By Venus Zarris

The world is a stage, life is a cabaret and Silk Road Rising delivers a charming world cabaret to the stage at the Chicago Temple. Silk Road Rising (formerly known as Silk Road Theatre Project) is passionate about its mission of presenting stories and perspectives through Asian American and Middle Eastern American lenses. It has jolted its audiences with compelling drama and thought provoking comedy but this timeout, it loosens its tie and gets its grove on. Not too loose though, as plenty of literary introspection mingles with the jingles to frame an evening of song, dance and global reflection.

Devised by playwright and founding Silk Road Rising Artistic Director Jamil Khoury, Re-Spiced: A Silk Road Cabaret takes us on a delightful musical journey. In its first incarnation, the 2009 production of Silk Road Cabaret: Broadway Sings the Silk Road, we were treated to several Broadway show tunes relating to the Silk Road and as many autobiographical asides that brought personal connections to the music. This time around, the songs span several genres and are pieced together by an eclectic mix of prose and verse. The result is less intimate and the literary/musical combinations vary in effectiveness, but they hit far more than miss and the endearing ensemble captivates and entertains throughout.

There is a great deal of musical, emotional, political and intellectual perspectives that Re-Spiced: A Silk Road Cabaret blazes through in this 90-minute melodic montage. You are left pleasantly shell-shocked by all the ground covered and thrilled to have taken this sometimes sentimental and mostly sensational journey with the beautifully captivating cast.

3 STARS

(“Re-Spiced: A Silk Road Cabaret” runs through May 6 at the Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington Street. 312-857-1234)

Re-Spiced: A Silk Road Cabaret - Silk Road Rising

Re-Spiced: A Silk Road Cabaret production photos by Michael Brosilow.

* Visit Theatre In Chicago for more information on this show. Re-Spiced: A Silk Road Cabaret – Chicago Temple – Play Detail – Theatre In Chicago

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