'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for October 30th, 2013
THE LATEST IN UNAUTHORIZED GOSSIP AND BUZZ
FROM THE HEART OF CHICAGO'S SHOWTUNE VIDEO BARS,
AND MUSICAL THEATER NEWS FROM CHICAGO TO BROADWAY
Overheard last weekend under the showtune
video screens at Sidetrack and The Call:
This week's Mosh Pit falls neatly into three categories! We've got big hits opening for the late fall season at our most prominent suburban Equity musical houses, Christmas shows already setting up shop, and season announcements for 2014. So let's get to it!
Boublil and Schonberg's "Miss Saigon," the team's follow-up to "Les Miserables" and based on Puccini's "Madame Butterfly" (now at Lyric Opera Of Chicago, btw) begins performances tonight, October 30 and plays through November 24 at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Aurora, Kane County, Illinois. Jim Corti directs role veteran Joseph Anthony Foronda as the Engineer (he's played the role on tour in the original staging and at the well-received Drury Lane Theatre production in 2009), Shawna Haeji Shin as Kim and Brandon Moorhead as Chris, with Elliot Greer as John, W. Blaine Brown as Thuy, Emilie Lynn as Ellen and Zachary Uzarraga as Tam. It's a large and diverse cast overall, put through its paces by choreographer Jeffrey Hancock and musical director Shawn Stengel. Think that the Vietnam War is fading into distant memory? Think again.
Speaking of the Drury Lane, "Hello, Dolly!" opened at the Dupage County venue last week, starring Tony Award winner Karen Ziemba as Mrs. Levi, Chicago veteran David Lively as Horace, Emily Rohm as Irene, Jeff Diebold as Cornelius, Lee Slobotkin as Barnaby, Maggie Portman as Minnie Fay, Laura Savage as Ermengarde and Skyler Adams as Ambrose. Rachel Rockwell directs and choreographs the Jerry Herman tuner, which will run until January 5, 2014.
One of the most highly anticipated productions of the fall is up in Lake County, as "Mary Poppins" opens at the Marriott Theatre tonight, and also running through January 5, 2014. Gary Griffin directs the regional premiere of the long-running London and Broadway musical, based on the beloved Walt Disney film and P. L.Travers' stories. (Griffin also directed the show at the Muny in St. Louis this past summer.) Alex Sanchez choreographs, with musical direction by Michael Mahler. And who is Chicago's Mary? Two-time Jeff Award winner Summer Naomi Smart, that's who. A local gal! Bernie Yvon is Bert, and Broadway veteran Johnny Rabe alternates with Brady Tutton as young Michael Banks. Rod Thomas is Mr. Banks, Susan Moniz is the Mrs., and Caroline Heffernan and Madison Gloria Olszewski alternate as Jane.