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GHOSTLIGHT RECORDS WILL RELEASE THE ORIGINAL CAST RECORDING OF THE HIT NEW MUSICAL COMEDY “MURDER FOR TWO”

Posted by: Showbiz Chicago (November 22, 2013)

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Ghostlight Records will release the original cast recording of the hit new musical comedy MURDER FOR TWO in early 2014.MURDER FOR TWO which was a hit at Second Stage before transferring to New World Stages, was called “a charmingly frenetic all-stops out musical comedy” by Entertainment Weekly, and has already extended its run through March 16, 2014. The album will be produced by Joel Moss with Kurt Deutsch serving as executive producer. Sign up to pre-order at www.sh-k-boom.com/murderfortwo.

Everyone is a suspect in MURDER FOR TWO, a hilarious musical murder mystery with a twist: one actor (Brett Ryback) investigates the crime, the other plays all of the suspects (Jeff Blumenkrantz) and they both play the piano! A zany blend of classic musical comedy and madcap mystery, this 90-minute whodunit is a highly theatrical duet loaded with killer laughs. MURDER FOR TWO features book and music by Joe Kinosian, book and lyrics byKellen Blair and direction by Scott Schwartz.

Producers Jayon Raitt, Barbara Whitman, Steven Chaikelson and Second Stage Theatre recently announced a 10 week extension at New World Stages – Stage 5 (340 West 50th Street). The show, which was originally scheduled to play through Sunday, January 5, 2014, will now play its final performance on Sunday, March 16, 2014.

Direct from a critically-acclaimed, sold-out run at Second Stage Theatre Uptown (Carole Rothman, Artistic Director, Casey Reitz, Executive Director and Christopher Burney, Curator and Associate Artistic Director), MURDER FOR TWO began performances at New World Stages – Stage 5 on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 and officially opened on Wednesday, November 6, 2013.

MURDER FOR TWO began previews at Second Stage Theatre’s uptown home, the McGinn/Cazale Theatre on Wednesday, July 10th and officially openedThursday, July 25th. It was extended twice, due to popular demand, and ultimately played there through Sunday, August 25th.

Tickets for MURDER FOR TWO are available on Telecharge.com (212-239-6200) and at the New World Stages Box Office (340 West 50th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues). Tickets for MURDER FOR TWO are priced at $75 plus a $2 facilities fee. Student Tickets are priced at $25 plus a $2 facilities fee, and are available for advance purchase subject to availability. The performance schedule for MURDER FOR TWO is as follows: Mondays at 7pm, Wednesdays at 2pm and 7pm, Thursdays at 8pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 3pm

MURDER FOR TWO features scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Andrea Lauer, lighting design by Jason Lyons, sound design byJill BC DuBoff and choreography by Wendy Seyb.

MURDER FOR TWO was developed at The Adirondack Theatre Festival and 42nd Street Moon. Chicago Shakespeare Theater presented the World Premiere Production in May, 2011, which was extended 4 times, running for more than 6 months. Kinosian and Blair were recognized with a 2011 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Musical.

ABOUT SH-K-BOOM & GHOSTLIGHT RECORDS

Sh-K-Boom with its imprint Ghostlight Records has become the leading independent force in Original Broadway Cast Recordings – building a library of over 130 records in the last 13 years, featuring the most successful Broadway musicals and solo albums by Broadway’s biggest stars. Ghostlight recently won the Grammy Award for The Book of Mormon, and released the OBCR of Newsies, the premiere recording of Carrie, the new Grammy-nominated cast recording of Anything Goes, plus the OCRs Catch Me If You CanSister Act and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, as well as solo albums from some of Broadway’s biggest stars: Sutton Foster, Kelli O’Hara, Alice Ripley, Christine Ebersole, Melissa Errico and Ben Vereen. Other titles on Ghostlight include the Grammy Award-winning In the Heights, plus Next to Normal, Hair, Legally Blonde, Everyday Rapture, Passing Strange, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and The Drowsy Chaperonewww.sh-k-boom.com.

