Category Archives: Mary Poppins

Don’t Rain On My Parade

So this week is going to be a busy one for Broadway In Chicago. We kicked it off yesterday with a float at the Pride Parade. We had prepared ourselves for a long day – the weather report was a little dicier than we would have liked, but it ended up being a perfect day for a parade. We had to scramble a bit at the start of the day, but ended up getting everything ready by the noon start time. The preparation is always a little intense for the parade, but the payoff is fun for our staff.

Today, we have a taping for our Broadway In Chicago Backstage program with Comcast. This is our second of the year (we did WORKING in January) and it always is a fun chance for the audience (and us) to get a little more insight into our shows. Today we are going to have cast members from the show and a performance. Beauty and the Beast starts on Wednesday so it was a great chance for the cast to do the taping and of course, perform at our Taste of Chicago Concert tonight!

Have you all been to our Taste of Chicago concert before? The event kicks off at 6 pm tonight at the Petrillo Band Shell, and our entire staff has their fingers, toes, legs, eyes all crossed in the hopes that the rain will taper off (or at least stop for about 2 hours between 6 – 8 pm). We have several shows coming in for the event – The Addams Family, Memphis, La Cage Aux Folles, Mary Poppins – plus performances from some of our current shows AND a bunch of fun surprises for the evening. It’s one of our favorite events of the year–can you believe this is our 10th year? We are so happy to give the Chicago fans a little “taste” of the shows that we have now and in the future and that the shows are always so supportive of the event.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

See you at the theater,

Eileen

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Filed under Beauty & the Beast, Broadway In Chicago, Broadway In Chicago Backstage, La Cage Aux Folles, Mary Poppins, Memphis, Taste of Chicago, The Addams Family, Working

those who can’t perform…publicize

People often say “those who can’t do, teach.” Well, I like to think of it more along the lines of those who can’t perform become press agents/publicists. My earliest childhood memory was wanting to be a star and diva like Miss Piggy. However, growing up over the years, I came to the realization that I really didn’t have the performing chops needed to make my kindergarten dream come true. BUT, I had a different kind of talent, a more behind the scenes talent, and that was being able to get performers and shows of all types the publicity they deserve.

Over the past ten years, I have encountered a fabulous group of people in my career from Cookie Monster to Carlin, but there was always something more I wanted to do. Growing up on musicals and theatre (from touring productions to our local 400 seat community theatre), I really wanted to get back to what I loved. In early 2009, I was able to come on board with Margie Korshak and work with Broadway In Chicago and the fabulous shows that are in Chicago! Although it is crazy from time to time, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I have been able to do some exciting things and meet some fabulous performers. There is no typical day here at MKI when you are working on Broadway show. Of course, there is the “standard PR stuff” like writing releases, talking to reporters and booking TV appearances. But we also get to things that fall out of the realm of a 9am – 5pm desk job! Over the past few months some of the highlights include:

  • Going on a wine tasting tour of Chicago with Michael Cunio of Jersey Boys for a Chicago Sun Time article
  • National Anthems for the White Sox (Mary Poppins, Jersey Boys and Fiddler on the Roof)
  • Shopping for an opening night dress with Ashley Brown (Mary Poppins) at Maria Pinto
  • Having breakfast during a media tour with Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp from Rent
  • Having manicures with Alyana Gallo of Jersey Girls for a “girlie story”
  • Going to the Windy City Rollers (women’s roller derby) with cast members from Xanadu

We at MKI are getting more and more excited as fall approaches for some great events and shows like the second Anniversary of Jersey Boys in Chicago, the premiere of The Addams Family, Young Frankenstein (with original cast members Roger Bart and Shuler Hensley) and In The Heights. And of course, gearing up for next year with Billy Elliot and Shrek! Broadway In Chicago will be keeping us very busy this fall but more importantly, they will be bringing YOU the best Broadway shows! Hope to see you at the next one!

-Michelle, Broadway In Chicago press agent

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Filed under Billy Elliot the Musical, Broadway In Chicago, Fiddler on the Roof, In the Heights, Jersey Boys, Mary Poppins, Rent, Shrek The Musical, The Addams Family, Xanadu, Young Frankenstein

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

a sweep is as lucky, as lucky can be

Gavin Lee

Gavin Lee

So, the Chicago company of Mary Poppins will be moving on to start the 1st National tour in a couple of weeks- I cant believe its been six months already! It’s true – TIME FLIES WHEN YOU’RE HAVING FUN! The minute Em (my wife) and I arrived here in January we loved the city (even though it was freezing. Erm, when is the sun gonna come out so we can go sit on the beach?) Our apartment is just off the Loop, so easy access to all things ‘touristy’ even though I feel we have only touched the surface when it comes to exploring the real Windy City.

