Category Archives: Disney’s The Lion King

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!

Eileen

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

Elephants, Gazelles and Lions, oh my!

Phindile Mkhize as “Rafiki” in the opening number “The Circle of Life” from THE LION KING National Tour. Copyright Disney. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus.

Elephant Kills? No, it is not something that is harmful to majestic animals that will grace the aisles of the Cadillac Palace Theatre this fall. It is actually the insider’s language for the seats that have to come out in order to accommodate the size of this spectacle that wows the audience in the opening number. Hence these are the seats that are “killed” to accommodate the elephants of THE LION KING. Don’t miss what Chris Jones called: “greatest family musical of our era”

IF YOU … Want to see the greatest family musical of our era:

I’ve never met anyone who has not both admired and enjoyed Julie Taymor’s “The Lion King.” This Broadway show was one of those rare moments in the circle of theatrical life when a great, progressive artist such as Taymor took a popular animated movie and fashioned an accessible onstage masterpiece. Disney has kept the show at the same high touring level all these years, thanks to actors able to withstand this physically demanding show, and this will be the third visit of “The Lion King” to Chicago. There are few comparable moments to the sight of Taymor’s animals entering the theater — and the looks they engender on the small persons in the seats, suddenly hooked on the magic of live theater. (Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune – August 27, 2010)

We had a lot of creative answers, but a few people finally got it!  Our winner is: Anthony B. Thanks to all for entering.

-Eileen

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Filed under Cadillac Palace Theatre, Disney's The Lion King

Trivia Hint

Everyone seems to have the “What show?” part correct (Disney’s The Lion King), but no one has the “Why?” yet. So we are going to give you a hint and another day to guess.

“Elephant Kills” Hint: This is an insider’s term, one used by the theatre staff.

Take another shot! Leave your comment on this blog post, and then I will follow with the answer on Friday.

Remember the winner will be picked randomly and win my tickets to opening night – it’s safe to tell you the date now: Friday, October 1 @ 8 pm.

-Eileen

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Filed under Broadway In Chicago, Disney's The Lion King

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