Stage Door | Stage 773 | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Stage Door Closing (Theater and Galleries) Member Picks The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through May 23 2010

There's a startlingly up-to-date plot element involving a Hollywood movie star who's given a Broadway vehicle even though she can't act--and some of the talk about making ends meet in hard times is also dismayingly au courant. But the main appeal of this big-cast, three-act, 1936 melodrama is its Depression-era combination of wisecracking pluck and pure sentiment. Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman's hymn to live theater (which, of course, got turned into a movie) follows the fortunes of a bunch of young women living at Mrs. Orcutt's theatrical boarding house while they try to make it in the show business. Chief among them is Terry Randall, gamely played by Mechelle Moe, whose big talent and bigger heart attract both a leftist playwright and a suave impresario. Side stories--including that of a woman fleeing her well-to-do, abusive husband--have their fascinations, too. Robin Witt's Griffin Theatre production is too slack to be satisfying, but the outlines are there and Stacie Barra, Christina Gorman, and Ashley Neal are fun in comic roles. --Tony Adler

Price: $18-$28

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