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Theater Shows
Burnt Part Boys, The

A heroic production fails to redeem a problematic musical.

centerstage reviewed this performanceReviewed by Centerstage!Go Chicago!

Theater Wit
Tickets: or (773) 975-8150

Griffin Theatre


Related Info:
Official website

Runs November 3, 2012-December 22, 2012

Friday7:30 p.m.
Saturday7:30 p.m.
Sunday3 p.m.
Thursday7:30 p.m.

reviewed performanceCenterstage Show Review
Reviewer: Alex Huntsberger
Wednesday Nov 14, 2012

Griffin Theatre’s “Burnt Part Boys” is a heroic effort. It does everything within its power to redeem the unfortunate script and forgettable music that it has been saddled with. And more often than not, director Jonathan Berry and the cast emerge triumphant in their battle against the piece’s innate mediocrity. But there are too many problems present for their victory to be complete. “Burnt Part Boys" is the story of two brothers, 18 year old Jake (Mike Tepeli) and 14 year old Pete (Charlie Fox). Both were practically orphaned by the death of their father in a mine explosion ten years prior, and now face the re-opening of the very mineshaft where he died. While Jake has followed in their father’s footsteps as a miner, Pete is resolved that the shaft will not be disturbed, and sets off to blow up the mine for good, with his brother in hot pursuit. Fox gives a stoic performance as Pete, which contrasts nicely with the manic comedy of Max Zuppa as Dusty, Pete’s best friend and personal Samwise Gamgee. In fact, the entire cast, aside from some minor pitch problems, all give well-acted and well-sung performances. Special praise must be reserved though for Tepeli, who is gifted with the plays most complex, conflicted character in Jake, and who takes that gift and runs with it. But oh me, oh my, is the show’s book bad. It’s hokey and clichéd in the extreme, making Frank Capra look like Lars Von Trier. And the music, by Chris Miller, relies almost entirely on long, sustained power notes sung in harmony. While the effect is sometimes pretty, it unfortunately means that every song sounds almost exactly the same. The lyrics, by Nathan Tysen, are fine, I guess. But even then, one out of three ain’t cutting it. Ultimately, given, the talents of Berry, Tepeli and all involved, I find it distressing that Griffin couldn’t find a better show to pour their efforts into. But with “Burnt Part Boys,” they get to look like heroes all the same.

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