Explicit Lyrics | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


Explicit Lyrics, Bailiwick Repertory. This joyfully naughty revue offers a humorous take on sex for sex's sake. The 21 snappy tunes, well chosen by director Daryl Nitz, range from a 1920s number called "Let's All Be Fairies" (performed here in a tutu) to contemporary cabaret songs to a Madonna ditty about kink. Nitz has made sure there's something for everyone: a song about threesomes, one on bisexuality, and several detailing intimate moments in gay and straight sex.

The four ensemble members have an easy rapport with one another and with the audience; stories of their own embarrassing sexual escapades, told between songs, give the show a gentle warmth. Gail Becker, whose rendition of a tune about masturbation brought down the house, has a voice with a crystalline Broadway edge, as does the flirty, boy-crazy Jared Leal. The elegant Kristofer Simmons has more of a sexy roughness, and Gillian Kelly--the most charismatic performer--was a little hoarse on opening night but nevertheless put her creamy voice to fabulous use. Accompanist Claire Bigley gets in a few wisecracks and even solos on a number about sexual deprivation. Only sex itself could be more delightful.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment