The year is 1994, and rock star Jacqueline Miller (Diana DeGarmo) is zigzagging the country on a tour. Her dishonest manager has absconded with her earnings, her deadbeat saxophonist boyfriend (Ace Young) is either cheating or has forgotten her birthday, and she’s going on Oprah tomorrow but just lost the cover of Rolling Stone to Beavis and Butt-Head. What’s a girl to do but reminisce about a roller rink and her equally disappointing adolescence? Skates, a new musical with book and lyrics by Christine Rea, music and lyrics by Rick Briskin, directed by Brenda Didier with choreography by Christopher Chase Carter, brings Jacqueline face-to-face with her 12-year-old self, Jackie (Emma Lord)—pigtails, red overalls, and all.
Through 8/28: Tue 7:30 PM, Wed 1:30 and 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 2 and 8 PM, Sun 1:30 and 7:30 PM; Studebaker Theater, 410 S. Michigan, 312-753-3210, skatesthemusical.com, $46-$105.
The year is 1977, and Jackie is firmly in the shadow of her thinner, blonder best friend Meghan (Kelly Felthous) as they navigate the complex social scene and hair-raising drama of the roller rink: Will Jackie get creamed by local bully Russ Reiner (also played by Young)? Will she get a date with “Scotty the hottie” (Adam Fane)? Will her brother Brad (Zach Sorrow) get with Russ’s girlfriend Tonya (Adia Bell), and is this advisable? And what’s better—blue slushies or red? Tootsie Rolls make a cameo, an aptly emblematic confection of cheap and contrived affection.
The cast is high-caliber but the content sitcom-ish and suburban. There are no real skates in this production—unfortunately no real stakes, either.