MEN ARE FROM MARS – WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS LIVE!
RETURNS TO CHICAGO
FOR A LIMITED ENGAGEMENT
BROADWAY PLAYHOUSE AT WATER TOWER PLACE
February 14 - 19, 2023
“First-person, funny domestic tales and retro stand-up comedy based on The New York Times best-seller.”
- THE NEW YORK TIMES
By Bonnie Kenaz-Mara
T'was the night after Valentine's Day when I headed out to see MEN ARE FROM MARS – WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS LIVE! for the first time, with my husband of 22 years. When I sprung the surprise on him, that we were going to a show at Broadway Playhouse, he might have rolled his eyes and sighed a bit, but he got dressed up and joined me without too much grumbling. If less than enthused about attending a play, he was happy to discover the fully stocked lobby bar. Live shows pair well with alcohol, and many reluctant attendees of all genders can be more easily persuaded to relax and have fun outside their comfort zone, with drinks in hand.
As the lights dimmed, Ryan Drummond opened with, "You've noticed I'm not Amadeo Fusca. He's on a shoot with Robert De Niro and will be back tomorrow." Still, even with an understudy, the audience was in capable hands for this one man show. It's not every night you get to spend the evening with a Baywatch boy and the original voice of “Sonic The Hedgehog”. Ryan Drummond went on to kill it, and provide a laughter fueled, enjoyable evening for all.
At one point he called for an audience poll by applause, on how many couples there had been together 0-10 years, 10-20, 20-30, and over 30. I was so impressed at the ever increasing clapping, even in the 30+ years together demographic. Over the years, my husband and I have invented a macabre, tongue in cheek game we call "The Last Couple Standing", a real life reality show/dark comedy where we've seen the vast majority of our friends' relationships and marriages implode and dissolve. Just when I though we were a few divorces away from winning it all, it seems we have more competition for "The Last Couple Standing" than I'd imagined, and they were ALL at the Broadway Playhouse in a post Valentine's Day glow.
For the past 25 years I've managed to entirely avoid the infamous Mars/Venus book and the stage show, but FOMO (fear of missing out) finally got the better of me and I went to see first hand why the 1992 book has sold in excess of 50 million copies, been translated into 40 different languages, and is one of the most recognizable titles in the world.
My husband played into the "Martian Man" mythos, checking the score of the hockey game enroute to the show and at intermission, promptly forgetting the specifics of what he found hilarious, being minimalist about clothes, excelling at Tetris skills applied to packing boxes, and embracing a world view aimed at fixing things and problems without complex layers of nuance. Many of the stories and anecdotes were spot on for him.
I've never been a girlie girl though, and the "Venutian" stereotypes mostly missed their mark for me. The tired tropes about women taking a long time to prep to go out, turning down free street parking for a $55 garage space to avoid wrecking a hairdo, getting overly emotional, etc. just didn't apply. And the neurotrash junk science... Wow. Just wow!
Several taped cameos by book author, John Gray, about male and female differences in blood flow to the brain and gender based dopamine versus serotonin depletion were just cringeworthy. They almost veered into the realm of parody, but he was so earnest and so many millions are swallowing this swill as gospel truth, that I just can't quite find it credible or even funny.
During the pandemic, Gina Rippon, an actual female neuroscientist, published a book of her own, "The Gendered Brain", debunking Gray's myths on our collective grey matter. Rippon says, "I was trying to dispel the stereotypical myths that men are ‘left-brained’ — logical, rational and good at spatial tasks — and women are ‘right-brained’ — emotional, nurturing and good at verbal tasks. We’re not from Mars or Venus (to quote relationship counsellor John Gray’s 1992 book), we’re all from Earth! I assumed that people would thank me and just move on, but it caused an absolute furor and gave me early exposure to media backlash."
Christina Odone in the The Daily Telegraph in London wrote that Rippon's theory “smacks of feminism with an equality fetish”. She was described as the “poor scientist … who was so wrapped up in her work she hadn’t noticed that men and women are different”. She was even called a “grumpy old harridan”.
