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Interview with Broadway’s J. ROBERT SPENCER

Posted by: Showbiz Chicago (January 30, 2015)

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Tony Award Nominee J. ROBERT SPENCER discusses The Midtown Men, Jersey Boys, Next To Normal and his film production company is this in-depth interview.  www.MidtownMen.com

J. ROBERT SPENCER is excited to return to making music with The Midtown Men, which reunites four stars from the original cast of “Jersey Boys.” He is a Tony Award Nominated Actor, Independent Film Director, Producer, and Writer. In 2004, he was cast and originated the role of Nick Massi in the Tony and Grammy Award winning musical “Jersey Boys”. In 2008 J. Robert was cast and originated the role of Dan Goodman in the critically acclaimed Broadway production of “Next To Normal,” for which he was nominated for the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actor, and nominated for a 2008 – 2009 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. As a voiceover artist, he has performed the lead voices for two Japanese animated features: “Nightmare Campus” and the critically acclaimed, award winning “Grave of the Fireflies.”

In 2004, J. Robert appeared as a psychopathic killer named Bob in the independent feature film “Night of the Dog”. The role earned him a Best Supporting Actor Nomination at the Smmash Film Festival, and the film won Audience Awards for best feature film at Palm Beach, Santa Barbara, SMMASH and PBIFF. In 2005, J. Robert began his Independent Film Company, 7 Spencer Productions, for which he produced, wrote, starred and directed his first independent feature comedy titled “Farm Girl In New York”. The film was featured on The Today Show with Ann Currey and Al Roker, and was the official selection of the Sacramento International Film Festival (Nominated for Best Comedy and Best Actress,) Big Apple Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, and the Seattle True Independent Film Festival, and is being distributed by Maverick Entertainment. He just completed his second independent feature film titled “Heterosexuals”, for which he is listed as executive producer/producer/actor. He is also executive producer with Wood Media Films on an environmental documentary titled “On Coal River”, which has been the official selection of Silverdocs, Camden, Hamptons, Chesapeake and New Orleans Film Festivals. J. Robert can be seen and heard in CD/DVD through Sony Masterworks with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops in the PBS performances of “Handel’s Messiah Rocks”, in which he was Nominated for a 2010 Midwest Emmy Award for Best On Camera Performance by a Leading Actor. J. Robert is the 2009 recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Shenandoah University.

 

Our brand new set of Mary Poppins costumes has just gone out on it’s first rental.

Posted by: Pierre's Costumes (January 27, 2015)

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We spent a good part of December and early January finishing up our build of our Mary Poppins costume set.  Our staff loved building the costumes, since it really allowed them to be creative.  In addition we brought in a few of our “regular” over hire costume builders to help with the rush.  We were finishing up a complete set of Mummers costumes for Duffy String Band just in time for the New Years parade in November and December.

Titusville is still running, but they were nice enough to send us a few preliminary pictures to share.  We don’t have pictures of all the costumes yet, since we were constructing costumes right up the wire and had no time for a photo shoot.

You can learn more about Titusville Playhouse in Titusville Florida by going to their website http://www.titusvilleplayhouse.com

We anticipate putting more Mary Poppins costume pictures up in the next month as we get them and also as we have time to take them (show season is off to a big rush!).

If you are interested in renting this complete costume set, just give us a call at 215-925-7121 and ask for the theater department.  This is obviously the “hot” show this year, and is booking fast.  We only have so many spots left, so don’t get left out.

Here are a few pictures to get you thinking:mary poppinsmary poppinsmary poppins

To see more pictures go to our blog on Costumers.com

http://www.costumers.com/mary_poppins/costumes/01/26/2015/

Our Top 10 Musical Rentals of 2014!

Posted by: Costume Holiday House (January 27, 2015)

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If we were to ask you what you think our busiest time of year is at Costume Holiday House you would probably think Halloween, right? Well, it isn’t! Our biggest business is Theatrical Costume Rentals. While we get a decent amount of show rentals in the fall, we are busiest, by far, in the Spring months. Why? Because every high school in America is doing their Spring Musicals! Last year we costume almost 200 shows and the majority of those took place between February and May.

