HAIR tribe member Caren Tackett (Sheila) stopped by Fox’s “Good Day Chicago” earlier today for a performance of “Easy To Be Hard.” She ran into Governor Pat Quinn at the studio and invited him to see her in the show! You can catch Caren’s performance on Fox between 8 and 10 am tomorrow and HAIR at the Oriental Theatre now through March 20th!
Category Archives: Hair
One of the best parts of being in show business, some would say, is the opening night…
And we have a great one this week in HAIR. If you are my age, it’s time to dust off your peace necklace and give it another spin. If you’re my kids’ age and want to know just what the 60s were all about, come experience it. What you will find is the more things change, the more they stay the same. I took my son in N.Y. and experienced a range of emotions, ultimately leaving with a smile on my face. It is truly time to “Let the Sun Shine In.”
And one of the toughest jobs in the business is the job of a Producer?
For an intense look at what that means, register for the Commercial Theatre Institute, Chicago Producing Conference. It will give you an inside look at what it takes and how you too could be a producer. The CTI-Chicago conference is open to anyone interested in producing, co-producing, investing in the commercial theatre or just curious about the process. Industry notables who will be speaking at this conference include Roche Schulfer, Executive Director of the Goodman Theatre; Deborah Clapp, Executive Director of the League of Chicago Theatres; “White Noise” producer Holly Way; “ The Addams Family” producer Stuart Oken and me! Check it out – there is still time to register.
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 (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.
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.”
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!
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!
Hello from NY – what a weekend!
Sunday afternoon, I met Heather Schmucker, who we work with on a project that Broadway In Chicago is doing with American Musical Theatre Project at Northwestern. Together we saw GOD OF CARNAGE – produced by Stuart Thompson, who is also working on SHREK. All those stars on stage – Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, James Gandolfini, Marcia Gay Harden – and a hilarious play! But the stars weren’t only on stage. Right next to me in the seat was Meg Ryan. Now that is a real bonus.
There are so many great shows that we are all hoping will tour and come to Chicago first or longest. Just a few:
What are you hoping for? At this point, all we can do is wait and see what develops.
I had the perfect weekend!
Friday Night – attended Tommy at Circle Theatre in Forest Park. The show was great and the adult Tommy blew the audience away with an amazing performance. His name is Tom McGunn – and in addition to his amazing talent on stage, Tom has been a treasured marketing associate with Broadway In Chicago for over 4 years. Before that, he performed with my daughter in Joseph at the Chicago Theatre and Phantom at the Candlelight Playhouse.
Saturday – okay, let’s not talk about Saturday as it was all about getting caught up with e-mail – not very theatrical at all! However Sunday made up for it – the Sunday in June that every theatre Broadwayite (new term that was coined at the Tony’s!) waits with great anticipation.
It started off attending a reading of a musical in development called Harold and Maude (of the cult movie fame) at the home of director and Northwestern professor, David Bell. It was an intimate group of people – all theatre folk including Sandy Shinner from Victory Gardens, Bill Pullinsi from Theatre at the Center, and Libby Mages – Broadway Producer, among others. Kurt Johns, directed the piece and the show is written by Tom Jones who wrote the music for The Fantastiks. The cast was brilliant starring Renee Matthews but the stand out to me was her co-star Nathan Carroll, a recent graduate from Columbia College in Chicago and the most amazing young talent – and most importantly a valued usher for Broadway In Chicago.
Then at 7 pm, we had a Tony party with fellow Broadway In Chicago staffers and dinner by producer Tony D’Angelo (name-sake chef for the Tony’s and my adorable husband). We all thought it was one of the best Tony productions – lots of performances! Okay there were some sound problems but there was so much to look at – glittering stars, lots of people/producers that love Chicago and great performances, not-to-be-missed plays and even some stars from the shows you have or had in Chicago including our lead from Jersey Boys and Legally Blonde. Plus great performances by Shrek, soon to be at the Oriental Theatre, and our dear friend David Stone’s (producer of Wicked) Next to Normal (what an unbelievably moving show – even Elton gave a shout out to the composers), West Side Story (what a performance!), Rock of Ages and Hair (both rocked the house – and the TV viewing audience too – and hopefully rocking a Broadway In Chicago theatre soon!). Last but certainly not least, the 2009 Tony Award for Best Musical – BILLY ELLIOT! This is a shout out to the show’s producers: we so want this show to come to Chicago first before any other city outside of NY and for the longest time possible. Please send your pleas for the show to come here first and we will send them on to the producer!
High on Theatre,
P.S. Here is real insider scoop – there was a quick video teaser for the THE ADDAMS FAMILY but only for the audience members at the Tony’s. Click here and you too can be on the inside. And don’t forget to buy your tickets! THE ADDAMS FAMILY is on its way to being sold out!