First Floor Theater’s POLAROID STORIES by Naomi Iizuka Opens Tonight Through Dec. 21

Posted by: Showbiz Chicago (November 21, 2013)

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29A2EA0CB-C260-5BAE-76DBC1A265573021 (1)First Floor Theater is thrilled to kick off their second season withPOLAROID STORIES, Naomi Iizuka’s masterful mash-up of Roman myth and documentary theatre, directed by FFT Artistic Producer Hutch Pimentel, playing November 21 – December 21, 2013 at Red Tape Theatre. Tickets for POLAROID STORIESwill be available at http://firstfloortheater.com/

POLAROID STORIES features Managing Director Amanda Finkand Associate Artistic Director Andrew Cutler with Brandon Boler, Luke Grimes, Jenni Hadley, Brandon Holmes, Alyssa Ramos, Shariba Rivers, Johnard Washington and Kait Ziegler.

POLAROID STORIES is an explosive re-imagining of Ovid’s Metamorphoses that blends interviews from street-based youth and sex workers with ancient myth. The play takes place in the underbelly of a city where junkies scheme, lovers run and the lost wander, a refuge for those living on the edge of society. Iizuka illuminates the depths of a metropolis with her chaotic elegy of desire, desperation and transcendence. FFT’s production explores the complex intersection of two different modes of storytelling, documentary and mythology, and the power of their confluence. The design aesthetic embraces a similar method of reimagining technologies and materials for new use.

The production team for POLAROID STORIES includes: William Boles (set design), Sarah CollongeSarah Ingraham (lighting design), Markie Gray (sound design), Alexis Chaney (costume design),Molly FitzMaurice (dramaturg), Nathan Bartley (production manager), Niki Dreistadt (stage manager)

Tickets for POLAROID STORIES will be available at http://firstfloortheater.com/. Tickets will go on sale on November 4, 2013.

About the Playwright

Naomi Iizuka’s Polaroid Stories was originally commissioned by En Garde Arts in New York, produced in the 1997 Humana Festival of New Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and received the 1998 PEN Center West Award for Drama. Her other plays include 36 Views, Anon(ymous), After a Hundred Years, At the Vanishing Point, Language of Angels, Tattoo Girl and Skin. Her work has been produced by The Goodman Theatre, Timeline Theatre, Guthrie Theater, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Huntington Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, The Public Theater. Ms. Iizuka is a member of New Dramatists and the recipient of a Joyce Award, a PEN/Laura Pels Award, an Alpert Award, a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Stavis Award from the National Theatre Conference, a Rockefeller Foundation MAP grant, an NEA/TCG Artist-in-Residence grant, a McKnight Fellowship, Princeton University’s Hodder Fellowship and a Jerome Fellowship. She is the head of the graduate MFA Playwriting program at the University of California, San Diego.

About the Director

Hutch Pimentel joined First Floor as the Artistic Producer after working as the Associate Producer of Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and has since then worked as a Director & Co-Curator on GrimmFest, and this fall he is directing Polaroid Stories. Previous directing credits include Back of the Throat and 4.48 Psychosis. He worked previously at About Face Theatre, where he assistant directed and produced The Pride. He is a graduate of Kalamazoo College.

About First Floor Theater

First Floor Theater, founded in 2012 by University of Chicago graduates, makes theater to feed the audience’s intellectual curiosity by re-imagining classical texts, adapting literary treasures, and creating new work for our time that stands on the shoulders of the past. FFT was named the “Best New Theater Company” in the Chicago Reader’s Best of 2013 Reader’s Pick edition.

