By: Andrew Leshner
Broadway in Chicago delivers yet again, introducing a comedy drama centered on the rock band, The Ramones. The performance follows each band member’s personal story, as well as the band’s rise, influence, and global prominence. The story is primarily set in the lavish Los Angeles home of eccentric record producer Phil Spector.
Spector produced for The Beatles, and is regarded as one of the most methodical, unconventional, and successful record producers of the 1970’s. The Ramones hoped his previous success and notoriety could elevate them to reach full production and radio play potential.
The band definitely got more than they bargained for, displayed by Johnny, Marky, Joey, and Dee Dee fighting amongst themselves and Phil inside his landmark mansion.
The show is framed as a comedy/drama and biography – not a musical. Fortunately, a concert follows the six actor performance – with Chicago band Four Chords performing a heavy set of The Ramones greatest hits. The set featured multipurpose props, which added authenticity to the set, and functionality to the concert. Amps, a pullout sofa, and production equipment are just a few fun props featured. The six actor cast blends drama and band conflict, with raunchy comedic dialogue, leaving the audience entertained and informed on The Ramones history.
Four Chords and a Gun is showing at the Broadway Playhouse Theater at Water Tower Place through June 2.