ARTISTS PRODUCTION TEAM VIDEOS BLOG
CHICAGO TRIBUNE - Chris Jones
THREE AND A HALF STARS OUT OF FOUR STARS
Just the thing for spring
Such a pleasure
Cook has created new orchestrations (in his spare time, presumably) for a little orchestra in the balcony. It's hard to overstate Cook's talents — which have been evident since he emerged at the Theo Ubique Theatre — when it comes to Sondheim. Cook has a splendid voice, can play piano with an ebullient flare and he even looks like his man, in his younger years, of course. Porchlight previously put all that in play with Cook at the core of "Sondheim on Sondheim" and it does much the same with this quieter show, conjuring up a young composer at his piano in his apartment, putting down on paper the troubles of his heart.
A big personality in her own right, and an actress who has developed a whole new complexity, Thomas more than holds her own in her little apartment (the twain do meet on Jeff Kmiec's witty set) and offers up some very fine renditions of the oeuvre, including "Happily Ever After" from "Company," a song that she delivers with all the ambiguity it needs.
You won't regret securing a place on the expedition.
Chicago Sun-Times - Hedy Weiss
But trust me, you have not really seen “Marry Me a Little” until you’ve caught up with the ideally updated and re-imagined version of the show that opened Tuesday night at Porchlight Music Theatre. Particular credit goes to the two dazzling talents involved: Austin Cook, the pianist, singer, actor and musical director, and Bethany Thomas, who has long been known for her clarion voice, which spans so many octaves you might easily lose count, and who here finally has the chance to demonstrate the full range of her dramatic gifts, too.
Each of the performers also has knockout solo turns, with Cook delivering an angry “If You Can Find Me, I’m Here” from “Primrose,” and a subtly ironic take on one of my personal favorites, “You Are the Best Thing That Ever Has Happened” from “Road Show,” and Thomas bringing a wonderfully zany, multi-voiced, texting-infused spin to “Can That Boy Foxtrot.”
“Marry Me a Little” runs just 70 minutes, but Porchlight has turned it into a full-fledged, heart-piercingly beautiful musical. Not to be missed.
TIME OUT CHICAGO - Kris Vire
FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS
Porchlight Music Theatre revamps a revue of Sondheim trunk songs to hugely affecting effect.
Director Jess McLeod and Porchlight Music Theatre, with Sondheim’s permission, have updated the show to intriguing effect.
Two of Chicago’s most talented actor-musicians getting to sink their teeth into a rollercoaster of a story arc
But what a pleasure it is to see Thomas, with her uniquely broad and powerful vocal range, make a comic meal out of playing the Follies cut song “Can That Boy Foxtrot” as a he-said/she-said while swiping on Tinder. Ditto seeing Cook, best known as a music director who occasionally acts, really dig into a meaty role. You’re bound to find yourself rooting for these two types who you too rarely see matched up onstage to make it.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS
The man is played by Austin Cook, a great musician, singer who as we see from this show is also a powerful actor. The woman by the always wonderful Bethany Thomas, who for the most part has wowed us with “character roles”, but in this production shows us the “romantic side/leading lady” quality we had not seen before. One could not ask for a better cast for this 70 minute production
The talent in this production is worthy of awards for the perfection we were able to witness.
If it weren’t for the thrilling vocal range of Bethany Thomas coupled with Austin Cook’s velvet voice, this show probably wouldn’t be the incredible musical treat that it is.
This is one production that more than merits your return visit to the Windy City.
This is one helluva treat!