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Summer Stages: BWW's Top Summer Theatre Picks - Chicago!

June 7
9:18 AM 2012


BroadwayWorld Chicago picks the Top 5 summer Theater Productions in our area for 2012!

  1. A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC at Writers’ Theatre (Glencoe). Run: Now through July 22. A universally acclaimed new production of Stephen Sondheim’s perennial early-summer “Send in the Clowns” crowd-pleaser, with Tony-winner Deanna Dunegan (AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY) as Madame Armfeldt, directed by William Brown and conducted by Valerie Maze. Website: A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC

  2. THREE SISTERS at Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Chicago). Run: June 28 through August 26. Speaking of AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, playwright Tracy Letts and director Anna D. Shapiro are collaborating again, this time on a new adaptation of Chekhov’s great story of a privileged family’s changing fortunes, featuring Alena Arenas, Ora Jones, Sally Murphy and Yasen Peyankov. Website: THREE SISTERS

  3. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier (Chicago). Run: June 28 through August 26. Disney’s great animated film and Broadway triumph comes to the mainstage space at CST for morning and afternoon, family-friendly performances lasting about 75 minutes, staged by hot director Rachel Rockwell--and featuring Chicago’s top musical theater talent (Emily Rohm, William Travis Taylor, Mary Ernster, Bernie Yvon, etc.). Website: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

  4. ROCK OF AGES at Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place (Chicago). Run: June 5 through August 5. Just days before the debut of the Hollywood adaptation of this Broadway jukebox show featuring all things hair and head-band, the national tour of the Tony-nominated show sets up shop for two months of fun in our neck of the woods, just steps from the tourist-friendly Magnificent Mile and featuring hit songs by Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Poison, Whitesnake and more. Website: ROCK OF AGES

  5. THE MERCHANT OF VENICE at First Folio Theatre, performing at Mayslake Peabody Estate Forest Preserve (Oak Brook). Run July 11 through August 19. What’s summer theater without the communing of Shakspeare and nature? Shylock and his “pound of flesh” come alive once again in the western suburbs, directed by First Folio artistic director Alison C. Vesely. Website: THE MERCHANT OF VENICE

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Paul W. Thompson Paul W. Thompson, a contributor to 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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