BroadwayÂ's Luker, Mazzie, Danieley and McGillin to Star in Grant ParkÂ's Frank Loesser Concert, July 13-14
Among all the summer-time concerts taking place in the Chicago area this month, one concert stands out--free, accessible, chock-full of hit songs and performed by an unmatched quartet of Broadway stars. And it's only in Chicago. "Perfectly Frank: From Broadway to Hollywood" isn't happening anywhere else except the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, courtesy of the Grant Park Music Festival. It's this weekend, and early arrival is recommended.
This Friday and Saturday, July 13 and 14, 2012, at 8:00 pm, the sounds of Frank Loesser's greatest hits will ring out, performed by Rebecca Luker, Marin Mazzie, Jason Danieley and Howard McGillin, with Chicago native and Broadway musical director Kevin Stites conducting the Grant Park Orchestra and members of the Grant Park Chorus. The legendary Broadway and Hollywood composer-lyricist Loesser wrote "Where's Charley?," "Guys and Dolls," "The Most Happy Fella" and "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying" (to name his biggest main stem successes), but his work went far beyond that. And his widow, Jo Sullivan Loesser (the original star of "The Most Happy Fella" in 1956) will be on hand at the concerts, and she will perform as well, with Stites at the piano. That's a treat, to be sure.
Stites, a six-time Joseph Jefferson Award winner here, who has conducted "Titanic," "A Tale of Two Cities," "The Color Purple," "Les Miserables," "The Phantom of the Opera," "Sunset Boulevard" and many more on Broadway and on tour, will lead his assembled forces in medleys and individual selections from Loesser's quartet of hit Broadway musicals. But he'll also accompany the quartet of Broadway soloists in selections from Loesser's Hollywood hit song catalog, including "What Do You Do in the Infantry?," "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?," "Two Sleepy People" and more, plus medleys from Loesser's film score for "Hans Christian Anderson" ("Thumbelina," "Wonderful Copenhagen" and "Inchworm" are among the gems there) and songs from the lesser-known Loesser Broadway outing, "Greenwillow" (for example, Jason Danieley will sing the stirring, "Never Will I Marry," first introduced by Anthony Perkins). There will be more than forty songs in all.
From the big hit shows, Rebecca Luker will sing "Somebody, Somewhere," Danieley and his real-life wife, Marin Mazzie, will duet on "My Heart Is So Full of You," and the long-time star of "The Phantom of the Opera," Howard McGillin, will sing "I Believe In You" and "My Time of Day." And this just scratches the surface of the evening's offerings. Danieley (star of the most recent Broadway revival of "Candide") will sing "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat," Mazzie (Clara in the original "Passion" and the original Mother in "Ragtime") will show her comic chops with "Adelaide's Lament," and McGillin and Luker (a star of "The Secret Garden" and the most recent revivals of "The Sound of Music" and "The Music Man") will duet on "I've Never Been in Love Before." The list goes on and on, really.
Directed by Chicagoan Gary Griffin ("Follies" at Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier and "The Color Purple" on Broadway), "Perfectly Frank" will be a summer highlight for many Chicago-area musical theater lovers. And it's only in Chicago. Folks who live elsewhere will either have to travel here, or live in envy. Top stage stars singing enduring, classic songs in an unmatched outdoor setting--what's not to love?
Click HERE for more information about the concert. And if you're not free Friday or Saturday at 8:00, there are open rehearsals you can witness, on Tuesday, July 10 (11:00 am-1:30 pm), Thursday, July 12 (10:30 am-1:00 pm) and Friday, July 13 (11:00 am-1:30 pm). Free Frank Loesser, outdoors and downtown. You won't want to miss it.
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Paul W. Thompson, a contributor to BroadwayWorld.com since 2007, is a Chicago-based singer, actor, musical director, pianist, vocal coach, composer and commentator. His career as a performer, teacher and writer is centered at Paul W. Thompson Music, located in Chicagoâ€™s historic Fine Arts Building, where he teaches the great songs of Broadway to the next generation of musical theater performers. A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Paul was raised in a family of professional musicians and teachers, steeped in classical, gospel, country, pop, sacred and show music. Dubbed a â€śthin, winsome ladâ€ť at the age of 13 by a critic for the Nashville Banner, he earned two degrees in musical theater (a B.F.A. with Honors from Baylor University and an M.M. from the University of Miami, Florida), plus an M.B.A. with Distinction from DePaul University. Paulâ€™s memberships include Actorsâ€™ Equity Association, the American Guild of Musical Artists, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (proud voter for the Grammy Awards!), the National Association of Teachers of Singing and New Yorkâ€™s Drama League.|
Moving easily between the worlds of classical music, religious music, classic pop and musical theater, Paul has appeared onstage or in the orchestra pit in concerts, musicals, operettas and operas in 30 states and in Europe, in a career spanning more than 35 years. His Chicagoland stage credits include â€śForever Plaidâ€ť at the Royal George Theater and twenty mainstage productions at Light Opera Works. Paul joined the Chicago Symphony Chorus in 1995 (he was Tenor I Section Leader for four years and sings on two Grammy-winning recordings), and is one of Chicagoâ€™s foremost liturgical singers, marking 20 years as a member of the choir at St. James Cathedral (Episcopal) in 2011.He has composed and arranged a number of anthems, hymns and songs for worship and concert use, and collaborates on the creation of new works of musical theater. Paul can be found on Monday nights watching showtune videos at the world-famous Sidetrack nightclub, the inspiration for his weekly column, â€śThe Showtune Mosh Pit.â€ť His proudest achievement is that he has seen the original Broadway production of every Tony Award-winning Best Musical since â€śCats.â€ť No, really. Since â€śCats!â€ť
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