'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for August 15th, 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:
Ask and ye shall receive! We’ve been dying for fall casting news, and finally, we got a lot! In the last week or so, a great deal became clear about what’s going on in Chicago musical theater for the fall. So, let’s get to all the latest news about Super September!
The greatly anticipated production of Stephen Sondheim and George Lapine’s “Sunday In The Park With George” at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier has come through with a very exciting cast. Broadway star Jason Danieley (from the original casts of “The Fully Monty,” “Curtains” and the Hal Prince revival of “Candide”--plus he appeared in “Next To Normal” opposite his wife, Marin Mazzie) will star as Georges/George in the musical inspired by the painting “A Sunday On La Grand Jatte--1884” by Georges Seurat, the centerpiece of the Permanent Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. This production is the most significant Chicago mounting of the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1984 musical in 25 years, since its 1987 Goodman Theatre production, starring John Herrera and Paula Scrofano, directed by Michael Maggio and conducted by Kevin Stites (in the old Goodman Theatre, essentially in the basement of the Art Institute!).
This time, Gary Griffin directs (no doubt hoping to repeat the magic of last season’s “Follies”at ChiShakes, which snapped up every award in sight, including at our own BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards). Brad Haak and Ryan Nelson will handle the music duties. Up and coming New York actress Carmen Cusack will co-star as Dot/Marie, and a whole bevy of top Chicago talent rounds out the cast, including Sean Fortunato, Kevin Gudahl, Heidi Kettenring, Ora Jones, Linda Stephens, McKinley Carter, Derek Hasenstab, Michael Aaron Lindner and William Travis Taylor. The show is currently announced for a limited five-week engagement, September 26-November 4, 2012. Go!!!
We all learned that week that the winner of the Best Musical Tony Award in 1980, “42nd Street” will be on the boards at Theatre At The Center in southeast suburban Munster, Indiana this fall, from September 13-October 21, directed by the legendary William Pullinsi and choreographed by Sean Fortunato’s wife, Linda Fortunato (talent runs in families!). Heading the cast will be two Chicago theater veterans, Larry Adams as Julian Marsh and the aforementioned Paula Scrofano as Dorothy Brock. Nicole Miller will play understudy-to-star Peggy Sawyer, assisted by Dale Benson, Nathan Mittleman, David Besky, Amy Brophy, Jenny Guse and more. William Underwood is musical director.
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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 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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