Sita Ram | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Youthful energy defines this new musical, a collaboration between Lookingglass, Natya Dance Theatre, and the Chicago Children's Choir: some four dozen young musicians, dancers, and actor-singers crowd the stage. Based on the Hindu epic the Ramayana, the show follows the adventures of Princess Sita and Prince Rama as they fall in love, get separated by an evil demon, then reunite. But this is musical comedy with a difference: its message, means, and feeling are fundamentally devotional, in the tradition of the Indian dance form bharata natyam. Jai Uttal's layered pop music, which blends Indian, African, Caribbean, and American influences, and Krithika Rajagopalan's sensitive Indian and contemporary American choreography underscore the show's goal of promoting cultural harmony and peace. Though the acting and director David Kersnar's book are sometimes a bit flat, the singing is supple and affecting, particularly Isaiah Robinson's in the crucial role of the Monkey God. The run is sold out, but standby tickets are available. Through 4/2: Wed 7:30 PM, Thu 6:30 PM, Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 3 and 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan, 312-337-0665, $30-$58.

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

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