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'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for February 27th, 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

by Paul W. Thompson

Overheard last weekend under the showtune

video screens at Sidetrack and The Call:

February is going out like several lions, isn't it? March is a lonesome polecat compared to the pride of wild felines blowing its way through northern Illinois right now. OK, enough with the mixed "Carousel"/"Lion King" imagery...and on into the Mosh Pit!

In case you're living under that proverbial rock, or you're hunkering down without internet access (gotta love that word "hunkering," btw), you are no doubt aware of a little thing called "the Oscars" that took place this past Sunday night. And, whoa, what a difference of opinion I've been hearing! Producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan promised to bring us all the greatest tribute to movie musicals ever at an Academy Awards broadcast, and they may have succeeded.

The one musical which made sense for them to mention, "Les Miserables," left with three trophies, including the one widely predicted (for Anne Hathaway's turn as Fantine), the one they seemed to be campaigning for (sound recording) and one for makeup and hair design (um, ok). And the entire leading cast, backed up by a chorus which included Chicagoan Joe Tokarz, among others, performed a weirdly edited version of "One Day More," preceded by part of the Oscar-nominated song, "Suddenly," sung by Hugh Jackman. And yes, Chicago's Roberta Duchak was in the audience, and may have worked with Jackman and co-star Russell Crowe on their music, as she did during the filming a year ago.

Chicagoan Jennifer Hudson immediately preceded the Les Miz bunch, singing a weirdly edited version of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from "Dreamgirls," and most folks thought she looked great and did a bang-up job. There was less agreement about Catherine Zeta-Jones, dancing to "All That Jazz" from "Chicago," and possibly lip-synching it, and in a lower key, to boot. Her Oscar win was a while back, people! And elsewhere in the broadcast, we had Barbra Streisand, doing a pretty good job for a woman her age on "The Way We Were," and Shirley Bassey, doing a great job for a woman of any age on "Goldfinger." Adele seemed in pretty good form during the winning "Skyfall," but folks had a hard time hearing her out of the band mix. We are a tough crowd to please, you guys! But let's not forget Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Daniel Radcliffe joining legit baritone and host Seth McFarlane on a tap number, which was preceded by Channing Tatum and Cameron Diaz doing a ballroom dance number. And there was even more. There was even a "Sound Of Music" joke, for Pete's sake. I'm not even making this up! And the whole thing is online now!

http://oscar.go.com

So yeah, there was that. Around these parts, the biggest local news was the announcement by Broadway In Chicago about what musicals this division of the Nederlander Organization is bringing to Chicago during the fall. Nice segue from my overview last week of their spring season, hunh? After the previously announced revisit of "West Side Story" (June 11-16 at the Oriental Theatre), which ends their spring season, BIC's fall season will kick off the very next week with a new tour of "Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story" (June 18-30 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre). That's a neat trick, hunh? Then comes what I assume is a pre-Broadway tryout tour of the stage version of "Flashdance," staged by the very busy Sergio Trujillo (July 30-August 11 at the Cadillac Palace). The tour of the recently shuttered Broadway revival of "Evita" will land here from September 17-October 6 (Oriental Theatre), followed immediately by perhaps the jewel of the season, the tour of the Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical "Once," to play October 9-26 (Oriental Theatre). And then? The very popular West End musical "We Will Rock You," based on the music of Queen, will FINALLY play Chicago, from October 22-27 (Cadillac Palace), and a tour of one of these holiday Broadway musicals that have become so popular in New York, "Elf," will run here November 26-December 15 (Cadillac Palace). Oh, and a little thing called "Wicked" will play here from October 30-December 21 (Oriental Theatre), as I mentioned last week. And don't forget the latest children's theater offering from our very own Emerald City Theatre, "The Cat In The Hat," coming to the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place from June 15-September 1, in an adaptation from the National Theatre in London by Katie Mitchell. I don't know if it's a musical or not. Whew! Is that everything?


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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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