Category Archives: Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University

look up

FUERZA BRUTA: LOOK UP is coming soon. Look in the Red Eye today for special pre-sale access to tickets!

If you want to see the coolest show to show up in Chicago for a while, you are going to want to buy your tickets to FUERZA BRUTA! This is a show that you will walk out of and think, “WOW! What a night! I am so cool to have done this…wait till my friends hear about this show!”

Gorgeous and talented performers from Argentina will invade Chicago soon, and performances begin Friday, May 21. The performers AND audience will share the stage of the Auditorium Theatre like never before – action will be in front of you, above you, beside you.

DO NOT WAIT! Now is the time to buy!  Exclusive access for Red Eye readers only so pick up a paper and turn to page 16 for the details. 

Experiential, exciting, heart pounding wonder – like nothing you have ever seen before!


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Filed under Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, Fuerza Bruta: Look up

lost and found

Recently, I decided that everyone deep down wants an adventure. For years I have been asking people who book theatre parties and tour groups, “What is the worst thing that has happened on one of your trips?” About 95% say, “It was the time that I lost someone.”

There are all sorts of wanderers. There is the student who wandered away at Mount Vernon. The V.P. who tried an interesting door in restaurant and was locked outside in the alley. The older woman who took the wrong path on the nature walk. Tour organizer tells me about mobilizing people to search and whether or not they called the police and then I ask, “Were they frightened? Was the lost person frightened?” Invariably the response is, “No. We were scared to death but the lost person thought we over reacted.”

Of course they weren’t frightened. They were having an adventure…something different and new. Lately at every tourism marketing conference that I attend, the experts tell me that everyone wants experiential trips. I think that means they want fun experiences but of course I am not a marketing person. I have tried to figure out how to make attending the theatre more “experiential.” But I think that I “got it” last week at an event for FUERZA BRUTA. This is the show that will both excite the senses and satisfy any cravings for wanderlust.

People will enter the grand lobby of the Auditorium Theatre which will be re-imagined as a bar/club and then head up onstage for show that will happen around, above, in front, behind them. When I first saw this amazing production from Argentina I was blown away. I watched videos and read reviews but I was still unprepared for how much fun I had. I felt like I was part of the show but not like one of those audience participation things where they bring you up and ask you where you are from. Things happened so fast I didn’t know where to look or move – thank goodness FUERZA BRUTA has unobtrusive wranglers who gently escorted us this way and that. I loved the music, swimmers in the pool above my head, the women who flew like butterflies high up on the walls, running man…everything.

And like the lady on the nature walk in the Grand Canyon, I had an adventure but the Park Service didn’t have to bring in search teams.


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Filed under Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, Fuerza Bruta: Look up

sweet home

It’s a thrill to be able to perform in the loop, where I’ve seen countless shows while growing up in the north suburb of Deerfield.

People ask, “Are you excited to see your family in the suburbs and have your mother cook for you all week?” Well, yes, and no; I love my mother and am certainly excited to have a handful of family attend the show. However, I’ve devoted this week to being a REAL Chicagoan by staying with my closest high school buddies in Wicker Park, where I’ve just settled in. I get to live with my three high school buddies this week – a psychologist, sports agent and an engineer.

Quite a change from the eccentric, dramatic personalities of a theatre company. (Although there is NOTHING wrong with eccentricities– chutzpah equals passion).

Martin Charnin, our director and lyricist, spoke with the cast yesterday in Atlanta via phone about how the origin of the Annie cartoon strip was in the Chicago Tribune, and that our performances in Chi-town were of special significance. Well, I didn’t need to hear that to know this was going to be a very special week. I get to eat some famous pie at Gino’s East, lounge at the famous ‘Violet Hour’ here in Wicker Park, and of course, RIDE THE EL TRAIN EVERY DAY.


-Zander Meisner (Rooster Hannigan/ANNIE)

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Filed under Annie, Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University

G’day Chicago!

The last week of November is shaping up to be an exciting week of firsts for me and all of us in The Ten Tenors. Our first time performing in the Windy City, some of the first performances of our 2009 holiday show and, as we are all Australian, the first time for some of us to tuck into an authentic, home cooked Thanksgiving turkey.

Nostalgica is our latest album and the inspiration for our current show. This album and the show are made particularly special by the fact that the repertoire was actually chosen by our fans. We constantly receive mountains of song requests from all over the world. When we tallied these, a strong theme of reminiscent romantic songs from the 20th century appeared. Moon River, What a Wonderful World, Besame Mucho, songs that underscore charming memories in everyone’s lives; and powerful operatic numbers like Granada, all appear in the album and in the show. We’re also including audience favorites from Queen and the Rock ‘n’ Roll era to breathtaking moments from opera; and of course our Ten Tenor versions of the best Christmas pieces. We truly are excited and proud of the show we’re bringing to Chicago, it’s our best yet! And every single night, I’m not exaggerating here, I’ve had audience members tell me it’s the best thing they’ve seen for years.

