Monday, July 11, 2011

The All New Original Tribute to the Blues Brothers (theatre review)

I have always seen the allure of the Blues Brothers. They were two dudes that didn’t take care of themselves from the suburbs that liked to dress really cool and handcuff briefcases to themselves and talk about how they were sent by God to sing cover songs.

If you can’t get behind that as an American then I think YOU are the one with the problem, fella.

The story is pretty simple and one we all know. Jake and Elwood Blues grew up in Joliet and have to avoid the cops because they stole something or another and on their way to wherever, they have to stop and sing Otis Redding songs with backup dancers.

The original Blues Brothers were John Belushi and Dan Akroyd and even if you were born in the last 20 years, you have undoubtedly seen them in some form of slutty girls Halloween costume or maybe at the “House of Blues”, which is also filled with slutty girls, I bet.

Well, I went to see a show that is a tribute band of a cover band this past week, and I tell ya what. It was pretty neat. To be honest, I thought I was going to see a play version of the movie, but that is mainly because I don’t do any research. Either way, I was super excited.

This production is straight from the bars and cabaret houses of England and Australia and right into the 5 thousand seat Auditorium Theater in Downtown Chicago, where the lights are bright and everyone is asking you for money if you sit outside at the Bennigan’s down the street from the theater.

The guy who plays Jake is really named Brad Henshaw. Apparently he is very famous in England. He does a pretty good Belushi with all the cartwheels and Joe Cocker impressions and he also produced it and directed it.

My favorite part of the show was the guy who played Elwood. I always felt like while Belushi gets to play the real cool guy, Akroyd had a much harder job. He had to play it straight, and also, he gets that really awesome speech about being “30 miles outside of Chicago with a half pack of cigarettes” . Also, Akroyd is still alive, so suck it Belushi. Your brother is on “According to Jim”.

It’s just a concert, so don’t get any ideas about it telling a story or anything, and to be honest, while the Auditorium is world-renowned for it’s acoustics, the sound mix was pretty lousy.

But if you want a chance to see the Blues Brothers in person, this might be your best bet until you get to Heaven.

Oh yeah, also the black guy from the movie was played by Huggy Bear from “Starsky and Hutch”. In the movie, the black guy was played by…um…that one famous black guy…not Ben Vereen, not Gregory Hines…not Harry Belafonte…not Sammy Davis…but the OTHER black guy that could sing and dance and wound up doing children’s tv shows.

Anyway, take your husband out to see it, he will like it.


-Anderson Lawfer, Eric Roach

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