Chicago Tap Theatre presents ‘Mama’s Boy’

Chicago Tap TheatreAt the end of June, Chicago Tap Theatre will present Mama’s Boy, a tale of love, rivalry and revenge told entirely through tap dance set to live music.


Mama’s Boy is the 11th Tap Opera created by Chicago Tap Theatre, and this year brings two new additions. While Artistic Director Mark Yonally will continue to provide all of the choreography, the company is, for the first time, bringing in legendary Chicago-based choreographer and director Harrison McEldowney to direct. Plus, this production will be the first Tap Opera to feature all live music, which will blend sounds of the 1920s, Chicago-style jazz and electronic elements.


“While I think we’ve proven that we can tell complex, emotionally involving stories using tap dance as a medium, I’m confident that bringing in someone of Harrison’s abilities will have a concrete and positive impact on the final show,” said Artistic Director Mark Yonally.


Mama’s Boy will be written and narrated by the inventor of the Poetry Slam, Marc Kelly Smith. After last year’s commercial and artistic success with Eyes Without A Face, Smith and Yonally were excited to continue the partnership.


“Anytime I have the option to work with Marc Smith, I jump on it. Having a writer of his stature involved in our show is such a pleasure, and the completeness of the show benefits from his hand,” Yonally said.


Mama’s Boy tells the fictional story of Reginald Remus (RR), a young innocent seduced by the flash and power of the gangster life, especially as embodied by Boss Brady, a towering mafiaso in Chicago’s Maxwell Street neighborhood. RR falls in love with one of Brady’s molls, Dolores, who may be the key to fulfilling RR’s ambitions.


“As we have done in the past, the story will be told entirely through tap dance, though the narration of Marc Smith will give us a greater opportunity to be more subtle in our storytelling,” Yonally explained. “What’s always interesting to me is how different rhythms can have their own inherent emotional subtext. That may be one of the more interesting aspects of telling stories through tap.”


The Tap Opera is a format created by Chicago Tap Theatre 11 years ago to combine the rhythmic complexity of jazz tap dance and the storytelling capacity of musical theater and story ballets. The earlier Tap Opera, The Hourglass and the Poisoned Pen, was honored to be the only tap company show selected for inclusion in the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF).


Mama’s Boy will be presented June 21 and 22 at 8 p.m., June 23 at 3 p.m., June 28 and 29 at 8 p.m. and June 30 at 3 p.m. The show will be performed at Stage 773, located at 1225 W. Belmont, Chicago, IL. Tickets are $35 for adults, $25 for seniors and $20 for students and dancers. Group discounts are also available. For tickets, visit or call 773-327-5252. For more information, call the Chicago Tap Theatre office at 773-655-1175 or visit