Category: Broadway in Chicago

David Pittsinger wows the crowd at Gibson’s Steakhouse

Big talent represents “South Pacific” at Gibson’s

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By: Timothy McGuire

I recently had the opportunity to attend a media luncheon for the upcoming touring performance of Lincoln Center Theater’s production of South Pacific. Broadway’s successful tony award winning musical will be playing at the Rosemont Theatre for a limited one-week engagement November 24 – 29, 2009. (ticket info)

The passion and excitement for this specific production was evident in the enthusiasm expressed by the people involved in bringing this production from New York to Chicago. They sincerely believe that this is an extraordinary show offering the audience the rare opportunity to experience a performance done in the spectacular old Broadway fashion, featuring a huge full orchestra unlike anything seen in current Broadway productions today. The touring show of South Pacific promises to be a near replica of the prize-winning musical that started in New York.

The most impressive endorsement for this production was the opportunity to hear the astonishingly powerful and elegant voice of David Pittsinger, who will be playing Emile. The impact of Pittsinger’s romantically forceful bass-baritone voice just a few feet away brought the small audience at Gibson’s Steakhouse to emotional heights, and one can only imagine the magnificence of hearing the full production of his songs produced on Rosemont Theatre’s spacious stage.

southpacific_iconDavid Pittsinger also was a terrific speaker, appearing genuine in his belief in the significance and relevance of South Pacific to today’s audience. Pittsinger is the living embodiment of his character Emile. His wife is born of minority decent and he has interracial children (who he is bursting with pride to talk about.) His belief in love, unification and racial equality is evident in his actions and his loved ones around him.

The original role of Emile de Becque was written for an opera singer, and David Pittsinger is a talented, internationally acclaimed opera performer working with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City (most recently portrayed Angelotti in “Tosca”at the Metropolitan Opera) and living and working most of the year in France. The advantage that Pittsinger is also a world-class actor increases the quality of his role and greatly supports the well-written book that goes along with the classically entertaining music in South Pacific. With themes of war and racial conflict, along with the joyous uplifting story and cleverly catchy songs, this year is a fantastic time to enjoy Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific.

November 6, 2009 | 2 Comments More

Chicago theater openings/closings this week

chicagoriverblast

show openings

A You Like It Loyola University

Burlesque Is More Annoyance Theatre 

Gossamer Adventure Stage Chicago

High Holidays Goodman Theatre

Horrible Apollo Theatre

Murder in Green Meadows Citadel Theatre

The Music Man Rising Stars Theatre

Phedra New World Repertory Theater

The Shape of Things University of Chicago

Shootin’ the Shit with EJ and TJ Annoyance Theatre

The Spectacular Comedy Spectacle Theatre Building Chicago

When She Danced TimeLine Theatre

Young Frankenstein Cadillac Palace Theatre

 

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show closings

An Apology for the Course and Outcome of Certain Events Delivered by Dr. John Faustus on His Final Evening Theater Oobleck 

Arsenic and Old Lace Northwestern University 

Bastards of Young Tympanic Theatre

Calls to Blood The New Colony

Cotton Patch Gospel Provision Theater

Everyone’s Favorite Lobster Gorilla Tango Theatre

Fake Steppenwolf Theatre

The Flowers About Face Theatre

The House on Mango Street Steppenwolf Theatre

Kill the Old Torture Their Young Steep Theatre

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Filament Theatre

Lettice and Lovage Redtwist Theatre

Lucinda’s Bed Chicago Dramatists

Night Watch Jedlicka Performing Arts Center

Rhymes with Evil InFusion Theatre

A Streetcar Named Desire Polarity Ensemble Theatre

Yeast Nation (The Triumph of Life) American Theater Company

 

List courtesy of The League of Chicago Theatres 

November 3, 2009 | 0 Comments More

Addams Family – an interview with Lurch (Zachary James)

Lurch interview (Zachary James)

Talking With Lurch (Zachary James)

by Timothy McGuire

One could easily make the assumption that Zachary James will be playing quite possibly the most intriguing Lurch ever written, with a musical surprise coming from the man Charles Addams described as a “towering mute.”

This extremely tall (possibly 12 feet?) handsome, bald man has his character Lurch’s physical demeanor down pat – when he demonstrated how Lurch stands hunched over with his arms locked straight holding a serving tray at his knees, he had me sold. In addition to this, James just happens to be a talented and accomplished opera singer as well as proven acting ability to go along with his powerful voice

James gave credit to producer Stuart Oken saying,

“Stuart took the time to look at each individual.”

James said that the talent in all aspects of this production, on stage and off stage, is what will make Addams Family a great musical.

Admitting to being nervous at first knowing he’d be working with Bebe Neuwirth (Morticia) and Nathan Lane (Gomez), James’ admission that, as a kid, he had watched the movie “Bird On a Wire” over a dozen times proved how he could be slightly intimidated to work with Lane.