For more information on First Floor Theater, visit http://firstfloortheater.com/

MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL TOURING COMPANY OF ‘WICKED’ HOST A HOLIDAY BENEFIT PERFORMANCE “The WICKED Night Before Christmas” Sunday, December 8 at The Laugh Factory

Posted by: Showbiz Chicago (November 14, 2013)

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Members of the National Touring Company of WICKED will host “THE WICKED NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS,” a staged holiday performance at The Laugh Factory (3175 N. Broadway) Sunday, December 8, at 8:00pm.  The event will feature the members of the company of WICKED, and net proceeds will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Chicago House.  WICKED, Broadway’s biggest blockbuster, celebrated its 10th anniversary on October 30, the first performance of the eight-week Chicago engagement.  WICKED is currently playing the Oriental Theatre (24 W. Randolph) through Dec. 21, 2013.

“THE WICKED NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS” is part of an ongoing series of performances and appearances by the touring company to support charitable causes which advance WICKED’s theme of acceptance and illuminate the musical’s message that people should not be judged on first impressions.  The company believes that in these divisive times we must come together to support those in need throughout the country and around the world. In its eight years on the road, the company has raised over $2.5 million in donations for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and local AIDS service organizations all over the country.

A throwback to the holiday variety shows of yesteryear, the WICKED company comes together to celebrate the joy of the holidays.  Haul out the holly, spin the dreidel, harvest the fruit and celebrate the season in a way that only WICKED can.  Company members making special appearances in the event include:  Alison Luff (Elphaba), Jenn Gambatese (Glinda), Curt Hansen (Fiyero), as well as TV’s Kim Zimmer (Madame Morrible) and John Davidson (The Wizard).  The production also includes members of the ensemble, band, and touring staff.  “THE WICKED NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS” proves to be a once in a lifetime evening of magic and fun.

In addition to the performance, there will be live and silent auctions including several opportunities to join the company backstage at the Oriental Theatre, and a chance to bid on a walk-on role in a performance of WICKED.  WICKED, Broadway’s biggest blockbuster is playing through December 21 at the Oriental Theatre.

ABOUT BROADWAY CARES/EQUITY FIGHTS AIDS

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA) is the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fund raising and grant making organization.  BC/EFA is the on-going, committed response from the American theater community to an urgent worldwide health crisis. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of this community, BC/EFA raises funds for AIDS-related causes across the United States. Since its founding in 1988, BC/EFA has raised over $150 million for critically needed services for people with AIDS, HIV, and other serious illnesses.  www.broadwaycares.org

 

ABOUT CHICAGO HOUSE

Chicago House and Social Service Agency serves individuals and families by providing housing, employment services, medical linkages, HIV prevention services, and other supportive services to those who are disenfranchised by HIV/AIDS, poverty, homelessness, and/or gender nonconformity.  All Chicago House services are provided without discrimination and are explicitly designed to guide people towards wholeness and self-sufficiency.

 

The first HIV/AIDS housing provider in the Midwest, Chicago House has continuously evolved its services to meet the changing needs of those who are living with HIV and AIDS.  Their programs guide more than 1,500 people to wholeness and self-sufficiency each year. But as the realities of HIV and AIDS change, one remains the same: Chicago House: There at the beginning: Here to meet the challenge.


PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE    

The  Oriental Theatre performance schedule for WICKED is as follows:

Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.

Wednesdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. (no performances on 11/28)

Fridays at 7:30 p.m. (additional matinee performances on 11/29 at 2 p.m.)

Saturdays at 2 & 8:00 p.m.

Sundays at 2 p.m.

Additional performance Monday 12/16 at 7:30 p.m.

Please note: Ticket prices and performance schedule are subject to change.

TICKET INFORMATION

General Admission to “THE WICKED NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS” is a $60 donation (includes 2 drinks).  A limited number of VIP tickets are available for a $125 donation and include priority seating as well as a 6:30pm pre-show reception with members of the company.  All proceeds from the evening benefit BC/EFA and Chicago House and admission donations are tax deductible. Tickets are available online at www.chicagohouse.org or by phone (773) 248-5200 ext 303.  The evening is intended for mature audiences.  Must be 16 or older to attend; 21 or older to purchase alcoholic beverages.

