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Friday, October 22, 2010

Chicago Theater: 'Carpenters Halloween' will put you on "Top of the World"

Carpenters Halloween is absolutely fabulous. Returning for its fourth year, this fun and unique show is a twisted tribute to the 1978 horror classic, Halloween, set to the groovy music of Karen and Richard Carpenter. What more could one ask for? If you love pop culture of the 1970s as much as I do, then this campy theatrical experience will make you laugh out loud from beginning to end.

In case you're not familiar with the movie, Halloween tells the story of teenager Laurie Strode (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) and her friends who are stalked by a psychotic killer named Michael Myers after he escapes from a mental hospital. And if you don't know any songs by the Carpenters, well, shame on you - and I order you to go buy a copy of their greatest hits LP, The Singles: 1969-1973 (the very first album I bought when I was nine).

Produced by The Scooty & JoJo Show (aka the creative team of Scott Bradley and Jonny Stax), Carpenters Halloween has a terrific cast that includes Amanda Kayla Kahn, Marcus Kenyadi, Anne Litchfield, Christopher Paul Mueller, Eric Pogrelis and Jenny Rachel Weiner. However, I must single out two actors who steal the show - Michael Miller as Dr. Loomis and Scott Bradley as Laurie. What makes Miller's performance so wonderful is that he's playing a hand puppet version of Loomis - didn't I say the production is "unique"? I wasn't kidding as the cast is made up of both live actors and puppets - and it all works brilliantly. Bradley, who plays Laurie in drag, perfectly captures the hair-flipping angst of the character - and he also deserves kudos for his excellent direction of this hilarious parody.

So if you've always wanted to hear "Rainy Days and Mondays", "Top of the World", and "(They Long to Be) Close to You" sung by cute puppets, men in drag and dead bodies, then run, don't walk, to see Carpenters Halloween. You'll have a bloody good time - and go home humming a catchy tune.

Carpenters Halloween runs through October 31 at Circuit Nightclub (3641 N. Halsted). For tickets, call 800-838-3006 or go to For further information on The Scooty & JoJo Show, check out their website at And their next show, Alien Queen, which debuts in December, sounds equally entertaining as they turn the scary sci-fi flicks, Alien and Aliens, into a rock opera with the songs of Queen.

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