Category Archives: Billy Elliot the Musical

Passion, Power, Extraordinary Performances

I often think that politics is much like show business. It is all about passion and extraordinary performances. Both politics and theater have a lot of drama, of course, but most would say that only politics is about power. But what is more powerful than delivering an amazing performance, controlling the audience and being rewarded with a standing ovation. The difference is that you can only vote for one candidate, one time, but you can see many shows. There is no need to choose.

The following are important things to remember, things you do not want to miss:

  • You have only four weeks left to see the power and extraordinary performances of BILLY ELLIOT and THE LION KING
  • Wednesday is the opening night TRACES – real people doing unreal feats.
  • Tuesday is the only day to vote

Plan now!


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Filed under Billy Elliot the Musical, Broadway In Chicago, Disney's The Lion King, Traces

do you wanna dance?

Ballet and Boxing….what a great time! On Saturday, I went to Pritzker Park where the “Eye” is and had a ball watching the Joffrey and Lake Shore Athletic teach Ballet and Boxing – both take focus and what I learned is that everyone can have fun doing both – young and old, male or female – it was a blast! Make sure to check out the other exciting free events with the cast of BILLY ELLIOT.



This week we are planning the opening ROCK OF AGES and the opening of our new theatre THE BROADWAY PLAYHOUSE. ROCK OF AGES has taken off and looks like it will be a sell out. This is a show that will have you rockin’ in the aisles of the BANK OF AMERICA THEATRE, so don’t wait and hear the words sold out! Same for the opening of the BROADWAY PLAYHOUSE! AN EVENING WITH SUTTON FOSTER ticket sales have taken off and you don’t want to be left behind. To have the original star of five Broadway shows perform in such an intimate space and be the first to see the theatre is a priceless experience. Don’t miss out!

REMINDER: Only two weeks left of SHREK THE MUSICAL! It is a great summer night out for the whole family.


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Filed under Bank of America Theatre, Billy Elliot the Musical, Broadway Playhouse, Cadillac Palace Theatre, Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, Rock of Ages, Shrek The Musical

at the ballet

Eileen mentioned yesterday that this Saturday, BILLY ELLIOT is sponsoring a Ballet and Boxing Event in Pritzker Park underneath the Tony Tasset installation “EYE.” The Joffrey is handling the dance portion and Lake Shore Athletic Clubs are handling the boxing portion…and they are handing our jump ropes! I am a big fan of jump ropes. [picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=jump+rope&iid=3340076″ src=”″ width=”234″ height=”300″ /]

Years ago, I walked into a ballet class at Chatham College and saw a really big guy jumping rope. I mean REALLY BIG – over 6′ 4″ and 300 lbs. Miss Audrey (I’m not kidding, that is actually what we called her) gathered us together and swore us to secrecy. The young man had been sent by his agent in preparation for his tryout with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The poor guy really stood out in a class of females, ranging in age from 17 to 70 but we welcomed him.

Especially me! At last someone would be a worse dancer than I was! Oh, but I was wrong. Miss Audrey told us to leap (jetes) across the room. I heard a thump and saw the football player had taken out a bunch of ceiling tiles but darn, he landed on his toes with arms extended like Baryshnikov.

After the class I was complaining to my friend Debbie. “Why would a football player who never danced a second in his life take to ballet so quickly?” Debbie replied, “Coordination?” Ah, must be nice.

At the end of the season he didn’t make the Steelers but did join another team for a couple of years. He encouraged me to jump rope as he did – it would help my coordination. Not so much, but I still jump rope.


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Filed under Billy Elliot the Musical, Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre

where, oh where, are the BILLYs?

Photo by Joan Marcus.

On Tuesday, the Billys were all over Chicago taking photos on famous iconic Chicago places. Billy at the BeanBilly at the PicassoBilly at Buckingham Fountain. BILLY is going back to school and in preparation they are enjoying their last days of Summer in Chicago and working on their health, fitness and fashion. Given how talented they are I am going to follow all their recommendations.

Be sure to join them at:

Cooking Demonstration – Friday, August 20

Billy cooks with Whole Foods Healthy Eating Specialist – healthy snacks that kids can make on their own

Ballet and Boxing – Saturday, August 21

Join cast members from BILLY ELLIOT, instructors from The Joffrey Ballet and Instructors from the Lakeshore Athletic Club for a fun, free, family morning of Ballet and Boxing Instructions at Pritzker Park under “Eye”

And, of course, you simply must see BILLY ELLIOT! You can do it with your kids with this special offer – Kid’s Free through September 16.

