Chicago’s ‘Shout! The Mod Musical’ an Infectiously Groovilicious, Estrogen-Only Stew

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CHICAGO – Meg Ryan, eat your heart out. Since “When Harry Met Sally,” the salacious Danielle Plisz as Green Girl in “Shout! The Mod Musical” takes Ryan’s infamous restaurant eruption to a whole new level on stage.

Shout! The Mod Musical in Chicago
“Shout! The Mod Musical” in Chicago.
Photo credit: Ben Strothmann

Blue Girl (Lauren Fijol), Red Girl (Megan Long), Yellow Girl (Maggie Portman), Orange Girl (Amy Steele) and Amanda Danskin in the ensemble match Plisz’s energy in a performance that flips through the 1960s like a musical diva songbook.

All cast members of the Chicago production are local talent. The musical is the story of five fab women in London being liberated as children of the swinging 60s with the hair, heart and soul of the twist-and-shout generation.

Though you miss Mike Myers as the seminal 1960s Austin Powers character, there’s plenty of sass and sauce in this exclusive estrogen stew.

The performance is replete with feel-good tunes you’re sure to recognize (regardless of your age) including “These Boots Were Made For Walking,” “Son of a Preacher Man,” “Shout!,” “Downtown,” “I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself” and many more.

Most notable about this female-only cast is its strength in numbers without a weak link. Each performer embodies a clearly composite personality and effectively etches a lasting memory.

Shout! The Mod Musical in Chicago
“Shout! The Mod Musical” in Chicago.
Photo credit: Ben Strothmann

As the women evolve with the London times over the course of this soulful period in history, the narrative voices of an influential magazine advise them on how they should behave. While they progress through this story, some listen ever-so vigilantly while others buck the trend of the times.

The musical is based on a backdrop of 1960s events including the FDA approval of the pill in 1960, the founding of Weight Watchers in 1961, the publication of “Sex and the Single Girl” in 1962 (which encourages women to have careers and pre-marital sex) and the introduction of the male contraceptive pill in 1963 (that they don’t use).

As well, women were first arrested in 1964 for wearing topless dresses, the introduction of the mini-skirt came in 1965 along with the world’s first supermodel, the beginning of the hippie movement in 1966, flower power in 1967, the opening of “Hair” in 1968 and Woodstock in 1969.

Shout! The Mod Musical in Chicago
“Shout! The Mod Musical” in Chicago.
Photo credit: Ben Strothmann

“Shout! The Mod Musical” is marked as an indisputable crowd pleaser not only by these themes and catchy numbers but by its ability to engage the crowd and even launch them out of their seats.

By the end, men and women of all ages were standing, clapping and singing with infectious vigor.

As a testament to the high-energy fitness associated with the musical’s pace, some of the microphones of the performers even unknowingly peaked out from atop their foreheads.

On opening night, a couple of the girls came out of the gate with performance concern but all were on fire by the curtain call.

“Shout! The Mod Musical” runs through June 22, 2008 at the Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place at 175 E. Chestnut St. in Chicago on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m., 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Tickets cost $45 to $55.

© 2008 Adam Fendelman, editor-in-chief Adam Fendelman


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