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'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for October 23rd, 2013

'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for October 23rd, 2013




by Paul W. Thompson

Overheard last weekend under the showtune

video screens at Sidetrack and The Call:

Things are hopping at Broadway In Chicago these days, that's for sure! "Once," the 2012 Tony winner, is now in its third and final week at the Oriental Theatre, and I continue to hear glowing reports about how moving this production is. (Btw, I think we've dropped "Ford" altogether from the title of the venerable house, which was shuttered during the 1980s and brought roaringly back to life for Frank Galati's "Ragtime.") And there are two touring shows that are here for this week only. "We Will Rock You," the Queen jukebox show that's been an enormous hit in London for years, finally has a North American touring incarnation, starring Broadway's Brian Justin Crum at the Cadillac Palace Theatre (alas, the "Cadillac" moniker remains at the former vaudeville palace). And "50 Shades! The Musical," a parody show which originated in Chicago a year ago, is at the Broadway Playhouse this week (no longer with "at Water Tower Place" officially attached to its name).


The past is prelude, as they say, and all this is just a build-up to the return of "Wicked," Chicago's beloved Broadway musical, which will take its place back at its original Chicago home in the Oriental Theatre for eight weeks, beginning Wednesday, October 30 (through December 21). October 30th just happens to be the show's tenth anniversary at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway, and Broadway In Chicago has already started a special ten-day countdown to that date, with special fan events happening every day from October 21-30. Today's event is a trivia contest on Facebook and Twitter. Tomorrow is limited edition cupcakes....


Occasionally, tours not produced by BIC do play Cook County. And such is the case for one day this weekend, as "Rain" hits the Rosemont Theatre (formerly the Akoo, formerly the Rosemont) for two shows this Saturday, October 26. BIC has actually brought "Rain" here twice (to the Oriental, in 2011 and 2012), so there's that. Subtitled, "A Tribute To The Beatles," there's that.


Things are also hopping up in Evanston, at Northwestern University. The school has announced that "Shrek" will be the show produced by students as part of the "Dolphin Show" series that stretches back to a swimming pool fundraiser in 1940. Marlee Rose Rich will direct the 2008 Jeanine Tesori-David Lindsay-Abaire musical, based on the Dreamworks animated film. The production will run at Cahn Auditorium on campus from January 24-February 1, 2014. Some of you may know that the video of the Broadway production was released last week on DVD and Blu-ray. So there's that!


The Northwestern University Theatre And Interpretation Center will mount the children's musical "A Hundred Dresses," by Ralph Covert ("Ralph's World") and G. Riley Mills, from November 1-10, 2013, in the Hal And Martha Hyer Wallis Theater on campus. It's part of the "Imagine U Family Series." Rives Collins directs.

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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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