Coming in September, a Fashion Show Bloomingdales – stay tuned for details.

For more information on all of these Back to School events, click here.


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Filed under Billy Elliot the Musical, Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre

turning over a new leaf…

I have started exercising again, watching my carbs and I am back on my weekly blog visit after a wild two months with more events than I can retell!

Tom McGunn, Garrett Johannsen, Jasmine McNeely and Bethany Thomas sing the National Anthem before the Taste of Chicago Concert.

The Broadway In Chicago concert at the Taste with Janet Davies – memorable from the beginning, with the Broadway In Chicago Players and their stirring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, to end. Ten shows performed for 10 years of Broadway In Chicago. It was an amazing day with Broadway performers that flew in from various points and hung together under beautiful sunny Chicago skies – like a Broadway field trip.

Then there was the exciting opening and fond farewell to FUERZA BRUTA. It was one of my favorite shows that I was so hoping would take off but it was admittedly a stretch for Broadway In Chicago. While the audiences that saw it loved it, it just didn’t have the staying power that we had all hoped for, but what an adventure it was for all of us! We will miss all the gorgeous cast and crew as they travel back to Argentina.

Photo By Amy Boyle Photography

And then the opening of SHREK THE MUSICAL. WOW, it has been awesome! We had lots of excitement including the star of the show (native Chicagoan Eric Petersen) having his first child during previews as his wife delivered at Chicago’s own Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The Hospital and staff were so great and both Mom, Dad and the Hospital shared the new born princess Sophia with the world when they allowed ABC to come in and film the new happy family. Then on to a grand opening night with Jeffrey Katzenberg and the CEO and CFO of McDonalds (love that they stopped flipping hamburgers to enjoy a night of theatre and SHREK). That night was amazing – as the helicopters from Transformers 3 hovered 50 feet over Daley Plaza just a block away from the theatre, all of the celebrities arrived. And thankfully Transformers completed their filming 45 minutes prior to the start of the show – perfect timing. The performance was great – as Dean Richards says, “A Must See…for everyone from 8 to 80” and he is right! Such a funny, elaborate, great night out. I mean really? Who doesn’t like a good fart joke and tap dancing mice? And who showed up on the green carpet? None other than the four BILLYs from BILLY ELLIOT.

The stars of Billy Elliot walk the green carpet at the Shrek The Musical opening.

Speaking of BILLY ELLIOT, the show is steaming through the summer and if you are around you want to be sure to go and see it as it will only be here through January 15. Now is the time as they have the most amazing Back To School With Billy Program that includes Kids Free at the theatre with a paying adult. Check it out!

I couldn’t be happier with this summer – a true celebration of 10 years of Broadway In Chicago. In typical style, I was having so much fun – just couldn’t find the time to write.

More next week….


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Filed under Billy Elliot the Musical, Broadway In Chicago, Cadillac Palace Theatre, Celebrity, Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, Fuerza Bruta: Look up, Shrek The Musical

we’ve got a seat for you, LeBron

The stars of Chicago’s Theater District  fight for LeBron!

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Filed under Billy Elliot the Musical, Shrek The Musical

nothin’ but a good time


Eric Petersen as SHREK with the Stanley Cup

Broadway In Chicago rocked the Taste of Chicago on Monday during the annual Broadway In Chicago Concert at Taste. This year was bigger than ever with 10 shows (BILLY ELLIOT, SHREK THE MUSICAL, TRACES, MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, DISNEY’S THE LION KING, WORKING, WICKED, NOT WANTED ON THE VOYAGE, HAIR and ROCK OF AGES), over 100 performers and 10,000 screaming fans – not to mention 1 green ogre, 2 American Idols and the  actual Stanley Cup. How is that for a free evening of entertainment?  

Hedy Weiss at the Chicago Sun-Times was thrilled by “the absolute brilliance of the Chicago performers who had a chance to shine.” We agree; it was a great day for Chicago! Read what else she had to say.  

We asked a couple of the performers to bring you backstage and share their experiences.  Hope you enjoy!  


