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Thursday, December 12, 2013

She's back! About Face Theatre's We Three Lizas wishes us a Minnelli little Christmas once again

Last December About Face Theatre gave Chicago audiences an early Christmas present with the world premiere of a new holiday musical, We Three Lizas, and it was one of my favorite shows of the year. Now they've brought their trio of Ms. Minnellis back for more hilarious fun, and I loved it just as much - if not more - the second time around.

For those of you who may have missed this camptabulous event last year, three clever wise men - composers Scott Bradley and Alan Schmuckler and director Scott Ferguson - combined their brilliant talents to create a very gay and sparkly musical comedy about a lonely man named Conrad Ticklebottom who is visited by three ladies with a "Z". Think A Christmas Carol with sequins, songs and sass.

The cast is terrific, including John Francisco, Andrew Swan and Sharriese Hamilton as well as Scott Duff and Dana Tretta, who are both engaging in their original roles as Conrad and his loyal assistant Reggie, and Bethany Thomas, who gives us her own delightful version of Ms. Minnelli. However, there are two "divas" whom I must single out for their laugh-out-loud, scene-stealing performances - Danielle Plisz, who returns as "Liza Was" in her red Halston minidress, and newcomer Mark David Kaplan, who - in a glittering black-sequined pant suit as today's "Liza Is" - reminded me of the late female impersonator Charles Pierce (which is the highest compliment I can think of to describe his drag-tacular star turn). I also have to give kudos to choreographer Patrick Andrews for his ingenious dance moves.

You don't have to be a big Liza fan to enjoy We Three Lizas - but if you are, then you better not miss this deliciously irresistible show. I mean, what good is sitting alone in your room when you can come see the Lizas play!

We Three Lizas runs through January 5 at Stage 773 (1225 W. Belmont Ave). Tickets are available online at or, in person at the Stage 773 Box Office or by calling 773-327-5252.

Photo of three Lizas by Michael Brosilow; photo of "Liza Was" and Conrad by Cheryl Mann.

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