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'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for March 2nd, 2011





by Paul W. Thompson

Overheard last weekend under the showtune

video screens at Sidetrack and The Call:

As March dawns, and spring slowly awakens, there sure seems to be a heck of a lot going on at Broadway In Chicago! For one, the highly anticipated production of "Working" that has New York, Chicago and the nation talking opens tonight at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place. Word has it that this production will be the model for all future productions of the now-revised 1978 tuner. Does this mean there will be a commercial recording of the show (and its two new songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda) by the Chicago revisal cast? Who knows. But Studs Terkel's work is firmly rooted here, and this musical based on the late author and interviewer's best known book is now firmly rooted here as well, and hoping for a significant run. Let's hope the hype was worth it! 

Last week, BIC announced a new Facebook-oriented ticket offer, whereby select seats for select performances of select shows will be available to Facebook fans of Broadway In Chicago for $25 each, only on the 25th day of each month. That's mildly creative, and Mosh Pit peeps approve. "Working" was the beneficiary of the first such offer. 

Also going on as of this writing is the availability (as of last week) of single-ticket sales for the VERY highly anticipated national tour of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical "next to normal," running April 26-May 8, 2011 at the Bank Of America Theatre. This Friday, March 4, tickets for the return engagement of the Tony Award-winning "Spring Awakening" will be on sale. And did we somehow miss the announcement that yet another return of "Beauty And The Beast" is happening, and this time for six weeks! This show business legend will park itself at the Ford Center For The Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre for six weeks, beginning June 29. Amazing. 

Broadway in Chicago Home Page 

Oh, the Oscars were last Sunday. Yay, Randy Newman. Moving on from that (lol)..... 

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 

There is significant showtune news coming out of a somewhat unlikely local source--Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier. They actually have compiled an impressive track record of musical productions out there, but the name still throws people off in this regard. However, check it out! They are mounting two new musicals in the coming months, "Murder For Two" by Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair, directed by David H. Bell (May 12-June 19), and "The Adventures Of Pinocchio" by Neil Bartram and Brian Hill ("The Story Of My Life"), directed by Rachel Rockwell (July 13-August 28). "Murder For Two" is an intimate affair, wherein two actors play all the parts of a murder mystery, and play the piano as well. "Pinocchio" is designed to be a major draw for family audiences in summertime on the Pier. They both sound lovely to me. 

Chicago Shakespeare Theater - Home 

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Paul W. Thompson Paul W. Thompson, a contributor to 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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