By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Collin Theatre Center at Collin College in Plano has a nice-ish production of a not-so-nice play, David Ives' Don Juan in Chicago. Blending the legends of Don Juan and Faust, Ives gets cutesy, time-shifting the priapic Spanish lover 400 years ahead to modern-day Chicago, where his love-'em-leave-'em seduction technique is given a new purpose. In a deal with Mephistopheles (an amusingly mincing Richard Sharkey), Don Juan aka Don Johnson (baby-faced James Chandler), is granted immortality that depends on his having carnal knowledge of a different woman every day of his life, no repeaters, no skipping. "Either come or Kingdom come," warns Satan.
Bedeviled with sophomoric puns, burdened with bad rhyming couplets, the weak comedy keeps tripping over its own conceits. Ives writes himself into corners by having Don run into an old lover (Lindsay Power) who may or may not have fathered his daughter 23 years earlier. The girl (Lila Flores) then shows up as the virgin-girlfriend of Don Juan's naïve down-the-hall neighbor (Jon Christie).
The only wit within comes from additions made by director Robin Armstrong. To show the passage of centuries between the soul-selling scene and the present, she's choreographed a bouncy parade of dancing beauties into Don Juan's arms, each wearing a different period costume as she Charlestons or Vogues to the song "Just a Gigolo." She's also added Satan's nemesis, God as a woman (Heather Sims, looking like the blond chick from Danity Kane).
Aside from those bits of fun, Don Juan in Chicago is just an unintended tribute to the Windy City. It blows.