'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for August 1, 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:
Perhaps the biggest showtune concert of the summer is here! Well, it’s almost here, as next Monday evening, August 5, 2012, at 6:15 pm, the long-named “Broadway In Chicago: Summer Concert at Millennium Park” will mark an early start to fall with a night of previews of the upcoming season of downtown musicals. Cyndi Lauper herself will be on hand to perform with members of the cast of “Kinky Boots,” the pre-Broadway tryout with a score by Lauper and book by Harvey Fierstein that will play at the Bank Of America Theatre in October. Cathy Rigby from “Peter Pan” will be on hand, as will Joey, the amazing puppet horse from the play “War Horse.” Cast members from five other touring shows will perform, as will our own “Million Dollar Quartet,” the American Music Theatre Project’s “The Verona Project” and the upcoming “Cinderella” from Emerald City Theatre. The winners of this spring’s Illinois High School Musical Theater Award, Nathan Salstone and Meadow Nguy, will perform too, and the concert will mark the one hundredth anniversary of the Nederlander Organization, the Broadway producing company that owns Broadway In Chicago and sponsors the High School Awards nationwide. And did I mention that Monday’s concert is FREE? Get there early, peeps!
Later next week, an event of even greater import to a certain segment of the Showtune Mosh Pit will take place at the Hilton Chicago on South Michigan Avenue. On Saturday, August 11, Team StarKid, the Chicago-based and internet-oriented musical theater collective, will present the sequel to “A Very Potter Musical” and “A Very Potter Sequel,” to be called “A Very Potter 3D: A Very Potter Senior Year,” in the Grand Ballroom of the gargantuan hotel! The reason? It’s LeakyCon, the annual Harry Potter fan conference (last year’s confab was in Orlando). And the chief draw? Darren Criss, of course, who will be performing with the company he helped to found (as Harry, I assume)! The show, written by Matt Lang, Nick Lang and Brian Holden, will technically be a staged reading, but will have enough theatricality to warrant being filmed for internet release. The cast will consist of more than 20 StarKid regulars, including fan favorites Jaime Lyn Beatty, Joe Walker, Joey Richter and Lauren Lopez. For younger musical theater fans, this is a VERY big deal. Team StarKid and fans, unite!
A very big deal of another sort is going on in Chicago’s southeast suburbs, that is to say, in Northwest Indiana. Theatre At The Center’s production of “Little Shop Of Horrors” has gotten the best reviews of any show at TATC in recent years, and, on top of great singing and hilarious acting, the production boasts the original 1980s off-Broadway puppets built to comprise the blood-thirsty plant, Audrey II! The photos of the show look great, and reports are quite positive about the whole shebang. If you have been pining for a top-notch local staging of this show, beloved by many for its catchy score and witty text, you may have found the one to go to (through August 19). Stacey Flaster has done it again!
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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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