Category Archives: Chicago

‘N – The Queen of Paris’ to hold Pre-Broadway U.S. premiere in Chicago

N-LOGO PINK

The Chicago Tribune reports “Another big new musical with Broadway aspirations has signed up for a pre-New York run in Chicago. Broadway in Chicago said Monday that “N — The Queen of Paris” will make its U.S.  premiere at the Bank of America Theatre in Nov. 2015, before landing on Broadway during the spring of 2016.”

Read more at the Chicago Tribune Theater Loop

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Filed under Broadway In Chicago, Chicago, Chicago Tribune, Chris Jones, N - The Queen of Paris

Spring Road Conference Highlights

Last week, members of our team were able to attend the Spring Road Conference in New York City.

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The conference opened with a surprise appearance by Tommy Tune!

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Jon Stewart (“The Daily Show”) delivered the keynote address, stating about live theatre: “Why am I here? Here’s why…I can sit. And turn next to the person next to me and say ‘That was wonderful.'”

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Presentations, speeches and discussions followed with (from L to R): Tyne Daly and Bobby Steggert of “Mothers & Sons”, Chicago actress Jessie Mueller of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”, Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel and the creative team of “If/Then”, the creative team of Bullets Over Broadway, Bryan Cranston of “All the Way”. A performance from “Aladdin” with stars Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed took place as well.

A fantastic time was had by all attendees and we’re excited to see some of these shows hit the road and come to Chicago in the future!

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Broadway In Chicago, Chicago, League of Chicago Theaters, New York

Chicago Audiences are LOVING Heartbeat of Home!


We spoke to audience members who attended the US premiere of HEARTBEAT OF HOME during its first week here in Chicago at the Oriental Theatre. Their reactions are overwhelmingly positive, and we’ve heard so many more people tell us how impressed they were and how much they enjoyed the show. Don’t miss your chance to see this celebration of Ireland and its diverse culture, now playing through March 16th!

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Filed under Broadway In Chicago, Chicago, Heartbeat of Home, Review

Short & Sweet – CHICAGO

BiancaRoxie

Bianca Marroquin as Roxie Hart in CHICAGO the Musical

Diana Martinez gives you the Short & Sweet on CHICAGO the Musical. “It is the perfect blend of sexy Fosse dancing, spontaneous comedy, and big Broadway music.”

“The best casting decision is Bianca Marroquin as Roxie Hart: she is believable and full of honest moxie, effortlessly stealing the show. Marroquin is charming, funny, and captivating, but her strength lies in her amazing connection with the audience. She alone is worth the trip.” Read more at the Daily Herald

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Filed under Broadway In Chicago, Chicago, Chicago The Musical, Short and Sweet

Great Performances: Sting’s “The Last Ship”

Sting's Great Performances

Last October, Sting performed his newest album “The Last Ship” in a series of intimate concerts at New York City’s Public Theater. One of these concerts was filmed for the PBS show Great Performances and will air tonight at 9 p.m. on WTTW. The television special will include many songs that feature in the upcoming musical The Last Ship, including the title track. You can view a preview of the show on the WTTW website here.

Also featuring cast member Jimmy Nail and a band of 14 musicians, Sting discusses the creative process of bringing the album to life and the inspiration he received from his hometown. The New York Daily News gives the show four stars, saying “[i]t’s the best lyric-writing of his career”.

 

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Filed under Broadway In Chicago, Chicago, The Last Ship

The Inspiration for CHICAGO: Two Merry Murderesses

The origin of the Academy Award and Tony Award-winning musical CHICAGO lies here in its namesake city, from a ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ tale of two female killers on ‘Murderesses Row’ in the roaring 20’s.

CHICAGO the Musical is based off the 1926 play written by Maurine Dallas Watkins, the reporter assigned to cover the 1924 trials of murderesses Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner. Watkins loosely based Roxie Hart, Velma Kelly, Billy Flynn and other characters in the play off the individuals involved in these famed Chicago courtroom proceedings.

