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.'"
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."
For more information, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com
Photo Credit (top): Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.; (bottom) Paul W. Thompson