 

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But Zachary James is a rising star on his own right. After his role in Broadway’s South Pacific he had a desire to sing more and perform the kind of songs that he wanted to sing. In South Pacific he felt that he was out there singing for five minutes and spent the rest of the time in the dressing room while others performed. He wanted to be on stage singing! With a recent break up motivating his personal story line, Zachary James has created and self-directs his own small New York opera company, which strives to make opera more available and affordable to the public, providing a uniquely powerful experience by performing in smaller intimate settings.

Even with his grueling rehearsal schedule he found time to hold a one night performance of his latest one man opera (Imbecil D’Amour) last Saturday at Gorilla Tango Theatre, giving people a chance to hear a renowned opera singer perform just a couple feet away from them for just $10. His passion drives his performances, and his talent backs him up.

If you see a tall, lean and lanky, bald giant walking on the streets of Chicago, don’t be alarmed, it’s just Lurch in the new Addams Family – The Musical.

 

November 2, 2009 | 1 Comment More

Chicago theater openings/closings this week

chicagoriverblast

show openings

Anna, in the Darkness: The Basement

Dream Theatre

Bastards of Young Tympanic Theatre

Calls to Blood The New Colony

Cats Cadillac Palace Theatre

Dooby Dooby Moo Lifeline Theatre

Everyone’s Favorite Lobster Gorilla Tango Theatre

The Flaming Dames in Vamp II New Millenium Theatre

Heroes Remy Bumppo Theatre

The House on Mango Street Steppenwolf Theatre

The Last Unicorn Promethean Theatre

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Filament Theatre Ensemble

The Man Who Was Thursday New Leaf Theatre

Mrs. Gruber’s Ding Song School Gorilla Tango Theatre

Plans 1 Through 8 from Outer Space New Millenium Theatre

Rachel Corn and the Secret Society Corn Productions

You Can’t Take It with You Village Players Performing Arts Center

 

Skyline-Chicago

show closings

Ah, Wilderness! Loyola University Chicago Theatre

Bad Touch and the Deep End Annoyance Theatre 

Dirty Talking Amish Gorilla Tango Theatre

Dracula Oak Park Festival Theatre

The History Boys – Timeline Theatre 

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Court Theatre

The Night SeasonVitalist Theatre

Rent Big Noise Theatre

Sleeping Beauty Big Noise Theatre

Stripped: An Unplugged Evening with Marilyn’s Dress Gorilla Tango Theatre

October 14, 2009 | 0 Comments More

Finding Billy Elliot – what an exciting and beautiful video.

 

Can’t wait to see it!!

October 8, 2009 | 0 Comments More

Bomb threat during performance of Jersey Boys

BofA_Theatre Per Chris Jones’ Theater Loop blog, the Bank of America Theatre (The Shubert) was evacuated about half-way through the evening performance after suspicious boxes were found in the alley behind the theatre.  Per the blog:

According to a report from the Tribune’s William Lee, who was quoting a police source, one letter read "this is not a bomb," and the other note said "this is not going to end good." 

Because of time constraints, following the realization that the boxes held nothing dangerous, there was no time left in the evening to complete the second act, and it was canceled. The audience members were informed that ticket exchanges would be available for any Tuesday performance in the month of October.

The entire posting can be found here, including some fairly heated comments below the story. Full Chicago Tribune coverage, including video, here.

October 8, 2009 | 0 Comments More

“Jersey Boys” to appear on The Oprah Show

Oddly, in the video, they don’t say what day they will appear (perhaps they don’t know themselves???)

September 18, 2009 | 0 Comments More

“Billy Elliot the Musical” announces its 3 Billys!

Cloud GateThe 2009 Tony Award-winning Billy Elliot the Musical (website) has announced that Tommy Batchelor, Giuseppe Bausilio and Cesar Corrales will star as ‘Billy’ in the Chicago production of the musical. Billy Elliot will begin an extended run on March 18, 2010 at Chicago’s Ford Center/Oriental Theatre before embarking on a multi-city tour.

Amazingly, more than 1,500 boys auditioned for the role of ‘Billy’!!

The ‘Billy’ bios:

Stage DoorTommy Batchelor, 14, is currently play ‘Billy’ on Broadway in rotation with David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish. Tommy is a native of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and made his Broadway debut in the role of ‘Billy.’  He started his training at age 4 at Dance Factory in Minnesota and has starred in Miami City Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker as well as having competed nationally in the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix

Cesar Corrales, 13, was born in Mexico before moving to Montreal with his family.  At age 4 he performed with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in Madama Butterfly.  Among his other credits, Cesar placed first at the Coupe Quebec gymnastics competition in 2008, the same year he joined Canada’s National Ballet School

Buckingham FountainGiuseppe Bausilio, 12, was born in the Swiss capital of Bern and began his ballet training at age 4.  He has performed with the State Theatre of Bern in Coppelia, as well as in the operas Mazzepa and Falstaff, among other roles.  Giuseppe has won numerous awards for the competitions in the US and Europe.

 

The 3 actors will perform in rotation throughout the run here in Chicago

 

 

September 11, 2009 | 0 Comments More