Elegies: A Song Cycle | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Elegies: A Song Cycle

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William Finn's self-indulgently personal 2003 cabaret show, which closes Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago's "Finn Festival," is devoted to departed friends. In addition to off-putting in-songs it features gossipy lyrics, name-dropping, the occasional deeply felt sentiment about a noble teacher or loving mother, and in at least one case an astonishing meanness of spirit: one song mocks a "moron" who loved chickens. L. Walter Stearns's five performers strain for sincerity (and several notes): they can only be as authentic as these lengthy tributes, many of which need footnotes, permit. Three ballads about 9/11 are strong because they reach beyond Finn's circle to attain some kind of universality. But overall too many tunes sound the same and are hobbled by less-than-stellar lyrics. Through 5/21: schedule follows. 5/5-5/7: Thu-Fri 8 PM, Sat 2 PM. Then 5/14-5/15: Sat 8 PM, Sun 2 and 7 PM. Then 5/19-5/21: Thu-Fri 8 PM, Sat 2 PM. Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W. Belmont, 773-327-5252. $27-$30.

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