First let me say that I am being kind about my average review, as the cast of Les Miserables really did give it their all. But the venue rates below average. Let me explain.
The theatre is located outside Chicago in the middle of nowhere necessitating a long car ride over boring interstate roads at rush hour, or alternatively through dodgy neigbouhoods at rush hour, you choose, but you have to drive as public transport is nil and a cab would be ridiculously expensive.
When you finally get there, in the middle of generica, you are at a large complex which includes a small conference center, theatre and hotel.
Once there, you have arrived at a destination totally devoid of charm, we found ample parking (unlike another reviewer), and managed to get same day tickets for about $50 which was fair value. We got there a little before 7 and hoped to eat after purchasing our tickets. There was absolutely nowhere within walking distance so we reluctantly chose to eat there. There were 2 choices, a prix fixe menu that is often sold as a package with the tickets or a so called lounge menu, both located in the cavernous space that is the foyer of the theatre. We never were able to find out the price of the prix fixe, but not being particularly hungry opted for the lounge menu.
Our waitress came promptly and we ordered drinks and a dish each, a sandwich, 2 burgers and some tacos - it sounded quick and simple, it was now around 7.05, so we expected to have time to kill. Our kind waitress soon brought us the drinks and some bar snacks while we waited for the food, and waited for the food, and waited for the food…. then the sandwiches and burgers came about 7:40 but no bugers. The poor waitress kept circling back and apologizing, finally at 7:48 the burgers arrived. 2 bites into the burger the lights started to flash indicating we should take out seats, 4 bites later the second set of flashing lights called us more insistently. We left half of our burgers on the plate and got up to take our seats.
The Theatre decor is camp, red velvet and chandeliers, but not camp enough to be fun. The shape of the theatre is such that many of the side seats are quite restricted views. The sound quality was abysmal. When the singers got louder, the volume not only increased exponentially, but got quite distorted. Not good at all.
The actual performance was good but not great, so an OK place to take your aunt for an evening out, but not a good place to take a more sophisticated friend. The cast did work hard but the sound system did absolutely nothing to help them. The choice of show is an old crowd pleasing classic, and the staging was somewhat predictable.
Considering you can get last minute tickets to excellent theatre in downtown Chicago for about $30 ( these were mexxtix at the Goodman theatre) I would not say this was particularly good value, and it was certainly not convenient.
If your old aunt Lizzie loves Les Mis and wants to go take her and have a good time - leave lots of time for dinner, and be prepared to be stuck in traffic on the way out.
After the theatre no where to linger for a night cap, or interesting cocktail - just bite the bullet and drive home 30 min to the city, so just as well you never had that post theatre drink.
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