Neuroscientist Gina Rippon continues, "The book was well received by those who understood that I was not a sex-difference denier and not arguing for all culture and no biology, and that I wanted to comprehend the entangled relationship between sex and gender. But, unsurprisingly, it was not so well received by those who didn’t understand this."
While the actual female neuroscientist's 2019 book was panned, Gray followed up his 1992 "MEN ARE FROM MARS – WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS" with 17 MORE books and has become a media darling and one of the most trusted relationship authors today, appearing on the national lecture circuit and on such TV shows as “Good Morning America,” “Oprah” and “Larry King Live.”
So... it seems our society has some 'splainin to do, and more than a passing vested interest in perpetuating biology based differences between the sexes! Maybe that would make a fascinating follow up stage show. *Read more about "The Gendered Brain" here (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-03782-6).
So, back to my review of MEN ARE FROM MARS – WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS LIVE! Were there tired tropes, junk science, and outmoded gender stereotypes? Sadly yes. Was it funny as hell? Also a resounding yes. After all, in his play "No Exit", Jean-Paul Sartre did infamously say "Hell is other people."
Despite the pseudoscience, anyone who can get my theatre averse spouse laughing that hard and often is a winner in my book. Whether you 100% buy into author John Gray’s differences between the sexes from a quarter of a century ago, treat it like a period piece, or go to see how far we've evolved on gender as a construct, check it out. If it leads to more laughter, leeway, and love in audience relations, then who am I to hate on this hit. MEN ARE FROM MARS – WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS LIVE is a fun way to spend a few hours with friends or significant others, and plays like a casual night out with an extra funny friend. Recommended.
Bonnie is a Chicago based writer, theatre critic, photographer, artist, and Mama to 2 amazing adults. She owns two websites where she publishes frequently: ChiILLiveShows.com (adult) & ChiILMama.com (family friendly).
Off-Broadway hit comedy MEN ARE FROM MARS – WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS LIVE! returns to Chicago for the fifth time since 2014 to play eight performances at Broadway In Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse (175 E. Chestnut) from February 14, 2023 through February 19, 2023. Ticket prices range from $59 - $69. Individual tickets are available at www.BroadwayInChicago.com. Tickets are available now for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710 or emailing GroupSales@BroadwayInChicago.com.
MEN ARE FROM MARS – WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS LIVE! is a one-man fusion of theatre and stand-up, and is a light- hearted theatrical comedy based on the New York Times #1 best-selling book of the last decade by John Gray. Moving swiftly through a series of vignettes, the show covers everything from dating and marriage to the bedroom.
ABOUT MEN ARE FROM MARS – WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS LIVE!
After beginning in Paris in 2007, Men are From Mars–Women are From Venus LIVE! has been seen by more than one million people around Europe. It debuted in the United States in February 2013 in Raleigh, North Carolina and will be playing to audiences around the United States and Canada throughout the year.
This hysterical show will have couples elbowing each other all evening as they see themselves on stage. Sexy and fast paced, this show is definitely for adults, but will leave audiences laughing and giggling like little kids!
When Mars and Venus collide, the adventures are earth-shatteringly hysterical. It's a great recipe for a night out: a little storytelling blended with some comedy and a dash of sage wisdom from the book. A delicious evening of entertainment!
Producer, St. Louis based Emery Entertainment has produced or promoted thousands of events around the globe, including superstar attractions Blue Man Group, David Copperfield and James Taylor.
The talented team assembled for this production continues with the award winning playwright Eric Coble, direction by Broadway veteran Mindy Cooper, and animation & video production by the talented animators at Bazillion Productions.
Individual ticket prices range from $59 - $69. Current Broadway In Chicago subscribers can add the show to their packages by calling 312-977-1717. Tickets are available now for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710 or emailing GroupSales@BroadwayInChicago.com. For more details, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com.
