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!