Heartbreak Hotel
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“Heartbreak Hotel" has three terrific African-American singers — Geno Henderson, Takesha Meshe Kizart and Katherine Lee Bourne — in its cast, but, alas, not enough people to really stage the scene where it first dawns on Sam Phillips (Matt McKenzie), as it later will Colonel Parker (Jerry Kernion), how to profit by embracing musical change and a new sexual permissiveness without offending racists. That issue is emblematic, really, of how “Heartbreak Hotel” cannot decide how far to go in its embrace of its most timely and most important theme. It needs to go a whole lot further: Not only is it the right thing to do, but it would mean that this new show, which has Broadway aspirations like its predecessors, would avoid so many of the tired tropes of the biographical musical of the male recording artist. — Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune