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 "Big Fish" is comin'! We love our pre-Broadway tryouts, don't we? (Witness the popularity of the recent "Kinky Boots," winner of two BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards for its engagement this past October at the Bank Of America Theatre. And we loved our "The Addams Family," too, and of course the legendary tryout of "The Producers," is, well, legendary.) Anyway, the new musical "Big Fish," based on a 2003 Columbia Pictures film which starred Ewan MacGregor (directed by Tim Burton), will play at the Oriental Theatre for five weeks, beginning on April 2, 2013, with a confirmed press opening on April 21 and a closing date of May 5. Two-time Tony Award winner Norbert Leo Butz will star, directed and choreographed by "Producers" director-choreographer Susan Stroman. Andrew Lippa ("The Addams Family") is providing the music and lyrics, with book by original screenwriter John August. Pretty good pedigree, there! The show is aiming for a 2013 Broadway opening, but as part of the 2013-14 season. And it certainly looks promising!
That's a Broadway In Chicago presentation, of course. However, one upcoming tour is independent of BIC, and it's a new tour of "Fela!." The show will play six performances at the Arie Crown Theater, inside the old McCormick Place building on Lake Shore Drive (for those of you too young to remember that's there's a theater in there, and that it was once one of Chicago's primary national tour venues). The 2009 Broadway musical played our city's Oriental Theatre this past spring, as part of the well-received national tour, and original star Sahr Ngaujah was recruited to return for that Chicago stop. This production's headliner is Michelle Williams (Destiny's Child, "The Color Purple"). The original producers and artistic team seem to still be involved (February 19-23).
But do not weep for Broadway In Chicago! Our local touring arm of the Nederlander Organization announced last week that the Chicago engagement of T-BOMb (that's "The Book Of Mormon," for those of you new to the Mosh Pit!) has been extended through September 8, 2013. At least. That makes nine months so far, and the second extension for the phenomenally popular, and well-reviewed, production at the Bank Of America Theatre. Get your tickets now, see the show....later. Much later, apparently! Do we have another "Wicked" on our hands?
Our other local Broadway show has also announced yet another extension. That would be "Million Dollar Quartet" at the Apollo Theater, which in early December announced... yet another extension (I've lost count at this point). In its fifth year, the show is selling tickets through April 28, 2013. You'll remember that the success of this Chicago production launched the Broadway (and off-Broadway transfer) of this show about Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash, and that some of the Chicago cast members are now on the show's national tour as well. There was a London production as well. Producer Gigi Priztker is, and should be, justifiably proud.