“POIGNANT ‘MIRACLE’ FULL OF LASTING MEMORIES!”
“MIRACLE,” the new musical about the gritty, never-say-die nature of Chicago Cubs fans everywhere, has taken the field at the Royal George Theatre—a musical for anyone who ever had a big idea and the faith to make it happen, brought to glorious life in the heartfelt Jason Brett story of the Delaney family, who face real-life problems running a bar in Wrigleyville during the Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series run. With a homespun musical lineup by Michael Mahler, stuffed with extra-base hits that will grab you when this game reaches extra innings, you just might be saying to yourself, as I was, “There’s no crying in baseball!”
Ah, but there were tears of joy shed at Thursday’s press opening by many in the Royal George Theatre, which is exactly what producers William A. Marovitz, Arny Granat and Julian Frazin were counting on to make “MIRACLE” a popular ticket for fans of all ages. Directed by Damon Kiely and choregraphed by Dina DiCostanzo on a Collette Pollard set, the family show bursts with heart, sincerity and just the right amount of drama to deliver on the promises of following your dream and never giving up.
The job of running Maggie’s bar is now up to Charlie (Brandon Dahlquist), his father, Pops (Gene Weygandt) and Charlie’s wife Sofia (Allison Sill). Their daughter Dani (Amaris Sanchez at this performance, who splits the role with Elise Wolf) has an acute Cubs obsession that has Charlie worried. Charlie argues about that—and several other topics—with the wily Pops. Things have not gone well for the bar, business is off, and even as the Cubs’ stock continues to go up and up on the baseball field, Charlie and Sofia have rocky times ahead.
The tenants who have businesses in the Delaney building and who populate the bar—the neighborhood mechanic Babs (Veronica Garza) and a Cubs trinket-trader named Weslowski (Michael Kingston)—are joined by Larry (Jonathan Butler-Duplessis), Charlie’s long-time friend who now helps him out with legal matters. In the background, the sleazy owner of a rival spot—aptly name Sleaze (Kingston)—envisions a future for the neighborhood that does not include Maggie’s. Things take a sudden turn when Charlie and Pops confront the truth about the future of the business. All the while, the suspense is building as the Cubs win the National League Championship and move on to the World Series.
Mahler’s spirited and diverse music and lyrics are matched well with Kiely’s terrific cast under the musical direction of Kory Danielson. Dahlquist’s rich rendition of the anthem “I’m Out” and with Sill in “We Make a Damn Good Team” establish the family dynamics early on. Sill gives a warm rendition of “I Hate the Cold,” and the company numbers “The Cubby Bear Blues,” led by Butler-Duplessis, “#FLYTHEW,” showcasing the explosive singing and dancing talents of Sanchez, and “Just Imagine,” featuring Kingston, demonstrate the ensemble’s broad range. You will want to lean in on Dahlquist and Weygandt’s “Coulda Beens,” “The Voice Above the Crowd,” special material by Frazin and Larry Novak that is wistfully sung by Weygandt, and Sanchez’s sweet performance of “Look for A Miracle,” all dynamic moments in a show full of poignant memories.
Even if we know what’s coming next, cheering on the “Boys in Blue” with video highlights (courtesy of the Cubs and designer Mike Tutaj) that capture the excitement of that championship season and the unforgettable Chicago celebration that followed is like winning the World Series all over again.
Editor’s Note: For more about the backstory than this space allows, check out the CONVERSATIONS podcast with William Marovitz earlier this month.
A Musical 108 Years in the Making
ROYAL GEORGE THEATRE
1641 N Halsted
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