Being asked to go on tour was just perfect for me because even though I absolutely love the role of Bert, after 4 years it can get to be ‘just a job’ so to get to start from scratch again with a practically brand new cast was exactly what I needed. Everyone at work is so fresh and positive and already the company feels a lot closer than Broadway or London. I’m guessing, because we are all away from home and our loved ones and ‘Poppins’ becomes your family. On any night there’ll be a group going for a drink after the show to ‘Stocks and Blonds’ or ‘The Emerald Loop’ and there’s always a cast birthday to celebrate at some cool bar or club- any excuse for everyone to get dressed up!

Photo of Ashley Brown as ‘Mary Poppins’ & Gavin Lee as ‘Bert,’ original Broadway Company of MARY POPPINS.  ©Disney/CML.  Photo by Joan Marcus.

Photo of Ashley Brown as ‘Mary Poppins’ & Gavin Lee as ‘Bert,’ original Broadway Company of MARY POPPINS. ©Disney/CML. Photo by Joan Marcus.

As for the show, having been involved in three separate productions now, I think we have a really strong cast, crew and production and I’m so, so glad that the producers didn’t scale down the show for the tour – everything is still there – the sets, the magic and of course the flying – who knew I’d get to hang upside down in so many cities around the country!

In a couple of days everyone is going to get our ‘touring trunks’ to pack all our worldly goods into, put on one of the 15 or so trucks and it will magically appear in the dressing room of our next theatre. I’m so excited to get out on the road and get to explore this great country that I’ve fallen in love with but I’m kinda gutted that we have to leave here already. The things I’ll miss most about Chicago – the friendly, polite people, Bongo Room for brunch, our apartment roof deck, the river, Brazzaz all you can eat buffet (meat meat meat!) and the great audiences – they are soo loud!! Thank you Chicago for having us – what a brilliant place to have started this amazing journey!

-Gavin Lee (Bert/MARY POPPINS)

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Filed under Cadillac Palace Theatre, Mary Poppins

i go out walking

Walking Banner 006Sometime I miss the convenience of having our offices above The Shubert Theatre (now the Bank of America Theatre), but on Matinee Days it is so much fun to rush around the Loop checking on JERSEY BOYS and then over to the last Wednesday matinee of MARY POPPINS. I pass the Broadway In Chicago Street Team in their new backpack boards and, just like the other pedestrians, I stop and stare!

It is summer in the city and people are everywhere. What a far cry it is from what State Street was like 17 years ago when I started working at the old Shubert. Now no matter what time I leave the office to walk the few blocks to one of the shows I see people on their way to restaurants, hotels and theatres. This past weekend, State Street was filled with strolling crowds enjoying the weather and the stores. I bet visitors who come in for events like the Taste of Chicago or Blues Fest are just as impressed as I am by the vibrant, exciting Chicago Loop.

What do you love about Chicago in the summer?

-Gemma

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Filed under Bank of America Theatre, Broadway In Chicago, Jersey Boys, Mary Poppins

i’m just a broadway baby

Broadway In Chicago and Taste of Chicago…Oh, What A Night! 

Janet and Craig get the concert underway

Janet and Craig get things underway.

This was my second Broadway In Chicago Concert in the Park experience.  I love this concert!  It is such a great preview of the shows going on now and the ones that are coming.

Last year, I performed with my company of JERSEY BOYS, but this year I had the extreme pleasure of co-hosting with ABC7’s Janet Davies!  I had such a blast!  Janet was so fun to work with.  We hit it off right away and had so much fun together.  I have to admit I was a little nervous when I got a glimpse of the 10,000+ crowd, but when Janet introduced me and the crowd greeted me with such an enthusiastic and supportive response, the nerves went away and the fun began.

I can’t talk enough about the performances. The concert kicked off with my buddy John Michael Dias (Frankie Valli in JERSEY BOYS) singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” so beautifully. 

MARY POPPINS was the first show to perform.  Ashley Brown, Gavin Lee, Aida Neitenbach, and Justin Hall performed a beautiful medley of songs from the show and the crowd loved it.  I need to talk about Ashley Brown’s voice.  WOW! Forget “Practically Perfect.”  It is just “Perfect.”  From the sound of the crowd, they thought so too.

