The All Night Strut! | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The All Night Strut!

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THE ALL NIGHT STRUT!, Drury Lane Theatre Evergreen Park. The title lies--but you might wish this sizzling revue of hits from 1924 to 1959 strutted all night. Director-choreographer Marc Robin's local premiere of Fran Charnas's tribute to bebop, swing, jazz, gospel, and pop is showbiz savvy and perfect right down to the last 16th note. And whether its four performers are hoofing or crooning, they're unimprovable. Standards by Gershwin, Kern, Ellington, Mercer, and Loesser are mixed with such lesser-known ditties as "Beat Me, Daddy, Eight to the Bar."

But the chief draw is the quartet's awesome harmony, on stunning display in the opening "Chattanooga Choo Choo" and the jazz-smooth "Java Jive," in the languorous "Tuxedo Junction," and in the jitterbuggy "In the Mood." A World War II medley explodes with the rousing "G.I. Jive" and "Shoo-Shoo Baby," then mellows into "The White Cliffs of Dover."And when the foursome combine forces to drive home "It Don't Mean a Thing"--on the contrary, it means a lot.

The All Night Strut! also works as a showcase for the individual talents of these four terrific performers. Sean Allan Krill revives the angry regret behind "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime," and Curt Dale Clark croons the heart out of "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square." Karen Leigh Multer waxes soulful in the doo-wop gospel anthem "Operator," while Roberta Duchak reinvents the heartbreak of the exquisite "I'll Be Seeing You."

--Lawrence Bommer

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