Ravinia not exactly Wondeful

March 11, 2011
By broadway_broad SILVER, Chicago, Illinois
broadway_broad SILVER, Chicago, Illinois
8 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Allegedly, many middle class, average-Joe Ravinia goers are fuming about the lack of respect and kindness the Ravinia staff and crew had towards lawn goers this summer. During one of Ravinia’s special benefit nights of Sondheim hits and classics, A Little Sondheim Music , in celebration of the great composer’s 80th birthday, many of the lawn goers were rushed out of their seats in time for the $1,000 benefit dinner to start. The night was supposed to be at least an hour and a half of Sondheim’s lovely, unsettling cords and shining Broadway starlets such as Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald, George Hearn and Michael Cerveris. Lawn seats cost $20 per person, much more expensive than many of their other shows. To be honest, the show was quite nice, full of familiar songs from Gypsy, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, etc. The incomparable George and breathtaking Michael both blew the audience away with their charm and their thrilling performance tactics, while Audra by her stunning operatic Soprano notes. LuPone gave it her all, always funny and full of the showbiz woman within her. Other than the wonderful performers, the show ended up only being an over an hour long, leaving the audience stunned and appalled that they were ripped off for the group of high fluents. The crowd was so upset, most all lawn patrons demanded refunds from the warm, summer evening at Ravinia Park. The best Ravinia said they could do was sell two for one tickets to the next show Patti LuPone and George Hearn were in this summer, Annie Get Your Gun written by Irving Berlin. I’m sure that’s the best Ravinia could do, they only made over a million dollars at the benefit, thank you Ravinia for caring for the working-class human being.
After the Sondheim: 80 concert, the only other big hoorah Ravinia had planned was the classic musical, Annie Get Your Gun starring Patti LuPone, Patrick Cassidy and George Hearn. Though many people were still upset about the so-called “trick” Ravinia had pulled on the loving lawn members, many still came out to see the age-old musical and their own Broadway baby, Patti LuPone. Though a wonderfully done show, LuPone 61, is considered a bit aged for the role of Annie Oakley, the only thing about Patti is she seems to age like a fine wine, only getting better every year after and every show. She blew all the classic songs out the water and belted her heart out on, “I Got the Sun in the Morning.” The show was absolutely wonderful and it did not stop at intermission, as was thought that maybe another trick would be pulled at Ravinia, but no, it was the whole show all the way from “Doin’ What Comes Naturally” to “Anything You Can Do” and all the way to the finally. The production made audience members jump for joy that Ravinia had, sort of, come back to their old ways and respected their long time patrons, even Patti did an evening signing after the Saturday night show. In my eyes, Ravinia has revived themselves, sort of. I’m not one of the fancy people drinking fine wines and eating fine cheeses when I make my trips to Ravinia. I’m just a theater lover, that especially loves the classics and Ravinia is normally a place where I enjoy hearing them all. I guess I’m even a bit like Annie Oakley, “Folks are dumb where I come from. They ain't had any learning. Still they're happy as can be doin' what comes naturally,” something I do every day.

The author's comments:
Last summer's critic on Highland Park, IL's summer music festival

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