'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for December 14th, 2011




by Paul W. Thompson

Overheard last weekend under the showtune

video screens at Sidetrack and The Call:

This past weekend saw the Broadway debut of one Jessie Mueller, daughter of Roger and sister of Abby and Andrew, and the Chicago Showtune community is abuzz about it! Just six months ago this Chicagoan from a quintessential performing arts family was appearing in “Shout” at the Marriott Theatre, and just weeks ago she won this year’s Joseph Jefferson Award for Actress in a Principal Role – Musical for starring in “She Loves Me” at the Writers’ Theatre in Glencoe (she was nominated for a BroadwayWorld Chicago Award for the same performance). But now, Mueller is starring opposite Harry Connick, Jr., in the reconception of the 1965 Alan Jay Lerner-Burton Lane musical “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever.” One great thing about all this is that the original leading lady back in the day was Chicagoan Barbara Harris, and another great thing is that Connick’s standby for the male leading role is none other than Chicagoan Sean Allan Krill (he was in last Christmas’s “Spamalot” at the Drury Lane Theatre). The best thing of all is that, whether a particular review is negative or less so about the “On A Clear Day…” production as a whole, nearly everything coming out ofNew York about Jessie Mueller is very positive. Thanks for doing us proud, Jessie! And if you haven’t seen a clip of her in this show, here is one of the ending of her big solo, “Ev’ry Night At Seven.” Good Lord, such pipes!

Video - Jessie Mueller Brings Down the House

Speaking of the Broadies… the second annual BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards, the Chicago area’s only theater awards voted solely by the fans, are heating up the holidays in a big way! Voting ends at midnight on Thursday evening, December 15, 2011, so if you still can, get your votes counted! Other media outlets have been announcing their end-of-year top ten lists, but Chicago.BroadwayWorld.com lets the fans have a voice! And once the winners are officially announced online, make your plans to attend the Awards Celebration at The Call nightclub in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on Wednesday evening, December 28th! It will be a fun night of seeing old and new theater friends and colleagues, and all nominees for the awards (and everyone affiliated with nominated productions) will be given a yellow nominees’ ribbon at check-in. Winners will receive certificates (new this year), and many theater folk will be given the opportunity to address the crowd. I’ll be hosting the event, assisted by The Call’s Ashley Morgan, along with BroadwayWorld Chicago contributors M. William Panek and Misha Davenport. The Call is at 1547 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue, and owner and VJ Michael Hogan will be spinning his regular Wednesday Showtune videos! Come one, come all, to The Call! I look forward to seeing you there.

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