Now, if you’ve not seen us before, it’s important you understand a little about how we expect you to behave at our show. We want you to forget about the beautiful surrounds of the theatre and our suave cuff-linked suits. Imagine yourself at a Bulls game and clap, cheer, dance and make as much noise as you can – although we find this usually happens spontaneously. Oh, and perhaps bring a few Kleenex to keep the mascara from running – if you’ve seen our show already you’ll know what i mean.

Touring life?

One question appears in almost every interview– do we actually get along as well as we appear to onstage? Hmm…trapped every day in stuffy dressing rooms with nine other opinionated, egotistical tenors – need I say more? Of course I’m joking. Imagine spending all year making great music and exploring the world with nine of your best mates. Our tours take us around the globe several times a year to amazingly diverse cultures on every continent, (well, we haven’t made it to Antarctica yet – our ‘penguin suits’ might be shown up by the genuine article.) Lion cubs in South Africa, speedboats through Norwegian fjords, mulled wine from German Christmas markets, Paella in Madrid and snow fields in the Rocky Mountains, sometimes in the space of one week – I’m not sure I can really call it work.

That being said, we do work very, very hard. Rehearsals every day, new material for every country, 4am media calls and of course the shows, sometimes 8 nights in a row, require a highly disciplined lifestyle of vocal and body maintenance. Also, as we are away for about 10 months every year; home, family and loved are greatly missed. As a great artist once said, “…we don’t get paid to sing – we’d do that for free. We get paid to leave our family and friends.”

Another exciting event taking place during our Chicago run is the culmination of Movember. A great privilege of being a successful international group is bringing vital exposure to important causes. Movember is a movement that started in our home country of Australia and has since spread right across the globe. Its aim is to raise awareness and vital funds for men’s health issues; namely prostate and testicular cancer and depression in men. We started November 1st clean shaven and have downed our razors for the entire month to grow a moustache – hence ‘mo-vember.’ So our chic James Bond looks have steadily changed into Tom Selleck meets Hulk Hogan. Since its beginning in 2003 Movember has raised $47 million making it the largest charity in the world specifically for men. We’d love you to visit our website to learn more about Movember, and check our you tube page to see a few fun videos on how our ‘mo-gressions’ are shaping up.

So, now there’s nothing left to do but put the turkey in the oven, grab a cup of yuletide cheer and we’ll see you at the Auditorium Theatre. Cheers!

Boyd Owen (The Ten Tenors)

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Filed under Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, The Ten Tenors

these are a few of my favorite things…

This is what the marketing office looks like today:


Marketing Office 001 Marketing Office 002 

You may be asking yourself if a bomb went off, or perhaps you think we are building a box fort… the answer is far more exciting than that. (at least for all of you!)


The reason for this mayhem is that we have an action-packed weekend planned! As you have probably heard, Monday is the Broadway In Chicago Concert in the Park, but we will also be participating in the annual Chicago Pride Parade on Sunday. Needless to say, we have been as busy as can be trying to make this an absolutely spectacular, albeit slightly hectic, pair of events.


On Sunday morning at the obscenely early hour of 9am, Andrew, Basia and myself will meet here at the Broadway In Chicago office to transport all of our materials to the parade route. I will have to work on my Tetris skills for the next couple days, because we somehow have to fit over 15,000 pieces of promo merchandise and three people into a Honda Accord. Seriously.


The parade itself will kick off around noon—keep an eye out for float #102 if you are at the parade because we will have tons of fun goodies to give away. There will be 14 BIC staffers and perhaps a cast member or two out supporting the GLBT community…and having a great time in the process! If you haven’t been to the Parade before, you should definitely try to join us—it is truly an unforgettable experience.


Then it’s time to run home for a good night’s sleep before the Concert in the Park! This is probably my favorite event of the year. What could be better than sitting outside listening to some amazing performers sing songs from my favorite shows? This year’s concert will include performances from Mary Poppins, Jersey Boys, Young Frankenstein, In the Heights, 101 Dalmatians and Boys v. Girls. Not only that, but Roger Bart, Dennis DeYoung, Ashley Brown, Gavin Lee and the whole cast of Jersey Boys will be there along with an Olympic athlete!


 I have been attending these concerts for far longer than I have worked at Broadway In Chicago, so it is a lot of fun to be in on the planning process this time around. Sure, there is a lot of work involved—have you ever tried to transport dollies laden with fun merchandise through the packed streets of the Taste of Chicago – but there is nothing more rewarding than seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces as they leave the concert.


I truly hope that everyone joins us for at least one of these wonderful events this weekend. We put a lot of effort into making these experiences fantastic for all who attend, and love to share our passion for theatre with everyone that we can. See you this weekend!