We have compiled a list of the 10 shows we costumed the most last year and they all happened to be musicals!

 

10. Pirates of Penzance

Pirates of Penzance (2)

While many people wouldn’t think of Pirates of Penzance as a popular musical, it is very popular to rent costumes for the production. Why? Because there is a whole squadron of British policemen, known as bobbies. They wear a very specific uniform and we have them in all sizes at Costume Holiday House.

 

9. Guys and Dolls

Guys & Dolls-Group in Unif  (2)

Guys and Dolls has always been popular among high schools, for multiple reasons. Likewise, Guys and Dolls has made our top 10 list every year for as long as we can remember! This is because Guys and Dolls requires a lot of characters wearing identical costumes, like the Mission Band uniforms and the chorus costumes for numbers like “A Bushel and a Peck” and “Take Off Your Mink”.

 

8. Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

BeautyCouple

This show was new to our stock last year and it is gaining popularity! Beauty and the Beast (which you will see later in the countdown) is always a hit among young performers. So Music Theatre International made a Junior version, which is a 70-minute version for middle school aged students. As you can imagine, it was just as popular. And because the costumes are so specific, it is also popular to rent them.

 

7. The Music Man

mman2

The Music Man is a classic high school musical. Almost anyone you ask, who participated in musicals in high school, has done this show! Because the show takes place in the early 1900s, it requires period costumes. And we have them all, including the Pick-A-Little Ladies!

 

6. Les Miserables

LM5

Last year was the first year that the license for Les Miserables was available so, naturally, it was very popular. Also, Les Miserables came out as a movie in 2013, which always boosts a shows popularity. While many of the costumes for this show can be put together easily (like the poor and the whores) there are a lot of military uniforms and formal costumes that are usually rented.

 

5. The Wizard of Oz

WO1

The Wizard of Oz has always been one of our most popular shows to rent. It takes place in a fantasy world and the costumes are equally fantastic. There’s a land where everything is candy colored and another where everything is green. Our Lion and Tinman costumes are also very popular, as they are some of the best in the business.

 

4. The Little Mermaid, Jr.

Little Mermaid (3)

The Little Mermaid, Jr. is a newly released show, and it is very popular. In fact, at one point we had 4 orders for the show on the same weekend! Like The Wizard of Oz, the costumes are all fantasy-based, which makes it easier for theatres to rent them than to try to create them themselves. Also, like any musical based on a film, the costumes are iconic and, therefore, very specific.

 

3. Cinderella

Cinderella

Cinderella was big last year because it had just finished its National Tour. We get a lot of rentals for this show because it is a combination of fantasy (horses, mice, etc.) and period clothing. Something that we offer that many other costume rental companies don’t, is a choice of time period. We can costume Cinderella to be Medieval, Victorian or even Modern!

 

2. Shrek The Musical

Shrek (3)

Shrek The Musical was available for the first time last year and it took off! And, not only are the costumes in this show very specific, some of them are used to create physical illusions for certain characters. For example, Lord Farquaad has to look very short, the 3 Pigs have to look fat and round, and Fiona has to go from human-sized to Ogre-sized in an instant! We have the costumes to do that.

 

1. Beauty and the Beast

Beauty & Beast objects

Since Beauty and the Beast‘s release it has been one of our most popular show rentals. The main reason for this is that our costumes for this show are, in our humble opinion, AWESOME! Another big reason is that the castle objects in the show, especially Cogsworth and Madame de la Grande Bouche, would be very difficult and expensive to make, so most theatres find that it is easier and cheaper to rent them.

In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun!