Tickets for WICKED at the Oriental Theatre start at $40.  A select number of premium seats are also available for many performances. Tickets are available now for groups of 20 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710.  Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!!! Broadway In Chicago Announces Disney’s NEWSIES The Musical To Arrive December 2014

Posted by: Showbiz Chicago (November 14, 2013)

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Broadway company of NEWSIES. Photo by Deen Van Meer.

Broadway company of NEWSIES. Photo by Deen Van Meer.

Broadway In Chicago is thrilled to announce that NEWSIES, the Tony Award-winning “critics’ pick” Broadway musical smash, will play the Bank of America Theatre (18 W Monroe) Dec. 10, 2014 through Jan. 4, 2015.  NEWSIES will be part of the Broadway In Chicago 2014 Fall Season.  Group tickets for 10 or more are now on sale by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710.  Individual tickets for NEWSIES will go on sale at a later date.   For more information, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com or NewsiesTheMusical.com/Tour.  For information or to register for advance ticket access notifications, visit NewsiesTheMusical.com/Tour, Facebook.com/Newsies and Twitter.com/Newsies.

 About NEWSIES

NEWSIES features a Tony Award-winning score with music by eight-time Academy Award® winner Alan Menken and lyrics by Jack Feldman, with a book by four-time Tony Award winner Harvey FiersteinProduced by Disney Theatrical ProductionsNEWSIES is directed by Tony nominee Jeff Calhoun and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli, who won a 2012 Tony Award for his work.

NEWSIES has consistently exceeded expectations since premiering on Broadway at The Nederlander Theatre in March 2012.  Originally transferred to Broadway as a limited engagement of a few dozen performances, the breakout hit is now approaching its 700th performance.

In a remarkable demonstration of the breadth of the title’s appeal, ticket orders had arrived from all 50 states within weeks of its first Broadway performance in 2012.  Since then, NEWSIES has set and broken seven Nederlander Theatre house records and become the biggest hit of the 2011-12 season

The show received 23 major theatrical nominations – including eight Tony Award nods – and won Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Score and Best Choreography.  One of Broadway’s highest profile hits, it has been featured nationally on “Dancing with the Stars,” “The View,” “Good Morning America,” “Nightline,” “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” and “The CBS Thanksgiving Day Parade.”

Included in the best-of year lists for Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, and The Daily NewsNEWSIES can be counted one of the most critically-praised shows of recent seasons. Entertainment Weekly raves, “stop the presses! Newsies is an irresistible, high energy winner… a surprise sensation!” Time Out New Yorkcalls Newsies, “an invigorating extravaganza! A barnstorming, four-alarm delight,” and The New York Times hails it, “a musical worth singing about,” praising the “terrific songs – buoyant melodies by Alan Menken and rousing lyrics by Jack Feldman – and a sweet, funny, emotionally satisfying book by Harvey Fierstein.”

When NEWSIES premiered at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ it engendered extraordinary interest from the media and public alike, prompting Newsweek.com to call the show, “one of the biggest surprises of the season…the talk of the town.”                                                      

Set in New York City at the turn of the century, NEWSIES is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of teenaged ‘newsies,’ who dreams only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies from across the city to strike for what’s right.

NEWSIES is inspired by the real-life ‘Newsboy Strike of 1899,’ when newsboy Kid Blink led a band of orphan and runaway newsies on a two-week-long action against Pulitzer, Hearst and other powerful newspaper publishers.

The stage version introduces seven brand-new songs by the original team of Menken and Feldman while keeping many of the beloved songs from the film, including ‘Carrying the Banner’, ‘Seize the Day,’ ‘King of New York’ and ‘Santa Fe.’

Since the film’s 1992 theatrical release and subsequent DVD release, NEWSIES has grown into a cult phenomenon, and for years had been the single most requested title of all the Disney musical films not yet adapted for the stage.  (The film featured a screenplay by Bob Tzudiker & Noni White (Tarzan, 102 Dalmatians).)

