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Posted by: Showbiz Chicago (November 23, 2014)

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Stage and television legend Tony and Emmy Award winning actor HAL LINDEN discusses his amazing career which has spanned more than 60 years.  Michael Criste is our episode co-host.  For more information visit www.HalLinden.net


Podcast with Playwright/Composer RUPERT HOLMES from SHOWBIZ CHICAGO on Vimeo.

Posted by: Showbiz Chicago (November 23, 2014)

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Podcast with Playwright/Composer RUPERT HOLMES from SHOWBIZ CHICAGO onVimeo.

Podcast with Playwright/Composer RUPERT HOLMES

ruperRupert Holmes is one of theatre’s most prolific playwrights and composers. From The Mystery of Edwin Drood to Curtains, Mr. Holmes has the uncanny ability to create a theatrical experience that stays in your collective memory for a lifetime. With his 1992 play Solitary Confinement being remounted at the Jedlicka Performing Arts Center through November 15th, Mr. Holmes discusses his amazing career.

Additional podcast photo credit: Michael Brosilow (Solitary Confinement) 

Rupert Holmes’ first work for theater was The Mystery of Edwin Drood, for which he created the book, music, lyrics and orchestrations. When Drood won the Tony Award for Best Musical, Holmes simultaneously became the first sole recipient of Tony awards for both Best Book and Best Score. Drood and Holmes received the same honors from the New York Drama Desk, with a fourth award going to Holmes in the additional category of Best Orchestration. Holmes also received the coveted Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America, the first Broadway author-composer to be so honored. Accomplice is his second work for theater and his first non-musical.  Holmes is also an accomplished singer/songwriter who is widely known for his number one pop hit “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” and the song “Him”, which reached the number 6 position on the Hot 100 U.S. pop chart in 1980.  More information on Mr. Holmes can be found atwww.rupertholmes.com.


Posted by: Showbiz Chicago (November 23, 2014)

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496186647_295x166Broadway and television star CHEYENNE JACKSON discusses his upcoming concert “Music From The Mad Men Era” at the McCallum Theater in Palm Dessert.

downloadBroadway and cabaret artist KAREN MASON discusses her incredible career from starring in SUNSET BLVD., MAMMA MIA and WUNDERLAND we well as her upcoming concert at the Acorn Theatre in Three Oaks Michigan. For more information visit KarenMason.com


Robert Hill Creates a Sensual and Sensational CARMINA BURANA

Posted by: Showbiz Chicago (November 23, 2014)

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David Kiyak, from the 2013 production: Photo Credit: Michael Cairns drphillipscenter.org

David Kiyak, from the 2013 production: Photo Credit: Michael Cairns drphillipscenter.org

The merging of the performance arts was magnificently displayed at the new Walt Disney Theatre with the final event in their Grand Premiere festivities of the Dr. Phillips Center.  A remount of the Bach Festival of Winter Park and the Orlando Ballet‘s 2013 production of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana was, quite simply, breathtaking in every since of the word.  Mr. Orff’s 1935 work which many times gets categorized as opera, is certainly not.  Instead it is a meticulously crafted song cycle of 24 medieval poems that remarks on the nature, the perils love, lust, wealth and redemption.    As a stand alone oratorio, Carmina Burana always makes for a good listen.  To that end, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra‘s recent tour and recording under the baton of Riccardo Mutti is the new benchmark of Orff’s work.  It also a favorite of my friend, Ashley Wheater, Artistic Director of the fabled Joffrey Ballet, as we discussed here.

But there is something viscerally transcendent when dance is merged with the piece.    In the past few years, I have seen at least three different productions by various ballet companies (and one modern dance company) but none have come close to the ornate beauty and sexual energy of Orlando Ballet Artistic Director Robert Hill’s vision.  The reason for this is that Mr. Hill’s company of exquisite dancers also have an innate since of the truth they are conveying as actors to each of the sequences of Orff’s work.  Perfect examples of this can be seen in David Kiyak, whose “Omnia sol Temperat” had myself and those seating around me in tears.  Why? Because movement and story become one.  Same with Arcadian Broad’s electric “Were All The World Mine”.