Susie McMonagle as Mum with the cast of BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL during the 2010 Broadway In Chicago Concert at Taste

Susie McMonagle (BILLY ELLIOT):   

Had a blast at Taste of Chicago. We had our sound check early so we had some time to EAT before the show. Nothing beats the corn on the cob. Yes!   

It is always fun to perform in the Broadway In Chicago Concert at Taste. I saw some Chicago pals and mingled with New York gals as well. I also ran into David Holcenberg (he was my Music Director when I did MAMMA MIA) who was here with a new show that’s being worked on at Northwestern.   

The ballet girls were so excited!!! The big thrill was seeing SHREK as he walked out in full make-up! Wow. And let’s not forget that Constantine Maroulis from American Idol (who is coming to Chicago in ROCK OF AGES). Anyway he was in the green room eating dinner with all of us. Girls were thrilled! 
I was happy that BILLY ELLIOT was the first show to perform. That way the pressure was off, and I could kick back and watch everyone else!!! The band rocked it as well, and it was fun to interact with them during the performance. 
My boys, Jack and Elliot, came down and watched the concert, which was the best part of all. Performing in my hometown is the best gig ever!!!  

The cast of NOT WANTED ON THE VOYAGE at the 2010 Broadway In Chicago Concert at Taste

 Caitlin Collins (NOT WANTED ON THE VOYAGE):   

The other day I had this incredible dream. I was in a green room with cast members of some of my favorite Broadway shows. The stars of WICKED were there, and HAIR and DISNEY’S THE LION KING. Shrek was walking around in his full green regalia while a member of the new show TRACES warmed up with a handstand in the corner. The cast of MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET perfected their awesome 50s hair-dos, and Constantine Maroulis sat there, composed and looking like a total rock star.    

Then I pinched myself and realized I wasn’t dreaming. I was actually going to perform on the same stage as these artists as a part of the Broadway In Chicago Concert at Taste of Chicago. What an amazing opportunity! Singing Neil Bartram’s phenomenal music alongside my friends and cast-mates of NOT WANTED ON THE VOYAGE, with an awesome orchestra backing us up and 10,000 audience members applauding in front was an indescribably thrilling experience. When we walked off the stage, beaming and giddy, the most common response among our cast was, “I want to do that for the rest of my life.”   

Constantine Maroulis from ROCK OF AGES in the 2010 Broadway In Chicago Concert at Taste

The chocolate banana I bought at the Taste in between sound check and the performance was delicious, but it’s the exuberance from being surrounded by such talent, passion, and supportive energy that I can still feel resonating in my body. Thank you so much to Broadway In Chicago for making this fantastic and free event possible and for inviting NOT WATNED ON THE VOYAGE, the American Music Theatre Project’s newest musical be a part of it.   

The whole day was better than a dream.   

Hope you’ll join us next year!

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Filed under American Musical Theatre Project, Billy Elliot the Musical, Broadway In Chicago, Disney's The Lion King, Hair, Million Dollar Quartet, Northwestern University, Rock of Ages, Shrek The Musical, Traces, Wicked, Working

don’t rain on our parade

Broadway In Chicago has enjoyed participating in the Chicago Annual Pride Parade for a number of years.  This popular event, attended by more than 450,000 people, is always one of the highlights of our year, but it can come as quite a shock to unsuspecting “Pride Virgins.”  The crowd, couture and calidity can come as a surprise to anyone who has not experienced Pride in all of its glory.  It’s a test of endurance – nearly 3 ½ miles – but one that Broadway In Chicago is thrilled to undertake each year.

This year’s float featured BILLY ELLIOT, SHREK THE MUSICAL, FUERZA BRUTA: LOOK UP, DISNEY’S THE LION KING, TRACES,WICKED, HAIR and NOT WANTED ON THE VOYAGE.  Here are a few observational notes from this year’s Pride Virgins.

NICCI (Marketing Department, Broadway In Chicago): I approached the float Sunday morning when I realized:  I had never been to Pride.  I’ve been near it.  I lived in the heart of Boystown for two years, right off the parade route.  I’ve celebrated with a group of boys who were drunk with pride (or just drunk) and had managed to find their way into my apartment.  (I also found out that my front door lock was busted that day.)  I love my gay friends and encourage them to celebrate their pride every day.  So it was a shock to me when I realized that in five years of living in Chicago, I still had never seen the parade or witnessed what Boystown had to offer during its biggest holiday.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pretty sure it involved lots of glitter.  And it did.  Not just on the floats, but also on the revelers.  I applauded the drag queens, who were dressed to the nines, as if they didn’t even realize that it was 150 degrees outside.  I sweated through my BILLY ELLIOT rainbow-colored sticker and, ready to turn my leggings into cutoffs, saw someone in full Elizabethan costume!

