Anna McNeely News

 
Date of Birth: June 23, 1950 (68)

Birth Place: Tower Hill, Il, USA
CATS Set to Roar at the Maltz Jupiter TheatreCATS Set to Roar at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre
by BWW News Desk - May 6, 2019

The groundbreaking song-and-dance spectacular CATS is coming to the Maltz Jupiter Theatre stage! (more...)

BWW Review: DISNEY BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at Maltz Jupiter TheatreBWW Review: DISNEY BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at Maltz Jupiter Theatre
by Courtney Hess - Dec 11, 2018

A Truly Innovative Collaboration: Maltz Jupiter Theatre's 'Beauty and the Beast' (more...)

All-New Disney BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Comes to Maltz Jupiter Theatre For The HolidaysAll-New Disney BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Comes to Maltz Jupiter Theatre For The Holidays
by BWW News Desk - Nov 7, 2018

You may think you know Disney Beauty and the Beast - but you've never seen it like this! (more...)

Photo Coverage: On the Red Carpet for Opening Night of CATS!
by Jennifer Broski - Aug 1, 2016

The first-ever Broadway revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's iconic musical, Cats, returned to Broadway just last night at the Neil Simon Theatre (250 W 52nd Street). BroadwayWorld brings you photos from the star-studded red carpet below! (more...)

Photo Coverage: Goodspeed Musicals Celebrates 50 Years at 2013 Gala
by Stephen Sorokoff - Nov 12, 2013

Last night, November 11, hundreds of actors, directors, choreographers and designers reunited in honor of Goodspeed Musicals 50th Anniversary, at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Lobby. Check out photos from the special event below! (more...)

Maltz Jupiter Theatre Presents OKLAHOMA!, 5/18 & 19
by BWW News Desk - Apr 12, 2013

The beloved musical Oklahoma! is just weeks away from its debut as the most heartwarming, lively show ever to be performed by students at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre Paul and Sandra Goldner Conservatory of Performing Arts. (more...)

Anna McNeely Stars in Lyric Theatre and Curtain Call Productions' A NEW BRAIN, Now thru 3/24
by BWW News Desk - Mar 22, 2013

The Lyric Theatre and Curtain Call Productions will be presenting William Finn's A New Brain, a musical by the Tony award-winning team behind 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and the Falsettos trilogy, starring Broadway Veteran Anna McNeely at the Lyric's Flagler Center, for four performances only, tonight, March 22nd- 24th. (more...)

Anna McNeely to Star in Lyric Theatre and Curtain Call Productions' A NEW BRAIN, 3/22-24
by BWW News Desk - Feb 14, 2013

The Lyric Theatre and Curtain Call Productions will be presenting William Finn's A New Brain, a musical by the Tony award-winning team behind 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and the Falsettos trilogy, starring Broadway Veteran Anna McNeely at the Lyric's Flagler Center, for four performances only, March 22nd- 24th. (more...)

Maltz Jupiter Theatre Announces Spring Classes
by BWW News Desk - Dec 10, 2012

The Maltz Jupiter Theatre Paul and Sandra Goldner Conservatory of Performing Arts has announced spring classes taught by Broadway-caliber theater professionals beginning Jan. 7 (17 weeks). (more...)

BWW Reviews: Majestic MUSIC MAN Marches into The Maltz Jupiter Theatre
by Michelle Petrucci - Dec 3, 2012

In this retelling of Meredith Wilson's 'The Music Man,' with early 20th century Midwest slang and an almost too quick gift-wrapped resolution, director Mark Martino and choreographer Shea Sullivan were able to successfully breathe new life into a script and score that, especially for younger audiences, could so easily remain stale. (more...)

Maltz Jupiter Theatre Conservatory Offers Fall 2012 Classes, Beg. 8/20
by BWW News Desk - Aug 19, 2012

In addition to producing full-scale professional family shows throughout the season, the Theatre's Conservatory offers year-round learning opportunities for kids and adults of all ages, including a fall semester filled with musical theatre, acting and dance classes. Registration is now open, with classes that start August 20. (more...)

Maltz Jupiter Theatre Conservatory Offers Fall 2012 Classes, Beg. 8/20
by BWW News Desk - Jul 25, 2012

In addition to producing full-scale professional family shows throughout the season, the Theatre's Conservatory offers year-round learning opportunities for kids and adults of all ages, including a fall semester filled with musical theatre, acting and dance classes. Registration is now open, with classes that start August 20. (more...)

PIPPIN Debuts at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, May 18 & 19
by BWW News Desk - May 18, 2012

The musical Pippin debuts at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre tonight, May 18 and tomorrow, May 19, 2012. Perfomed by students from the Theatre's Paul and Sandra Goldner Conservatory of Performing Arts, Pippin tells the story of the young prince Pippin and his quest for the secrets of true happiness and fulfillment. He seeks it in the glories of the battlefield, in temptation and the intrigues of political power - but in the end, he finds it in the simple pleasures of home and family. (more...)