TICKET INFORMATION

NEWSIES will be part of the Broadway In Chicago 2014 Fall Season.  Group tickets for 10 or more are now on sale by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710.  Individual tickets for NEWSIES will go on sale at a later date.   For more information, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com orNewsiesTheMusical.com/Tour.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!!! Broadway In Chicago Announces Disney’s NEWSIES The Musical To Arrive December 2014

Posted by: Showbiz Chicago (November 14, 2013)

Comments (0)

Broadway company of NEWSIES. Photo by Deen Van Meer.

Broadway company of NEWSIES. Photo by Deen Van Meer.

Broadway In Chicago is thrilled to announce that NEWSIES, the Tony Award-winning “critics’ pick” Broadway musical smash, will play the Bank of America Theatre (18 W Monroe) Dec. 10, 2014 through Jan. 4, 2015.  NEWSIES will be part of the Broadway In Chicago 2014 Fall Season.  Group tickets for 10 or more are now on sale by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710.  Individual tickets for NEWSIES will go on sale at a later date.   For more information, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com or NewsiesTheMusical.com/Tour.  For information or to register for advance ticket access notifications, visit NewsiesTheMusical.com/Tour, Facebook.com/Newsies and Twitter.com/Newsies.

 About NEWSIES

NEWSIES features a Tony Award-winning score with music by eight-time Academy Award® winner Alan Menken and lyrics by Jack Feldman, with a book by four-time Tony Award winner Harvey FiersteinProduced by Disney Theatrical ProductionsNEWSIES is directed by Tony nominee Jeff Calhoun and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli, who won a 2012 Tony Award for his work.

NEWSIES has consistently exceeded expectations since premiering on Broadway at The Nederlander Theatre in March 2012.  Originally transferred to Broadway as a limited engagement of a few dozen performances, the breakout hit is now approaching its 700th performance.

In a remarkable demonstration of the breadth of the title’s appeal, ticket orders had arrived from all 50 states within weeks of its first Broadway performance in 2012.  Since then, NEWSIES has set and broken seven Nederlander Theatre house records and become the biggest hit of the 2011-12 season

The show received 23 major theatrical nominations – including eight Tony Award nods – and won Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Score and Best Choreography.  One of Broadway’s highest profile hits, it has been featured nationally on “Dancing with the Stars,” “The View,” “Good Morning America,” “Nightline,” “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” and “The CBS Thanksgiving Day Parade.”

Included in the best-of year lists for Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, and The Daily NewsNEWSIES can be counted one of the most critically-praised shows of recent seasons. Entertainment Weekly raves, “stop the presses! Newsies is an irresistible, high energy winner… a surprise sensation!” Time Out New Yorkcalls Newsies, “an invigorating extravaganza! A barnstorming, four-alarm delight,” and The New York Times hails it, “a musical worth singing about,” praising the “terrific songs – buoyant melodies by Alan Menken and rousing lyrics by Jack Feldman – and a sweet, funny, emotionally satisfying book by Harvey Fierstein.”

When NEWSIES premiered at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ it engendered extraordinary interest from the media and public alike, prompting Newsweek.com to call the show, “one of the biggest surprises of the season…the talk of the town.”                                                      

Set in New York City at the turn of the century, NEWSIES is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of teenaged ‘newsies,’ who dreams only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies from across the city to strike for what’s right.

NEWSIES is inspired by the real-life ‘Newsboy Strike of 1899,’ when newsboy Kid Blink led a band of orphan and runaway newsies on a two-week-long action against Pulitzer, Hearst and other powerful newspaper publishers.

The stage version introduces seven brand-new songs by the original team of Menken and Feldman while keeping many of the beloved songs from the film, including ‘Carrying the Banner’, ‘Seize the Day,’ ‘King of New York’ and ‘Santa Fe.’

Since the film’s 1992 theatrical release and subsequent DVD release, NEWSIES has grown into a cult phenomenon, and for years had been the single most requested title of all the Disney musical films not yet adapted for the stage.  (The film featured a screenplay by Bob Tzudiker & Noni White (Tarzan, 102 Dalmatians).)

