An expert physical comedian, Yonally outdoes himself with the eager, idiotic Gioconi. Without ever channeling Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton, he creates a whole new silent-film prototype: his face a grinning mask, he struts stiff-legged, pelvis forward, a bumpkin to the Nth degree.

Lovable characters abound in “TightWire,” with five CTT apprentices playing a hapless Houdini type, acrobats (very credibly, even as they double as stagehands) and a snake charmer who kisses her cute, furry reptile on the nose. In a somewhat larger role, Sioned Papparotto is a wonderfully comic dominatrix lion tamer.All the performances are winning, in both dance and theater terms. Kurt Schweitz’s original tunes, played live onstage by him and two other musicians, beautifully support the scenes, as do John Medina’s projections, especially his knife-throwing backdrop. Emma Cullimore’s costumes are gorgeous.

-Laura Molzahn, Chicago Tribune
Read the full article HERE


What is so great about this show is that the dancers take you through an entire story. You follow the dancers along as they set up the circus and see their different acts. I must admit that my favorite acts were the TightRope Sisters and the Clown Brigade. Kirsten Uttich’s performance of Rosemarie wasspectacular. She embodied that character to the tips of her fingers. Her solo in Act 1 was a delight. On the other end of the spectrum, Jennifer Yonally plays the complete opposite as the other sister in the act. This duo is wonderful onstage. You can’t take your eyes off of them as they communicate through their feet.

TightWire has a little bit of everything: drama, jealousy, romance, humor and suspense. These performers are phenomenal tappers and the way their steps build off of each other to create these amazing rhythms keep you wanting more. Many times throughout the show they are all doing different steps from each other and yet, it all sounds cohesive and whole to create tight, clean sounds. I highly recommend this fast-paced show to anyone!

-Sarah Frye, Chicago Stage Standard
Read the full article HERE

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The emotionality in the dancing is unexpectedly intense.  The passionate tapping shows fear, anger, and jealousy.  Kirsten Uttich and Jennifer Yonally are a tightrope sister act. The self-absorbed Ms. Yonally and the put upon Uttich have some dicey interactions. Ms. Yonally continually tries to wreak havoc by missing a performance and then sabotaging another. On a beam of light on the stage, Uttich tries to tap her way across the ‘tightwire’ as Ms. Yonally smugly pounces on it.  As Uttich falters, it feels every bit a death defying moment. We’ve been effectively duped into seeing the sisters as aerialists and they never left the ground. 

Not all the dancing is anchored in rage.  Mr. Yonally is both the choreographer and a performer.  In the role of the clown, Mr. Yonally exudes this adorability with a sweet grin and regular pratfalls. At the beginning of the show, Mr. Yonally connects to the audience by playfully distributing fliers.  His lighthearted spirit quickly steals the audience’s hearts. And when Smith yells at him to work harder, I, and probably the rest of the audience, want to come to Mr. Yonally’s rescue.This tap dancing extravaganza is a one-of-a-kind experience.

-Katy Walsh, The Fourth Walsh
Read the full article HERE

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“Ringling Brothers may have live animals–minus the elephants–but they have nothing on “Carlucci’s Marvelous Exotic Extraordinary Big Top Universe of Renown,” otherwise known as Chicago Tap Theatre, for thrills and chills, and plenty of laughs.

“TightWire” has many delights in store for audiences of all ages. This is more than a good excuse for superb tap dancing, imaginative storytelling, and marvelous live music; it’s a circus! And it’s theatre, which is one of CTT’s unique contributions to the art of tap.”

-Lynn Shapiro, SeeChicagoDance
Read the full article HERE 

Read an interview Mark had with Mina Bloom of DNAinfo HERE
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