Lucy Darling magic show opens new Rhapsody Theater in Rogers Park

Originally the Morse Theater and later a synagogue, shoe repair shop and more recently a splendid jazz club restored by Jennifer Pritzker, the 249-seat Rhapsody Theater reopened Tuesday night in Rogers Park with the magic to the forefront of its future.

Indeed, Chicago’s Far North Side is experiencing a true renaissance: The Chicago Magic Lounge is located just a few miles south of this new operation, formerly the Mayne Stage and now operated by medical magician Ricardo Rosenkranz.

Rosenkranz is on the bill this fall, but for its opening show, the Rhapsody has stolen one of the Magic Lounge’s main stars, Lucy Darling, the vampiric alter-ego of immensely entertaining magician Carisa Hendrix.

Lucy, a character who lands somewhere between Marlene Dietrich and Mae West, fits right into uptown Rhapsody, where she has a bigger stage and more room to appear, disappear, and transform into others entirely. libations. Hendrix is ​​as much a comedy improviser as a magician and she’s apparently used the pandemic to polish her very funny repartee with audiences, using her blackish, glam persona to gently ridicule the men who, it seems, will do almost anything. what she orders. She’s PG-rated fun, both retro-Vegas and subtly postmodern, enjoyable on many levels and technically accomplished, charming and kind.

Since being the full opening poster for The Rhapsody, Hendrix has added a lot to an act I was pretty familiar with, including a new interview segment that went down well Thursday night after some audience volunteers. tramps in the first few minutes.

I’m afraid the art of being such a volunteer is getting lost in our world of streaming: either people seem to think they have to be funny (no, that’s the star’s job), to commemorate their moment on their phone (nothing worse), or to freeze like a rabbit staring at the headlights and say nothing specific that the performer can actually use (death to improvisation, that).

I am considering offering public service courses since artists like Hendrix deserve the best. Here’s the opening lesson: if she calls you, follow directions, skip the gags, lose the ego, and, for heaven’s sake, offer something she can work with. And put the phone away. The living arts are quite fragile.

Overall, the Rhapsody is a work in progress. There’s no restaurant yet, limited bar service (at least it appeared on Tuesday), and the sensory vibe needs to be more plush and sexier, given the possibilities here for sophisticated but affordable evenings at Roger Park. Of course, this jewel of a place is barely getting back on its feet after some three years of closed doors.

But the magic and music are back at one of the North Side’s most venerable neighborhood venues on a grand avenue with a long and diverse history of live entertainment with a touch of Chicago glamour. A rhapsodic moment for Rogers Park indeed, and worthy of support.

Chris Jones is a reviewer for the Tribune.

cjones5@chicagotribune.com

Review: “Lucy Darling: Gourmandise” (3 stars)

When: Until July 16

Where: Rhapsody Theater, 1328 W. Morse Ave.

Duration: 1h15

Tickets: $35 to $75 at rhapsodytheater.com

Brian L. Hartfield