BWW Reviews: There's Something About CATS at the Cadillac Palace Theatre
by Paul W. Thompson - May 2, 2012

Forget "Rock Of Ages." That 21st century musical about the 1980s has nothing on the real thing. "Cats," the show that set much of the look and tone of musical theater for the next decade or so when it opened in London in 1981 and in New York in 1982 (and began continuous touring in 1984, a record unmatched in theater history) is on display for this week only (sorry, "Now And Forever") at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre. Forget "Rock Of Ages." That 21st century musical about the 1980s has nothing on the real thing. "Cats," the show that set much of the look and tone of musical theater for the next decade or so when it opened in London in 1981 and in New York in 1982 (and began continuous touring in 1984, a record unmatched in theater history) is on display for this week only (sorry, "Now And Forever") at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre. And I, who saw the original Broadway production twice during that heady decade and have not seen the show in any form since then, was eager to go and see what the fuss was, and is, all about. So I went, Tuesday night. If you've never seen this show, if you kids have never seen it, or if you want to experience the magic of this unique theatrical masterpiece one more time, then this is a great opportunity to do so, as this is the only remaining North American production to (somewhat) accurately replicate the award-winning, record-setting British musical that took America and the world by storm thirty years ago. This tour of non-Equity performers, with its usual orchestra of five beefed up to eight for a weeklong stand (May 1-6) in a major theatrical market, has enough going for it that I highly recommend it. It's a little like entering a time machine, and there's a lot of sleight of hand, but it works. Let me explain. What is "Cats?" Much maligned by insiders, derided as dated by visual artists, underrated by dance teachers and ignored by voice teachers (save for its megahit song, "Memory," which is heard twice, but never in the sheet music version everything has heard and claims to know), it is in many ways a dichotomy. It's a dance show (choreography by Gillian Lynne) written by a singer's songwriter (Andrew Lloyd Webber), as well as a British song cycle based on poems written by a St. Louis-born English poet (T. S. Eliot) who never intended his work ("Old Possum's Book Of Practical Cats," and other snippets) to be either musicalized or staged. Its plot, slight though it is, is also the subject of much derision, but to this observer is very reminiscent of "A Chorus Line," a universally revered work that does include dialogue and more depth of character, but also honors unity of time and place. However, there are indeed works that dispense with plot entirely, and which people unabashedly love (you know, revues--"Ain't Misbehavin'" comes to mind), and even shows like "Forever Plaid" and Lloyd Webber's "Starlight Express" feature heaven-going as a climax that is not entirely a surprise. So, enough complaining about there being no dramatic tension, already. But the spectacle! Is it a rock concert with dance, a dance concert with character, a makeup and hair extravaganza with arena-style lighting (still thrilling, the work of David Hersey, as recreated by Rick Belzer), a radio-friendly cast album with a decidedly British keyboard-rock spin, an intellectual set of inscrutable poems with earworm melodies, an environmental theater piece that's fun for all ages (an unmistakeable set and costume design by the remarkable John Napier)--what exactly is going on? The answer, of course, is all of the above. Oh, and it owes a lot to the English music hall tradition and to contemporary classical music, too, not to mention Puccini. Name another show that encompasses so much. Not to mention that original marketing campaign. Aside from his immature works (the children's show "Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and others), Lloyd Webber's previous shows written with Tim Rice (the two nominated for the Best Revival of a Musical Tony Award this year, "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Evita,") were both introduced to the world via record albums and marketing campaigns that featured a logo rather than a star name and image. But "Cats" seemed to take that even further, dispensing with the concept album and zeroing in on the show AS the star. Indeed, this show has no leading roles. Really. But who can forget that moon/cats' eyes/dancer silhouette logo, and the letters of the title in color-coordinated graffiti (echoing the oversized junkyard scene design). It was exciting and revolutionary at the time, and the only shows that have done it better since then (Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom Of The Opera" and director Trevor Nunn's "Les Miserables," all three produced by wunderkind Cameron Mackintosh) are the only ones that have run longer in London and New York, due to the lessons they learned from the feline juggernaut before us now. It was "the birth of the musical spectacular," as Broadway In Chicago's promotional materials tell us. This particular edition of the endless "Cats" tour, directed and choreographed by Richard Stafford and featuring mostly young, recent graduates of top U.S. musical theater and dance schools, is indeed "cut down" from the total makeover that the Winter Garden Theatre in New York displayed for the 18 years it played there (1982-2000). But the "Christmas lights" that once ringed the audience do indeed extend past the proscenium arch, and the cast makes several trips out into the aisles, a nice touch. The back wall of the set does not swing down to reveal the ship's set needed for the "Growltiger's Last Stand" sequence--they use drops and a false proscenium downstage center here, and I almost liked it better. The set as a whole is not as detailed and certainly not as deep as it once was, but if you haven't seen the video of the London production, or the show as it played in the early '80s, you would be none the wiser. Sound-wise, I have to give credit to sound designer Duncan Robert Edwards, musical supervisor Kristen Blodgette and music director J. Michael Duff. I swear the show sounds better than ever, even with a smaller orchestra than originally employed. And I could understand the lyrics! The costumes and makeup design look simplified to me, though, but again, a newcomer to the proceedings wouldn't know. And do I care of part of the set is inflatable, as rumor would have it? I don't care how they get it from city to city, or how quickly they do it, but somebody does care, and they figured out a way to make it work! The floating tire and the thing that comes down from the fly space (spoiler alert?) look great, absolutely. Absolutely. The cast is led by Melissa Grohowski as Grizabella, the role made famous by Elaine Paige and Betty Buckley and carrying with it, shall we say, a certain expectation of a certain money note. Boy, does Ms. Grohowski deliver! Three people stood during the applause for the number. Bravo to Clemmons/Dewing Casting, I say! The two singing roles for the men, Old Deuteronomy and Gus/Growltiger/Bustopher Jones, are essayed here by Nathan Morgan and Christopher E. Sidori, who both acquitted themselves well and were very effective theatrically, whatever their actual ages. Among the dance roles, Daniel J. Self as the narrator Munkustrap, Chris Stevens as Rum Tum Tugger and especially Chaz Wolcott as Mistoffelees were crowd pleasers: Self with his movement detailing, Stevens with his Elvis impersonation and Wolcott with his amazing fouette turns. The cast of two dozen or so performers dances uniformly well, and sings very well, too, save for a few minor quibbles with single lines here. And there or some missing low notes that older performers would probably have no trouble with. But these are easily forgiven. Who cares if the leading lights of Broadway (Harry Groener, Terrence Mann, Anna McNeely and of course Ken Page) have been replaced in these roles by recent graduates of Wright State, SUNY-Purchase and Oklahoma City University? These energetic, disciplined performers are working their tails off (pun intended), singing like people who can't dance a lick and are basking in the glow of theater history with every city they visit. Yes, the show has moments that seem a little longwinded, and sure, it doesn't challenge your intellect as much as it challenges your wallet and your caffeine intake (it takes place at night, and everybody is dressed like a cat!). But I challenge you to remain unmoved when Grizabella begs for physical contact, when old Gus relives his moment of youthful theatrical triumph, when assorted junk becomes the train that Skimbleshanks loves, and when the sopranos of the ensemble soar on the words, "'Round the cathedral rang 'Vivat!" Come on! It's "Cats." It's eye and ear candy galore. I don't even like cats, but I do like "Cats." Very much. "Cats" plays this week only, Tuesday night through Sunday night, with additional matinee performances on Saturday and Sunday, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph Street in Chicago. Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago box offices, the Ticket Kiosk at Water Tower Place, all Ticketmaster retail outlets, by phone (800.775.2000) and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com. Photos: Melissa Grohowski; The Cast (more...)