Tuesday, February 14 at 7:30 pm Wednesday, February 15 at 7:30 pm Thursday, February 16 at 7:30 pm Friday, February 17 at 7:30 pm Saturday, February 18 at 2 pm Saturday, February 18 at 7:30 pm Sunday, February 19 at 2 pm Sunday, February 19 at 6:00 pm.
Born in Ohio, raised in Michigan, and now based in San Francisco, CA, Mr. Drummond is an actor, singer, juggler, mime instructor, and voiceover artist who feels that variety is the spice of a career. He has been performing his whole life, but is most proud of the fact that he has made a living exclusively in “the biz” since 1994. Remember 1994? Cell phones first started, “Pulp Fiction” was in movie theaters, “Friends” was in its first year on television? What a wild ride that lead us all here tonight!
A graduate of Eastern Michigan University with emphases on Theatre Arts and Psychology, Mr. Drummond has been in a world premiere play written by Aaron Sorkin ("The Farnsworth Invention"), made three albums with his acappella quartet ("The A.Y.U. Quartet"), became a certified trainer of Polish and French mime, juggled for orcas and otters at Sea World of San Diego, harmonized mid-ocean on Regency Cruise Lines, tried to audition for "Pippin" and didn't make the cheer squad in the movie Bring It On, nearly had his nose blown off by a confetti cannon in Kauai, Hawaii (hi ho the glamorous life!), appeared in many commercials (including one where Pat Sajak signed his forehead with a sharpie on the set of Wheel Of Fortune), made his national television debut on BAYWATCH alongside David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson, and was the original voice of “Sonic The Hedgehog” in millions of videogames across the world for Sega Gaming Corp.
Mr. Drummond is a member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and AGVA, and distinctly remembers reading "Men Are From Mars. Women Are From Venus" as he was taking the train from JFK airport to Manhattan to appear on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" back in December of 1998. Almost 2 decades later, here he is to tell you all about it!
Amadeo Fusca will return to the role from February 16th on.
Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Amadeo has now performed Men are From Mars Women are From Venus Live! in over 60 cities, over 30 states and in front of 70,000 people and counting.
In 2013, he won the legendary Friars Club "So You Think You Can Roast?" competition beating out 55 other comedians roasting 80s child star Ricky Schroeder and NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman in the process. As the winner, Amadeo was among the dais to roast Jack Black along with comic legends such as "Roastmaster" General Jeff Ross, Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer, Bob Saget, Jerry Lewis and more! Amadeo's success at the roast landed him two quotes in Entertainment Weekly's funniest jokes of the event.
In addition to his theatrical comedy, Amadeo can also be seen in various television and film productions including: Princess Cut on HBO MAX, NCIS on CBS, That Damn Michael Che on HBO MAX, Marvel's Daredevil on Netflix, Boardwalk Empire on HBO, The Holiday Dating Guide on Lifetime, Almost Family on FOX and As the World Turns on CBS. Upcoming in 2023, you can catch him as Lucky Luciano in the new Robert De Niro film Wise Guys directed by Barry Levinson. He currently jumps back and forth between New York and Los Angeles auditioning, writing and performing his new hit character World Renowned Conductor Salvatore Giovanni.
For more information, please visit his website at www.amadeofusca.com, follow him on Instagram and to access his credit score his Social Security number is 180-54-3...
ABOUT BROADWAY IN CHICAGO
Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and, over the past 22 years, has grown to be one of the largest commercial touring homes in the country. A Nederlander Presentation, Broadway In Chicago, lights up the Chicago Theater District entertaining more than 1.7 million people annually in five theatres. Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago’s Loop, including the Cadillac Palace Theatre, CIBC Theatre, James M. Nederlander Theatre, and just off the Magnificent Mile, the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place and presenting Broadway shows at the Auditorium Theatre.
Masks are recommended for all audience members.
For more information, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com.
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