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'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for September 25th, 2013

'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for September 25th, 2013




by Paul W. Thompson

Overheard last weekend under the showtune

video screens at Sidetrack and The Call:

In the afterglow of "Kinky Boots" winning the Tony Award for Best Musical this past June, and with "Big Fish" in previews on the Main Stem as we speak (looking toward its opening night of October 6, 2013), Broadway producers announced last week that the next big Broadway musical to have a pre-Broadway tryout in Chicago will be "The Last Ship," the musical with a score by Sting and based on his childhood on the English coast. The 16-time Grammy winner has teamed with the bookwriters John Logan and Brian Yorkey, director Joe Mantello and choreographer Steven Hoggett to create the show, which will launch at our very own BOAT (the Bank Of America Theatre) from June 10 through July 13, 2014. Songs from the show are on Sting's new album, which was released yesterday. Will there be similarities to "Billy Elliot?" Who knows. But we will once again be the center of the musical theater world--at least, after next year's Tony Awards hoopla dies down.


Broadway In Chicago followed up that announcement with news of its entire spring "season," including add-ons, and so (well, I was going to do it anyway) this is a good time for the Mosh Pit to take stock of the tours that will be coming our way in the next nine months. Well, at least the ones that are new on the list. I mean, there are currently 26 shows on their website (, including the three that are currently running ("Evita" among them). And almost all of these are musicals. Surely this is some sort of record! How many cities outside of New York have had 26 "Broadway" shows open in a nine-month period? It's a pretty extensive, and somewhat overwhelming, list. Shows we've not talked about here include "Once Upon A Dream Starring The Rascals," a theatrical concert with the original members of the eponymous blue-eyed soul band appearing together to help tell us their tale (the show runs November 5-10 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre). I think that's the only 2013 offering that's new to the Mosh Pit. However, we've just learned of yet another engagement of the musical we've lent our name to ("Chicago," natch, playing February 25-March 2, 2014, at the Bank Of America Theatre), and another visit of a show we've had a lot of time to catch ("Rock Of Ages," back at its first Chicago home, the BOAT, from March 11-16). A hot second after ROA leaves, a tour of "Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" will pull into the Cadillac Palace (March 18-30), starring Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young. A tour we've not seen, featuring songs by "Joseph" tunesmiths Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice as well as the ones from a certain legendary MGM film, will be the highly anticipated "The Wizard Of Oz," playing April 30-May 11 at the Cadillac Palace, to be followed at the same venue by another visit of the perennially popular "Mamma Mia!," playing May 13-18. All this, plus the shows we've already announced herein, like "Once," "We Will Rock You," "Wicked" (the post-modern "Wizard Of Oz," of course), "Elf," "Ghost," that new staging of "The Phantom Of The Opera," the North American premiere of "Heartbeat Of Home," the touring premiere of "Motown," and so much more. It's a cornucopia of showtunes! (And don't forget about BIC's $25 ticket specials on the 25th of every month! Hint: that's today....)

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Paul W. Thompson Paul W. Thompson, a contributor to 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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