'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for September 18th, 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:
And Chicago is once again (well, is continuously) a center for the production of new works of music theater! As if this were any sort of surprise. Have you heard of the new show, "Signs Of Life," which begins performances today, September 18, 2013, and runs through October 27th at the Biograph Theater (technically, the Zacek McVay Theater at Victory Gardens Theater)? It's based on the true story of the Czech Theresienstadt (Terezin) death camp/ghetto and the lies, lives and art that emerged from that dark corner of the Nazi regime before and during World War II. It is something of a labor of love for creator/producer Virginia Criste, who hired composer Joel Derfner, lyricist Len Schiff and bookwriter Peter Ullian to bring to fruition her vision of a play with music that would tell the story she felt people just didn't know. The show premiered at Amas Musical Theatre in New York in 2010, and this is the Chicago premiere of its continued development. The cast includes Jason Collins, Nathan Cooper, Brennan Dougherty, Matt Edmonds, Lara Filip, Megan Long, Michael Joseph Mitchell, Doug Pawlik and James Rank, with direction by Lisa Portes and musical direction by Mike Pettry. BroadwayWorld Chicago's own new Contributor, Elee Schrock, interviewed Criste and filed her report this past Sunday about the show and its gestation. As we welcome Elee to BWW Chicago, check it out!
Just opened at Writers' Theatre in north suburban Glencoe is "The Old Man And The Old Moon," a play with music that is raking in some nice reviews for its whimsy, cleverness, engaging story, puppetry, actor-musicians youthful charm and overall theatrical delight. Stuff like that. A group of recent Carnegie-Mellon theater grads calling themselves Pigpen Theatre Co. have brought their recent collective work to us for some honing and airing out, and it seems to be working. It will be running through November 10th. Check out these notices!
And at the venerable Goodman Theatre in the Chicago Loop, "The Pullman Porter Blues" has just started performances, opening this coming Sunday afternoon and running through October 20th "in the Albert." It's a play by Cheryl L. West, directed by Chuck Smith, with a high-octane cast (Cleavant Derricks, Larry Marshall, E. Faye Butler and Francis Guinan among them) and four onstage/ontrain musicians. Chicago, the home of the Pullman cars, is the perfect place for this show to get up to speed. It's 1937, and a train from Chicago to New Orleans hurtles through the night during Joe Louis' heavyweight title bout.