Left: Belva Gaertner, Right: Beulah Annan

Left: Belva Gaertner, the inspiration for Velma Kelly Right: Beulah Annan, the inspiration for Roxie Hart. Source: retrokimmer.com

Although there is a lot of truth in the story told by the play and musical, not everything completely matches up with the real life events during the trials.

Belva Gaertner was, in fact, a jazz singer in Chicago back in her time – whether or not she was well-known is inconclusive. Some famous jazz joints during the era were Friar’s Inn, located in the basement of a building formerly at the corner of east Van Buren and south Wabash, and Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, located at 4802 North Broadway and still standing today. However, the actual reason Gaertner was sent to jail was not for killing her sister and husband because they were having an affair (as with Velma Kelly), but because she killed her lover with a gun in his car.

Roxie Hart’s matches Beulah Annan’s much more closely. Annan was accused of killing her lover in the bedroom of her home.  Annan didn’t go into full detail as to why she shot him, but it was most likely not because he lied to her about helping her become a famous jazz singer. Beulah Annan did change her story multiple times throughout the trial – first beginning with how “they both reached for the gun” and ending with the reason they both reached for the gun was because he just found out she was pregnant and he didn’t want to keep the baby.

Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner didn’t meet until they both were put on ‘Murderesses Row’ in the Cook County Jail. This was an actual cell block in the women’s section of the jail that housed Chicago’s most notorious killers. Annan and Gaertner were rumored to have set up their own beauty shop out of their jail cell. At this beauty shop the two would help other murderesses awaiting trial pick out outfits to wear and teach them how to do their hair and make-up for the day of their trials.

All trials took place at the Chicago City Courthouse, which still stands at the north-east corner of Clark and Randolph. Although Annan and Gaertner had different lawyers, both were high-profile names that were well-known in Chicago for getting their clients cleared of all charges. The two, William Scott Stewart and WW O’Brien,  take form as the savvy lawyer Billy Flynn in Watkins’ play.

The play was transformed into the musical that everyone loves today by the creative team of John Kander, Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse after Bob Fosse’s wife, Gwen Verdon, read the play and insisted it be made into a musical. Kander, Ebb and Fosse wanted the whole musical to really focus on the show-biz aspect of society. In order to achieve this overall focus, they created the entire score to reflect traditional vaudeville numbers such as in the song “We Both Reached For the Gun”.

Take a trip around Chicago to spot some of these well-known landmarks that played a part in the story behind the musical bearing its name. And be sure to catch the show when it’s back in town next week at the Bank of America Theatre for one week only, February 25 – March 2, 2014!

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Filed under Bank of America Theatre, Broadway In Chicago, Chicago, Chicago The Musical

Adler After Dark: Star-Crossed

Photo by Jenny Anderson

Photo by Jenny Anderson

What do swash-buckling pirates, magical starstuff, and Valentine’s Day have in common? They all come together on February 20 at Adler After Dark: Star-Crossed! A special presentation between The Adler Planetarium and Broadway In Chicago, this magical evening offers attendees the chance to participate in special programs designed around the upcoming production of Peter and the Starcatcher, the original story of Peter Pan and Neverland.

Channel your inner buccaneer and take some silly snapshots at the Pan and the Pirates phootobooth, then upload them to Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #AdlerAfterDark. Or play Star-Crossed Bingo for your chance to win tickets to an upcoming performance of the play! If you want to get wild and crazy, shout out suggestions for the cosmic pirates at Space Pirates Improv to aid them in their quest for galactic booty.

You can also see what happens when you take Valentine’s Day staples – like roses and chocolate – and subject them to liquid nitrogen (a chilling -321 F) and smash ’em with mallets! Learn about the constellations behind the zodiac and find out if your love is literally written in the stars.

It’s all happening tomorrow night at The Adler Planetarium for Adler After Dark from 6 – 10 p.m. You can buy your tickets now or purchase them at the door on the evening of the event. We hope to see you there!

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Filed under Broadway In Chicago, Chicago, Peter and the Starcatcher