Category Archives: Grease

Another Op’nin’, Another Show

What a weekend! Broadway In Chicago has a total of 5 shows running concurrently since Friday night! XANADU had its first preview on Friday and the audience loved it – they shot up at the end of the show to give it a standing ovation. The show looks better here in Chicago than it did on Broadway, but you all know that I am extremely prejudiced. Really, it is a smaller theatre so the entire production seems much more intimate and the experience is a little more in your face than it was on Broadway. We had such great audiences over the weekend, they all loved it.

We also said goodbye to DIRTY DANCING and GREASE. This week we say hello to SPAMALOT at the Auditorium. GREASE closed Sunday and SPAMALOT loads in and has its first performance on Tuesday. Richard Chamberlain is starring in the show and it will be his first performance ever in SPAMALOT, right here in Chicago! We open to the press on Wednesday, so keep your eye out for the reviews in the papers.

I begin this week with a heavy heart as this is the final week of WICKED. This Sunday, January 25 at 2:00 p.m., WICKED will close after 1500 performances & 3.5 years. There will be a lot of closing articles on the show. I would consider finding them and saving them as they are sure to be collector’s items, just like the Obama special sections! There will be a great party for the cast, crew, and staff of Broadway In Chicago. This is a show that we all consider as family. Next Monday I will give you the down low on who cried. I can’t tell you how much this show has meant to Broadway In Chicago and for the City of Chicago – and me. As they say in the song “I have been changed for good.”

It is all okay though – Chicago closes their hometown WICKED but inaugurates a hometown President! Oh that reminds me Broadway In Chicago has a huge one day sale tomorrow that you should not miss $44.00 to all the upcoming shows. Click here for more details!

-Eileen

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Filed under Broadway In Chicago, Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage, Grease, Spamalot: The Third Coming, Wicked, Xanadu

A note from the director…

My friends and co-workers have been working so hard the last few weeks putting Defying Inequality together. Now, I’m just excited to put it in front of an audience.The most enjoyable part of putting this together is seeing my coworkers and friends in a completely different setting. They’ve come up with a great variety of songs, dances and sketches. With each rehearsal, I realize that the people I work with everyday are so incredibly talented. They were hired for Wicked for a reason – they’re really good! The numbers they’ve come up with are touching and funny and wonderful – more than I could have ever hoped for.

I’m also floored by everyone’s willingness to just jump in. Even with the hectic schedule of the Holidays, closing the show and for many people in the cast, getting ready to move back to New York, it was all-hands-on-deck. And it’s not just our cast! We’ve been overwhelmed with support from local businesses and the Chicago theatre community. The touring company of Grease is only in Chicago for two weeks and they’re performing two great numbers. And I couldn’t be happier that my friends at Jersey Boys and The Second City have signed on. It’s going to be a great night for a great cause.

-Charlie Hagerty, Wicked cast member & Defying Inequality director

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Filed under Grease, Jersey Boys, Wicked

Veep Talk

Happy New Year!
What a great year it has been! Now Broadway In Chicago looks to what is coming next. Loved Chris Jones’ New Year’s resolutions in the Chicago Tribune – “Make theatergoing a weekly habit.”  What could be a better resolution!  He also said “Broadway In Chicago had to find a replacement for WICKED.”  Can you imagine? There are no replacements for shows, just more, different, longer and newer shows – but never a replacement.  WICKED is like a child to me and to the many of the staff members at Broadway In Chicago. Three and a half years – that is longer than many marriages (mine aside – 28 years and counting – with a theatrical producer no less).

Don’t forget, I say, we already have an existing long-run and that is JERSEY BOYS! And opening next week is XANADU!

Whatever, we are all preparing for the departure of WICKED: we are planning for a big party and this weekend the orchestra announced that they are going to do a special concert for the cast between shows on Saturday to thank the cast and crew for the wonderful experience that WICKED has been. This is one of the most generous and touching gestures I have seen in theatre.

Today in the office we are frantically putting the final touches on the opening night for GREASE.  The creator of the show, Jim Jacobs (and fellow Chicagoan), will be in attendance and the opening night cast party will be at the Kingston Mines.  I will give my personal opening night tickets to GREASE, Tuesday Night, at the Auditorium Theatre, to the first person who comments to this blog with the answer to the question: Why is the party at the Kingston Mines?

Sorry have to run now as I am meeting with the League of Chicago Theatres to plan the League’s Annual Benefit, more next week.

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Filed under Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, Broadway In Chicago, Grease, Jersey Boys, Wicked, Xanadu

Theaters going dark? Not in this town!

Xanadu_2

Elizabeth Stanley and company from “Xanadu,” coming to the Drury Lane Theatre at Water Tower Place.

This is supposed to be a nervous new year. In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re in the grips of a serious recession.

Broadway is in the tank—a slew of New York shows are closing in the coming days, including “Spamalot,” “Spring Awakening,” “13,” “Boeing-Boeing,” “Young Frankenstein,” “Hairspray,” “Grease” and “Gypsy.” And there is a raft of economic troubles elsewhere in the nation. Touring shows are having a rough time all across the country: ticket sales are down in many cities, presenters are cutting back shows, and the American Musical Theatre in San Jose, Calif, declared bankruptcy just a few weeks ago.

