'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for July 25th, 2012
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:
Finally, some word about what we’ll be doing next May! I’m talking about the Lyric Opera Of Chicago production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s landmark musical, “Oklahoma!,” announced last year but with no details other than that it would be an “add-on” to the 2012-2013 opera season at Chicago’s historic Civic Opera House on Wacker Drive. It’s now been announced that Gary Griffin, the Chicago director who moved into the Broadway arena with “The Color Purple” a half-dozen years ago, will helm the production, which will run for 16 performances from May 4-19, 2013. That sounds to me like more of an Actors’ Equity performance schedule, rather than one typical of the American Guild Of Musical Artists, but what do I know? (Full disclosure: I am a member of both performers’ unions.) No casting was announced, but Broadway’s John Lee Beatty will make his Lyric debut as the set designer, with lights by Christine Binder and costumes by the very busy Mara Blumenfeld. And Agnes De Mille’s original choreography will be recreated for the production, but I don’t know who will take on that weighty task. At any rate, this sounds very promising, doesn’t it? Now if the casting is right, they just may have something! Please get it right, Lyric, please?
Chicago will see a fall production of Hammerstein protégé Stephen Sondheim’s presidential musical, “Assassins,” at the height of the election season, picking back up after the Olympics and the conventions. The show will preview October 10th and 11th, and run October 12-November 10, 2012, at the Viaduct Theatre on Western Avenue. Billy Pacholski produces and directs, with musical direction by Robert Ollis. And on Sunday, August 5, the cast of “Assassins,” joined by special guest Carey Anderson (from Broadway’s “Mamma Mia!”) will perform in a cabaret showcase at Davenport’s Piano Bar & Cabaret on Milwaukee Avenue. Cast members performing in the showcase include Sam Button-Harrison, Kevin Webb, Edward Fraim, Tom McGunn, Kris Hyland, Libby Lane, Kiley Moore, Michael Swisher, Ed Rutherford and Nick Druzbanski. Sounds cool!
Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” is in production right now to our north, in the 600-seat mainstage at the James Lumber Center For The Performing Arts at the College Of Lake County in Grayslake. Directed by Craig Rich, the show opened last weekend, and runs this Friday, Saturday and Sunday as well. David Lundholm and Kelley Combs star as the demon barber and his pie-making mistress, with brothers Mario and Dino Mazzetti as Pirelli and The Beadle.