This week, Paul goes behind the curtain with the beloved stars of a new World Premiere: When Harry Met Rehab. Written by Chicago’s Very Own Harry Teinowitz and Spike Manton, a comedy based loosely on the real-life experiences of the Chicago sports radio personality. The show stars Dan Butler, best known as Bob “Bulldog” Briscoe for the run of the series Frasier, and Melissa Gilbert, so well known as Laura Ingalls on “Little House on the Prairie.” They talk about the show which is described as a comedy that takes sobriety seriously along with a look back on their careers. But it’s not just the Frasier and Little House conversations you’d expect to hear. They discuss other parts of their careers and life you might not know about. A really interesting and fun interview to get Chicago ready for this new World Premiere running at the Greenhouse Theater at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave, from November 24th thru January 30th. Tickets can be purchased at www.whenharrymetrehab.com.

Theater Review: “When Harry Met Rehab”…. he takes all of us with him through a touching, poignant journey underlined with often laugh out loud humor. Chicago native and sports broadcasting legend Harry Teinowitz details his very rough road with alcohol that led him into rehab and he teaches us all important lessons about the struggle with alcohol, clearly one key purpose for sharing his story. The difficulties of maintaining, or even reaching, sobriety in produced in a very well done and compelling personal tale in which Teinowitz holds nothing back about his struggle and the struggles of the characters and coach who share his journey through group. Your heart will go out to Harry and you’ll connect with the other characters as well. I won’t share details of their journeys because that’s an important part of what unravels thru the course of the play and you should experience those moments yourself. Dan Butler (yep, Bulldog in Frasier) captures both the humorous and conflicted sides of Harry in a way that I have no doubt the real Harry Teinowitz blesses as accurate. Plus, since the real Harry is a bit on the quiet side, Butler adds some bravado that energizes the show and insures that the audience laughs sometimes thru our tears. As the group therapist/coach/fellow alcoholic and interestingly part time magician, Melissa Gilbert (yep, she played the iconic Laura Ingalls on “Little House on the Prairie”) unveils her character Barb, throughout the show and we soon forget the legendary roles that she (and Butler for that matter) played in their past which for some fans, is reason enough to come see this up close and intimate show. Every one of the six characters in the show are presented as a complexity of the people they likely were and are….engaging, warm, challenged, frustrated, lost, but all hoping they can find their way. Do they? You’ll need to see this wonderful show written by Teinowitz and Spike Manton to find out because by the show’s end, Harry tells us what happened to them all. The show is genuine, warm and relatable. Let’s mention the elephant in the room: If you know someone who is struggling or has struggled with alcoholism, you will have a very strong connection to this show. If you ARE someone who struggles with alcohol you will have a profound connection to the show, and hopefully feel uplifted that your future can be one of hope….IF you take the right steps. The struggle with alcohol and drugs is real for those who face it. They need to find internal direction and we learn they need the support of those in their life. Indeed, when Harry Meets Rehab, in some ways, takes every one of us along to experience rehab as well; you will reflect and talk about this show for quite some time.

When Harry Met Rehab plays at the Greenhouse Theater thru January 30th with tickets at: www.whenharrymetrehab.com

REVIEW: ****/4