Marriott Theatre’s latest production Now & Forever: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber was an interesting choice by Marriott’s lead artistic director Aaron Thielen and director/choreographer Marc Robin. Especially doing a world premiere show like this at Marriott. Obviously, you can tell they both love the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
With 19 people in the cast, the show not only was a musical revue, but also had a lot of dance as well from ALW’s show Song & Dance. Each dance throughout the show was a “Variation.” The choreographer Marc Robin of course had help with Harrison McEldowney and Marriott regular Matt Raftery to create a stunning visual concept of different styles of dances throughout the night.
The orchestra led by Patti Garwood really made the night sound spectacular. With 11 musicians, they really felt like a full 40 or 50-piece orchestra. Nancy Missimi’s costumes were really boring and dull.
When it comes to the singers throughout the show, the men really outweighed the women, except for a couple. There were also some things I really would’ve done differently. Like having the whole ensemble singing “As If We Never Said Goodbye” (Sunset Boulevard) and “The Music of the Night” (The Phantom of the Opera) just didn’t work for me.
Starting the show with the “Overture” to The Phantom of the Opera with the chandelier rising from the bottom to the top of the stage was a great way to start the show. But from then on in, I was hoping for more. In act 1, there were only a couple standout number including Broadway vet Linda Balgord’s beliveable “With One Look” (Sunset Boulevard), Max Quinlan & Erin Stewart’s “The Phantom of the Opera” (Phantom), “Masquerade” (Phantom), Brian Bohr’s “Starlight Express” (which is my favorite ALW show) and Jameson Cooper’s really creative rendition of “Any Dream Will Do” (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) with an acoustic guitar. Some of the best moments of the night for me happened ending act one with Cooper coming onstage with only an electric guitar and playing the opening chords to Jesus Christ Superstar. Then, Max Quinlan coming out with Superstar (JCS) just put the cherry on top.
In act two, there was a lot more dancing and only a couple decent songs including Catherine Lord’s “Unexpected Song” (Song & Dance), “Love Changes Everything” (Aspects of Love) sung by the male leads Ben Jacoby, Max Quinlan and Travis Taylor. Travis Taylor also sang a great rendition of “Till I Hear You Sing” (Love Never Dies). Linda Balgord also did a great job with “Memory” (Cats), but what really brought down the house was Max Quinlan’s heartfelt “Gethsemane” (JCS).
Overall, I’ve seen plenty of shows at Marriott Theatre and seen a couple world premieres there such as this one, but I honestly wouldn’t waste my money on this show. As you can see, there were only a couple worthy numbers and the dancing was great, but I honestly don’t see this show lasting or going anywhere. But if you are a true ALW fan and love his music, then check this show out. Another reason why I don’t care for this show, is it has no plot. Revues can get really boring with people just taking turns to sing. But when you look at jukebox musicals, they have the songs you know and love in the show with a plot connecting them all together. I would’ve loved to see that happen with ALW’s music.
Now & Forever: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber runs through March 17, 2013 at The Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive in Lincolnshire.The performance schedule is Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Ticket prices range from $40 to $48, excluding tax and handling fees. Students 17 and under and senior citizen 62 and older receive $5.00 off a full price theatre ticket for Wednesday Matinee, Saturday Matinee, Sunday Matinee and Sunday Afternoon performances. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings a limited number of Dinner and Theatre tickets are available for only $55.00 per person. For Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening dinner reservations in The King’s Wharf or Fairfield Inn, please call 847-634-0100. Free parking is available at all performances. To reserve tickets, please call the Marriott Theatre Box Office at 847.634.0200. Visit www.MarriottTheatre.com for more information. For calendar information please visit www.TheatreInChicago.com