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'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for November 7th, 2012




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!

All the details about the 2012 BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards!

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?

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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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