Posted by: Pierre's Costumes (January 16, 2015)

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A belated Happy New Year to everyone! The new year started out with a flurry of activity in our workroom finishing up our build of a complete set of Mary Poppins. Our complete set of Mary Poppins is 188 costumes filled with magic and a spoonful of sugar. Here is a little sneak peek of some of the costumes while they were in progress.Mrs corry

SH-K BOOM To Release THE LAST FIVE YEARS

Posted by: Showbiz Chicago (December 18, 2014)

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The Last Five Years - Soundtrack CoverSh-K-Boom Records has announced the release of THE LAST FIVE YEARS (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK), the musical companion to the eagerly anticipated RADiUS-TWC film. THE LAST FIVE YEARS (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) will be available beginning Tuesday, February 10The Last Five Years arrives in theatres and VOD onFriday, February 13.

THE LAST FIVE YEARS (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) stars Academy Award® nominee Anna Kendrick (Up in the AirPitch PerfectInto The Woods) and Tony Award® nominee Jeremy Jordan (Newsies) in the eagerly anticipated film adaptation of 3x Tony Award® winner Jason Robert Brown’s acclaimed musical written for the screen and directed by Richard LaGravenese (The Fisher KingBehind The Candelabra). The 14 track collection features nine songs sung by Kendrick, who scored a 3x RIAA platinum certified, top 10 hit with 2013’s “Cups (Pitch Perfect’s When I’m Gone).” The “Cups” companion video also proved an undeniable online phenom with more than 168 million page views and counting. The album was produced by Kurt DeutschLawrence Manchester and Richard LaGravenese, executive produced by Steve NormanLauren Versel and Janet Brenner, with new orchestrations by Jason Robert Brown.

 

 

THE LAST FIVE YEARS (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) follows Sh-K-Boom Records’ best-selling THE LAST FIVE YEARS (PREMIERE CAST RECORDING), the Grammy and Drama Desk Award-winning label’s first-ever cast album released in 2002.

“Releasing this record is like coming full circle for our label,” says Grammy Award winning producer and president of Sh-K-Boom Records Kurt Deutsch. “The first cast album we ever released was the original off-Broadway recording of The Last Five Years, so this material has been very close to our hearts and souls, and it makes perfect sense that it would be the first film we ever produced. We are incredibly fortunate to have these amazing artists be a part of this project. It’s a dream come true.”

Funny, passionate, and exuberantly romantic, The Last Five Years takes an intimate look at one young New York City couple’s half-decade relationship, telling their story almost entirely through song. Brown’s Drama Desk Award-winning book and score – first produced Off Broadway in 2002 – is a wonder of invention and originality, blending complex character and creative chronology to illuminate the couple’s multifaceted emotions and constantly shifting feelings towards each other.

The Last Five Years had its world premiere earlier this year at the Toronto International Film Festival, earning critical applause from all corners. “The best stage-to-film musical adaptation of the entire post-Chicago boomlet,” decreed the Boston Globe, hailing Kendrick to be “the first bona fide movie-musical star of her generation.” “A return to the sort of musical that was popular in Hollywood during the genre’s Golden Age,” declaredThe Hollywood Reporter, while Variety simply raved, “(The Last Five Years) sounds fantastic.” The film’s trailer is streaming now at www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FKjLJZdycI.

For more, please visit lastfiveyears.com,  www.facebook.com/TheLast5YearsMovie,twitter.com/last5yearsmovieinstagram.com/last5yearsmovie, and www.shkboom.com.

THE LAST FIVE YEARS (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK)

(SH-K-BOOM RECORDS)

Release Date: February 10th, 2015

COMPLETE TRACKLISTING:

  1. Still Hurting – performed by Anna Kendrick
  2. Shiksa Goddess – performed by Jeremy Jordan
  3. See I’m Smiling – performed by Anna Kendrick
  4. Moving Too Fast – performed by Jeremy Jordan
  5. A Part Of That – performed by Anna Kendrick
  6. The Schmuel Song – performed by Jeremy Jordan
  7. A Summer In Ohio – performed by Anna Kendrick
  8. The Next Ten Minutes – performed by Anna Kendrick & Jeremy Jordan
  9. A Miracle Would Happen / When You Come Home To Me – performed by Anna Kendrick & Jeremy Jordan
  10. Climbing Uphill – performed by Anna Kendrick
  11. If I Didn’t Believe In You – performed by Jeremy Jordan
  12. I Can Do Better Than That – performed by Anna Kendrick
  13. Nobody Needs To Know – performed by Jeremy Jordan
  14. Goodbye Until Tomorrow / I Could Never Rescue You – performed by Anna Kendrick & Jeremy Jordan

