'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for December 25th, 2013
THE LATEST IN UNAUTHORIZED GOSSIP AND BUZZ
FROM THE HEART OF CHICAGO'S SHOWTUNE VIDEO BARS,
AND MUSICAL THEATER NEWS FROM CHICAGO TO BROADWAY
Overheard last weekend under the showtune
video screens at Sidetrack and The Call:
Merry Christmas, and welcome to a holiday-foreshortened edition of the Showtune Mosh Pit! It's been nuts around, what with all the performing....
You may have been aware that Broadway's Karen Mason ("Wonderland," "Mamma Mia!," "Sunset Boulevard," "Hairspray") is a performer who got her start here in Chicago and has deep roots here. And she performed at Davenport's last weekend (as she does very nearly every year) for three well-received Christmas shows. I know of folks who went twice! Next up at the prime Wicker Park venue: Miriam Plotkin's Jewish-themed "Anxiety Tonight! (Pigtails Are Kosher)" on Saturday night, December 28. And performing there for two shows on New Year's Eve? Musical theater veterans both onstage and off, Cheri Coons and Beckie Menzie in "The Best Of Days." If I weren't performing elsewhere that night, I would be highly tempted....
Last January, the No Exit Café got into the cabaret game with the weekend January Cabaret Series from Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre. And the company will be back presenting a second round this coming January. Appearing January 3-5 at the Rogers Park venue will be Theo veteran Chris Logan in "Home Again: The Songs Of Carole King." January 10-12 will bring Scott Gryder in "Life Is A Cabaret: The Music And Words Of John Kander And Fred Ebb" (Nick Sula at the keyboard). Amanda Batcher will appear in "Finding Beauty" from January 17-19. And "Chicago's Progressive LGBTQ Theater Company," MidTangent Productions, will present six performers from January 24-26 in "Dirty Little Secrets," about New Years' resolutions.
Speaking of this weekend, there is a major documentary premiering on PBS this Frirday night, December 27, celebrating the life and work of Marvin Hamlisch, PEGOT winner and composer of "A Chorus Line" and "The Way We Were." And Chicagoan and pianist Kevin Cole, the Jeff Award-winning musical director of the long-running "Forever Plaid" (1994-2002 at the Royal George Cabaret Theatre) appears in the telecast, playing Hamlisch's music and talking about him. Others who appear include, well, you know, Barbra Streisand, Woody Allen, Carly Simon, Idina Menzel.... You know. Bravo, Kevin!
Annually viewing the "Kennedy Center Honors" telecast is a tradition held dear by many Mosh Pit peeps at holiday time. And this year's broadcast, on Sunday night, December 29 on CBS, will honor Broadway dancer and film star Shirley MacLaine and "Movin' Out" songwriter Billy Joel, alongside keyboardist Herbie Hancock, guitarist Carlos Santana and singer Martina Arroyo. And the broadcast will include a performance by Anna Kendrick, Patina Miller, Sutton Foster and Karen Olivo! I'm just not sure why at this point. Maybe after I see it....