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'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for October 17th, 2012




by Paul W. Thompson

Overheard last weekend under the showtune

video screens at Sidetrack and The Call:

Congratulations to all the winners of the 2012 Equity Jeff Awards! And to the Chicago theater community in general, for being so awesome, full of quality, generosity of spirit and willing to have a great time! The Joseph Jefferson Awards, Equity wing, handed out 36 awards in 35 categories on Monday night at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace. As expected, the Goodman Theatre’s “The Iceman Cometh” and Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier’s “Follies” dominated the play and musical categories, respectively, with six wins apiece. “Follies” took home Production--Musical--Large, Director (Gary Griffin), Principal Actress (Caroline O’Connor, repeating her win at the BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards), Supporting Actress (Hollis Resnik), Music Direction (Brad Haak) and Costume Design--Large (Virgil C. Johnson). Other musicals to win the trophy included two wins each for “The Doyle And Debbie Show,” the commercial production at the Royal George Cabaret Theatre which won for Production--Musical--Midsize and Principal Actor (Bruce Arntson), “We’re All In This Room Together” at The Second City e.t.c. (Production--Revue and Revue Director--Ryan Bernier) and “Hero” at the Marriott Theatre (New Work--Musical and Supporting Actor--Alex Goodrich). And there were single wins for the Drury Lane’s “Hairspray” (Tammy Mader’s Choreography) and for the Goodman Theatre’s “Crowns” (Maya Ciarrocchi’s Projections/Media Design). Did your favorites triumph? I kind of think they did--because they succeeded in being your favorites….

Here's the JEFF AWARDS website with all the other deets!

Earlier in the day on Monday, Chicago Shakespeare let it be known that its current Stephen Sondheim production under Gary Griffin’s direction, “Sunday In The Park With George,” would be extending by one week (no surprise there, except for how long it took for them to announce it). The extremely well-received production will now close November 11, rather than November 4. That’s the same pattern we saw with “Follies” one year ago. Will we be celebrating similar Jeff Award accolades around this time next year? Does lightning strike?


Moving on to other shows in the current crop on the boards…did you see the reviews for the revue “Smokey Joe’s Café” at Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre? Pretty spectacular, I’d say. Brenda Didier (direction and choreography) and Jeremy Ramey (musical direction) have apparently put together a great production of one of the longest-running Broadway revues of the 1990s. If you like rock and roll, rhythm and blues and all their variant styles, the songs of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller are for you. Like SITPWG, it runs through November 11, 2012.

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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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