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'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for December 26th, 2012




by Paul W. Thompson

Overheard last weekend under the showtune

video screens at Sidetrack and The Call:

Last Thursday, December 20, 2012, was the most exciting day of the year around the Showtune Mosh Pit (virtual version)--it was the day the winners of the BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards were announced! The Circle Theatre production of "Reefer Madness" was the big winner, taking the award in four categories, including Best Revival of a Musical (Resident Non-Equity), Best Ensemble (Resident), Best Costume Design (Non-Equity) to John Nasca (now a two-time winner), and Best Scenic Design (Non-Equity) to Peter O'Neill. Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre's long-running production of "The Light in the Piazza," took home three awards, going to Kelli Harrington for Best Actress in a Musical or Revue (Resident Non-Equity), to Jeremy Ramey for Best Musical Direction (Non-Equity) and to Michael M. Nardulli for Best Lighting Design (Resident Non-Equity).

Theo was the big winner among all theater companies, however, with five wins overall. In addition to the three awards for "Piazza," Theo's fall production of "Smokey Joe's Café" was the winner in the Best Revue (Resident) category, and its director-choreographer, Brenda Didier, is now the only individual to have won in the same category for all three years of the BCA's existence. She gets to take home Best Choreography (Resident Non-Equity) for "Smokey Joe's Cafe" this year, as she did for "Cats" in 2011 and for "Chess" in 2010--all for Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre.

The only other production to win in three categories in the awards this year is the Goodman Theatre's production of "The Iceman Cometh," representing the Goodman's first win in the category of Best Revival of a Play (Resident Equity). Brian Dennehy has won the award for Best Actor in a Play (Resident Equity) for the second time now, and for the second time it's for a Goodman production. The third winner for "Iceman" this year is Kevin Depinet, for Best Scenic Design (Resident Equity). He is also now a repeat winner, having been honored in 2010 for "Ragtime" at the Drury Lane Theatre.

In all, the Goodman Theatre was responsible for four winning categories, as Diane Lane was the winner as Best Actress in a Play (Resident Equity) for her starring turn in Tennessee Williams' "Sweet Bird of Youth." And the only remaining theater to win in four categories this year was the Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier, with Gary Griffin directing the winning production of Best Revival of a Musical (Resident Equity) there for the second year in a row. "Sunday in the Park with George" was this year's winner, following the triumph of "Follies" last year. And Jason Danieley is the winner in the category of Best Actor in a Musical or Revue (Resident Equity) for the title role in the Stephen Sondheim tuner. Chicago Shakes also won two categories for its theater for young audiences production of "Beauty and the Beast," taking home the prize for Best Theater Production for Young Audiences as well as the award for Best Costume Design (Resident Equity), going to Theresa Ham.

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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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