"We Three Lizas" (About Face Theatre): Triple Diva Fix

"We Three Lizas" (About Face Theatre):  Triple Diva Fix

About Face Theatre presents the world premiere of WE THREE LIZAS.  The House of Conrad is in a design slump.  Conrad Ticklebottom is desperate.  His assistant Reggie comes to the rescue with a book of spells.  Reggie conjures up the Great Queen of Wishes.  Conrad seeks the trifecta for his three wishes: youth, wealth and beauty.  His wishes come special delivery from Liza Minnelli... was, is and shall be.  WE THREE LIZAS is the campy view of “A Christmas Carol” through the eyes of a sassy, boozy legend.

At it’s best moments, this show dazzles with LizaS.  Danielle Plisz (Liza was) kicks Liza’s ass.  Her dancing, her singing, her moxie... Plisz *IS* Liza.  She’s high-energy, high-strung, high-larious!  Choreographer Patrick Andrews orchestrates some stunning “Cabaret”-style routines.  Plisz, along with Michael Hunt and Arturo Soria, execute with flawless timing and zest.  The next Liza is Scott Bradley (Liza is) playing a more subdued, possibly stoned, celebrity.  Bradley is a Liza, confident in her fame and drug-booze combo.  Bradley is a hoot.  Lastly, Sean Blake (both Mystique and Liza next) commands the stage as the Great Queen of Wishes.  Blake towers over the petite and mostly unrecognizable Dana Tretta (Reggie).  Their encounters have a delightful vaudevillian quality.

With musical composition and direction by Alan Schmuckler, WE THREE LIZAS is a musical sensation.  It’s in between songs that the show flounders.  Bradley also serving as the playwright has the essences for show appeal.  More Liza, less other stuff.  Bradley’s script gets unnecessarily convoluted.  I’m not sure about the two or three sister set-up, the quest for the book of secrets, what really happened to Conrad Ticklebottom and why do I care about Ticklebottom?

I highly anticipated this show.  I’m a big fan of Scott Bradley and Alan Schmuckler.  I did my own conjuring of what this might look like.  AFT is promoting a 45 minute lounge time between the show featuring guest artists.  I imagined cabaret seating and campy antics to set the mood.  I arrived 5 minutes after the house opened and it was already full.  There were very few tables and primarily theatre seating.  We were at the very right on the bleachers, next to the band, not the best locale visually or audibly.  The preshow had a very talented singing duo.  They just weren’t what I was expecting.  It was serious not playful.  It didn’t loosen up the crowd for a Liza resurrection.  It somber-ed us up!  There was also a lip-syncing drag queen with beautiful legs but an odd lounge act.  I would say *skip the preshow* but I can’t.  There is no reserved seating so to get a good view of Liza you should arrive before the house opens.

WE THREE LIZAS is a triple diva fix.  With some fine tuning, spending the holidays with LizaS could become a holiday tradition.

Running Time:  2 1/2 hours with lounge time OR 105 minutes with no intermission

At Steppenwolf Garage Theatre, 1624 N. Halsted

Book/lyrics by Scott Bradley

Music/additional lyrics by Alan Schmuckler

Music direction by Alan Schmuckler

Directed by Scott Ferguson

Thursdays,Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays at 7pm-Lounge Time and 7:45pm -Showtime

Saturdays at 3pm -Lounge Time and 3:45pm-Showtime

Thru December 23rd

Buy Tickets at www.steppenwolf.org

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