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!
Filed under Billy Elliot the Musical, Broadway In Chicago, Hair, Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde The Musical, New York, Next to Normal, Rock of Ages, Shrek The Musical, The Addams Family, West Side Story
Hey guys!! The cast of the National Tour of LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL is presenting a cabaret to raise money for Chicago House and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
There will be performances from all of your favorite cast members including: Cystal Joy, Paul Jackel, Alex Ellis, Rhiannon Hansen, Coleen Sexton, DB Bonds, Lauren Zakrin, Tally Sessions, Mamie Parris, Nick Dalton, Natalie Joy Johnson, Adam Zelasko and Becky Gulsvig! There will also be a chance to win great door prizes like a signed poster, a signed souvenir program, two tickets to the show and more! So come out and support this great cause!
When: Monday, June 1 @ 6pm – 9pm
Where: Sidetrack Video Bar, 3349 N Halsted (must be 21 and over)
Tickets: $25 can be purchased at the door
LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL is currently playing at the Ford Center/Oriental Theatre through June 7 only!
-Adam Zelasko (Nikos/Padamadan, u/s Warner/LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL)
Dominic Scaglione Jr. (Jersey Boys) & Becky Gulsvig (Legally Blonde the Musical) chat before their performances at the League of Chicago Theaters Gala
Last week was the League of Chicago Theatres benefit and it was a great party. The League honored some of my favorite people and Chicago greats including Criss Henderson and Barbara Gaines from Chicago Shakespeare, Janet Davies from ABC7 and Marcelle McVay from Victory Gardens Theater. It was like the “Who’s Who?” of Chicago theater. What I loved most about the evening was the acknowledgement of a theatre community that, since the 1970s, has been a tight knit family. Never could you imagine so many people working in the same business who are all so in love with not what each of us does but what the collective creates. Like any family, over three decades, we have had our battles, egos and best of all dramas, but in the end “we are a family.”
In addition, Broadway In Chicago awarded the third annual Emerging Theatre Award. The 2009 recipient was the side project and Adam Webster, founder and Artistic Director, accepted the award. This award means a lot to Broadway In Chicago. Not only is it an opportunity for Broadway In Chicago to contribute financially to young company but to be able to interact throughout the year with valuable guidance. This is also a time for the entire community to acknowledge a company that is poised to go to the next step. This is a very special award as it is one of the few that is chosen by the company’s peers in the industry.
Janet Davies (ABC7) & Dominick Scaglione Jr. (Jersey Boys)
The evening was topped off when Dominic Scaglione Jr., star of JERSEY BOYS, sang “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” to Janet Davies, who was given the Tribute Award. She is definitely “too good to be true.” Following Dominic was a performance from our own Elle Woods, Becky Gulsvig.
Couple of notes –
- Don’t wait or you will be out of luck! See LEGALLY BLONDE and MARY POPPINS – the both only have a few weeks left.
- JERSEY BOYS is about to celebrate its 1 millionth patron. If you haven’t seen it yet, go now or if you are hoping to see it again, now is the time. You could be the 1 millionth patron and who knows what we will do for this honored customer!
The bus took a turn onto Cicero Ave. and the cast went quiet – occupied by the sights of a new Tour City. We’ve come into a habit of staring out the window while on the ride to our new ‘home’ in search of some familiarity; an ounce of hope that the city in which we’re arriving will bring us a delivering Jimmy Johns, a bar that stays open past 10:30pm, or even just a wash-n-fold Laundromat. I broke the silence: “Pepe’s!!!!”
Really? No one? In a cast full of New Yorkers and 90210-ers, I guess Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant doesn’t look too appealing. But to a girl from the Midwest it can only mean one thing: I’m Home.
I grew up in Lafayette, Indiana – near Purdue University. Did the showchoir thing, the pageant thing, etc. In my home, Chicago existed for one wonderful reason: Theatre. I’m back in the Midwest for a month doing Legally Blonde at the Oriental and couldn’t be happier to return in such style. I walked down State Street last night on the way to sound-check and could have lost it right there on the curb. This city is so majestic.
Our preview audience was brilliant. As a young actor, the range of my regional theatre experience is limited. I closed Les Miserables in New York last winter, and I’ve worked a couple of Summerstock jobs here and there, but this is my first experience in traveling with a show. Chicago brings with it all the poise and elegance of a Theatre City. Its theatre-goers are certainly not afraid to put on their Sunday Clothes for curtain.
I have such respect for this place. Here’s to four weeks of hometown splendor, good eats, good audiences, and a great run!
-Cortney Wolfson (Serena/Legally Blonde The Musical)
• We are 30 minutes into our pre-sale for THE ADDAMS FAMILY and I am warning now – don’t wait. Buy today with your American Express card and if you don’t have one apply now or borrow a friends. If you haven’t heard it is going to star Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth! Not to be missed.
• We are 8.5 hours away from the opening of LEGALLY BLONDE – this is another show not to be missed. Be on the look-out for reviews or post your own here – this is sure to be raved about. First preview was last night and the crowd went wild.
