“CHEERS: LIVE ON STAGE” BRILLIANTLY CAPTURES FRIENDSHIPS & ACCEPTANCE THAT MADE TV SHOW ICONIC
Reviewed by: Stacey L. Crawley
Cheers, the iconic Emmy Award-winning NBC series where everybody knows your name, has brought that little bit of Boston to Broadway. When I first stepped into the theatre and caught a glimpse of the wonderfully detailed and realistic set by Michael Carnahan I was back thrown back to 1985. And…I…Loved it.
I wasn’t the only one. The giddiness of the crowd, singing along with the preshow 80’s music was a sight for sore eyes. Technology may have made our lives easier, but the 80’s was still a simpler time, perhaps because I was a teenager and the hassles of life hadn’t caught up with me, or maybe it was just that I didn’t have a cell phone which doubled as a computer. Whatever the reason, all I had to worry about in those days were my leg warmers, big hair, glitzy neon-colored spandex, wild makeup, hair bands, and of course what was on TV. Cheers made the weekly line-up every time, and was a definite staple in our home.
For those unfamiliar with the show, Cheers is a lovable neighborhood bar where people go to be somebody else, or to medicate the fact that they were themselves. And although that seems like a sad and depressing state of affairs, it’s actually quite the opposite. Friendships and acceptance make their way into this little pub, which some call their second home, making it a place you looked forward to after a grueling day of reality.
The cast chemistry is magnificent and the award-winning and gifted director Matt Lenz did a fabulous job. Jillian Louis plays the uptight, highly-educated Diane Chambers and is simply a delight. Her ability to go from perfectly poised to completely deflated in a heartbeat is comedy gold. Barry Pearl plays Coach, the grandpa you wish you had, has the timing actors only dream of. Grayson Powell nailed Sam Malone, the famous ex-ballplayer/recovering-alcoholic bar owner who is the keeper of his patron’s deepest and darkest secrets. And of course there’s the legendary Norm, played by Paul Vogt, who didn’t disappoint and had the audience bellowing the famous ‘Norm!’ on every one of his entrances. Cliff Clavin, portrayed by Buzz Roddy, cracked me up with his ‘little known facts’ delivered the only way Cliff knows how – awkwardly and dead serious. And then there’s the meat and potatoes of the crew, the spunky no-holds-barred Carla, channeled to perfection by the lovely Sarah Sirota.
I highly recommend this show, which that had me laughing – and cheering throughout the entire performance.
Cheers at The Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place (175 East Chestnut) is now playing through October 23rd. Performances are Tuesday through Friday 7:30pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm and Sundays at 2pm and 7:30pm
For tickets visit www.broadwayinchicago.com or call 800-775-2000.