Category Archives: Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre

billy’s kind of town

Photo: Amy Boyle

No it is not a new over the counter drug for internet anxiety! It is a great new toy for Broadway In Chicago.

The producers of BILLY ELLIOT have found an exciting new way for us to give you the inside scoop about the show and all that it takes to bring this show to Chicago. There will be a monthly video installment (for the next 3 months) that will tell you more about the show, the creatives and most of all about the fabulous boys that are uber talented and rehearsing right here in Chicago! These are people who not only produced what Time Magazine calls the “Best Musical of the Decade” but also the people that brought you the amazing film. Producers of both BILLY ELLIOT the musical and the movie these are the people behind Working Title Films – so you can bet they do a great job on these Webisodes!

Be sure to take 90 seconds to watch Elton John gushes over Chicago and the BILLYs tour our great city.

Not to be missed!

– Eileen

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

happy/sad

THE ADDAMS FAMILY.

What an extraordinary experience! Everyone at Broadway In Chicago has loved every minute of this production, cast, creatives, management team and producers.

What is not to love about:

  • Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth hanging out in your theatre for over 3 months
  • Running into Rick Elice (Jersey Boys) and Marshall Brickman (Jersey Boys, Manhattan, Annie Hall) hanging out at the theatre and Argo Tea – writers and icons, stars in their own right
  • Sold out shows every night
  • Standing ovations with each performance
  • Opening Night with stars in attendance including Richard Kind, Elaine May and Jeff Garlin
  • The real evolution of a Broadway Musical with all of the work that goes into changes and cutting till it is done
  • Watching Chicago producers, Stuart Oken and Mick Leavitt, do what Chicagoans do best: work hard, keep focused,  make what started as a good musical GREAT.

There is nothing better! I hope that you have experienced THE ADDAMS FAMILY but if not, there are still 8 performances left! The show is leaving us this Sunday.

Don’t miss what Hedy Weiss (Chicago Sun Times), Steve Oxman (Variety) and many other reviewers saw (and a heck of a lot of audience members too) – an amazing show with an unbelievable cast that is destined to be a great musical with performances that Chicago is so lucky to see first!

-Eileen

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Nothing like a world premiere!

What a weekend!

Last Thursday, we had an invited dress rehearsal for THE ADDAMS FAMILY so friends and family of the show got to see the show run all the way through with no stops for the first time (still in rehearsal). Yes, that was the first time the show got all the way through without any stops! And it was amazing! THE ADDAMS FAMILY is surprising, stunning, a feast for the eyes and for the ears. I still can’t get the songs out of my head. And arguably one of the funniest scripts I have heard in a while – a real musical comedy – one that makes you laugh and touches your heart.

But would it stand the test of what I call “a real audience?” You know the ones that bought their tickets?

FIRSTS ARE SPECIAL:

It may have been Friday the 13th, but no bad luck for the audiences at this performance of THE ADDAMS FAMILY!

My day started off at the Oriental Theatre at 8 am. I met Mayor Daley, who was doing an interview in the theater lobby for Clef Notes Concert Journal for the Arts, which is doing a full-length feature about the transformation of the Loop and the excitement and economic generator that the Theatre District has become for the City. Before I even got into the building, I noticed that we already had a line for the box office for our student rush tickets – twelve (12) box seats are held for nearly every performance to the first lucky people in line to buy tickets at the Oriental. For the Reggi family it was certainly not an unlucky day either. They got to the theater at 4 am to be the first in line! With three purchases, their entire family was seated in the high-profile house right box for the very first public performance of THE ADDAMS FAMILY!

Anticipation was thick as the day progressed, and around noon, a special delivery came to the Broadway In Chicago team. Everyone was treated to lunch from the producers of THE ADDAMS FAMILY as a thank you and acknowledgment of Broadway In Chicago for why the show was here – why they choose Chicago.

Now it was time for Broadway In Chicago to thank the company by finishing the plans for the gifts to be sent over to the cast and creatives. While most gifts for shows are given out on the “Official Opening” or the night that the press attends, Broadway In Chicago has created the tradition with Pre-Broadway engagements to celebrate on the FIRST PERFORMANCE. This is our private celebration for the cast and creatives after the elation of the first paid audience and before all the hype starts from the opening, which in this case will not be till December 9.

By 7:30 pm, the audience was streaming into the theater. There was excitement in the air and only a few of us knew (having seen the Dress Rehearsal) that they are in for the treat of a lifetime. Every seat in the theater was filled and then the show got treated by what we say at Broadway In Chicago is our secret weapon – “The Chicago Audience” who love new work and are open to the experience of not knowing what it is going to look and sound like.

At 8 pm, the house rocked with applause immediately as the curtain opened for the first time, there was laughter throughout and even a tear or two – a show was born. When you are lucky enough to sit in that first public performance, you know that you are experiencing something that only a few get to do – to see a show be born. From nothing comes some notes and dialogue on a page and then for most shows a 3 – 8 year process of development and finally in one stroke of downbeat, a new musical is unleashed.

