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'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for January 16th, 2013




by Paul W. Thompson

Overheard last weekend under the showtune

video screens at Sidetrack and The Call:

And the 2012 BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards Celebration is done! Last Wednesday, January 9th, we had a blast hanging out and hearing from many of the winners of the Awards, as voted on by the readers of BroadwayWorld. Particularly fun were the times when the casts of Circle Theatre's "Reefer Madness" and Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre's "Smokey Joe's Café" swarmed the stage, and when musical director winner Jeremy Ramey assembled all who would join in and told a brief but hilarious audience participation joke. I'd like to add a personal thank you to my friends (and BroadwayWorld Chicago volunteers) Michael Mosley, Jason Sanicki, Lillian Murphy, Jose Alarcon and Brian W. Jakosz for their help, to The Call's Ashley Morgan (and her costume changes!) for being such a lovely and gracious co-host, and to Michael Hogan, Rob Anthony and all the staff at Showtune Wednesday in Andersonville at The Call! BroadwayWorld's M. William Panek supplied the photography, and all who attended met new folks and reconnected with past acquaintances. It was a great night! I hope you were able to be there, and if not, there's always next year! See you then....

Here is Will's Photo Coverage!

And so, it's onward into 2013! And I guess that last week I was a tiny bit eager in my item about "Big Fish," the pre-Broadway tryout that will begin performances at the Bank Of America Theatre here on April 2nd, starring Norbert Leo Butz. Well, last week, the rest of the cast was announced! Northwestern University alumna Kate Baldwin ("Finian's Rainbow") and a past visitor to the Mosh Pit, Bobby Steggert ("Ragtime"), will co-star with Butz, now that they have both finished up the off-Broadway run of the new musical "Giant." It's a cast of 27, aiming for a Broadway opening at the Neil Simon Theatre, with previews beginning there September 5, 2013. Tickets will go on sale here for the tryout on February 4th. But will it be the next "Kinky Boots?"


The creative and unpredictable Hershey Felder has announced a run of his latest one-man show, "An American Story," at the Royal George Theatre from March 7 through April 14. That last date is significant, for it's the anniversary of the event the show is about--the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. After development at theaters in Southern California since last year, "An American Story" has taken shape as a one-man show for actor and orchestra, written by Felder but utilizing the music of Stephen Foster. I don't know if it's a "musical" or not, but I guess we'll all find out soon enough! Felder assumes the role of Dr. Charles Augustus Leale, the first doctor to reach Lincoln's side at Ford's Theater that night. After portraying Beethoven, Chopin and Bernstein at the Royal George, and after multiple appearances in his first and most famous Chciago show, "George Gershwin Alone," the role of Dr. Leale would seem to be a stretch for Mr. Felder. But if nothing, this is a man who knows his own talents, and who follows his own artistic vision with an enviable passion. Trevor Hay directs, based on original direction by filmmaker Joel Zwick.

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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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