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All's Brel That Ends Well

Kalliope reinvents a stage favorite for modern times.

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Kalliope Stage was all set to revive the musical Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris when director Paul Gurgol got a whiff of its Vietnam-era stench and restructured it as The Music of Jacques Brel. “I wanted to strip it down,” he says. The 1968 revue ran for more than 500 performances at Playhouse Square in the '70s. Local audiences loved it. But Gurgol says the new take on Brel’s music is more in tune with the times. “We wanted songs that speak for today -- how we feel about the war and politics,” he says. “Brel says that so beautifully.”

The Music of Jacques Brel features two dozen songs written in the '50s and '60s by the Belgian composer-poet, including “Seasons in the Sun” -- a slice of schlock-pop that Terry Jacks took to No. 1 in 1973. Most of Brel’s songs are timeless musings on love, life, and death. “He says so much in one sentence,” says Gurgol. “He writes for human emotions.”
Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Feb. 3. Continues through March 11

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