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Theater Mon Oct 19 2015

TAPPED: A Treasonously Funny Musical @ MCL Chicago

Tapped

It isn't every day that treason and love are combined in musical theater, but playwright Jed Levine and composer Brad Kemp have blended their script and lyrical writing abilities to comic effect. It's just the age-old story of good girl Mary who worked hard for her piece of the American pie and scored a nice office job at the NSA, where she spies on innocent people, and stuffs down her emotions via peanut butter cups...until one day she gets a case spying on a former crush. Enter Steve, a guy who somehow got to be part of WikiLeaks based on his activist past, even though he seems to have no skills beyond optimism. The plot thickens from there, in a very farcical manner, with a large ensemble cast chiming in with their catchy tunes.

TAPPED delves pretty deeply in to stereotypes, starting with Mary, played with such gusto by Laureen Sicilliano, and Steve played with wide-eyed naiveté by Max Hinders. Even the secondary characters get campy, like Mary's best friend Lisa, the world-savvy man-eating co-worker depicted with conviction by Brittny Congleton. Jenna Steege plays Juliana, the Swiss mastermind mysteriously behind the whole leak--and she vamps it up in a song about being a Swiss bitch that was quite amusing.

One song even questioned whether their acts would be seen as eye-opening and heroic to the public, or as treasonous and dangerous to national security. All said, though the lyrics are snappy, the Wikileaks theme feels like a plot device, making TAPPED more an ordinary love story than the political satire I expected.

It is the hilarious musical numbers that sustain us: a song about Sheremetyevo Airport being the best thing about Russia, the aforementioned Swiss bitch tune, a love duet that is frustrated because the pair in question haven't been able to bathe for two months, and a final number about how much better it is to fail big than to play it safe.

TAPPED is an entertaining musical with cast that displays a great range of Chicago talent. It sells out quickly and just has one show left before it closes, so get your $20 tickets ASAP if you want to attend the 7:30pm performance on October 24 at MCL at 3110 N. Sheffield Ave.

 
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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

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