Making flesh-and-blood figures into heroes is always a tricky thing. We tend to highlight their virtues and ignore their all too human flaws, only for those flaws to present themselves later on. This can lead to a sense of cognitive dissonance, of feeling like we were never right to revere that person in the first place. But ultimately, our understanding that all people have their own particular flaws, and allowing both the positive and negative sides of a person to coexist, can sometimes lead to a richer, more truthful perception of the heroes we admire, as real human beings who struggled with the same things that we do. SOMETHING IN THE GAME, a new musical currently running as part of Northwestern University’s American Music Theatre Project, seeks to take a more well-rounded look at one particularly enduring hero: Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne.
In the opening montage of the classic 1977 film SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, an overhead camera soars from Manhattan to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, where we see John Travolta as Tony Manero, strutting the streets, swinging his paint can.
For musical theater die-hards (like myself), Porchlight Music Theatre’s concert reading of CHESS—a three-night-only engagement as part of the Porchlight Revisits series—is simply delightful.