'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for February 26th, 2014
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:
The biggest opening last week in Chicagoland was the retooled bio-revue "Ring Of Fire," the Broadway musical telling the life and songs of Johnny Cash that didn't fare so well on the main stem in 2006. But the Theatre At The Center in Munster, home to many of the down-home-themed musicals that do better in our area than many would believe ("Pump Boys And Dinettes," "Lost Highway," "Always...Patsy Cline," the upcoming "The Beverly Hillibillies," etc.) has it now. And they have Jeff and BroadwayWorld Chicago Award winner Cory Goodrich as June Carter, alongside Kent Lewis as Cash, the "Million Dollar Quartet" Man in Black himself. Michael Goodman plays Young Johnny, and Greg Hirte, Malcolm Ruhl, Billy Shaffer and William Underwood round out the cast as instrumentalists, etc. The show runs through March 30 and includes 35 songs. Not a bad sampling, I'm sure.
Chicago's Sondheim fest shifts toward high hopes for "Road Show" in the coming weeks, as the off-Broadway musical known as "Bounce" during its Goodman Theatre incarnation in 2003 is now readying for a run of March 13-May 4 Upstairs at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Directed by Gary Griffin and musical directed by Michael Mahler, himself a veteran of several shows where he played instruments onstage, that technique is reportedly being employed here too. No wonder! With the likes of Matt Deitchman, Jim DeSelm and Derek Hasenstab in the cast, supporting Michael Aaron Lindner and Andrew Rothenberg as Addison and Wilson Mizner, this production is garnering national attention. Get your tickets now.
Of course, "Road Show" joins "Gypsy" (lyrics by Sondheim) in rep at Chicago Shakes, the Jule Styne tuner running now through March 23 there (it's in the main Courtyard Theater). Starring the less-than-obvious-choice as leading lady, Louise Pitre, the production has garnered mostly rave reviews. Griffin's direction reportedly owes very little to Arthur Laurents' well-known stagings of his script, while fleshing out Laurents' (and Gypsy Rose Lee's) characters and world in exciting ways. Jessica Rush's Louise, Barbara Robertson's Tessie Tura and Rick Fox's musical direction have gained notice as well. Of course, you've seen "Gypsy," haven't you? Haven't you?