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:
It's 12/12/12! And in honor of this auspicious day, I bring you...a December Mosh Pit without ANY Christmas musicals in it! I was wondering if it could be done, but it can, indeed. There is SO much theater in Chicago this time of year, that all kinds of performances are on the boards. So let's get to it! And you know where I'm going to start, don't you?
With the 300 pound gorilla in our living room, of course! "The Book Of Mormon" has finally, indeed, begun public performances in Chicago, at the Bank Of America Theatre (the BOAT) on Monroe Street in the Loop. Technically the second national tour of the hit Broadway show (and nine-time Tony winner), we can be forgiven for thinking of it as our very own company, can't we? It does feature Chicago actors James Vincent Meredith and Jackson Peter Evans in key roles. And it's officially sold out of tickets until March 3, 2013, and tickets are on sale through June 2nd, making a six-month run that some commercial "sit-down" productions here never attain. Let's just hope that no other tour cities are announced for a long, long time. Will it challenge the long run of "Jersey Boys" in the same theater? Only time will tell.
But in the meantime, there's GREAT news on the ticket front. Just yesterday, Broadway In Chicago announced a day-of-show drawing at the box office, reminiscent of the one held for an even longer Chicago run, that of "Wicked." Every morning when the BOAT box office opens, they will begin taking entries for that day's drawing, which will be held two hours prior to curtain time. You must be present at the drawing if your name is called. And these tickets, should your name be drawn, will only be $25 each! So, enjoy the show, Chicago. These tap-dancing Mormon missionaries and the Africans they meet will be around for a long time, I bet. Add "South Park," "Avenue Q" and "Spamalot" (the prominent credits of the artistic team) and you do indeed get something like this show (it's irreverent, it's about finding your purpose, and it's "safe" for people who don't like musicals). But the hilarity has to be seen to be believed....
And the other big event of the week is the end of the voting for the 2012 BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards! You've already voted, haven't you? If not, you have until Saturday, December 15 to get your votes recorded, and to encourage your friends. While a few vote-getters have been in the lead since the get-go, many races are still fairly close, and I know of two categories where the nominee in last place is now in first place! That's the power of social media, folks. So it's not too late! Motivate your peeps, and you just may swing the vote your way. Best of luck to all the nominees in the 30 categories! And I hope that everyone is making plans to attend our BroadwayWorld Chicago Award Celebration at The Call nightclub in Andersonville, on Wednesday night, January 9, 2013. It will be a blast!
Speaking of awards, the nominees for the Best Musical Theater Album at the Grammy Awards were announced last week. The nominees are all cast albums of Broadway shows which opened last season: the new musicals "Once," "Newsies" and "Nice Work If You Can Get It," and the revivals of "Porgy And Bess" and "Follies." Interestingly/sadly, only a handful of songs on the first two albums consist of newly-composed material. But the recordings, and the productions they capture, are all pretty much the ones you'd expect to be nominated. Which ones are YOUR favorites? You've heard them all, haven't you?