'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for August 31st, 2011
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:
How about that "Sweeney Todd," hunh? The production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's bloodbath-cum-lovestory that opened a few weeks ago at the Drury Lane Theatre (Oakbrook Terrace) has received the most rapturous reviews of any Chicago musical production since "Ragtime" at the same theater nearly 18 months ago. And they were both directed by Rachel Rockwell. Hm. That certainly sounds like a trend! If you don't believe what a great show is going on out in the western suburbs, just read the review summaries posted at theatreinchicago.com. Then go and buy a ticket already!
Next up at the DLO, and also directed by Rockwell, will be "The Sound Of Music," in a production that a little bird told me was supposed to star Jessie Mueller as Maria. Imminent Broadway stardom for Mueller seems to have changed that plan, but New York actress Jennifer Blood will, I'm sure, make a fine nun. But it's the rest of the casting (announced last week) that has me intrigued. Larry Adams, Chicago stalwart leading man, will play Captain Von Trapp (a role he played at Light Opera Works not too long ago). And Patti Cohenour, legendary as Sarah Brightman's alternate in the original "The Phantom Of The Opera" on Broadway, as well as the original Rosa Bud in "The Mystery Of Edwin Drood," will be the Mother Abbess, a role she played on Broadway in the 1990s revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein modern operetta. The rest of the cast ain't slouches either, including McKinley Carter as Elsa, John Reeger as Franz and Paula Scrofano as Frau Schmidt. Brandon Springman will play Rolf, but he'll still be appearing in "For The Boys" at the Marriott Theatre while rehearsing "The Sound Of Music," as SOM opens October 27, 2011 and runs through December 23.
And the Drury Lane announced its next season this past week as well. After "Gypsy" concludes the 2011-12 season (January 19-March 25, 2012), DLO will present "Hairspray" in the April through May slot, directed and choreographed by Tammy Mader. The play "The 39 Steps" will play through next summer, and then the newly revised version of "Promises, Promises," which played Broadway throughout 2010, will hit our western suburbs one year from now (September 6--October 28). "Singin' In The Rain" will play for November through January, and then from January through April of 2013, Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Sunset Boulevard" will take to the boards, directed by DLO artistic director William Osetek and choreographed by Mader. Get out your calendars now.