'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for March 7th, 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:
So, “Bring It On!” The new musical based on the 2000 Kirsten Dunst film is here for three weeks, March 6-25, 2012 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. By all appearances a pre-Broadway tryout, this show boasts a top-tier, though young, artistic team, even as the onstage talent is mostly newcomers. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, as I’m sure the producers are counting on the movie’s name and the unique presence of competitive cheerleading on a legitimate stage to sell a lot of tickets. But the team of Tom Kitt and Amanda Green previously collaborated on “High Fidelity,” Jeff Whitty wrote the book for “Avenue Q” and the triumvirate of Lin-Manuel Miranda, Alex Lacamoire and Andy Blankenbuehler all worked on “In The Heights.” So, this group has some successes under their belts. Is this show any good? Well, reviews in other cities have been promising, though all are aware that work needs to be done, and is getting done. It will be fun to hear what Chicagoans think about this latest production to use us as a sounding board.
Broadway In Chicago announced last week that its holiday schedule for 2012 will be graced by the national tour of Alan Menken and Glenn Slater’s “Sister Act” (to play November 13-December 2 at the Auditorium Theatre Of Roosevelt University) and the musical version of “How The Grinch Stole Christmas!”, a New York City holiday favorite (to play December 5-16 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre). It also announced a return of the popular 25th anniversary reimagining of “Les Miserables,” to precede “Grinch” into the Cadillac Palace from November 14-December 2, coinciding with the release of the feature film of the same property, now in production in England. And just today, BIC announced the third Chicago visit of “Rock Of Ages,” but the first one to fill the space I always thought it should play, the Broadway Playhouse At Water Tower Place. It will be here a rollicking nine weeks this summer (from June 5-August 5). Tickets will go on sale next Wednesday. But what does this mean for “Pinkalicious?”
Two important local musical theater companies announced their upcoming seasons as well. Porchlight Music Theatre has announced its first season planned by new artistic director Michael Weber, and it’s a doozy. The company’s 18th season, to take place at Theater Wit and at Stage 773 on Belmont Avenue, will start off with the Chicago premiere of the show about the lyricist of “A Chorus Line,” Ed Kleban. It has music and lyrics by him, unheard until after his untimely death and put into a show about his creative process by his friends Linda Kline and Lonny Price. Called “A Class Act,” the musical will place September 1-October 14, directed and choreographed by Tammy Mader. From November 17-December 30 will be the Chicago premiere of “The Gifts Of The Magi,” the off-Broadway retelling of the famous O. Henry short story, directed by Nick Bowling. February 2-March 17, 2013 will see “Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar And Grill,” directed by Rob Lindley, and Porchlight’s season will conclude with the Chicago located, Broadway-infused Rodgers and Hart classic, “Pal Joey,” direction by Weber, musical direction by Doug Peck and choreography by Brenda Didier. (That’s some A-Team.) “Joey” will zip the trousers that cling to him (or will he?) from April 20-June 2, 2013.
KINKY BOOTS vs. MATILDA for Best Musical and More...
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!”
More Articles by This Author...