Chicago Theatre Workshop Presents LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE Review – Realism At Its Funniest

Chicago Theatre Workshop - LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE
“Miss America” (L to R) Ken Rubenstein, Greg Foster, Kyle Klein, Sophie Kaegi, Sharyon Culberson and George Keating

Chicago Theatre Workshop, in association with Fletcher Jones Volkswagen, has created an intimate portrait of a family in their production of LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. This small, yet mighty, musical gives the audience a peek into the lives of these realistic characters. It tackles the notions of family loyalty, the need for dreams and the very real possibility and probability of failing. Despite all of this sounding dark, it is a comedy that keeps the audience laughing from beginning to end.

Chicago Theatre Workshop-LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE
“Shake it” (L to R) Sharyon Culberson, George Keating, Kyle Klein, Connor Baty and Greg Foster with (in front) Sophie Kaegi

FAMILY AND DEPRESSION

The story focuses on the Hoover family. There is very little happiness in the family as we glimpse into this moment in their lives. Richard, the father, is having trouble with his career. Grandpa has been kicked out of his retirement home. Uncle Frank has recently attempted suicide. Teenage Dwayne has taken a vow of silence. Young Olive, despite her family’s apparent misery, energetically enters a regional children’s beauty pageant. This all sets the stage for a family road trip from New Mexico to California to allow Olive to achieve her dreams. Everyone piles in their old Volkswagen bus and hits the road, each bringing his or her own baggage.

The story is simple, but the emotions behind the characters are resonant and real. Everything that may cause pain is used as an opportunity for comedy. The dejection hits you hard and the comedy even harder.

Chicago Theatre Workshop - LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE
“Dwayne and Olive” (L to R) Sophie Kaegi and Kyle Klein

CHICAGO THEATRE WORKSHOP HAS FOUND A STAR

If you can’t find another reason to see this entertaining show, make Sophie Kaegi that reason. Kaegi’s performance as Olive Hoover is what makes theatre worth seeing. It truly is a star-making performance. She absolutely owns the show and never fails to be the heart of the family. Kyle Klein, II delivers a mostly silent and powerful performance as Dwayne. Klein’s delivery of emotion without the privilege of words is truly remarkable.

The young talent of this production goes beyond just the family. Three young “mean girls” are portrayed with graceful evilness by Chayce Davis, Jersie Joniak and Tatum Pearlman. The three then become the other contestants in the beauty pageant and embody everything hilarious and ridiculous about this strange custom.

Chicago Theatre Workshop - LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE
“BringIT” (L to R) Sophie Kaegi, Jennifer Ledesma and David Besky
Chicago Theatre Workshop - LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE
“Better Better” (L to R) Sophie Kaegi, Kyle Klein, George Keating, Sharyon Culberson and Greg Foster

Photos by Joel Maisonet

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Top Pick For: Lovers of Quirky Comedy

Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO. Click here to read — Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.

 

When:

May 11 - June 4, 2017
Thursdays & Fridays at 7:30PM
Saturdays at 8:00PM
Sundays at 3:00PM

Where:

The Edge Theatre
5451 N. Broadway, Chicago

Tickets:

$32.50 - $42.50
Online at www.chicagotheatreworkshop.org

By phone at 773-999-9541

Note: An excerpt of this review appears in Theatre in Chicago

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