And finally, the perfect end to a perfect evening – a spontaneous standing ovation at the beginning of the curtain call. After the show Broadway In Chicago took the cast, crew, orchestra and producers out for a champagne toast and some fun at ATWOOD CAFÉ, giving them the chance to celebrate the miracle of what each and everyone of them created together over months and years. No one knows what will happen as yet….but for that one special night it is pure magic!

On Saturday and Sunday, there were more rehearsals and two more performances. By Wednesday, when they perform next, the show will change, ever so slightly from rehearsals in between and it will continue to change and grow until December 9 when the critics will say what they think.

Do not wait until then to buy your tickets! Every day another performance sells out. Now is the time, this is the show. See it before it leaves for Broadway!

-Eileen

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first look at the addams family

Holy. Moly.

You better get your tickets now – this is going to be amazing.

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the final countdown

addams family blog

Broadway In Chicago subscribers get into the spirit of Halloween this past weekend

I have been getting a lot of questions about the details on THE ADDAMS FAMILY. There are only 11 days left till the first preview and I am as anxious as our subscribers, who dressed up for Halloween as the entire “family,” and as our audiences, who have been clamoring on our blog for an update (this is for your Alex!).

This is what I know: the set is up and is stunning, the cast is working very hard and is such a tremendously rich ensemble, the writers of both the book and the music (Marshall Brickman, Rick Elice and Andrew Lippa) are going to deliver something that I think you’ll find surprising, and the show is led by a pair of the most unusual directors (Phelim McDermott & Julian Crouch) to shepherd a musical. Together with the tremendous ensemble, they are going to bring you a show that is as beautiful as it is intelligent – a total match for our Chicago audiences and one that I am telling you, you don’t want to miss! There are still tickets left, but don’t think you can wait – buy your tickets now!

FYI: The cast has been out and about in Chicago! Lots of sightings – McDonald’s, the Bean, Petterino’s, Architectural Boat Cruise, Northwestern – let us know if you have had any sightings of your own.

-Eileen

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it’s opening night

Oriental AfterExciting News…

You haven’t lived until you have felt the excitement of an opening night! And guess what? You could actually go to the opening night of THE ADDAMS FAMILY on December 9. This is the night that the press and all of the VIPs from the show attend. Rarely does the general public get a chance to attend these openings. So, how can you get tickets? Well, we just released about 200 seats in the balcony and they are just waiting for you to purchase them. But hurry! They are going to go quickly!

PLUS…..

We just released first row seats for almost any performance of THE ADDAMS FAMILY. These are seats that were just checked for sight lines and it appears they are great seats. If you want to be up close and personal with the Family, now is the time to buy your seats.

-Eileen

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welcome to the neighborhood

Kevin Chamberlin

Kevin Chamberlin

Last Thursday was our final run-thru in the rehearsal hall in NYC. The space is located on 42nd Street in the heart of Times Square Theater District. I can’t help thinking that this neighborhood is going to be my home for the next year – beginning in February when we move our show into the Lunt-Fontanne. It’s been a long journey to this point. The initial reading of the script was back in June of 2008. We’ve had numerous puppet labs and dance workshops and script readings – exploring character, finding the physical language of the show, and fine tuning the amazing special effects. My anticipation was palpable as I prepared to fly to Chicago and step into the theater for the first time. For months, we have only seen renderings and used our imagination to envision what the sets and lighting will look like. In 48 hours, I’ll see Julian Crouch‘s design “in the flesh” as it were.

Sad MovieIt’s always an exciting day with many surprises and revelations. I’m looking forward to actually walking up the beautiful staircase units that inhabit the Addams house. We’ve always had to stop at the 8th step in the rehearsal hall (the room’s ceiling always prevented us from going further). There are new Basil Twist puppet creations to introduce ourselves to, dressers and crew members to meet,  (and more importantly, lots of Chicago restaurants to visit!). I’m a big fan of Portillo’s Italian Beef Sandwich – which I discovered during my last visit to Chicago this past March – when I played Amos Hart in the National tour of “Chicago” at The Oriental.

Chicago is a great theater town with smart and discerning audiences. We have all been working incredibly hard this past year to create a spectacular musical comedy for them, full of hysterical surprises, draw dropping visuals, mind-blowing special effects, and sensational musical numbers. I think Chicago is going to have as much fun watching our show as we did creating it.

-Kevin Chamberlin (Uncle Fester/The Addams Family)

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A New Family’s Coming to Town!

StageWouldn’t it be great if every time you and your entire family moved to a new city, there was a large crew of people to set up your whole house with furniture, lighting, internet and sound system before you even got there?! Well, The Addams Family has that luxury! Everyone at the Oriental Theatre will be working hard for the next few weeks to make things just right for the premiere of The Addams Family… even Thing will lend a helping hand!! Before the company even arrives to settle into their new “digs”, everything is loaded into the theatre, speakers and lights are hung, set pieces are assembled and countless other welcoming touches are added to what will serve as the Family’s home for four months.

