Squonk Opera | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Squonk Opera


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


Squonk Opera's onomatopoeic, jokey name suggests an irreverent troupe bent on creating a novel kind of musical theater, and the Pittsburgh-based band, which was founded only two years ago, largely fulfills that promise. Its five members draw on their varied backgrounds in experimental theater and classical composition and performance to create an often witty, always maddening and exhilarating melange of songs and instrumental pieces. Jackie Dempsey, the group's self-described kapellmeister, says the group owes a debt to Frank Zappa and Tori Amos. However, listening to their first CD, Howandever, one can also easily detect traces of Laurie Anderson, Kurt Weill, Debussy, Ravi Shankar, medieval chant, and rap. Can Squonk's music ever take on a semblance of coherence? The answer might be found in Night of the Living Dead: The Opera, which the group wrote and performed last month in Pittsburgh, birthplace of the cult-movie classic's director, George Romero. At this return engagement at the Heartland Cafe they'll present excerpts from the "opera" along with selections from their debut CD. Friday, 10 PM, 7000 N. Glenwood; 465-8005.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/David S. Rubin.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →