Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Rock Monologues

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Rob Paravonian is a little too good-looking to be a comedian: dress him up right and he could easily pass for an alt-rock front man. He trades on the crossover potential too, which goes deeper than the requisite poise and hair--he picked up the cello at age six and played a few years in local outfit the Stepping Stones before moving to LA and gravitating toward theater (now living in Brooklyn, Paravonian is a regular at Catch a Rising Star). This background is what separates him from similar "double threats," usually just prop comics with guitars. But more important, his dual experiences have given him an understanding of the law governing the shticks of comedians, rock stars, and industry types alike: "No matter how full of shit you are, someone's going to buy it." His good-natured satirical songs and impressions in this one-man show are generally on the mark if sometimes trained on easy targets, whether he's demonstrating how knowledge of the string slap makes the three-chord rocker mighty or playing Puff Daddy's copyright-law counsel, naturally on the verge of a nervous breakdown. His characterization saves a less-than-fresh behind-the-scenes music-video bit ("Dungeonmaster") showing how a morose geek is transformed into a brooding stud--the guy's coughing fit, played in slo mo, becomes the obligatory angry visual for the obligatory angry guitar solo. But what really makes this bit is the deadpan bickering of Paravonian and "director" Paul Sullivan. The Second City, Donny's Skybox Studio, Piper's Alley, 1608 N. Wells (fourth floor), 312-337-3992. September 22 and 29; Fridays, 8 PM. $10.

--Brian Nemtusak

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Liam McEaneny.

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