 About Sh-K-Boom:

Sh-K-Boom with its imprint Ghostlight Records has become the leading independent force in Original Broadway Cast Recordings – building a library of over 150 records in the last 15 years, featuring some of the most successful Broadway musicals and solo albums by Broadway’s brightest stars. Founded by Grammy Award winner Kurt Deutsch and three time Tony Award nominee Sherie Rene Scott, Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight has won two Grammy Awards (for The Book of Mormon and In the Heights) and is a frequent nominee, most recently for the OBCRs of the 2014 “Best Musical” Tony Award winner A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Beautiful – The Carole King Musical.

Other notable recent releases include the 2014 “Best Score” Tony Award winner The Bridges of Madison County, Disney’s Newsies, Pippin and Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, plus the OBCR’s of Next to Normal, Hair, Legally Blonde, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Everyday Rapture, Passing Strange, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and The Drowsy Chaperone and many more Broadway and off-Broadway shows. The label has also released solo albums from some of Broadway’s biggest names: Patti LuPone, Sherie Rene Scott, Adam Pascal, Sutton Foster, Kelli O’Hara, Alice Ripley, Christine Ebersole, Melissa Errico and Ben Vereen. The label has also contiues to support the new generation of musical theatre composers with their extensive relationship with Michael John LaChiusa (GiantSee What I Wanna See,Little Fish), Michael Friedman (Bloody Bloody Andrew JacksonLove’s Labour’s LostThe Fortress of Solitude), as well as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tom Kitt, Pasek & Paul, Joe Iconis, Ryan Scott Oliver, Shaina Taub, Dave Malloy, Kerrigan & Lowdermilk and Adam Gwon. The label recently created a new joint publishing venture with Razor & Tie to represent songwriters that fuse theatrical and pop music.  Sh-K-Boom Entertainment is a producer of the upcoming film version of The Last Five Years, written and directed by Richard LaGravenese and starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan.  www.sh-k-boom.com

 
 

Thank you

Posted by: Alison Shan Price (December 17, 2014)

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Thank you for accepting me on your marvellous website. In Kuwait we are just winding down after our last major production 'Evita' with international opera singer Oana Severin from Romania as Eva and Kuwaiti actor Hamad al Jenaie as Che. Our actors are into rehearsal for 'Antigone' to be presented in both English and Arabic and The One World Shakespeare Festival. We are now looking to the magnificent musicals of MTI for our future musical theatre shows.

Sing Your Way Into the Woods: A Musical Contest

Posted by: Showbiz Chicago (December 6, 2014)

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Disney invites you to show off your singing skills and your love for the Stephen Sondheim musical “Into the Woods” with the online musical contest “Sing Your Way Into the Woods”.

The winning video will be selected by legendary eight-time Tony®, Grammy® and Oscar®-winning composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim and Tony® winner James Lapine, who also wrote the screenplay. All videos will be judged based on their musicality, creativity and execution. The winner(s) will receive a private advance screening of Disney’s “Into the Woods” and the winning video and the videos from the three runner-up’s will be featured on the film’s official Tumblr site. 

 
The contest is open to choir groups, choral companies, musical theater departments, glee clubs and anyone with a passion for the landmark musical “Into the Woods.”  You decide which part you want to sing and perhaps your wish to win a screening will come true!  Anyone 13+ can participate, however the actual video needs to be uploaded by someone 18+.

Go to http://www.intothewoodscontest.com to watch the trailer for
Disney’s “Into the Woods” for inspiration, download the official
music and lyrics to the Prologue and gather your friends and record your own version of the last two-minutes of the iconic Prologue from “Into The
Woods”. 

