‘Game of Thrones’ parody brings songs of ice and fire to Chicago

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From left, Christopher Ratliff, Nicholas Druzbanksi, Victoria Olivier and Madeline Lauzon perform in “Thrones! The Musical Parody” at the Apollo Theater. | Talia Beechick/For the Sun-Times

After a string of sold-out performances across the United Kingdom, members of the Chicago-based musical improv group Baby Wants Candy now have brought “Thrones! The Musical Parody” to the troupe’s longtime local home at the Apollo Theater.

Thrones!” parodies the popular HBO series “Game of Thrones” using raunchy humor, ridiculous choreography and, of course, the musical genius BWC is known for. The show sold out its entire run at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland and its subsequent performances at London’s Leicester Square Theatre. While its summer preview run in Chicago ends Aug. 28, the show will return on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings as well as Sunday afternoons starting Sept. 15.

“It’s really funny,” said Anthony Loisi, who attended a performance in July despite never having seen a “Game of Thrones” episode (he read the TV show’s Wikipedia page before seeing the musical). “It’s really cool how they integrated different genres of music.”

‘THRONES! THE MUSICAL PARODY’ When: Through Aug. 28, returning Sept. 15 Where: Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln Tickets: $29 – $44 Info: Ticketmaster.com

The show begins with one man admitting to his friends that he has never seen “Game of Thrones” while sitting in his living room. In shock, his friends frantically use items found around the house to catch him up and explain the drama’s notoriously complicated plot. Along the way, they spontaneously break out into songs of a variety of musical genres, including hip-hop, rap and the traditional Broadway show tune, with references to other cultural phenomena including “Hamilton,” “Les Miserables” and “Harry Potter” sprinkled throughout.

“I’d say we are large ‘Game of Thrones’ fans,” said Angela Shershin of Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, who also attended the musical with a few friends. “I like the setup of re-creating the show in the living room.”

Despite its success overseas, “Thrones!” did not have much time to prepare for its U.S. debut in Chicago.

“When the Apollo said, ‘You know what? We could actually do something in August,’ it was the end of June,” said executive producer Emily Dorezas, noting her team had nothing but some costume, prop and set concepts — not even a local cast of actors for the show’s opening night July 21. “We had about three weeks of time, and in those three weeks we did the entire show. So this is all kind of a whirlwind!”

Cast members of “Thrones! The Musical Parody” created the popular television show’s iconic logo on stage as audience members laughed and applauded. | Talia Beechick/For the Sun-Times

Cast members of “Thrones! The Musical Parody” created the popular television show’s iconic logo on stage as audience members laughed and applauded. | Talia Beechick/For the Sun-Times

Dorezas said her team chose to bring the show to Chicago because of the city’s strong theater presence. Some of BWC’s members debuted the scripted “Thrones!” show at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, an event they began attending in the late 1990s.

“The population of Edinburgh is like seven times bigger during the month of August because there are literally 3,000 shows, so it is so competitive and you just don’t know what’s going to work,” Dorezas explained. “We were selling out about 300 seats every day, so we knew, ‘Ok, people are going to be into this.’ ”

Dorezas has worked with BWC since 2006, and describes her role as wearing “many hats.” She is involved with everything from casting to the comedy collective’s overall artistic direction.

“If the people from Baby Wants Candy are thinking about doing a side project like ‘50 Shades! The Musical’ or ‘Thrones! The Musical,’ I decide if I want to be involved with something like that,” said Dorezas, who has herself appeared on Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” and NBC’s “Sports Action Team.” “Every year, Baby Wants Candy goes to Edinburgh, and we’ll take advantage of that time and do a scripted show to see how it does there and get press around it, and then often bring it back to tour or license that show internationally.”

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