At first, I felt a little silly handing out dog tags and whoopee cushions while dancing to Broadway tunes (not my usual music choice), but two blocks later, I was belting “Defying Gravity” and shaking it to “Hair” like I knew the words.  I knew that I’d have the chance to sit down, but there was too much fun to be had in the crowd.  I wasn’t even aware that my arms were being slow-roasted to a nice medium-well until the parade was over.

Overall, I wasn’t surprised by the noise or the grandeur of the parade.  I was overwhelmed by the camaraderie.  In a city where everyone keeps to themselves normally, we were talking to everybody.  I literally dropped my purse to help another float hang banners.  The float across the street lent us a staple gun.  I never once felt shy or awkward; I felt welcomed.  The Pride Parade was the best party I have ever been to, and I didn’t even know anybody there!  I’ll always look back at my first Pride fondly (unless this sticker-shaped tan line on my arm never goes away).

STEVE (Marketing Director, NOT WANTED ON THE VOYAGE): Goodness.  After a morning of torrential downpours, my hopes were low for the day of this parade.  With raincoat in hand and sunscreen nowhere to be seen, I left the house expecting that even this long-running Chicago tradition might not make it through the rain.  I was about as wrong as could be.  What followed was a day of endless sunshine, dog tag crazy fans, cut-off t-shirts and tan lines that we will be visible for weeks.  Thank you Chicago for letting your “Freak Flag Fly” and embracing us so warmly.

KOKO (Marketing & Communications Manager, Northwestern University): Thanks to everyone at Broadway in Chicago for hosting us on the float.  It was such a fun day!  Of course, my neck is sore from flipping my hair to the music, I have a bruise the size of an orange on my arm and gravel in my knee from when I wiped out and I look like a tomato…but I wouldn’t trade any of those things!  🙂

JUSTIN (Marketing Team, NOT WANTED ON THE VOYAGE): This was the first time I’ve ever been to a Pride Parade so I had no idea what to expect.  What an amazing experience it was to interact with thousands of happy people sharing so much love (never have so many people wanted to hug and kiss me since I was a baby!).  My favorite moment was dancing along the street and seeing so many people singing along to the songs blasted by Broadway In Chicago (there are more theatre enthusiasts than you might think)!  Singing showtunes and dancing down Chicago streets is something you can’t do everyday…let’s change that!

Thanks for everything PRIDEChicago.  We’ll see you again next year!

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Filed under American Musical Theatre Project, Billy Elliot the Musical, Broadway In Chicago, Disney's The Lion King, Fuerza Bruta: Look up, Hair, Northwestern University, Rock of Ages, Shrek The Musical, Traces, Wicked

it’s a hit

Last week, BILLY ELLIOT officially opened in Chicago with the show’s composer, Sir Elton John, in the audience. And now it’s official, Chicago loved BILLY ELLIOT! Here’s what the critics had to say:

“’BILLY ELLIOT’ TRIUMPHS!” – Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

“AN ABSOLUTE MUST-SEE!” – Dean Richards, WGN TV/Radio


“SO JOYFUL IT TAKES YOUR BREATH AWAY!” – Barbara Vitello, Daily Herald



There are still tickets available. The best availability in the next two weeks? 

Tue, Apr 20 at 7:30pm

Wed, Apr 21 at 7:30pm

Fri, Apr 23 at 8:00pm

Tue, Apr 27 at 7:30pm

Wed, Apr 28 at 7:30pm

Click here to get your tickets now!

Make sure to check out the newest Billy webisode as well! It has footage of the opening night performance and party plus Sir Elton himself!


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Filed under Billy Elliot the Musical, Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre

additional tickets just released for billy’s opening night

Photo by Amy Boyle.

Click here to get your tickets now for the April 11 performance. There is a good chance a certain music legend/composer/British knight, along with other celebrity guests, will be in attendance.

See you at the theater!


Filed under Billy Elliot the Musical, Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre