Drink in a story of sobriety: When Harry Met Rehab
Loop North News

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(Above, left to right) Chike Johnson, Dan Butler, and Keith Gallagher in a scene from When Harry Met Rehab at Greenhouse Theater Center in Lincoln Park. Photos by Michael Brosilow. (Click on images to view larger versions.)

Can a play about a recovering alcoholic be funny? Poignant? Telling? Absolutely, yes!

3-Jan-22When Harry Met Rehab chronicles the story of a clueless Harry Teinowitz, a popular Chicago sportscaster, who had a court-ordered eight-week unexpected vacation in rehab.

Dragged kicking and screaming into the facility, he falls into the hands of Barb, a former addict and counselor, and a group of strangers who eventually help him find his way out.

A comedy that takes sobriety seriously, the story is based loosely on the real-life experiences of Chicago sports radio personality Harry Teinowitz. Co-authored by former ESPN personality and playwright Spike Manton (Leaving Iowa), the show presents an unforgettable evening at the theatre.

Harry’s main issue is that he is in denial about his drinking problem. He never admits he is an alcoholic, until he finally sees a picture his son made of what Harry’s drinking is doing to his family. And, he discovers he has Stage 4 liver disease.

Photo by Michael Brosilow

The show stars Dan Butler, who was hilarious as Bulldog on Frasier. Butler captivated the audience with his humor, deadpan delivery, and a realistic approach to the character.

Melissa Gilbert, who America watched grow up on Little House on the Prairie, stars as Barb. Her sincere warmth, caring and emotionally-honest portrayal of the therapist glowed throughout the entire performance.

(Left) Chike Johnson as Vince and Melissa Gilbert as Barb.

Whether it was a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, easy access to pills, or a broken childhood, each of the four supporting characters in the cast shared their own vulnerabilities. My only criticism of the show is that you never really understood what caused Harry to drink. Perhaps it was just the availability of free booze in the sports world that made it easy to succumb to temptation.

In all of its seriousness, there was a great deal of humor.

“There were Blackhawk games,” Harry says in character, “when I had more shots than they did.”

In real life, Harry has now been sober for ten years. Kudos to him for having the strength and courage to share his story of recovery with the world.

It is estimated that more than 22 million Americans are in recovery. This show honors them, their families, and their friends.

The play is showing at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 North Lincoln Avenue. Running time is one hour, 35 minutes. Audience members must have proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masks are required in the theater.

(Right) Elizabeth Laidlaw as Andrea and Dan Butler as Harry.

Photo by Michael Brosilow

 More info and tickets: When Harry Met Rehab

• Contact Mira Temkin at miratemkin@gmail.com

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