Sing Hallelujah! | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Sing Hallelujah!

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Joining the gospel sweepstakes with Black Ensemble Theater's Somebody Say Amen is this somewhat slicker musical, a Passion Productions import from Cincinnati Playhouse. Expanding the definition of godly music to include reggae, soft rock, R & B, and blues, a terrific quintet--backed by a cooking combo and well coached by Donald Lawrence (who contributes 10 new songs to the show's 20 numbers)--achieves awesome harmonies in the title tune and hits the heights with "I'm Just Holding On." Unlike Somebody Say Amen, this compilation show provides no context for the songs or characterizations for the singers. Instead director Worth Gardner's choreography turns the theater into a kind of holy-rolling nightclub rich with spiritual showstoppers--faith can be ferocious. Gardner piles on the piety by raising the roof and pumping up the volume. Through 11/28: Tue-Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 4 and 8 PM, Sun 3 and 7 PM. Wed 10/13 and 10/27 and 11/10, 3 and 7:30 PM. Chicago Center for the Performing Arts, 777 N. Green, 312-327-2000. $35-$49.

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