But in downtown Chicago, we’re suddenly reaching for a higher gear. There are an amazing number of touring shows headed to Chicago between now and Memorial Day. Just amazing.

My memory goes back a pretty long way (and have been doing some digging around the archives). So I’m feeling pretty comfortable saying there are more touring shows headed to Chicago this winter than any year in decades.

Just look at them all.

Broadway in Chicago is bringing “Grease” (Auditorium Theatre Jan. 6-18), “Monty Python’s Spamalot” (Auditorium Theatre Jan. 20 to Feb. 1), the Beatles tribute known as “Rain” (Auditorium Theatre March 3-8), “A Bronx Tale” (Oriental Theatre March 10-22), “Rent” (Oriental Theatre March 31 to April 12), “A Chorus Line” (Oriental Theatre April 14 to May 3), “Chicago” (Oriental Theatre Feb. 25 to March 8), and “Legally Blonde” (Oriental Theatre May 12-31).

Those are the short runs. Then there are two post-Broadway shows, “Xanadu” (Drury Lane Water Tower Place from Jan. 16) and “Mary Poppins” (Cadillac Palace Theatre from March 11) planning more extended engagements. Heck, “Xanadu” wants to be here for six months or more.

I’m still not done. Madison Square Garden is bringing two touring shows to the Chicago Theatre: “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (Feb 11-15) and “The Wizard of Oz” (April 30 to May 3).

More striking yet, the Arie Crown Theatre, which has been out of the Broadway game for several years, is hosting a major new musical about the Scottish hero Rob Roy. This big-scale show, which comes from Canada and is titled “Rob Roy The Musical,” will make its world premiere at the huge venue inside McCormick Place Feb. 3 to March 15. A major, new historical musical would be a risky endeavor in the best of economic settings. To bow such a project in the current climate takes real McChutzpah in my view. It’s a remarkable slate, all in all.

So what’s the story? Is Chicago somehow recession-proof?

No. Look around at the shops and restaurants.

The surfeit of shows is mostly a consequence of an unusual convergence of factors. “Wicked” is closing Jan. 25, freeing up the Oriental Theatre. For the last couple of years, touring shows have struggled to find venues in Chicago, because the theaters have been full (“Jersey Boys” still croons eight times a week at the Bank of America Theatre). There was a backlog.

There was also a presidential election this fall, so some shows that would have been on the fall slate delayed their tours, so as not to compete for attention. And you always see more shows at the Auditorium in the winter, because that venerable venue gets locked up with dance in the fall and spring.

Other matters are in play. Madison Square Garden Entertainment, the relatively new owner of the Chicago Theatre, is just now getting the hang of local programming and stepping up the competition a little (it’s also able to strike better deals for itself by booking “The Wizard of Oz” in Chicago and in its theater inside the MSG complex in New York). And Arie Crown also wanted a piece of the action—this is a venue that has been aggressively courting new business.

And then there’s a truth that seems mostly recession-proof: Everyone wants to play Chicago. How all of these shows will do remains to be seen, of course.

It seems likely that the weaker brethren will crash and burn, given all the competition. But we’ll just have to see. For Chicago residents, the long-running shows have meant a log-jam. Perhaps there is some pent-up demand.

All in all, I see at least two benefits for the theatergoer. The first one is obvious—there are shows coming for all tastes. And the second? There’s no way all these shows will be able to sell all those tickets at full price. Not in this climate. So watch out, theater-lovers, for a whole lot of special deals.

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Filed under A Bronx Tale, A Chorus Line, Grease, Legally Blonde The Musical, Mary Poppins, Rain: The Beatles Experience, Spamalot: The Third Coming, Xanadu

Taste Concert in the Park

BROADWAY IN CHICAGO’S CONCERT IN THE PARK SHOWCASES THE BEST OF BROADWAY FOR FREE
AT THE TASTE OF CHICAGO; MONDAY, JUNE 30, 2008

 

Concert Will Feature Performances from Chicago’s Own WICKED and JERSEY BOYS along with Cast Members from SPRING AWAKENING, DIRTY DANCING – The Classic Story On Stage, LEGALLY BLONDE – The Musical and More

 

Broadway In Chicago, in partnership with the City of Chicago, is pleased to present the BROADWAY IN CHICAGO CONCERT IN THE PARK, a fantastic, free event featuring Broadway’s hottest shows during the city’s legendary Taste of Chicago festival. 

 

Performers will include the Chicago casts of Jersey Boys, and Wicked.  Other performers include cast members from the recently announced Spring Awakening, Legally Blonde The Musical and Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage, which kicks off its pre-Broadway engagement in Chicago this September.  Audiences will also be able to preview Broadway In Chicago’s upcoming 2009 season with performances by A Chorus Line and Grease.

 

The BROADWAY IN CHICAGO CONCERT IN THE PARK will be held at the Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park Monday, June 30, 2008 at 6:00 p.m.  The concert is produced in partnership with the City of Chicago and hosted by ABC-7’s Janet Davies and Wicked‘s Gene Weygandt.  Admission is free.

 

For more information about the BROADWAY IN CHICAGO CONCERT IN THE PARK visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com.

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Filed under A Chorus Line, Broadway In Chicago, Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage, Grease, Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde The Musical, Spring Awakening, Uncategorized, Wicked