Carrie Fisher Wins Over a Tough Critic in Her Chicago Premiere of Wishful Drinking.

Carrie Fisher Wins Over a Tough Critic in Her Chicago Premiere of Wishful Drinking.
Carrie Fisher answers questions from the media following opening night of Wishful Drinking in Chicago. Photo credit: Show Me Chicago.

Chicago, Monday, October 10, 2011. Walking into the Bank of America Theatre on one of those perfect fall evenings that Chicago occasionally doles out, I asked myself, do I really want to be here listening to the daughter of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds talk about her addictions?  Having not paid much attention to the Princess Leia craze nor being a regular reader of People magazine, I was feeling more than a little out of sync.

Deciding finally to grin and bear it, I took my seat and watched the curtain rise.  Immediately I was shaken from my funk by an energetic and creative introduction featuring a series of headlines about Fisher’s life struggles from Variety, The L.A. Times and others projected on the large on-stage screen. This well executed segment set the mood and pace for the show giving a quick “read” into the life and times of Carrie Fisher. Hilarious!

OK, so maybe this won’t be so bad, I had to admit. Carrie took center stage interacting with the audience, self-depreciating herself and making it awfully hard not to like her.  The pencil-sharp writing by Fisher along with her warm, heartfelt delivery managed to turn the 2000 plus seat BOA theatre into an intimate club.  But, still I’m wondering how she is going to hold the interest of anyone under 50. After all, Princess Leia and Stars Wars was nearly 35 years ago.  And her mom, America’s Sweetheart of the ’50’s and dad, a popular crooner of those days are ancient history.

Wrong again.  Using the device of a larger than life board aptly headed “Hollywood Inbreeding 101”, Fisher gave a witty autobiographical rundown of her life including the scandal that shook America in 1959, when Carrie was 3, and her father divorced her mother “America’s Sweetheart” to marry Elizabeth Taylor, “America’s seductress” just three and a half hours after his divorce from Debbie was final.  To put the triangle into a perspective that the 20-somethings in the audience could understand, Fisher updated the story of the original “Brangelina”—-saying substitute Jennifer Aniston for my mom Debbie, Brad Pitt for my father, and Angelina Jolie for Elizabeth Taylor and you pretty much have the story.

The show is insightful, delightful and honest–and it doesn’t hurt that the lady knows how to write as well as perform–a heady combination.  Since her feature debut opposite Warren Beatty in Shampoo in 1975, Fisher has been a compelling force in the film industry.  She is perhaps best-known for her portrayal of Princess Leia, a role that made her a cultural icon, in Star Wars and the hit sequels The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.  Other acting credits include The Blues Brothers, Garbo Talks, When Harry Met Sally and Austin Powers.  Her writing credits are equally impressive–having penned The New York Times bestseller, Postcards from the Edge and three additional bestselling novels. Fisher also wrote the screenplay based on her bestseller Postcards from the Edge, which starred Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. She is currently adapting a  fourth novel, The Best Awful, for Lifetime and Sony.

Wishful Drinking is only in Chicago for another week, so if you want to see this true and intoxicating tale of her life, hurry.

Tickets, Show and Dining Information.
Individual tickets for WISHFUL DRINKING are $25 to $65.  Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Kiosk at Water Tower Place (845 N. Michigan Ave.), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations (including Hot Tix and select Carson Pirie Scott, Coconuts and fye stores), and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com. Tickets are available now for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977 1710.

Wishful Drinking runs through October 16, 2011 at the Bank of America Theatre. 18 W. Monroe. Dining out on the cheap? Grab a drink and enjoy complimentary pizza (from 5 to 6p.m.) at the upstairs bar at Chicago Landmark Italian Village just down the street from the theater. 71 W. Monroe.

Comments

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  • Being a Star Wars nerd, I must admit that is the only thing I knew about Carrie Fisher. Her show was hysterical. And only at 37, I felt like the comparison of her past to today's news was spot on. Great show!

  • All hail Carrie Fisher. A sweetheart. Can she block ?

  • In reply to IrishSweetness:

    Come on now, she lost a lot of weight.

  • I bought tickets for this show and as I was joyfully printing them out that evening I realized that the tickets I bought were for the 2:00pm show!

    ARGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

    I was so upset to miss it.

    Even more so now.

    *sob*

  • In reply to Christine Whitley:

    So sad--at least I hoped you contacted Broadway in Chicago to see if you can get a refund or a comp for another show.

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