• We are five days into the sale of Season Tickets – a really great season that includes:
Did you all know that Crunch Fitness has a Broadway Series on Mondays at 6:45 pm (Grand & Wabash location). NudeHippo.com did a great piece on the class for A CHORUS LINE. A five, six, seven, eight… Next up: Legally Blonde the Musical. See you there!
Becky Gulsvig as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde the Musical. Photo by Joan Marcus.
When I first started producing Legally Blonde with my partners, I was a little skeptical. I’m not blonde. I thought Juicy Couture was a type of bubble gum. Let’s say I was more like Elle’s nemesis, Vivienne. But now, just like Vivienne, I am a total convert. Color me pink, there’s never been a Blonde I love more. And I’m thrilled that our National Tour will play Chicago this May. Chicago is the best theatre town in the country as far as this Chicago native is concerned.
So I thought to myself, what should I share about the Blonde I adore? Is it some inside scoop- that the show’s four dogs (two principal pups and two understudies- yes, the dogs have understudies!) are all rescue dogs? Or that the score is written by two actual Harvard alums (a married couple, in fact)? Or that we have over 3,000 costume pieces, a mighty impressive feast for fashionistas? There are so many tidbits to share, but they don’t fully capture why I love Legally Blonde so much. Maybe it’s my belief that our musical answer to the film’s Harvard admission video is smart and spirited. Or that the quirky lawyer Emmett emerges as the leading man everyone adores. And then it hit me- I love this show every time I see it, and I’ve now seen it over 100 times, because the musical perfectly reflects the dilemma facing its leading lady. As Elle herself points out, you can’t judge a book by its cover. She may look like a typical Blonde, but she has humor and heart that wins over even the most discerning critic. I find myself rooting for our true-to-her roots heroine each and every time!
So when Chicago is painted pink this May, I hope all of you, including those Vivienne types just like me, will come celebrate with Elle Woods.
Becky Gulsvig (Legally Blonde) at the Taste of Chicago Concert 2008
What a trip to New York! We met with a lot of shows that are thinking about coming to Chicago and began to work out our next two seasons, as well as Broadway In Chicago’s summer concert at the Taste of Chicago. You already know about some of the upcoming shows – AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, LEGALLY BLONDE – but some which will be new and announced over the next six months. I so wish I could talk about all of them now but who knows what will for sure happen.
I got to see IN THE HEIGHTS. It was my second time – and while it has the most amazing hip hop and salsa music – the story could not be more touching and more like FIDDLER. I know that might be shocking but I found out that Lin-Manuel Miranda was inspired by FIDDLER when writing IN THE HEIGHTS.
Sunday night I saw the opening of the ROSE AND THE RIME. I had heard such good buzz about it and boy, was everyone right…this was The House at its best. A fabulous show that you should not miss! Don’t wait – this week go to see CHICAGO (opens this week) at the Oriental Theatre and ROSE AND THE RIME at the Chopin Theatre.
This week I am going to London. Looking at another new show!
Have a great and be sure to go to the theatre !
More from me next week….
Becky Gulsvig as Elle Woods with Bruiser Woods
A lot of the people who purchase tickets for our shows have never been to Broadway show before. Our job is to make it an easy and pleasant experience so they will come back. LEGALLY BLONDE is on pre-sale today to the Broadway In Chicago Club Corporate members. Of course, groups have been booking for awhile. We just had a call from someone who wondered what LEGALLY BLIND was about. At this point you don’t want to embarrass the caller and say, “BLONDE…not blind!” So the group sales agent tried to work around the answer – “Did you see the movie with Reese Whitherspoon? No? Well, did you happen to catch the reality TV show that featured several young BLONDEwomen auditioning for the lead? No? You could check out the Broadway In Chicago website.”Finally the agent said “I think you misunderstood the name of the show. It’s LEGALLY BLONDE not LEGALLY BLIND.” The woman was happy to hear that and indeed had heard of LEGALLY BLONDE. She booked a group of 20 for her company and is calling her daughter’s school to let them know about the $14.50 student group discount.
Right now I am sitting at my desk wondering what the story for LEGALLY BLIND, the musical would be like. If only I could find my glasses.
Monday is the day that everyone at Broadway In Chicago trys to catch up. We never have shows on Monday (well probably shouldn’t say never – as there is always an exception to that rule). We are updating all of our website information and social networking sites with the new shows that are in town.
Taste Concert 2008
Planning for the next years big events – like the Convention and Tourism lunch where LEGALLY BLONDE and XANADU will be performing, as well as the League of Chicago Theatre Gala and the Broadway In Chicago Taste of Chicago Concert. Yes, I know it is in July, but time is not waiting for anyone.
This past week, XANADU just got rave reviews and JERSEY BOYS has just put on another block of tickets. Over 750,000 people having seen JERSEY BOYS and we certainly hope to break a million with this show. I love seeing JERSEY BOYS. It is like liquid energy the audiences so love it and are up on their feet everynight.
Last week I was in NY for a sneak peek of ADDAMS FAMILY – it was so fabulous! So wonderful that I don’t want to tell you anything about it except to say that it should be on the top of your list for the fall. In fact – if you were smart you would secure your seats now by becoming a Broadway In Chicago subscriber! I will tell you more as the days go on but for now, just know that I laughed, I cried and left thrilled that Chicago is going to get to see it first!