BWW Blogs: 'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for December 1st, 2010
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:
I was so eager to tell you about "Tangled" and "Burlesque" last week (and was I right, or was I right?) that I totally forgot to mention the PBS broadcast of "Sondheim!: The Birthday Concert" last Wednesday! I have been properly chastised for this oversight. Now available on DVD, the all-star gala concert from New York's Avery Fisher Hall (taped March 15-16, 2010) was hosted by David Hyde Pierce, and the New York Philharmonic was conducted (of course) by Paul Gemigniani. Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin have gotten a lot of attention from folks in the Mosh Pit for recreating their performance of "Move On" from "SITPWG." (I know I don't have to tell you what that stands for, right?) Patti LuPone's "The Ladies Who Lunch" and Elaine Stritch's "I'm Still Here" have also been mentioned as faves. What's yours? And will we see these performances in our favorite bars anytime soon? Just sayin'....
In my discussion of the busy Monday night event scene last week, I was concentrating on karaoke nights and open mic cabarets, and as a result, I neglected a new and fun performance venue on Halsted Street, the reconstituted Rehab. Now appearing there on Mondays from 7-10 pm is chanteuse Honey West, and up and coming Michael Scott McBride follows her from 10 to midnight. It's a nice, funky room, too, right next to Circuit Nightclub. Have you visited?
Now that the mea culpas are out of the way, it's onward to.....holiday light operas! Chicago is abuzz with them this year. First on most folks' lists is Lyric Opera of Chicago's brand new production of Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado," directed by Gary Griffin and starring James Morris, Stephanie Blythe and Neal Davies. It opens December 6, 2010 and plays intermittently through January 21, 2011. This production is a major international story in the operetta world, and the willingness of Morris (who's made a career out of Wagner's Wotan worldwide) and Blythe (whose voice seems to literally come out of the back of her head, it's so enormous) to get into Griffin's sandbox as The Mikado and Katisha speaks volumes about Lyric's growing expertise in the light opera vein. Can't wait! Get thee to the Civic Opera House.
On a slightly more modest scale (and even more surprising), The Hypocrites is mounting Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Pirates Of Penzance" this month! Performances of G&S's "American operetta" (it debuted in New York before opening in London, for legal reasons) are December 9-January 30 at the Chopin Theatre at Division, Milwaukee and Ashland Avenues. It's a "new arrangement" of the show by Kevin O'Donnell, directed by Sean Graney. Two professional English comic operas mounted locally at the same time. Who knew? The Mosh Pit knew!