TICKET INFORMATION

NEWSIES will be part of the Broadway In Chicago 2014 Fall Season.  Group tickets for 10 or more are now on sale by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710.  Individual tickets for NEWSIES will go on sale at a later date.   For more information, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com orNewsiesTheMusical.com/Tour.

Podcast with CHEF RICK BAYLESS and Lookingglass Theatre’s HEIDI STILLMAN

Posted by: Showbiz Chicago (November 9, 2013)

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http://showbizchicago.com/2013/11/09/podcast-with-chef-rick-bayless-and-lookingglass-theatres-heidi-stillman/ 

Podcast with Chef Rick Bayless and Lookingglass Theatre’s Heidi Stillman from SHOWBIZ CHICAGOon Vimeo.

CASCABEL_WEB_LGT_720x300C_2013_14_3Celebrity Chef RICK BAYLESS and Lookingglass Theatre Ensemble Member/Director HEIDI STILLMAN discuss the upcoming return of their hit play CASCABEL which is billed as an elemental fusion of gourmet dining, thrilling circus spectacle, and a hilarious and joyous evening of theater. The culinary and theatrical experience of the year runs at the Goodman Theatre’s Owen Bruner Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, for four weeks only, July 30 –August 24, 2014. For more information and box office hours, visit www.lookingglasstheatre.org.

Showbiz Chicago Podcast with 4x Emmy Winner KIM ZIMMER

Posted by: Showbiz Chicago (November 6, 2013)

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http://showbizchicago.com/2013/10/31/podcast-with-kim-zimmer/#.Unre9JSuNh4

Podcast with KIM ZIMMER from SHOWBIZ CHICAGO on Vimeo.

Kim-Zimmer-gl01Four Time Emmy Award Actress KIM ZIMMER discusses playing the iconic role of Madame Morrible in the mega-hit musical WICKED, which returns to its home at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago. Kim also talks about what happened to the daytime soap opera, where she was a stable for over 30 years. For more information visit BroadwayInChicago.com

 

WICKED RETURNS HOME MUCH MORE GROUNDED AFTER 10 YEARS

Posted by: Showbiz Chicago (November 6, 2013)

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Alison Luff and Jenn Gambatese  (Photo by Joan Marcus)

Alison Luff and Jenn Gambatese Photo by Joan Marcus)

It has been ten years since Wicked parked itself at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway, and from almost the moment the Time Dragon clock starting counting box office receipts, the juggernaut has done over a million dollars a week and shows no signs of any decline.  After a three year run in Chicago (and two tours later) Wicked returns to is other home, the Oriental Theatre.

 

Not to have any bias, but architecturally, the Oriental seems to have been built forWicked, more so than any other theatre the show may play.

After ten years of continual play (this marks my 22nd time seeing the show), many lesser musicals would begin to show some wear and tear.  Not so with Wicked, which is adapted from the novel by Gregory Maquire with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman.  In fact the cast of this national tour, which skewers to the younger side, gives us performances that are always of the moment and and notwithstanding the fantasy element, ring very true.

Wicked is billed as the “untold story of the Witches of Oz”.  But it is so much more.  Wicked stands for the notion that what we are taught to be the truth, the black and white of a matter, is always scattered with matters of gray.  It is filled with life lessons for both young and old told with iconic characters that have been part of our social demographic for almost 80 years.

Curt Hansen as Fiyero (Photo by Joan Marcus)

Curt Hansen as Fiyero (Photo by Joan Marcus)

Alison Luff brings down the house as Elphaba, the phosphorescent academic whose tragic childhood leaves gives her a outlook on life that will end up changing way Oz is governed.  Ms. Luff is at all time connected with the piece which in turn makes her fellow actors all the more connected because of her performance.   Her first act closer, ‘Defying Gravity’, not only is a show stopper, but becomes almost menacing, which is the original intent of the song, and the first time I have seen it delivered as it was meant to be.