Rules, guidelines and regulations are posted on the site.  Deadline for all submissions is 2 PM (PST)  December 12, 2014.

 

 

THE LION KING Lives

Posted by: Showbiz Chicago (December 1, 2014)

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15-02-Jelani-Remy

Jelani Remy as “Simba” from THE LION KING National Tour. ©Disney. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus.

Reviewed by: Matthew Perta   Highly Recommended

Walt Disney once said, “When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way.  Implicitly and unquestionably.”

Uncle Walt would be pleased to know his company’s presentation of The Lion King, now playing in Milwaukee, is implicitly and unquestionably an amazing creation that scores of talented artists believe in with all their heart. 

It’s that obvious: Julie Taymor’s Tony Award-winning direction and costumes; Elton John’s and Tim Rice’s phenomenal score, boasting such rousing numbers as “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” and “Hakuna Matata” to the moving “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, and more stirring music and lyrics by South African Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Hans Zimmer and Taymor; stunning choreography by GarthFagan, breathtaking scenic design by Richard Hudson, lighting by Donald Holder and sound by Steven Canyon Kennedy; jaw-dropping masks and puppets by Michael Curry and Taymor, and hair and makeup by Michael Ward.

These are not just names in a playbill.  They are supremely gifted craftspeople deserving a standing ovation for rising to the daunting challenge of transforming an animated film to the stage.

The Lion King is the coming-of-age tale about Simba, the lion cub who eventually triumphs over trial and tribulation to become King of the jungle.

A high-energy cast makes the merging of human and animal look seamless.  Standouts in the cast were Patrick R. Brown as Simba’s scheming uncle Scar, exhibiting the perfect mix of evil, sarcasm and dry wit, and Tre’ Jones, an 11-year-old actor from Virginia, nailing the role of the inquisitive and lively young Simba.

This production roars with imagination, ingenuity and electricity – it’s a gigantic storybook coming to life and sweeping an audience along, leaving it mesmerized.

The Lion King is so extraordinary that we in the audience not only rose to our feet at curtain call but also were cheering.  For someone like me who thrives on pageantry and spectacle, not to mention shape, form and color, Ifound The Lion King to be a scrumptious visual feast on Thanksgiving weekend, surpassing pumpkin pie.

The Milwaukee engagement of The Lion King is being presented by the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts and Broadway Across America.

Chicagoans have until Dec. 7 to experience the magic of The Lion King now playing at the sprawling Milwaukee Theatre, located at 500 W. Kilbourn Ave. in downtown Milwaukee.  Keep in mind this tour won’t be coming to Chicago this season, so if you want tickets, now is the time to act.  Tickets start as low as $24 and are available by calling the Marcus Center Box Office at (414) 273-7206 or by visiting marcuscenter.org.

 
 

THE LION KING Lives

Posted by: Showbiz Chicago (December 1, 2014)

Comments (0)

15-02-Jelani-Remy

Jelani Remy as “Simba” from THE LION KING National Tour. ©Disney. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus.

Reviewed by: Matthew Perta   Highly Recommended

Walt Disney once said, “When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way.  Implicitly and unquestionably.”

Uncle Walt would be pleased to know his company’s presentation of The Lion King, now playing in Milwaukee, is implicitly and unquestionably an amazing creation that scores of talented artists believe in with all their heart. 

It’s that obvious: Julie Taymor’s Tony Award-winning direction and costumes; Elton John’s and Tim Rice’s phenomenal score, boasting such rousing numbers as “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” and “Hakuna Matata” to the moving “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, and more stirring music and lyrics by South African Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Hans Zimmer and Taymor; stunning choreography by GarthFagan, breathtaking scenic design by Richard Hudson, lighting by Donald Holder and sound by Steven Canyon Kennedy; jaw-dropping masks and puppets by Michael Curry and Taymor, and hair and makeup by Michael Ward.

These are not just names in a playbill.  They are supremely gifted craftspeople deserving a standing ovation for rising to the daunting challenge of transforming an animated film to the stage.

