'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for April 11th, 2012
THE LATEST IN UNAUTHORIZED GOSSIP AND BUZZ
FROM THE HEART OF CHICAGO'S SHOWTUNE VIDEO BARS,
AND MUSICAL THEATER NEWS FROM CHICAGO TO BROADWAY
by Paul W. Thompson
Overheard last weekend under the showtune
video screens at Sidetrack and The Call:
The boys are back in town! Walking and talking like men, the boys of “Jersey Boys” have returned to Chicago and the theater where they triumphed for over two years, the Bank Of America Theatre on Monroe Street. They arrived last week, and are playing through June 3, 2012. There are two tours out, you know, but I’m sure we have the better one! And both tours of this 2006 Tony winner and 2007 Grammy winner are booked into 2013 already, too. As Chicago loves this show so much, it wouldn’t surprise me if they came back at least one more time before it’s all said and done. But in the meantime, there are nine weeks (well, now it’s eight) to see what is perhaps the best juke-box musical of them all, and one which sets a pretty high bar in that regard. Many in the cast kicked their heels back on Monday night at Sidetrack, btw, enjoying the ambiance of the Glass Bar and the showtune videos. Welcome back, boys!
Jersey Boys Tour
The other big news from Broadway In Chicago is the continued excitement surrounding the family musical “Pinkalicious” at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, a transfer from the Apollo Theater of the successful Emerald City Theatre production. This local children’s theater show (of a recent Off-Broadway title) been extended yet again (!), now through August 5, 2012, with local actors on stage and, I assume, mostly tourists in the audience. Its surprise move to the big time, for a run of more than a year, is a huge success story. Congrats!
In addition to “Pinkalicious,” there are two other musicals in the area right now that begin with the letters “Pi.” What are the odds? I’m not sure how many shows are possible in this category, but we’ve got three. “(The) Pirates Of Penzance,” while Gilbert and Sullivan, actually premiered in New York on December 31, 1879, before its run in London, so purists could claim it as a Broadway musical of sorts long before its popular New York Shakespeare Festival revival in Central Park and on Broadway in the early 1980s. Theater companies have mounted it fairly regularly since that time, and now it’s in previews at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. The official opening is this weekend, with the run scheduled through June 10th. Fetching Marriott newcomers Omar Lopez-Cepero and Patricia Noonan star as Frederic and Mabel, with Chicago favorites Ross Lehman as the Major-General, Alene Robertson as Ruth and Andrew Lupp as the Sergeant of Police. Broadway’s Kevin Earley, who got his professional theater start as a child at the Marriott, headlines as the Pirate King.
Almost 100 years more recent than “Pirates,” the 1972 Stephen Schwartz musical “Pippin” has received pretty good reviews up in Highland Park at the Music Theatre Company, directed and choreographed by founding artistic director Jessica Reddish. It runs through May 6th at the Karger Center on Green Bay Road in downtown Highland Park. Andrew Keltz and Joey Stone star.
Past Articles by This Author:
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 Chicago’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 “thin, winsome lad” 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. Paul’s memberships include Actors’ 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 York’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 “Forever Plaid” 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 Chicago’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, “The Showtune Mosh Pit.” His proudest achievement is that he has seen the original Broadway production of every Tony Award-winning Best Musical since “Cats.” No, really. Since “Cats!”
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