For the last month, we've been talking up the McShanes and the O'Rourkes -- two families hailing from Babylon, Long Island who have finally taken the Studio Theatre stage for the world premiere of CHRISTMAS IN BABYLON. We've felt for a long time that this was a holiday hit in the making... and now that we're out of our first week, we've learned that critics and audience members both agree!
Terry, Denise and daughter Abby McShane are a typical family in North Babylon, Long Island: blue-collar, lower-middle-class, and prone to sarcastic banter as their chief form of communication. Out of the blue, Terry is contacted by his ex-fiancee, Kathleen, a former Babylonian with a booming self-help empire. It's a collision more than 25 years in the making. And the holidays have only just begun…
We've compiled many of our great critical reviews below, so you can get a glimpse of what you're in for if you join us at the Studio Theatre. To get your tickets, visit us in person at 158 N Broadway, call 414.291.7800, or visit our online box office. Happy holidays!
Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
|Terry McShane (Tom Klubertanz) and Kelly O'Rourke|
(Eva Nimmer) meet in a Babylon coffeeshop.
Photos by Paul Ruffolo.
"Like the Great Bambino, Tom Klubertanz is fascinating to watch as Terry, whether he's flailing or homering."
"Underneath the sarcastic banter (and in MacDonald Kerr's case, facial expressions so good that words aren't needed), playwright DeVita, director C. Michael Wright and the cast are dealing with a painfully touchy subject in American life."
Tea Krulos, Shepherd Express
|Mary MacDonald Kerr, Tom Klubertanz, |
and Sara Zientek as Denise, Terry, and Abby McShane
in CHRISTMAS IN BABYLON.
"It’s a nice mix of comedy and some tender sarcastic but sweet family moments. Christmas in Babylon delivers a solid and funny performance from the entire cast. It shows that family should stick together through thick and thin, even (and maybe especially) if you drive each other up a wall."
Kelsey Lawler, Broadway World Milwaukee
"CHRISTMAS IN BABYLON Unpacks Family Dynamics With Comedy At The Milwaukee Chamber Theatre"
"While the McShanes can be abrasive and crass, the O'Rourkes swoop in as couple of calm, accomplished, well-spoken women; though, not surprisingly, even these two have their own baggage - and lots of it. Luckily for audiences, all that baggage is unpacked with humor aplenty."
"Zientek has the audience chortling in anticipation of her antics the moment she bursts upon the scene."
Matthew Perta, ShowBiz Chicago
|Terry (Tom Klubertanz) confronts Kelly (Eva Nimmer, L)|
and Kathleen O'Rourke (Laura Gray).
"DeVita’s brilliant observations on the fragilities of family are vividly brought to life by a first-rate cast that makes us laugh, cry and think."
"Christmas in Babylon is uproarious and heartwarming, a delicious treat for the holidays, ready to be unwrapped and enjoyed."
Dominique Paul Noth, Urban Milwaukee
"'Babylon' Is Funny As Hell"
"This is truly an actors’ play – and each has several moments to prove that accolade."
"Eva Nimmer, as the accidental cause of all the confusion, is stunningly whole and unflappable in a first act that requires perfect control and response, something quite difficult for an actress but executed well here. Sara Zientek plays the counter-weight, a foul-mouthed eternal adolescent always on the verge of hysteria."
Adam Rogan, Milwaukee Magazine
"World Premiere Review: 'Christmas in Babylon' Isn't Your Typical Holiday Play"
"Like all good fiction, Christmas in Babylon makes its audience look at the things we see every day but never notice — like how sometimes it’s best to talk it out in the car, or how absurdly difficult it is to make small talk in a coffee shop."