-Mary Brennan (Marketing Coordinator)

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Filed under 101 Dalmatians, American Musical Theatre Project, Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, Bank of America Theatre, Broadway In Chicago, Cadillac Palace Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place, Feature Story, Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, In the Heights, Jersey Boys, League of Chicago Theaters, Mary Poppins, Northwestern University, Young Frankenstein

abbey road on congress parkway

Steve Landes. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Steve Landes. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

I’m writing from our tour bus, on the way to our last gig before we head to Chicago. Who is this ‘we’ I speak of? We’re Rain: A Tribute To The Beatles. If you have not seen us – what is it that we do? Is it a rock concert? Is it a production show? Is it theater? The answer is ‘kinda yes’ to all the above. We play the Beatles’ music live on stage, as authentically to the original records as possible, while, with the use of period costumes, sets, and multi-media & large screens, hit all the milestones of the band’s career – the Ed Sullivan show, the Shea Stadium concert, the Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road albums, and more. It’s kind of if the Beatles performed their whole career in the span of two hours right before your eyes, while images of the Sixties flashed past you. Trippy, huh?

In any case, we’re currently living the Rock & Roll lifestyle – a different city, hotel, theater – every night, then it’s back on the bus and off to the next town. So we’re looking forward to our time in Chicago. Not only will we be in the same place for a whole week (yay!), but that place is one of the coolest cities in the country! And the Auditorium Theatre – wow. From what I’ve heard, and what I’ve seen online, it looks beautiful.

Our audience is usually filled with fellow Beatles fans (I have to admit – I’m a total Beatle geek. I know, you’d think when my job is 24/7 Beatles, I’d be kinda tired of them offstage. Nope, still love ‘em!). We get people of all ages – 1st generation boomers who can remember seeing the Ed Sullivan show that night in February ’64 when the Beatles first came to the US; 2nd generation fans like me, who found them through their parents, aunts or uncles, or older brothers and sisters, and even 3rd gen fans – kids in their early teens who just found the Beatles on their own somehow – or maybe even from their grandparents! In any case, it’s always cool to see Beatles fans out there, getting to hear what we’re doing, replicating the music we’re all so familiar with, being played live onstage, just as they remember it from the records. So we’re really looking forward to seeing what kind of audience we find in Chicago. It seems to be a little different in every part of the country. But it seems there are Beatle lovers everywhere. I can’t wait to see them come out and give us a listen!


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Filed under Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles

find your grail

Chicago theatre is the standard by which I judge all the work I do. I’m grateful to Roosevelt University for so many things, but mostly for introducing me to the greatest city there is. The work is real, challenging, envelope pushing, inspiring. The people? Well, I’ve made many lifelong friends here who always keep me sharp.

My greatest memories in Chicago involve great laughter over a good pint, sneaking into the Auditorium peanut gallery after rehearsal to watch and learn (never mind how nervous those leaning seats made me), worshiping Steppenwolf, developing my crazy passion for the classics and the namesake of my equally dramatic cat, Shakespeare. I grew up here. I am so happy to be back. I won’t be gone again this long.

Yolanda Miller, Roosevelt University, good ‘ol Chi-town theatre…they changed my life. I’m back and I plan on havin’ a good time!

-Merle Dandridge, Lady of the Lake (Monty Python’s Spamalot)

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Filed under Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, Spamalot: The Third Coming

Veep Talk

Happy New Year!
What a great year it has been! Now Broadway In Chicago looks to what is coming next. Loved Chris Jones’ New Year’s resolutions in the Chicago Tribune – “Make theatergoing a weekly habit.”  What could be a better resolution!  He also said “Broadway In Chicago had to find a replacement for WICKED.”  Can you imagine? There are no replacements for shows, just more, different, longer and newer shows – but never a replacement.  WICKED is like a child to me and to the many of the staff members at Broadway In Chicago. Three and a half years – that is longer than many marriages (mine aside – 28 years and counting – with a theatrical producer no less).

Don’t forget, I say, we already have an existing long-run and that is JERSEY BOYS! And opening next week is XANADU!

Whatever, we are all preparing for the departure of WICKED: we are planning for a big party and this weekend the orchestra announced that they are going to do a special concert for the cast between shows on Saturday to thank the cast and crew for the wonderful experience that WICKED has been. This is one of the most generous and touching gestures I have seen in theatre.

Today in the office we are frantically putting the final touches on the opening night for GREASE.  The creator of the show, Jim Jacobs (and fellow Chicagoan), will be in attendance and the opening night cast party will be at the Kingston Mines.  I will give my personal opening night tickets to GREASE, Tuesday Night, at the Auditorium Theatre, to the first person who comments to this blog with the answer to the question: Why is the party at the Kingston Mines?

Sorry have to run now as I am meeting with the League of Chicago Theatres to plan the League’s Annual Benefit, more next week.


Filed under Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, Broadway In Chicago, Grease, Jersey Boys, Wicked, Xanadu