Jenn Gambatese’s Glinda, though a bit over the top sometimes, is a perfect foil/friend for Ms. Luff’s Elphaba.  The two have a great on stage chemistry where the friendship is real and never forced. Moreover, vocally, the duets these ladies have  blend beautifully together.   There was not a dry eye in the house after their parting song ‘For Good’.

The entire cast of this Wicked know how to sell a song, with many of cast as strong if not stronger then their current New York counterparts.  Curt Hansen gives us a much more rounded Fiyero then is actually penned; Emmy Award winner Kim Zimmer is again connected character wise more than most who have donned the wig prior.  In fact it is the first time I have seen a Madame Morrible as engaged during “Thank Goodness”.    Television (and stage) icon John Davidson, who I last saw on tour in State Fair, is a competent wizard, however, his vocals seemed a bit affected.

Alison Luff_2013 (Photo by Joan Marcus)

Alison Luff (Photo by Joan Marcus)

After recently attending a three day seminar with the composer and book writer, I spent much of this Wicked outing just listening.  It is there that I found the key to the show’s success.  It is at all times smart and never takes its audience for granted.  Mr. Schwartz’ music and lyrics are so spot-on that some songs are near perfection.  I’m not talking of the show stoppers.  Take for instance “I’m Not That Girl”, which for my money is best song in the show.  The music and lyrics become seamless in a song that both defines a character and a moment in the show.   There are many examples of this throughout Wicked, but this is a prime example (as is Popular).

With a film version on the horizon, Wicked is sure to be around in this current manifestation for another ten years, and maybe ten after that.  Like Phantom and Les MizWicked transcends the mere four walls of a theatre and is able to penetrate the human soul.  That, as Glinda would proclaim, is GOOD.

Wicked plays through December 21, 2013 at the Oriental Theatre.  Tickets start at $40.  A select number of premium seats are also available for many performances. Tickets are available now for groups of 20 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710.  Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com. For calendar information visitwww.TheatreInChicago.com

ONCE UPON A DREAM Starring THE RASCALS Is Full of Good Lovin!!

Posted by: Showbiz Chicago (November 6, 2013)

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http://showbizchicago.com/category/reviews/#.Unq4AJSuNh

DSCN3723-725x380The impact that great musicians have on one another is said to be spiritually inspirational.  So it must be as Steven Van Zandt (Bruce Springsteen and Tony Soprano’s right hand man) embarked to give the 1960’s chart topping The Rascals another moment in the spotlight of fame.  Not many bands deserve it more than this foursome, Felix Cavaliere (keyboard & vocals), Eddie Brigati (vocals), Dino Danelli (drums) and Gene Cornish (guitar), who overcame a myriad of personal and professional hurdles on their way to becoming an “overnight” success becoming one of the few American bands to survive the British invasion.

Attending the opening night performance of Once Upon A Dream at the Cadillac Palace, all four of the Rascals seemed to be in their glory.  As big screen images and video of pre-recorded backstories of the boys flowed, the audience was instantly engaged and the Rascals had us once again eating out the palm of their talented hands as they performed hit after hit of their amazing repertoire including “It’s Wonderful”, “I’ve Been Lonely For Too Long” and closing the first act with the mega hit “Good Lovin”.  The second act featured the classics, “Love Is A Beautiful Thing”, “A Beautiful Morning” and “Groovin”, with the audience on their feet, not letting the band off the stage.

Once Upon A Dream is one of the shows that is critic proof.  The audience is in attendance for one thing only, and that is to see The Rascals.  Any theatrical obstacles the show encounters really doesn’t matter because  producers Steven Van Zandt, Maureen Van Zandt and Marc Brickman have a bigger goal in mind.  To pay respect to four artist to helped change the landscape of pop music as we know it.  For that reason, Once Upon A Dream succeeds on every level.