This was also a vocally perfect production with Gabriel Premisser’s precise diction adding a new level of understanding the composer’s lyrics.  Soprano Julia Foster brought down the house and tenor James Hall, which miraculous vocal agility, certainly has another job waiting for him in the role of Mary Sunshine in the musical Chicago!

Artistic director and conductor of the Bach Festival Social of Winter Park, John V. Sinclair was in expert control of the entire evening via his baton.  Mr. Sinclair took some of the pieces a bit more uptempo then I have usually heard, but this was a welcome change as it created a more energetic piece as a whole.


This is the second time seeing a production at this magnificent center, the first being theBroadway and Beyond gala in which the the Walt Disney Center proved a perfect fit.   The utilitarian aspect of  detail is also well suited for this grand combined work as well, as the sound was crisp and clear.  However, there were some major sight line issues from the far left side where I was seated, and  times when at times only half of the dancers were visible.  This issue which made several patrons near me request other seats.   The Walt Disney Theatre is certainly not unique with this issue and is a problem easily solved by sectioning off those seats for intimate performances.

That is a minor quibble though.  Mr. Hill and his collaborators have created the benchmark of Mr. Orff’s work that other companies must now work to strive for.  For anyone that ever doubted that theatre is a living and breathing thing, then they only would need to see these magnificent dancers, orchestra and vocalists in their natural habitat….the stage.

Carmina Burana was presented on Saturday, November 22, 2014 at the Dr. Phillips Center For The Performing Arts, 45 S Magnolia Ave, Orlando,
(407) 839-0119.  For more information on upcoming events visitdrphillipscenter.org,bachfestivalflorida.org and orlandoballet.org

State Thespian Conferences & Festivals: We’ll be there!

Posted by: Costume Holiday House (November 12, 2014)


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Every state in the union has an Educational Theatre Association. Essentially, EdTA’s mission is to promote theatre education in school’s and their communities. In support of this, each state’s EdTA offers its members a festival at which participants attend mainstage and studio performances and learn from workshops. Students may also compete in individual events and audition for scholarships. At many of these festivals, there are college recruitors and vendors for both the students and the educators benefit. One such vendor is Costume Holiday House!

There is a representative from Costume Holiday House, Inc. at many of the State Thespian Festivals in the country. We attend in hopes of connecting (or reconnecting) with schools who are in need of costume support for their shows. We speak with directors, costumers and students alike about the advantages of renting with us. Some of the advantages include: low cost, nationwide shipping and a large costume stock. The aspect of Costume Holiday House that is typically the most impressive to high school theatre educators is the fact that you can rent as many or as few costumes as you like, there is no minimum requirement!

If you would like to speak with one of our representatives in person, we will be attending the following Thespian Conferences & Festivals this year:

Iowa              November 14-15   Cedar Falls, IA
Arizona           November 20-22   Phoenix, AZ
Texas             November 20-22   Dallas, TX
Michigan         December 5-6       Saginaw, MI
Colorado         December 4-6       Denver, CO
Kansas            January 8-10        Wichita, KS
Missouri          January 8-10         Kansas City, MO
Illinois             January 8-10        Champaign, IL
Maryland         January 9-10         Frederick, MD
Tennessee        January 16-17      Murfreesboro, TN
Indiana            January 23-2        Indianapolis, IN
Georgia            February 5-7        Columbus, GA
Florida Junior    February 6-7        Melbourne, FL
Ohio Junior       March 7               Akron, OH
Florida             March 25-28         Tampa, FL
Ohio                March 27-29         Bexley, OH
West Virginia    March 26-28        Charleston, WV
International     June 24-29          Lincoln, NE

If your state isn’t listed, don’t worry! We may be adding more festivals as we go. And even if we don’t attend, we send Costume Packets and pamphlets to every single festival so that school representatives can get information about the company and what we have to offer.