PIPPIN Debuts at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre May 18 and 19
by BWW News Desk - Apr 17, 2012

The musical Pippin will debut at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre May 18 and 19, 2012. Perfomed by students from the Theatre's Paul and Sandra Goldner Conservatory of Performing Arts, Pippin tells the story of the young prince Pippin and his quest for the secrets of true happiness and fulfillment. He seeks it in the glories of the battlefield, in temptation and the intrigues of political power - but in the end, he finds it in the simple pleasures of home and family. (more...)

Spring Classes For All Ages Offered At Maltz Jupiter Theatre
by BWW News Desk - Jan 9, 2012

The Maltz Jupiter Theatre's Conservatory of Performing Arts is offering exciting spring classes taught by Broadway-caliber theater professionals beginning Jan. 9. (more...)

Spring Classes For All Ages Offered At Maltz Jupiter Theatre
by BWW News Desk - Dec 14, 2011

The Maltz Jupiter Theatre's Conservatory of Performing Arts is offering exciting spring classes taught by Broadway-caliber theater professionals beginning Jan. 9. (more...)

Maltz Jupiter Theatre Conservatory of Performing Arts Presents CATS 5/20-22
by BWW News Desk - May 22, 2011

The Maltz Jupiter Theatre's Conservatory of Performing Arts has three exciting student productions coming up in May, June and July: Cats, Footloose and Honk, Jr. (more...)

Maltz Jupiter Theatre Conservatory of Performing Arts Presents CATS 5/20-22
by BWW News Desk - May 20, 2011

The Maltz Jupiter Theatre's Conservatory of Performing Arts has three exciting student productions coming up in May, June and July: Cats, Footloose and Honk, Jr. (more...)

Maltz Jupiter Theatre Conservatory of Performing Arts Presents CATS 5/20-22
by BWW News Desk - Apr 15, 2011

The Maltz Jupiter Theatre's Conservatory of Performing Arts has three exciting student productions coming up in May, June and July: Cats, Footloose and Honk, Jr. (more...)

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