West Side Story at the Lyric – Meet Tony and Maria; “Next to Normal” lights up Writers Theatre; “You Shop, We Give” campaign to Fight ALS

Paul Lisnek

This week, Paul goes behind the curtain with the cast of “West Side Story” which is knocking everyone’s socks off at The Lyric Opera (thru June 2nd) . Corey Cott (Tony) and Mikaela Bennett (Maria) talk about starring in this legendary show performed in an historic grand theater. Critics have called this the best production since the original and one of the best Chicago has seen in years…..Then (starting at 20:55 into the show) the stars of “Next to Normal,:” Keely Vasquez, Liam Oh and assoc director Harmony France, talk about the ambitious “from Broadway”  production at Writers Theatre in Glencoe thru June 16th)….directed by Tony Award winner David Cromer (“A Band’s Visit”) this musical  presents deep family relationship challenges, struggles with prescription drug abuse and other issues that are best not to mention so the audience can experience the “a-ha” moments as they occur. Even grittier and more raw than the production on Broadway, It’s a powerful show which should not be missed. Finally (starting at 44:17 into the program), May is ALS Awareness month and  “You Shop, We Give,” is a fundraising campaign spearheaded by Lori and Brian Andre as they work to fight ALS. Brian was diagnosed with the disease in 2016 and their battle to fund research and find a cure has been never-ending. When you shop from May 18th thru May 25th, look for stores with a “You Shop, We Give sign or logo in the window because it means they are donating a portion of the week’s proceeds to ALS organizations  (or go to www.IAMALS.org/you-shop to find participating stores so you can shop and do good at the same time.  Lots covered this week, so dig in and enjoy!

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