'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for October 17th, 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:
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….
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.