Check into the Grand Hotel

Leryn Turlington and Jonathan Schwart with cast of Grand Hotel. (Evan Hanover photos)
Leryn Turlington and Jonathan Schwart with cast of Grand Hotel. (Evan Hanover photos)

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

This classic, Tony-Award-nominated musical comes to life in the hands of Kokandy Productions in Theater Wit. The moment you enter, the elegant set creates a warm ambience and violin and percussion sounds welcome you.

Up above and off stage, you hear the sounds of a crowd. Then, once the narrator, the good Colonel Doctor begins, the production takes off like a shot.

With book by Luther Davis, music and lyrics by Robert Wright, George Forrest and Maury Yeston, ‘Grand Hotel’s 1989 Broadway production earned 12 Tony Award nominations and won five.

Based on the 1928 play/novel “Menschen im Hotel” (People in a Hotel) and the 1932 MGM movie, the musical focuses on life and death, success and failure, love and murder all told through music and dance.

People come and go through the revolving door, with everything happening in the Grand Hotel’s lobby during one defining weekend.

(From left) Rachel Whyte, Michelle Jasso and Jenny McPherson in Kokanday Production's 'Grand Hotel.'
(From left) Rachel Whyte, Michelle Jasso and Jenny McPherson in Kokanday Production’s ‘Grand Hotel.’

Because the year is 1928, the audience knows what’s about to happen on the world stage. The Depression is about to hit. But for now, at the Grand Hotel, the guests come first and service is top rate.

From a fading diva, a troubled physician and a terminally ill bookkeeper to a destitute baron, a wannabe Hollywood star and other unsavory characters, the Grand Hotel caters to their every whim.

Directed by John D. Glover whose vision is to create a “vanished luxury” amid the harsh realities of each character’s journey, ‘Grand Hotel’ takes the audience on a romp through the times and troubles of the world between wars.

Choreography by Brenda Didier reflects the year with excellent tap dancing and the Charleston.  Costume design by John Nasca captures the era with colorful flappers and well-dressed businessmen as well as the downtrodden dishwashers, maids and bellboys.

Standouts include Leryn Turlington as typist Flaemmchen who dreams of going to Hollywood. Her innocence and charm, coupled with powerful vocals, captivates the audience every time she steps on stage.

Michelle Jasso as the once prima ballerina is perfect as the tiny dancer whose identity is wound up with her fading career. Erik Dohner as the handsome, destitute Baron Felix von Gaigern has a beautiful voice that inspires and takes your breath away.

Grand Hotel is one show you’ll definitely want to check out.

 DETAILS:  ‘Grand Hotel’ is presented by Kokandy Productions at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, now through May 27. Running time: One hour and 50 minutes, no intermission. For tickets and other information, call (773) 975-8150, visit Kokanday Productions.

Mira Temkin

For more shows visit Theatre in Chicago

 

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