Newt Faces of '96: A musical welcome to the democratic convention, New Tuners Theatre. The creators of this mostly musical revue approach Washington politics and the upcoming Democratic National Convention with good-natured humor. What's especially nice is that the satire remains bipartisan: both the donkeys and the elephants are dissected in an intelligent manner similar to the tongue-in-cheek style of Mark Russell. Highlights include author Marianne Kallen's "Hillary's Auxiliary," in which a group of Park Ridge citizens forgive the first lady's sins since she's put their hometown on the map, and author Eric Lane Barnes's showstopping "The One I Love," about a man's deep infatuation with Rush Limbaugh. There are plenty of stabs at Chicago culture and politics scattered throughout.
Director Bryan Bentlin has shaped a full-bodied show out of the eclectic numbers written by members of the New Tuners Theatre Musical Workshop. The four performers--Chris Poremba, Neda Spears, Holly Stauder, Mark Teich--move easily from character to character with each new song in a sort of neo-vaudevillian fashion. Scott Sandoe's choreography is snappy and sharp. The New Tuners have created a hit for both local audiences and the incoming conventioneers, who surely will need some comic relief.
--Gabrielle S. Kaplan