Let 'Em Eat Cake | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Let 'Em Eat Cake

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Only die-hard fans will relish Open Door Repertory Company's revival of the Gershwins' rarely produced 1933 successor to Of Thee I Sing. In the less successful sequel, likable President and First Lady John P. and Mary Wintergreen become dictators in an America controlled by an underpaid army and venal Supreme Court. Parallels to Nazi Germany notwithstanding, the plot is preposterous, but George and Ira pepper the show with irresistible numbers, especially for the chorus. And as coached by musical director Peggy Goodman, the contrapuntal feud between presidential partisans is delightfully infectious. What sinks Mary Pat Sieck's earnest staging are generally effortful performances by the 35 ensemble members and a terrapin-torpid pacing that expands the action to nearly three hours. It doesn't help that narrators read the stage descriptions as if to apologize for the paucity of scenery. Through 11/6: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 2 PM. Hatch School Auditorium, 1000 N. Ridgeland (enter on Harvey, east side of building), Oak Park, 708-802-1723. $14-$16.

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