Courtesy of Offbeat with Phil Potempa
You don't have to be a huge fan of heavy metal to appreciate Broadway In Chicago and rocker Dee Snider's World Premiere engagement of "Dee Snider's Rock & Roll Christmas Tale."
Sure...being a die-hard fan of Snider, who shot to fame as the iconic (and always theatrical) frontman for rock group Twisted Sister, makes this silly and also inspired stage romp even more special.
Written by and starring Snider as narrator for the 90-minute, no intermission performance (as well as having him in another small onstage role with a reason to belt out his own musical numbers), this run is directed by Adam John Hunter and produced by John B. Yonover in association with Vicki and Bob Liggett, Charles Brennan and Maryand John Cooper.
It is now playing the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E Chestnut, through Jan. 4, 2015.
I missed the original press opening night a month ago, but I finally caught a performance last week and I left smiling.
Sure, there are some eye-rolling moments and a few snags here and there for this production. But all in all, this is a family show that warms the heart and rings in the ears of audiences of all ages.
Choreographed by Robert Tatad, with music supervision and arrangement by Doug Katsaros, the production features a simple scenic design by Rob Bissinger, who also provides a few surprises along the way. The costume design by Suzette Guilot-Snider (yes, Dee's wife) is fun and festive and the lighting design by Heather Gilbert and sound design by Nevin Steinberg have captured the needed atmosphere.
The cast of Chicagoans filling the roles are Bill McGough as a washed-up singer/club rat, Adam Michaels giving it his all as the lead singer of the story's fictitious heavy metal band, Christina Nieves and Taylor Yacktman as band groupies, Dan Peters, in a funny turn as a sardonic band member countered by Wilam Tarris, as a very funny, silly fellow bandmate on drums and Milwaukee native Tommy Hahn as the band's angriest musician named Tank. Keely Vasquezplays a beautiful club owner, who is supposed to be "older" according to the storyline, but to my eyes, she seemed every bit as hot as the two other club groupies.
The story details all of the holiday hoops the band of misfits named Däisy Cütter are willing to jump through to become a big success. While McGough is a great actor, his grizzled character, who breezes in and out of scenes, seemed distracting for me.
The true star of this experience is Snider, who is so much fun to watch on stage (and off). He is comfortable and conversational and even sneaks in some industry jabs (at Gene Simmons and David Lee Roth at my performance). My Christmas wish to Santa would be to have him in more scenes. But for now, I'll just consider him an extra helping of candied craziness in this fun holiday stage fruitcake.
Tickets are $30-$90 at (800) 775-2000 or BroadwayInChicago.com.