Wednesday, June 26, 2013
"Chris Gaines in...The Life of Garth Brooks" is a satirical study of an artist, and his qualms about his role as performer. Written by Greg Ott, the play is based on a bizarre period in country star Brooks' life and features a cast of seven who play multiple characters, including Jay Leno, Chelsea Clinton, Larry King, Regis Philbin, Phil Spector, Barbara Walters, Monica Lewinsky, Judge Judy, "Weird" Al Yankovic, and Jerry Springer. The play will run on Fridays at 8 p.m. at The Annoyance Theatre, 4830 N Broadway, Chicago.
The ensemble comedy -- featuring Chris Blake, Tim de la Motte, Annie Donley, Brigid Marshall, AJ Miller, Greg Ott, and Wink Stone-- focuses on the time in 1999 when country singer and songwriter Garth Brooks created an alternate persona in the form of rocker Chris Gaines. Ott assumes the roles of Gaines and Brooks, and local filmmaker and comedian Joe Avella is co-director. The show presents the music of both Gaines and Brooks.
In the Annoyance performance, the story as it actually occurred is turned upside down. Ott explains, "In our version, Chris Gaines is the biggest rock-star on the planet, but he's dissatisfied with his artistic pursuits. So, after being inspired by a small-town country singer, he changes direction and ditches his old persona. Gaines then re-emerges as a character named Garth Brooks, a switch that stuns Gaines' agents, fans, and record label, who all fear their star has lost his mind."
Ott said the show originally began as part of Annoyance's 20-minute Triple Feature, which is the theatre's testing ground for short play ideas. "But we quickly outgrew the time limit and needed an extra hour or so. An abridged version was performed a couple of times, and that progressed to this original, never-been-seen before, full-length play."