Two Broadway in Chicago shows flew into town this week. I originally planned to pick the best one and trash the other one.
The problem is there are good and mediocre moments to both projects.
This is the perfect time to get out of our snow covered homes and take in performances that are not to be missed from traveling Broadway.
In the Heights is a Latino musical set in the barrio of Washington Heights. Launching in 2008 where it was nominated for 13 Tony Awards the bright and energetic take on dreams is a little long after two and half hours but full of heart.
In contrast Come Fly Away is only 90 minutes with no intermission. It has been cut down from the original New York version to play better in Vegas.
Come Fly Away follows a loose plot with a variety of characters set to Frank Sinatra music with choreography by Twyla Tharp.
The show originally had a singer in New York but she was cut to focus more on Ol' Blue Eyes. There is a live a band and the dancers lose their shirts and one even his pants so what else do you want in an audience full of blue hairs?
In the Heights uses non union actors this time around for their tour. The set is smaller than New York and some of the cast is a little rough around the edges but overall the modern choreography wins out. I love the spray cans being used in a dance sequence.
A new friend Celina Polanco has a motherly dramatic speech that makes the audience take notice. I just wished the salon could have been run by a Latina drag queen. "Tell me something I don't know" okay?
Fly Away really has some strong numbers to go with those extensions. Another new friend to the show Julius Rubio lifted those ladies like they were light in the Sinatra loafers.
Eye candy and light antics were what Twyla was obviously going for.
If you go to either one or both they have their moments with very stylized choreography. Want more of a story? Hit the Heights. Want a classy crooner? Don't delay to Fly Away.
In the Heights is over quick so run to the Oriental Theatre before January 15. Come Fly Away swings into the next town after January 22.
Visit http://broadwayinchicago.com for tickets and details.