You Deserve a Pat on the Back!

Posted by: Cindy Ripley (September 17, 2014)

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By now, those of you that run musical theater programs in schools and outside of schools have nestled into new schedules. You have pored over sites for new ideas and ways to cut costs. I hope you have been able to artistically and mentally recharge yourself!  As I visit and work with many of your programs, I am reminded that you are continually evaluated through ever changing standards. So pat yourself on the back for launching another semester, and gloat a little that NO ONE can offer the benefits of the superfood you supply to kids we call musical theater.  We are constantly reminded in the media of the skills kids need.  Here are a few you impart to kids on a daily basis.


Creativity and innovation - Of all the shows I have directed, the most creative ideas were from children.  Allowing kids room to experiment and take a positive risk is a most valuable tool to carry through life.


Teamwork - Kids learn to negotiate in your program.  “Is she singing too loud?” “We need one more person to help paint this prop!” “Will you help me with this dance step?”  Kids quickly learn the rewards of cooperation in a musical.


Managing difficult tasks - In a musical,students tackle many personal challenges they never imagined they could conquer.  Many    “stars in the making” discover themselves in this safe, supportive environment.


Taking responsibility - Putting on a show offers a multitude of opportunities for kids to learn leadership skills, mentor other students, realize their importance to the final product and enjoy the outcome of it all at showtime!



I personally cannot think of a more natural, joyful way of becoming a smart, sociable, successful adult.  Thanks for reinforcing it every day.


Podcast with 'Evil Dead-The Musical's' CALLIE JOHNSON

Posted by: Showbiz Chicago (September 14, 2014)

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Podcast with CALLIE JOHNSON from SHOWBIZ CHICAGO on Vimeo.

One of Chicago's most compelling actresses, Callie Johnson discusses her dual roles in the new tour of EVIL DEAD- THE MUSICAL. Callie also talks about her critically acclaimed roles in NEXT TO NORMAL and CARRIE. EVIL DEAD-THE MUSICAL comes to Chicago's Broadway Playhouse, Sept. 23 - Oct 12, 2014. For more information visit BroadwayInChicago.com

CALLIE JOHNSON is a Chicago-based actress and is thrilled to be a part of Evil Dead - The Musical!  Recent Chicago credits include Pal Joey (Porchlight Music Theatre, Jeff Award: Cameo Performance); Next to Normal (Drury Lane Oakbrook, Broadway World Award: Best Musical Revival).  Callie recently finished playing Carrie White in the Chicago premiere of Carrie the Musical.  She is a 2012 BFA graduate of Columbia College Chicago's musical theatre program, a proud player of the Peninsula Players in Door County, and is originally from Genoa, IL.

MARISHKA PHILLIPS DIRECTS LIFE ENCOUNTERS 2 Acclaimed Director & Theatre Coach Returns Off-Broadway With New Show

Posted by: Showbiz Chicago (August 11, 2014)

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Marishka PicAcclaimed stage and film director Marishka Phillips has return to the stage to direct the off-Broadway production of Life Encounters 2, a one-woman show written by and starring Michelle F. Hartley, who portrays twenty distinct characters in the new production, at the Bridge Theater (244 W. 54th Street) in New York City for two nights only on August 15th and August 16th, 2014.  

Life Encounters 2 is the second in a series of solo shows performed by Hartley, but is the first time Phillips has directed one of her productions.  “I’ve been coaching Michelle for about four years, so when she asked me direct I didn’t hesitate,” said Phillips, a Broadway-trained actress and local theatre coach, who also trains actors in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Houston.

Life Encounters 1 premiered in 2011 in New York City and earned the actress a nomination for best female solo artist by the New York Innovative Theater Awards.  Hartley and Phillips are hoping for equal success with their new production.  “Once I read the script, I wanted to make people take a closer look at their own behavior.  I decided to take the audience through a multimedia experience in hopes they catch a glimpse of themselves with humor, ” Phillips said about her own direction technique.

