Regional Roundup: Top 10 Stories This Week Around the Broadway World - 1/1; GOTTA DANCE! in Chicago, New ANNIE Tour in Rhode Island and More!

We're starting 2016 off with a bang! This week, we go around our Broadway World to feature stories in Chicago, Los Angeles, Rhode Island, and more. Check out our top 10 stories around our Broadway World below, which include the Broadway-bound GOTTA DANCE! in Chicago, top 2015 picks in L.A., and the new National Tour of ANNIE in Rhode Island, just to name a few.


1. Philadephia, PA: Editor Olga El reviews KULU MELE at the Painted Bride Art Center. She says, "Filled with traditional, ancient moves similar to those found in the dances of Polynesia or throughout North Africa and the Middle East, Balanta gave off a sense of universality and closed the show with color and vivacity.... The energy of the dancers was so contagious that the audience was dancing an drumming too by the end of the curtain call, exemplifying the spirit of these African traditions." Read more here.



2. Chicago, IL: Editor Misha Davenport reviews the Broadway-bound musical GOTTA DANCE, enjoying a pre-Broadway run at Chicago's Bank of America Theatre. He says, "The dancers include a widowed Ron (De Shields; who again shows off some fine dance moves and a touching back story in "The Prince of Swing/There You Are"), a bitter first wife looking to get back at her ex-husband (Powers as Joanne), a grandmother trying to rekindle her connection with her granddaughter through dance (a dynamic powerhouse White as Bea), an enthusiastic, but bungling woman whose husband is in the final stages of Alzheimer's (a lovable Lori Tan Chinn as Mae), a Latina cougar (Nancy Ticotin as the sexy dynamo Camilla whose performance of "¿Como No?" ignites the second act) and an elementary school teacher with a secret passion for rap and hip hop (Engel in a Tony-worthy performance as Dorothy)." Read more here. Want to hear what other editors are saying? Read our Review Roundup here. Check out the official photos of the show here and here, and highlights here.

3. Chicago, IL: The team of Chicago critics offer their top theatrical picks of 2015. Check out the full list here, which include BLOOD BROTHERS - Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre and THE ADDAMS FAMILY - Mercury Theater from Misha Davenport, CAROUSEL - Lyric Opera of Chicago, SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM - Porchlight Theatre from Paul Thompson, DOMESTICATED - Steppenwolf Theatre Company and THE FULL MONTY - Kokandy Productions from M. William Panek, and more!

4. Cleveland, OH: Editor Roy Berko reviews a 'delightful' ELF THE BROADWAY MUSICAL at the Connor Palace. He says, "What KRIS KRINGLE needed was to be more of what ELF, which is now in a short residence at the Connor Palace Theatre, does so well. There is a joyous zaniness to the nicely textured story, enough fun for the youngsters to identify with and enjoy, and a wonderful score. It is also well directed by Sam Scalamoni, who has been so successful with his ELF national tours that they launched the 6 th and 7th company this year with two tours criss-crossing the US." Read more here.


5. Austin, TX: Editor Frank Benge reviews THE BLUE MAN GROUP at Dell Hall in The Long Center. He says, "The humor is both primal and sophisticated in nature and other than the announcer voice there are no spoken words. Key bits in the performance include: throwing marshmallows and paint balls into each others mouths and then turning it into "art"; a moment where they turn an audience member into a human paintbrush; a comment on technology and cell phones where they use a giant tablet device or "GiPad" to show how modern communications have impacted our logical thinking ability... just to hit the highlights." Read more here.



6. Los Angeles, CA: Editor Don Grigware rounds up the top theatrical productions and performances in LA for 2015. Some of his favorite productions include THE BAKER'S WIFE - Actors Co-op, BENT - Mark Taper Forum, BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL - La Mirada Center for the Performing Arts, THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY - Ahmanson, CARRIE THE KILLER MUSICAL EXPERIENCE - La Mirada/Los Angeles Theatre, just to name a few. Read his full roundup here.

7. Palm Springs, CA: Editor Audrey Liebross previews Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize Winning ANGELS IN AMERICA - PART I which will play at Desert Rose Playhouse on January 15. She says, "Part I, set in the late 1980s, won two Tony awards, the Pulitzer Prize for drama, and many other accolades. It focuses on two troubled couples: "word processor" Louis Ironson and his lover Prior Walter; and Mormon lawyer Joe Pitt and his wife Harper. Prior tells Louis that he has contracted AIDS, causing Louis to panic. Meanwhile, infamous attorney Roy Cohn offers Joe a job in the Justice Department, but Valium-addicted, agoraphobic Harper does not want to move to Washington. Joe struggles to deal with his loyalties towards the corrupt Roy, his blossoming feelings towards Louis, and his relationship with his wife." Read more here.


8. Sydney, Australia: Editor Jade Kops reviews THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST in Sydney. She says, "The comedy that serves as a commentary on the ridiculousness of late Victorian English society is well presented with clear well timed dialogue and beautiful physicality. The opening sequence between the hung-over Algernon and his butler, Lane (James Lugton) is perfect in its pace and precision with Lugton's expressively judgmental facial expressions providing a window to how the hired help viewed their idle, spoilt bosses." Read more here.

9. South Africa: Editor David Fick reports on The South African State Theatre's upcoming 2016 'thrilling' season. He says, "The South African State Theatre in Pretoria has announced a year of thrilling and diverse productions for 2016. Artistic Director Aubrey Sekhabi has structured the season around ten of the most diverse and exhilarating theatre programmes in the country, namely the Main Programme, the Indie Spotlight, the Community Arts Dramaturgy Outreach (CADO), the Incubator, Jazz and African Music Nights, Tshwane Comedy nights, the Youth X-pressions Festival, the Vavasati International Women's Festival, the Mzansi Fela Festival, the Home Theatre SA Festival and the Mahofi Precinct programme." Read more here.

National Tour Highlight:

10. Rhode Island Editor Katelyn Corp reviews the new National Tour of ANNIE at the Providence Performing Arts Center. She says, "As the billionaire Oliver Warbucks himself, Gilgamesh Taggett is funny and ultimately lovable by the story's finale. He is complemented well by his lovely, sweet and cheery secretary Grace Farrell, played by another newcomer to the company, Chloe Tiso. Perhaps the comedic favorites of the show are of course, Miss Hannigan and her conniving brother Rooster, along with Rooster's girlfriend Lily. As the orphanage mother we love to hate, Lynn Andrews delivers a hilarious performance of "Little Girls". "Easy Street", including a perfectly sordid Garrett Deagan as Rooster andLucy Werner as Lily, is a fabulous number to showcase the talents possessed by these three. Not to be forgotten are the unbelievably well-trained terriers Sunny and Macy who bring lots of laughs as Sandy." Read more here.

*BONUS* - Voting is now CLOSED for the BroadwayWorld Regional Awards. Stay tuned for the winners to be announced later this month! Good luck to all!

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