Alumni and former students of the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department are bringing the campy Off-Broadway hit El Grande de Coca-Cola to the stage of the Berger Park Cultural Center’s Coach House Theatre in Chicago’s Edgewater Theatre District August 23 through September 29.
Jon Martinez, a former student in the Theatre Department’s Musical Theatre Program, is the director and choreographer of the cabaret-style show. Alumni Tonika Todorova ’02, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Theatre, and Frank Pullen ’95 are the lighting designers. Todorova is also the production manager, and Pullen is also the producer of this dinner-theatre experience.
Performed mostly in Spanish, this hilarious concept revue is set in a fictitious nightclub somewhere south of the U.S. border, where impresario Señor Pepe Hernandez has boasted to the local press that he is bringing a group of famous international cabaret stars to his club. He persuades the local Coca-Cola bottling plant to back the show in exchange for some blatant product placement. But when the night of the show comes, no stars arrive to perform and Pepe is forced to hire his family, whose antics wreak havoc upon the stage. This hysterical disaster is full of gag bits, physical comedy mix-ups and a lot of tomfoolery, making El Grande de Coca-Cola — a hit in its original 1973 Off-Broadway run — a deliriously funny and ridiculously wonderful show.
The performances on Thursday-Saturday nights at 8 PM are preceded by an optional buffet dinner and open bar at the Waterfront Cafe, the popular lakefront restaurant Pullen operates next door to the theatre. Ticket prices range from $40 for the show only to $60 for the dinner-show package. There are also “All Access Night” performances on Wednesdays at 8 PM, when all tickets are only $20.
The Berger Park Cultural Center is located at 6215 N. Sheridan, in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood. For tickets, call 773-761-3294 or click here.