ONCE UPON A DREAM STARRING THE RASCALS plays through November 10, 2013 at  Cadillac Palace Theatre. The performance schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 9, 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 10, 2:00 p.m.

Please note: Ticket prices and performance schedule are subject to change.

For more information visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com For calendar information visitwww.TheatreInChicago.com

WICKED RETURNS HOME MUCH MORE GROUNDED AFTER 10 YEARS

Posted by: Michael Roberts (November 6, 2013)

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It has been ten years since Wicked parked itself at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway, and from almost the moment the Time Dragon clock starting counting box office receipts, the juggernaut has done over a million dollars a week and shows no signs of any decline.  After a three year run in Chicago (and two tours later) Wicked returns to is other home, the Oriental Theatre.

 

Not to have any bias, but architecturally, the Oriental seems to have been built forWicked, more so than any other theatre the show may play.

After ten years of continual play (this marks my 22nd time seeing the show), many lesser musicals would begin to show some wear and tear.  Not so with Wicked, which is adapted from the novel by Gregory Maquire with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman.  In fact the cast of this national tour, which skewers to the younger side, gives us performances that are always of the moment and and notwithstanding the fantasy element, ring very true.

Wicked is billed as the “untold story of the Witches of Oz”.  But it is so much more.  Wicked stands for the notion that what we are taught to be the truth, the black and white of a matter, is always scattered with matters of gray.  It is filled with life lessons for both young and old told with iconic characters that have been part of our social demographic for almost 80 years.

Curt Hansen as Fiyero (Photo by Joan Marcus)

Curt Hansen as Fiyero (Photo by Joan Marcus)

Alison Luff brings down the house as Elphaba, the phosphorescent academic whose tragic childhood leaves gives her a outlook on life that will end up changing way Oz is governed.  Ms. Luff is at all time connected with the piece which in turn makes her fellow actors all the more connected because of her performance.   Her first act closer, ‘Defying Gravity’, not only is a show stopper, but becomes almost menacing, which is the original intent of the song, and the first time I have seen it delivered as it was meant to be.

Jenn Gambatese’s Glinda, though a bit over the top sometimes, is a perfect foil/friend for Ms. Luff’s Elphaba.  The two have a great on stage chemistry where the friendship is real and never forced. Moreover, vocally, the duets these ladies have  blend beautifully together.   There was not a dry eye in the house after their parting song ‘For Good’.

The entire cast of this Wicked know how to sell a song, with many of cast as strong if not stronger then their current New York counterparts.  Curt Hansen gives us a much more rounded Fiyero then is actually penned; Emmy Award winner Kim Zimmer is again connected character wise more than most who have donned the wig prior.  In fact it is the first time I have seen a Madame Morrible as engaged during “Thank Goodness”.    Television (and stage) icon John Davidson, who I last saw on tour in State Fair, is a competent wizard, however, his vocals seemed a bit affected.

Alison Luff_2013 (Photo by Joan Marcus)

Alison Luff (Photo by Joan Marcus)

After recently attending a three day seminar with the composer and book writer, I spent much of this Wicked outing just listening.  It is there that I found the key to the show’s success.  It is at all times smart and never takes its audience for granted.  Mr. Schwartz’ music and lyrics are so spot-on that some songs are near perfection.  I’m not talking of the show stoppers.  Take for instance “I’m Not That Girl”, which for my money is best song in the show.  The music and lyrics become seamless in a song that both defines a character and a moment in the show.   There are many examples of this throughout Wicked, but this is a prime example (as is Popular).

With a film version on the horizon, Wicked is sure to be around in this current manifestation for another ten years, and maybe ten after that.  Like Phantom and Les MizWicked transcends the mere four walls of a theatre and is able to penetrate the human soul.  That, as Glinda would proclaim, is GOOD.

Wicked plays through December 21, 2013 at the Oriental Theatre.  Tickets start at $40.  A select number of premium seats are also available for many performances. Tickets are available now for groups of 20 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710.  Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com. For calendar information visitwww.TheatreInChicago.com