'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for October 3rd, 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:
And it’s all about “Kinky Boots!” Yesterday was the world premiere performance of the Broadway-bound musical by heavyweights Harvey Fierstein (“La Cage aux Folles”) and Cyndi Lauper (“Girls Just Want To Have Fun”), directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell (“Legally Blonde”) and scheduled to open in the spring in New York City. In the meantime, for the next five weeks, we have it here, at the Bank Of America Theatre on Monroe Street, brought to us by Broadway In Chicago. And this is a big, big deal.
Stark Sands (“American Idiot”) and Billy Porter (the 1994 revival of “Grease”) co-star as two unlikely friends (a sudden business owner and a drag performer) who save a dying shoe factory in the north of England and learn a few life lessons along the way. Annaleigh Ashford (“Wicked”) and Celina Carvajal (“The Toxic Avenger”) play the women in Sands’ character’s life. Based on a 2005 film (which was in turn based on real-life events), the property was developed for the stage by producers Daryl Roth and Hal Luftig. The producing pair were on hand, along with the three creatives and four actors mentioned above, at a press conference last Friday in Chicago. And the entire BroadwayWorld Chicago team (me, Misha Davenport and M. William Panek), along with photographer Rick Aiello, were on hand to witness the festivities. Are you going to see the show? In the meantime, here’s a link to the video footage from last Friday:
Since we have “Kinky Boots” now, and we will have another pre-Broadway tryout late next spring (Andrew Lippa’s “Big Fish,” starring Norbert Leo Butz) we thought it would be fun to see what Chicago’s favorite pre-Broadway musical of the last decade has been. So we put up a poll two weeks ago, and as of this writing, “The Producers” is the winner, with 33% of votes cast going to that now-legendary outing. Second place (with 21%) is going to “Spamalot,” another Tony Award-winning show which started out here in very fine shape. In third place is the recent “The Addams Family,” with “Movin’ Out” and “Mamma Mia!” close behind. These results sound reasonable to me. What say you, Mosh Pit peeps?
Favorite Recent Musical That Played Chicago Before Broadway
The biggest locally-produced opening of the week is the Chicago premiere of “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” by Michael Friedman and Alex Timbers, brought to us by Bailiwick Chicago and mounted at the National Pastime Theater in Uptown. The performances run from October 4 through November 10. Matthew Holzfeind and Samantha Dubina lead a cast of fifteen, directed by Scott Ferguson and choreographed by Christopher Pazdernik. James Morehead conducts. And don’t forget the Bailiwick one-night-only event, “Rock Show(tunes),” tonight at the Underground Lounge. It has morphed into a pretty sizable-sounding fundraiser!
WICKED vs. THE BOOK OF MORMON for Best Revival of a Play 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!”
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