BoxesWe at Broadway In Chicago are honored to welcome The Addams Family into our hometown. Our theatre, just a matter of days ago, was a bare black stage and an audience full of empty seats. Now there are lights on the stage and hanging from the ceiling, and pieces of the set getting into place. Each week as we get closer to opening, the transformation from “the Oriental Theatre” to “The Addams Family home” will be more complete. We like to finish things well in advance, though, so we’re not left in a Lurch when it’s show time!

After having seen the great job our crews have done last week and this week…I know who I’ll be calling for my next move!

-Stephanie
Production Coordinator

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there’s no place like home

© Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau

© Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau

I cannot begin to describe how excited I am to be returning to my hometown, Chicago with Spring Awakening!!! I was introduced to so many great shows in Chicago. I would beg my Mom for tickets to anything. I think one of the first things I saw, Ragtime, was actually in the Oriental where we will be playing, so I really feel like this year has come full circle for me. It’s been such a crazy experience and it has gone by so fast. It was about a year ago we began rehearsals and then made our first move to San Diego and then opened in San Francisco (I had never been to California before, and now I can’t wait to go back!)

Gabrielle GarzaI have been all over the country, (and Canada too!!!) and have seen so many cool things. I can’t wait however to take my cast mates out and show them what Chicago has to offer!!! One of my favorites places has to be Oak Street Beach, and we are lucky enough to be going when it’s beach season!!! I keep telling them how surreal it is to be walking about the busy city and then head over to this awesome beach that’s right in the middle of all the commotion. I used to go downtown to the beach when I was in high school. We’d soak up some rays, grab a bite and shop around for a bit before heading back to the ’burbs. I am also excited to go back to the Adler Planetarium. If I wasn’t an actor, Id like to think I would have ended up an astronaut. (Hey, anything can happen, right?) I am so glad to be able to share this great city with my friends on tour. Chicago is also bittersweet because for a couple of people, this is their final stop. I know I will miss them tremendously but I am so glad we got to share in this amazing journey together. Hopefully we’ll add a couple more memories here in Chicago.

XO
Gabby (Anna/SPRING AWAKENING)

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tales from the press world

I am approaching my one year anniversary of working at Margie Korshak, Inc. on the Broadway In Chicago account – and let me tell you that there has rarely been a dull moment! One of my favorite things about my job is that I am rarely at my desk and each day brings something new.

After a year, I thought it might be fun to look back and share some of my favorite moments:

  • My first PR duty for Broadway In Chicago ― taking cast members from Wicked on an Architecture Boat Cruise on a beautiful day in September. I think I even managed to get some sun, too!
  • The one year anniversary of Jersey Boys. What else can you say except a citywide pizza party and closing the show with Frank Sinatra’s “My Kind of Town” is pretty cool!
  • Escorting Annaleigh Ashford and Jenny DiNoia from the cast of Wicked to a Bears game to sing the National Anthem. It was freezing cold, but it was worth it as they were amazing! Plus, I was able to walk on the field, watch very good looking football players warm up and stand next to the bench during the National Anthem.
  • “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” Dirty Dancing is a link to my childhood – How could I not love it?!
  • Wicked’s final performance. Although I only worked a short time with the show, it was sad to see Wicked leave Chicago… But the cast party at The Dana Hotel after the final performance was a great party!
  • Meeting the magnificent and legendary Richard Chamberlain when he was in town starring as King Arthur in Monty Python’s Spamalot. It was a privilege to spend time with him.
  • Having lunch with John O’Hurley, who played J. Peterman on Seinfeld, between television interviews at Italian Village while he was in town with Chicago The Musical. I am a HUGE Seinfeld fan, so need I say more?
  • Watching the first preview performance of Mary Poppins at the Cadillac. I was moved to tears and it quickly became one of my favorite shows. Then getting to know the cast… how wonderfully talented, kind and energetic they were. They are all missed!
  • Having Sir Elton John at a press conference on Tuesday announcing that Billy Elliot the Musical is coming to Chicago. We are very excited for March 2010.

John O'Hurley

Stage Door for final WICKED performance

Ashley Brown as Mary Poppins. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Dominic Scaglione Jr. in a scene from JERSEY BOYS. Photo: Joan Marcus.Elton John Announcement 033

Overall I think I have a pretty cool job…

There are many more fun stories, but so little space. I will be back with more tales from Broadway In Chicago’s press world in a month or two… See you then!

-Anne, Broadway In Chicago press agent

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Filed under Billy Elliot the Musical, Broadway In Chicago, Cadillac Palace Theatre, Celebrity, Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage, Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, Jersey Boys, Mary Poppins, Spamalot: The Third Coming, Wicked