Short and Sweet theater critic for the day, Dorothea Schultz of Itasca, is willing to see all kinds of shows – musical, comedy, drama - as long as it meets her one criterion: the show should transport her. She wants to see the "world as the playwright sees it." Heartbeat of Home did not disappoint. Schultz found the show's combination of stage formation, dance, music and set design to be a mesmerizing combination. In the video interview with Short and Sweet host, Diana Martinez of Broadway in Chicago, Schultz describes her reaction to the show.
Review by Diana Martinez
Created by the Producers and Director of Riverdance, Heartbeat of Home is quite a visual treat. But this is not your mother's Riverdance. This is a vibrant new music and dance spectacular based in the dynamic components of traditional Irish step dance, infused with a variety of new diverse, dance styles, including Flamenco, Salsa, Afro-Cuban, and even a little ballet and hip hop. This world-class cast of 40 includes a 10-piece band, one powerful singer, and 24 amazing dancers culminating in an energized production that takes you on an electrifying journey.
The first thing that grabs you is the diversity of dance styles– which the creators brilliantly included to reflect Ireland's cultural diversity. This is enhanced by state-of-the-art technical effects that modernize this show for 2014 sensibilities, ranging from moving platforms and electrifying effects, to a gorgeous video backdrop that sweeps you off to beautiful scenic locations. One stand out moment features the precision dance ensemble in thundering unison dance – enhanced by a life-sized ocean electrical storm that had the audience on the edge of their seats. The versatile musicians played a variety of instruments and styles with ease and took the stage a few times to show off their talent.
Leading the dancers is Clara Sexton, who is absolutely riveting. She literally leaps and flies across the stage with such ease, that in and of herself, she becomes a live "special effect." Bobby Hodges leads the men and is a powerhouse dancer who has an unyielding command of the stage, hitting his marks with unmatched precision. The men all shined in a fantastic, dance tribute to the iconic photo Mystery in the Sky, featuring New York City steel workers sitting on a beam above the RCA building.
The audience on opening night showed their appreciation after each number, with applause that was filled with "hoots and hollers" and ended in a standing ovation that went on well after the cast left the stage. The band played an encore and took over the stage, playing and "dancing" with the audience, who were all on their feet. This new world-class production will make you fall in love again with Irish dance. The show runs about two hours and ten minutes, with an intermission, and is appropriate for all ages. Heartbeat of Home plays through March 16th, at the Oriental Theatre. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to next time, or better yet, seeing you at the theatre!
For more information about Heartbeat of Home visit broadwayinchicago.com.