Review of Uncle Em’s Traveling Hootenanny presents: Keep Your Story Short Cause Your Tale’s Too Tall – Produced by Lawless Archer Creative, Created by T. Paul Lowry June 7, 2014 – Chicago, IL – For anyone who lives in Chicago Illinois, it is no secret there is a plethora of activity every day and night in the city, especially during the summer. The restaurants, live music, festivals, shops, Lake Michigan, Navy Pier, museums and people watching, make the second city, second to none.
Today, I had the opportunity to take in a live show as part of The Chicago Musical Theater Festival. The show with the incredibly creative name: Uncle Em’s Traveling Hootenanny presents: Keep Your Story Short Cause Your Tale’s Too Tall, was held at The Den Theater on 1333 N. Milwaukee.
The show was something right out of vaudeville about the American Folklore classics Johnny Appleseed, Molly Picher, Paul Bunyan, John Henry and Pecos Bill. The cast – Miriam Naponelli, Paul Anderson, Danny Miller and T. Paul Lowry used music, movement, puppetry and storytelling to brilliantly share the “Tall Tale’s” of these folklore heroes that helped tell the story and celebrate American history.
What made this show so spectacular was the way the four actors worked together to bring these stories to life. The coordination and synchronicity of this group made you feel like you lived 200 years ago and were driving in the car with Pecos Bill’s parents. The music (written by T.Paul Lowry) and performed by all four actors made me want to clap and sing along (and I never do that).
The co-directors and co-producers T.Paul Lowry and Kate Hein figured out a way to coordinate the actors, costumes, music, and puppetry to engage the opening day crowd into being part of the show. Everyone in the theater participated.
I was able to enjoy the show with a friend and three children (ages 13, 10 and 7). We all left the show talking about how much we loved it and how we are looking forward to going again. I can’t speak highly enough of the work done by Lowry, Hein, Naponelli, Anderson and Miller. If I had one criticism, it was the tickets were only $10. I would have paid much more, but instead will see the show several times! Also, I will be following the upcoming work of Lawless Archer Creative (lawlessarcher.com) to see what they have in store next.
Additional performances will be held on 6/8, 6/14 and 6/15 at The Den Theater and on 6/21. 7/26 and 8/23 at The Listening Room in Crystal Lake, IL – for tickets go to lawlessarcher.com
Written by William Geheren, co-host – 2 Dudes and The Duchess (2dudesandtheduchess.com) – Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:00pm on huntleyradio.com