THE BLUES BROTHERS REVIVAL, Chicago Center for the Performing Arts. The Blues Brothers began as a lighthearted homage by two white blues fans, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, on Saturday Night Live. Simultaneously poking fun at white appropriation of black music and appropriating it themselves, the Blues Brothers were soon selling more records than any blues artists of a darker hue. That spoke volumes about the public's preference for the phony but well marketed over the real but ragged.
The Blues Brothers Revival features Wayne Catania and Kieron Lafferty playing Belushi and Aykroyd playing Jake and Elwood Blues. They're not bad imitations. Catania hasn't quite mastered Belushi's physical grace, but Lafferty has Aykroyd's geeky unearthliness down cold. It's mildly amusing to watch these two sing classics like "Soul Man" and "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" backed by a great blues band. But what's the point? Victor R. Pisano, who wrote, directed, and produced this musical (in association with Aykroyd and Belushi's estate), gives us only the barest fig leaf of a story: Jake, who's dead and burning in purgatory, is trying to get into heaven. Nothing about this Blues Brothers nostalgia concert, lightly sprinkled with references to the 1980 Blues Brothers movie, gives us a reason to care about it.