Broadway in Chicago Offering for A Capella Fans
A capella has hit its stride thanks to the likes of Pitch Perfect bringing collegiate a cappella to the big screen and groups like Pentatonix popularizing this unique music genre in the mainstream music world. Here on stage at the Broadway Playhouse comes the UK based group GOBSMACKED. An a cappella group bringing stories and life to their music with stellar voices that bring the audience to its feet.
Turn Up the Radio
Our stage is set with what looks like speakers lining the back wall. We can already anticipate this show blowing us away with sound. A lone microphone is in the spotlight, ready for whatever comes next. As the first member of GOBSMACKED comes on, picks up the microphone, the whole stage comes to life with other members popping out from the wings, staircases, and the walls themselves!
They have dubbed themselves The Cast seemingly because in between songs they “act” out some transitions. For some this is a creative way to move from song to song, while for others might seem a bit cheesy.
Regardless, in our cast we have the Woman, the Lady, and the Girl for the female vocalists and on the opposite the Man, the Lad, and the Boy. Our six singers are led by the Conductor, award winning beat boxer Ball-zee. While their transitions might be a bit silly, their voices are anything but. They all blend together to recreate popular songs without instruments as a capella is meant to do, but also when each has a chance in the spotlight to solo a song they are stand out amazing.
The cast has remixed, changed keys, and mashed up many of the songs to create their own unique arrangements. They pack every inch of the theatre with sound and have a repertoire of mostly pop hits with some classics sprinkled throughout their setlist.
They take a track right out of the 2000's middle school dance playlist, Mr. Brightside, and Nicholas Hayes slows it down, shifts the key, and gives the front row some flirtatious eyebrow wiggles.
Joanna Evans has an impressive vocal range singing soprano when she's on harmony. But when she comes out leading "Titanium” she packs an incredible punch. She can riff and belt with a soulful style that will give any audience member goosebumps.
And not many basses have the chance to ever break from their bottom notes, but here Ed Scott gets a chance to jump a couple octaves. He shows off his falsetto in “Kiss” while also hitting those low notes when need be.
The One Man Band
The sound technicians probably had the bass turned all the way up for Ball-Zee as he took the stage for his solo. That's right, the beat boxer got his own solo.
He throws in some well-timed comedic bits as he sets up his “instruments” and shows off his sound abilities by imitating drums, water, cars, and even helicopters.
But then, when he goes into his song set, you would think you're actually in a club. The rafters are quite literally shaking from the bass and electronic beats coming from only his voice.
More Than Just Pretty Voices
But don’t think this show is just an a capella concert where everyone stands around and we simply enjoy hearing music.
GOBSMACKED is a high energy storytelling experience as well. As we listen to each of these songs, our cast offers us choreographed stories - a broken heart in “She Loves You,” a struggling couple in a “Rolling in the Deep/Crazy” mash-up, and traveling back in time from iPods to walkmans to record players.
GOBSMACKED has assembled an incredible group of vocalists that when given their moment in the spotlight, they take it and run with it.
The group has a well-balanced mix of contemporary pop with the likes of Lady Gaga and Ed Sheeran mixed with classics like Queen and David Bowie. If you're a fan of a capella music this group is not to be missed.
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read – Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.
Now through December 10th
Saturday 2:00pm and 8:00pm
Sunday 2:00pm and 7:30pm
The Broadway Playhouse
175 E. Chestnut
Chicago, IL 60611
Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices, by calling the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, or online at the Broadway in Chicago website.
Courtesy of Broadway in Chicago