'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for November 7th, 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:
Don’t worry. You can still vote--for the Broadie Awards, that is! The 2012 BroadwayWorld Chicago Award nominations were announced yesterday, and in just a few hours, every single one of the 150 nominees in 30 categories had received a vote. These are going to be hotly contested, methinks! 81 different productions from 48 Chicagoland theaters are included somewhere on the list. And you’ve got until December 15 to make your voice heard. Top nominees include “The Light In The Piazza” from Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, “Reefer Madness” from Circle Theatre, “Sunday In The Park With George” from the Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier and “The Iceman Cometh” at the Goodman Theatre. National artists like Kristin Chenoweth and Team StarKid are nominated for Best Special Theatrical Event. “Kinky Boots” is off to an early lead as Best Touring Production. Almost two dozen theaters are nominated for the first time, but plenty of returning favorites are represented as well. Large, small, alternative, new works, revivals, cabarets, ensemble shows, Broadway favorites and neighborhood storefronts all have a place at the BCAs. Tell your friends to vote! And check back periodically on BroadwayWorld’s propriety voting software to see how the votes are shaking out. It’s the next great thing to do with your campaign skillz!
And so “Kinky Boots” has left the building! The Bank Of America Theatre, that is. The pre-Broadway tryout of the new musical by Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein (directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell) left behind a lot of friends here after its five week stand, and reportedly put in a lot of work on new dialogue and music. I’m sure there will be more to come. But look out, New York! I know many people who saw the show several times. This may be a big, big hit on the main stem! Previews begin March 3, 2013 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. Chicago and the Mosh Pit say, “Get your tickets now!”
This weekend will see the final performances of the most anticipated show of Chicago’s fall musical theater season, “Sunday In The Park With George” at Chicago Shakes. Gary Griffin’s production of the Sondheim-Lapine Pulitzer winner was hailed as being worthy of any stage, any where, by more than one observer. For some, the most miraculous part of the show was the fact that it was staged on a modified thrust (it’s about a two-dimension painting, after all). But Chicago will always love this show, as the Georges Seurat painting it brings to life is the crown jewel of the Art Institute Of Chicago. Now, if only somebody could write a musical about “American Gothic.” Right?
Also with only one more week left is the production of “Assassins” at the Viaduct Theatre, produced and directed by Billy Pacholski, starring Sam Button-Harrison and Kevin Webb as The Balladeer and John Wilkes Booth. It might be interesting to see this show after the presidential election, especially if you saw it before now. Just saying. And I understand that this production loaned its prop guns to the Chicago Humanities Festival concert staging of “Assassins,” which took place with an entirely different cast on Monday night at the Francis W. Parker School in Lincoln Park. That was nice of them! It’s always nice to hear about cooperation between two shows which were not ever in real competition for audiences, but which offered us the rare chance to hear two quality versions of this unusual musical at the same time. How many people saw them both??? And how many people saw the two casts mingling at Sidetrack late on Monday night?
Last week in the Showtune Mosh Pit I talked about “Fugitive Songs,” the recent off-Broadway musical now receiving its Chicago area premiere via a concert production at The Music Theater Company in Highland Park. Its composer and lyricist, Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen, also wrote the off-Broadway musical “The Burnt Part Boys” (book by Mariana Elder), which is now receiving its Midwest premiere in a full production by the Griffin Theatre Company, performing at Theater Wit on Belmont Avenue (November 3-December 22). It’s directed by Jonathan Berry, with musical direction by Nicholas Davio. And the cast includes Charlie Fox, Mike Tepeli, Morgan Maher, Max Zuppa, Hannah Kahn, Paul Fagen, Jared Fernley, Alex Stage and Johnny Moran.
I also reported last week on “Spank: The Fifty Shades Parody,” opening at the Royal George Theatre on November 28 as part of a tour. Well, we also have a home-grown parody of the popular series of “Fifty Shades” books, this one called, “50 Shades: The Musical!” It’s a preview tryout at 10:30 pm on November 16 and 17 at the Apollo Theater, and it’s by the Chicago musical comedy ensemble “Baby Wants Candy,” featuring 11 original songs and a live band. A ladies book club reads “Fifty Shades Of Grey,” and it goes on from there. Two shows in one month. What are the odds?
A veteran of Chicago’s SingProv musical improv community, and a teacher as current head of the music program at The Second City, Jeff Bouthiette has written and directed “Miami Nice: A Golden Girls Musical,” performing every Wednesday night between tonight, November 7, and December 19 at Gorilla Tango Theatre on Milwaukee Avenue, near Western. Four men play the women from the beloved 1980s sitcom, and it is finally revealed that Rose Nylund is a cocaine-distribution mastermind. You can’t make this stuff up! Actually, you can.
Also in an intimate vein, but more on the serious side of things, is “One Hand, One Heart: The Musicals Of Leonard Bernstein,” the latest cabaret songbook evening from the mind of producer/director/host/publicist Christopher Pazdernik. It stars Christin Boulette, BroadwayWorld Chicago Award nominee Adam Fane (“Avenue Q”) and Sarah Hayes, with musical direction by Broadie Award nominee James Morehead (“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”) and will be at Davenport’s Piano Bar & Cabaret in Wicker Park from November 14-29. Let CPaz tell you all about it, and the others will show you how it’s done.
Looking into the future for 2013 (already?), we see that Light Opera Works has announced its season. The troupe will perform Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore” from June 8-16, Kander and Ebb’s “Cabaret” from August 10-25, and Irving Berlin’s “Annie Get Your Gun” from December 21-31, 2013. “Pinafore” and “AGYG” will star the two leads from LOW’s Broadie Award-nominated “Man Of La Mancha,” James Harms and Colette Todd, respectively. And for smaller-venue show for next year, the company will present an original revue, “Gershwin’s Greatest Hits,” at Nicholls Concert Hall from October 4-13.
Lastly for this week, we consider another offering for 2013, and from another company with the word “opera” in its title. Yet…this is seen as something of a departure for the company. Or is it a departure for the way this particular work should be performed? I’m talking of course about “Oklahoma!” at Lyric Opera Of Chicago, to be performed next May 4-19 as a season add-on by the world-class company, directed by Gary Griffin and featuring the original Agnes De Mille choreography. This week, the major cast members were announced. Broadway’s John Cudia (“Les Miserables”) and Ashley Brown (“Mary Poppins”) will star as Curly and Laurey. (She was also the star of last season’s Lyric offering, “Show Boat,” another BroadwayWorld Chicago Award nominee.) Broadway’s Jenn Gambatese and Curtis Holbrook will be Ado Annie and Will Parker, with “barihunk” David Adam Moore of the opera world as Jud Fry. Paula Scofano, Broadie Award nominee Usman Ally (“Disgraced”), Matt DeCaro and Andrea Prestinario will be Aunt Eller, Ali Hakim, Andrew Carnes and Gertie Cummings. Gemze de Lappe will dispense De Mille’s dances. Sounds awesome! Or does it?
And so, fresh from one election, we plunge into another round of voting. But hopefully, this one will be a little more fun! Glad to see we all made it here, and thank you for reading the Mosh Pit for another week. Keep warm and dry, and I'll see you under the video screens.....—PWT
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