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Review: Girls Night the Musical (Entertainment Events)

By Chicagotheaterbeat @chitheaterbeat

Review: Girls Night the Musical (Entertainment Events)


Entertainment Events, Inc. presents


Girls Night: The Musical

Review by J.H. Palmer

To call Girls Night: The Musical a piece of musical theater is generous; produced in The Club at 5 West, it has the look and feel of a bad night out in a club, and appears to draw an audience bent on dressing too young and laughing too hard. In what serves as a storyline, Sharon (Shelby Garrett) speaks to the audience from beyond the grave and – just in case the audience can’t grasp this concept – she is dressed in white and wears angel wings. Her untimely death came as a result of riding on the back of a motorcycle without a helmet because she “didn’t want to mess up my hair.” Roughly twenty years later she watches her four best friends as they spend a night in a karaoke club, ostensibly to celebrate the engagement of Sharon’s daughter, who we never see. Not once. Sharon’s one-dimensional character has friends who are largely one-

Review: Girls Night the Musical (Entertainment Events)
dimensional themselves: Carol (Missy Aguilar) is the slutty party girl who’s been married and divorced twice; Anita (Andrea DeCamp) is the weirdo – which in this case means she has a tendency to speak very quickly and go off on tangents; Liza (Marken Greenwood) is the raunchy mother of three trapped in a loveless marriage; and Kate (Jennifer Oakley) is the nerd, symbolized by her granny panties, eyeglasses, and no nonsense ponytail.

The dialogue and storyline serve to prop up a series of karaoke numbers. The cast clearly have good singing voices, but just like in real life karaoke, these numbers are more entertaining for the participants than for the audience. Every once in a while shit gets real, or at least it tries to get real. We discover that Sharon was 16 when she got pregnant and “never once considered adoption or terminating the pregnancy.” Why this pro-life boilerplate dialogue is pasted into a piece that features discussions of merkins, a male blow-up doll, and cum jokes is beyond me; besides, it’s not important – we never meet said child, so who cares about the pregnancy? We learn that some characters have cheated on their husbands, the devastating impact this supposedly has had on their lives, and an apparently big revelation about the relationship between dead Sharon and living Kate that only serves to add to the ridiculousness of the plotline.

There are bright spots in this two hour slog: Marken Greenwood’s performance puts me in the mind of Molly Shannon’s commitment to her nerdy character Mary Katherine Gallagher, who is full of confidence despite herself; and Andrea DeCamp’s rendering of Anita is possibly the most interesting character in the play — at the very least she’s not a female stereotype.

It took most of the piece for me to figure out a possible remedy to this problematic musical: have it performed by drag queens. Men dressed as women depicting one-dimensional characters are funny; women playing one-dimensional characters are depressing and revolting. Even the dialogue lends itself to cross dressing – Sharon tells us that the solution to the slutty girl’s happiness is to find a man with “balls bigger than yours.” This would be hilarious in the context of drag, as would Sharon’s death as a result of not wanting to mess up her hair.

At best this play is overpriced schlock ($45 for non-reserved general admission, a higher price than many big theatre companies in town). If you enjoy the atmosphere of Division Street at night and you enjoy watching other people sing karaoke in the basement of a club with toilets filthy enough to bust out the squatting technique you picked up while traveling abroad, then this musical is for you. I’d advise steering clear of it – there are countless productions in Chicago that deserve your theatergoing patronage, and at much more reasonable ticket prices.


Rating: ★½



Girls Night: The Musical continues through August 26th at The Club at 5 West (map), with performances Thursdays-Fridays at 7pm, Saturdays 7pm and 3pm, Sundays 3pm.  Tickets are $45-$65, and are available by phone (877-386-6968) or online here (check for half-price tickets at More info at (Running time: 2 hours, includes an intermission)

Review: Girls Night the Musical (Entertainment Events)

The cast performs at Daley Plaza

Photos by Eric Y. Exit 




Missy Aguilar, Andrea DeCamp, Shelby Garrett, Marken Greenwood, Jennifer Oakey

behind the scenes

Sonya Carter (director); Shaun L. Motley (set design); Karl Ruckdeschel (costumes); Steve Brightwell, Douglas Oberhamer (sound, track engineers); Jennifer Kules (lighting, tech advisor, production stage manager); Dan Laushman (stage manager); Zachary Baker-Salmon (production manager); Emily Morgan (asst. choreographer); Joseph Thalken (music director); Amy Jones (asst. music director); Kurt Stamm (production consultant); Eric Y. Exit (photos)

Review: Girls Night the Musical (Entertainment Events)

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