In a dramatic, yet unique and comedic fashion, Life Encounters 2 takes theatre-goers on a journey through Hartley’s conflicted life as she showcases her versatile ability portraying twenty different characters who have played an integral role in the actress’ own life.   With an intense story line and laugh-out-loud characters, Life Encounters 2 is a refreshing and meaningful look at the universal connection of human life.

Dinner is served at each performance, and tickets are one sale now for $33.75, and can be purchased via BrownPaperTickets.comhttp://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/793305

Performance Schedule

Friday, August 15, 2014 at 7PM

Saturday, August 16, 2014 at 7PM

About Marishka S. Phillips

Broadway actress, accomplished director, and thespian guru, Marishka Phillips is an actor’s actor with an extraordinary wealth of talent.  As an actress, singer, and dancer, Marishka is bona fide triple threat, and has performed and toured with Sean P.Diddy Combs, Christian Castro, and CeCe Winans, just to name a few.  In 2011, Marishka founded the Marishka Phillips Theatrical Preparatory.  Having coached and trained some of the Hollywood’s biggest names, including Deborah Cox, Kerry Washington, Terri Vaughn, Rafael Sadiiq, Tasha Smith and Elizabeth Rohm, Marishka’s ingenious acting method combines the traditional art of story telling through a spiritual connection.  Marishka studied directing at the Los Angeles Community College, and has directed two highly revered off-Broadway productions: Box produced by Stuart Films LLC, and Precious written and directed by Damian Bailey.  On screen, she made her directorial debut with Love Always, Eartha, a short film that takes an in-depth look at the life of Eartha Kitt in 1955



11 Steps to Renting the Right Tuxedo

Posted by: Costume Holiday House (August 5, 2014)


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If you have an event coming up that requires a tuxedo, the first question you will probably ask yourself is: should I rent or buy? In order to answer that question you must decide how often you will need a tuxedo. Our recommendation is, if you foresee yourself wearing a tuxedo on more than 4 occasions in the recent future, purchase it. You should be able to buy a tuxedo at a reasonable price that will (hopefully) still fit and still be in style for a few years. Otherwise, renting is your best option. Renting a tuxedo guarantees that you will be on top of the current trends and your tux will fit. So, if you’ve decided that renting is the best option for you, here are the steps you will want to take to rent the perfect tux!

Finding a Rental Shop

1. Consider geography. If you’re renting tuxedos for a wedding, it is likely that your groomsmen live in different areas. Therefore, it’s essential to rent from a shop with several outposts. With multiple locations you can inquire about picking up a tux in one city and dropping off at another. Plus, you may be able to get a discount (depending on the size of the wedding party) if you’re all renting from the same store. If you’re renting a single tuxedo, you also may want to consider location. Will you have the time (and money) to drive to a town that is 30 minutes away to pick up your tuxedo before the event?

2. Ask for recommendations. Like tuxedos, all tuxedo shops are not the same. Look for one with a good selection, good service, and good knowledge. Ask for recommendations from friends, especially former grooms and groomsmen, for a top-quality store.

3. Shop around & compare prices. Call or visit different shops in your area. Ask about their selection and sizing (how large/small do their tuxedos go?).  Get a price quote, along with the return policy details (when does the tuxedo have to be returned? what are the conditions in case of damage?). Once you have all the information, choose a shop and give them the basic information about your event.

Knowing the Basics

4. Figure out your timeline. Always reserve your tuxedo/s as early as possible. In most cases, reserving it 2-4 weeks in advance will do, but in the case of a prom or a wedding, you should reserve a tux 1-3 months in advance. Prom season is hectic and the popular styles and sizes fly off the shelves. Weddings, on the other hand, require a lot of planning: measurements for all those in the wedding party (even those who are out of town) will need to be taken before the tuxedos can be reserved, so plan ahead, especially during wedding season.

5. Figure out your budget. In terms of budget, you should expect to pay anywhere between $50 for a conventional tuxedo to $200 for top-notch designer formalwear. Also, keep in mind that rental prices vary depending on how long you expect to rent the tux for.

