Dear World | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Jean Giraudoux's The Madwoman of Chaillot, the delicately whimsical 1946 comedy that inspired this 1969 Broadway musical, champions colorful eccentrics against venal venture capitalists who want to exploit Paris's petroleum and uranium deposits. But the musicalization often feels blatantly polemical. Jerry Herman's peppy score only reminds us of the richer work he did in Mame and La Cage aux Folles, though the very French "I Don't Want to Know" definitely deserves continued life. And Bob Knuth's jerky, awkward staging fails to negotiate Dear World's tricky mood changes. Best are the three dotty madwomen, though even here the urge to clobber us with the characterizations overwhelms the subtleties. This show would be twice as persuasive if it were half as insistent. Through 3/5: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Circle Theatre, 7300 W. Madison, Forest Park, 708-771-0700, $22-$24.

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