The Lion King is the coming-of-age tale about Simba, the lion cub who eventually triumphs over trial and tribulation to become King of the jungle.

A high-energy cast makes the merging of human and animal look seamless.  Standouts in the cast were Patrick R. Brown as Simba’s scheming uncle Scar, exhibiting the perfect mix of evil, sarcasm and dry wit, and Tre’ Jones, an 11-year-old actor from Virginia, nailing the role of the inquisitive and lively young Simba.

This production roars with imagination, ingenuity and electricity – it’s a gigantic storybook coming to life and sweeping an audience along, leaving it mesmerized.

The Lion King is so extraordinary that we in the audience not only rose to our feet at curtain call but also were cheering.  For someone like me who thrives on pageantry and spectacle, not to mention shape, form and color, Ifound The Lion King to be a scrumptious visual feast on Thanksgiving weekend, surpassing pumpkin pie.

The Milwaukee engagement of The Lion King is being presented by the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts and Broadway Across America.

Chicagoans have until Dec. 7 to experience the magic of The Lion King now playing at the sprawling Milwaukee Theatre, located at 500 W. Kilbourn Ave. in downtown Milwaukee.  Keep in mind this tour won’t be coming to Chicago this season, so if you want tickets, now is the time to act.  Tickets start as low as $24 and are available by calling the Marcus Center Box Office at (414) 273-7206 or by visiting marcuscenter.org.

 
 

THE LION KING Lives

Posted by: Showbiz Chicago (December 1, 2014)

Comments (0)

15-02-Jelani-Remy

Jelani Remy as “Simba” from THE LION KING National Tour. ©Disney. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus.

Reviewed by: Matthew Perta   Highly Recommended

Walt Disney once said, “When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way.  Implicitly and unquestionably.”

Uncle Walt would be pleased to know his company’s presentation of The Lion King, now playing in Milwaukee, is implicitly and unquestionably an amazing creation that scores of talented artists believe in with all their heart. 

It’s that obvious: Julie Taymor’s Tony Award-winning direction and costumes; Elton John’s and Tim Rice’s phenomenal score, boasting such rousing numbers as “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” and “Hakuna Matata” to the moving “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, and more stirring music and lyrics by South African Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Hans Zimmer and Taymor; stunning choreography by GarthFagan, breathtaking scenic design by Richard Hudson, lighting by Donald Holder and sound by Steven Canyon Kennedy; jaw-dropping masks and puppets by Michael Curry and Taymor, and hair and makeup by Michael Ward.

These are not just names in a playbill.  They are supremely gifted craftspeople deserving a standing ovation for rising to the daunting challenge of transforming an animated film to the stage.

The Lion King is the coming-of-age tale about Simba, the lion cub who eventually triumphs over trial and tribulation to become King of the jungle.

A high-energy cast makes the merging of human and animal look seamless.  Standouts in the cast were Patrick R. Brown as Simba’s scheming uncle Scar, exhibiting the perfect mix of evil, sarcasm and dry wit, and Tre’ Jones, an 11-year-old actor from Virginia, nailing the role of the inquisitive and lively young Simba.

This production roars with imagination, ingenuity and electricity – it’s a gigantic storybook coming to life and sweeping an audience along, leaving it mesmerized.

The Lion King is so extraordinary that we in the audience not only rose to our feet at curtain call but also were cheering.  For someone like me who thrives on pageantry and spectacle, not to mention shape, form and color, Ifound The Lion King to be a scrumptious visual feast on Thanksgiving weekend, surpassing pumpkin pie.

The Milwaukee engagement of The Lion King is being presented by the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts and Broadway Across America.

Chicagoans have until Dec. 7 to experience the magic of The Lion King now playing at the sprawling Milwaukee Theatre, located at 500 W. Kilbourn Ave. in downtown Milwaukee.  Keep in mind this tour won’t be coming to Chicago this season, so if you want tickets, now is the time to act.  Tickets start as low as $24 and are available by calling the Marcus Center Box Office at (414) 273-7206 or by visiting marcuscenter.org.