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Sutton Foster Inaugurates New Bway Playhouse; Miranda-Revised WORKING Slated for 2011

April 6
2:15 PM 2010

Sutton Foster Inaugurates New Bway Playhouse; Miranda-Revised WORKING Slated for 2011

Tony winner and Broadway legend Sutton Foster will come to Chicago for a weekend of performances this September, when "An Evening With Sutton Foster" kicks off programming at the renovated and renamed Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, it was announced this morning. At a press conference at the theater, previously known as the Drury Lane Theatre, Water Tower Place, Lou Raizin, president of Broadway In Chicago, announced that BIC has entered into "a long-term agreement with General Growth Properties," the publicly-traded owner and manager of Water Tower Place shopping mall on the Magnificent Mile, that will allow the theater to be renamed the "Broadway Playhouse." After a renovation, promised to "update" the theater, lobby and entranceway at 175 E. Chestnut Street, "An Evening With Sutton Foster" will play September 23-26, 2010, with music direction by Michael Rafter, the co-producer, arranger and music director of Foster's CD "Wish" (Ghostlight Records). Tickets are not yet available.

Beginning October 26, 2010, the previously announced "Traces, " part of the BIC 2010 Broadway In Chicago Series, will launch its U.S. tour from the newly named Broadway Playhouse. Called "an astonishingly talented French-Canadian company that has pioneered a whole new brand of theatrical entertainment," 7 Fingers will bring this "thrill-a-minute" show to American audiences, beginning at Chicago's very own Water Tower Place, in the heart of the Magnificent Mile.

The third production announced this morning for the revamped venue will be a revised version of the 1978 Broadway musical "Working," based on the book of the same name by Chicago legend, the late Studs Terkel. A "newly imagined version," with additional material by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Tony-winning creator of "In The Heights," will play The Playhouse in the spring of 2011 (specific dates to be announced later). "Working" includes music by Stephen Schwartz, James Taylor, Micki Grant, Craig Carnelia, Mary Rodgers and Susan Birkenhead, and has been called "a working man's 'A Chorus Line.'"Sutton Foster Inaugurates New Bway Playhouse; Miranda-Revised WORKING Slated for 2011

Broadway In Chicago has previously produced "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," "Shout" and "Xanadu" at Water Tower Place. But the 550-seat house will reportedly get a "a make-over" that will give it a "fresh new look." Raizin was clear that his vision for the space is as a more intimate and newer feeling theater, when compared to the other venues at BIC's disposal, the Bank of America Theatre, the Cadillac Palace Theatre, the Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theatre and the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. And he paid tribute "to a man who breathed life into this place," the late restauranteur and empresario Tony DeSantis.

In a prepared statement, Raizin stated that "the Broadway Playhouse will allow us to attract shows that might not have previously come to Chicago and perhaps will give us the ability to encourage commercial transfers of successful productions from theatrical companies across Chicago."

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Photo Credit (top): Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.; (bottom) Paul W. Thompson

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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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