines's ornate, sometimes overly didactic text in a style suited to the period represented. Incorporating jazz, blues, vaudevillian songs, and the occasional a cappella dance, the piece takes us on a journey that includes urban railroad yards and rural juba sessions, where pots and pans strategically placed on the body are both the targets of the performers' movement and the musical instruments. Directed by George C. Wolfe, Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk is a highly polished show enlivened by the expert tapping of all involved, the dancers engaged in an intimate conversation with one another and the musicians. Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph, 312-902-1400; 312-977-1710 for groups of 20 or more. Opens Tuesday, October 15, at 8 PM. Through October 20: Wednesday-Thursday, 7:30 PM; Friday, October 18, 8 PM; Saturday, October 19, 2 and 8 PM; Sunday, October 20, 2 and 7:30 PM. $22-$62.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michal Daniel.