“Official” Blues Brothers plus Aretha

It’s a summer custom at the Omaha Community Playhouse to import a theatrical package of light seasonal fun. In recent years, they’ve brought us an entertaining scholastic nun and man as cave man.

But neither of these worthy predecessors sounded as much fun as next week’s The Official Blues Brothers Revue as publicized by the OPC’s Katie Wortmann. If you’re wondering about the “official” claim, be assured it’s the only Blues Brothers show officially sanctioned by Dan Akroyd and the Belushi estate, featuring Jake and Elwood “hand-picked by Dan” and the big man’s widow, Judy Belushi.

And Katie calls it “cool” that Akroyd recorded the voice-over for the Playhouse television spot. There’s so much more, as the promo-meisters like to say.

Not only do we get Wayne Catania as Belushi’s Jake, and Kieron Lafferty as Akroyd’s Elwood, but they’re accompanied by Arnae Batson as Aretha Franklin.

Maybe you have a fondness for this pair plus Aretha, but need a reminder of the story that you loved as a hit movie which spawned popular albums. It’s a redemption tale of two paroled convicts who set out to save the Catholic orphanage where they grew up in Chicago.

I don’t recall why a non-profit orphanage had tax troubles, but we can all recall that the pair form a rhythm and blues band and you can still see the bulky Belushi and the dorky but cool Akroyd in their dark suits and sunglasses.

The publicity stills suggest that Catania and Lafferty look enough like the originals to satisfy any desire to relive that lively experience.

So we’ll see how they recreate the mayhem that results from their good intentions of raising $5,000 in a concert to save the orphanage. The word “faithful” surfaces in the press release and that sounds likely. It’s not like they’re attempting the impossible, such as imitating Frank Sinatra (well, there is that unlikely African-American guy on “America’s Got Talent”).

It’s also called a “tribute to Chicago’s rich history of blues, R&B and traditional soul music, played with the same soul and conviction of the original Blues Brothers Band.” I wouldn’t quote it if I wasn’t buying it.


It runs Aug. 12-21, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays on the Playhouse main stage. Tickets are $30 or $25 for groups of 15 or more. Call 402.553.0800 or visit omahaplayhouse.com.

    

Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com
 

posted at 11:29 pm
on Sunday, July 31st, 2011

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