Deciding What to Wear

6. Dress for the occasion. What type of occasion are you attending and what is appropriate for that occasion. Is it a black-tie affair? Should you dress conservatively or can you choose something  more stylish? Is it at night or during the day? What color is your date/the bridal party wearing? Is there a theme? Inform yourself; find out the dress code and ask around to see what others will be wearing to the occasion.

7. Know the components of a tuxedo. A tuxedo is a complete outfit that includes a jacket, trousers, a bow tie, and, often, a cummerbund. Tuxedo shops can also provide a shirt and shoes. Vests are a popular alternative to a cummerbund. Here is an overview of the different parts of a tuxedo:

Jacket: The jacket is the most unique part of a tuxedo. Most tuxedo jackets feature satin lapels and a boutonniere hole. There are multiple styles of jacket including a regular jacket, a tailcoat, a cutaway coat or a long jacket. You can choose between a single-, double- or triple-breasted jacket. You can have a regular collar with peak or notch lapels, a shawl collar or even a mandarin collar. Jackets usually have between 1 and 4 buttons.  Some jackets are loose-fit while others offer a slim-cut style.

Trousers: Formal trousers feature a black satin stripe or braid along the outside seams. Because they don’t feature belt loops, tuxedo trousers have adjustable tabs on either side. You may also wear suspenders. Also remember that formal pants should never be cuffed.

Shirts: You can wear three basic types of shirts with a tuxedo: wing collar, turndown collar and mandarin collar. A wing collar is found in the traditional shirt and is typically coupled with a bow tie, while turndown collars are worn with long ties.

Shoes: Formal shoes are made from shiny patent leather. Choose between opera slippers (the most formal option), loafers or oxfords. Most shops also offer spectator-style and matte leather shoes.

Vest, cummerbund, bow tie, and accessories: A traditional tuxedo is worn with a bow tie and a vest or cummerbund. A cummerbund is a pleated sash worn around the waist. Its pleats should always be facing up and should match the bow tie. Depending on the occasion, you can accessorize your tuxedo with a hat and a four-piece stud set.

Colors: In terms of colors, a traditional tuxedo comes in black or white, but you can also find a variety of gray, silver and ivory tuxedos, and some that are even available in trendy colors.

Reserving Your Tuxedo

8. Look through the rental books. At this point, you should have a good idea of the type of tuxedo you’re looking for. The next step is to go to your chosen shop and find it. Most tuxedo shops will have rental books for your to look through. Find the tuxedo that best matches your idea.

9. Talk to an expert. The people working at the shop are there to help you. They have dealt with many different customers for many different occasions and can usually help guide you if you have questions.  Bring a picture of what you’re looking for, to show them. They might have exactly what you’re looking for, or they might suggest something completely different. It’s up to you to judge and pick out the tuxedo you prefer.

10. Get measured. The shop workers will take your measurements. Make sure you don’t wear anything bulky. Be prepared to try on jackets and shoes. Also, if you gain or lose weight, call or visit the rental shop. They will advise you about getting new measurements taken, if necessary.

11. Reserve your tuxedo. Once you have decided what tuxedo you are getting and have had your measurements taken, all that’s left is to reserve the tuxedo. Some tuxedo shops will take a deposit, while others ask for full payment prior to the reservation. Make sure you find out when you can pick it up and when it should be dropped off. It’s as simple as that!

Podcast with Photographer/Author KYLE FROMAN

Posted by: Showbiz Chicago (August 3, 2014)

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Kyle Froman has quickly become one of theatre’s most sought after photographers capturing shows such as Billy Elliott, The Phantom of The Opera, Flashdance and Les Miserables with a unique flare for intimacy. In this fantastic interview, Kyle discusses how he transitioned from dancing with the New York City Ballet to a career in photography.

Kyle is also the author of “In The Wings” showing the behind the scenes life at the fabled ballet company. To purchase Kyle’s amazing photos, visit his official website kylefromanphotography.com.