Olga Merediz with members of the Niles North High School Choral Department at the Broadway In Chicago Concert in the Park

Olga Merediz with members of the Niles North High School Choral Department at the Broadway In Chicago Concert in the Park

Another performance that truly blew me away was the number from IN THE HEIGHTS.  I think that Chicago will completely fall in love with this show.  I saw it in NYC and LOVED it.  Olga Merediz, who was Tony nominated for her IN THE HEIGHTS performance, sang “Paciencia Y Fe.”  I don’t even know where to begin with this one.  Inspiring is the word that comes to mind.  Olga was absolutely outstanding and everyone at Jersey Boys is still talking about her performance.  There was also a special treat with this number.  BIC and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of In The Heights, arranged to have the Niles North High School chorus back up Olga.  It made for a truly spectacular number.

I also thought that Dennis DeYoung’s 101 DALMATIANS was a lot of fun with very catchy music. I am still singing it!  I am really excited to see how this brand new show develops by the time it comes to Chicago in February.

Roger Bart, whose talents I have always admired, and Justin Patterson flew in from NYC to give Chicago audiences a taste of YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN.  They were hysterical.  I saw this HILARIOUS show in New York and I thought it was great how strongly the crowd reacted to “Puttin on the Ritz.”  From that reaction alone I can imagine it will be a hard ticket to get.

The Chicago Company of JERSEY BOYS at the Broadway In Chicago Concert in the Park

The Chicago Company of JERSEY BOYS at the Broadway In Chicago Concert in the Park

 The finale of the concert was…you guessed it…JERSEY BOYS!  My company did a medley of the hit songs from the show.  From the first notes that were played, it was mind boggling how nuts the crowd went!  People were screaming, singing, and dancing in the aisles.  It was absolutely awesome.  I know I speak for my entire company when I say how much that meant to us and how much we loved it!!!

JERSEY BOYS finished off the concert with a Four Seasons-style rendition of “My Kind of Town.”  It was a thank you to Chicago for embracing us for nearly two years now.

It was a fantastic night with phenomenal performances.  Thanks to all who attended.  Go see a show!

-Craig Laurie (Bob Crewe/JERSEY BOYS)

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Filed under 101 Dalmatians, Broadway In Chicago, In the Heights, Jersey Boys, Mary Poppins, Young Frankenstein

oh, those summer nights…

Yes…you probably heard.  This weekend was tough – we lost a performance due to technical difficulties at MARY POPPINS.  It was sad but we are doing everything we can to get those that missed the performance into another performance before MARY POPPINS closes on July 12.   There is the joy and heartbreak of live theatre and Saturday Night June 27 at 8:00 p.m. was heartbreaking.

 

However, today is a great day – there are so many things to do!

 

You can buy ½ price tickets through Hot Tix and attend either MARY POPPINS or JERSEY BOYS or both through the 4th of July Weekend – don’t wait the 1776 tickets were made available today through Hot Tix on-line and they are going fast.

 

And/Or, you can attend the Broadway In Chicago Concert in the park for FREE.   See Roger Bart from YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, the entire cast of JERSEY BOYS, the stars of MARY POPPINS, selections from 101 DALMATIONS with an introduction by Dennis DeYoung from STYX and more.

 

It is a perfect day to visit the TASTE and enjoy this great concert.

 

This is the one day of the year that I get to go out enjoy summer and the Taste and it is part of my job!  – The one performance of the year that is not in a dark room!

 

Don’t waste the day …. come and join us.  If you do all three things above you will be building quite the theatrical summer!

Eileen

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Filed under 101 Dalmatians, American Musical Theatre Project, Broadway In Chicago, In the Heights, Jersey Boys, League of Chicago Theaters, Mary Poppins, Northwestern University, Young Frankenstein

these are a few of my favorite things…

This is what the marketing office looks like today:

 

Marketing Office 001 Marketing Office 002 

You may be asking yourself if a bomb went off, or perhaps you think we are building a box fort… the answer is far more exciting than that. (at least for all of you!)

 

The reason for this mayhem is that we have an action-packed weekend planned! As you have probably heard, Monday is the Broadway In Chicago Concert in the Park, but we will also be participating in the annual Chicago Pride Parade on Sunday. Needless to say, we have been as busy as can be trying to make this an absolutely spectacular, albeit slightly hectic, pair of events.

 

On Sunday morning at the obscenely early hour of 9am, Andrew, Basia and myself will meet here at the Broadway In Chicago office to transport all of our materials to the parade route. I will have to work on my Tetris skills for the next couple days, because we somehow have to fit over 15,000 pieces of promo merchandise and three people into a Honda Accord. Seriously.

 

The parade itself will kick off around noon—keep an eye out for float #102 if you are at the parade because we will have tons of fun goodies to give away. There will be 14 BIC staffers and perhaps a cast member or two out supporting the GLBT community…and having a great time in the process! If you haven’t been to the Parade before, you should definitely try to join us—it is truly an unforgettable experience.

 

Then it’s time to run home for a good night’s sleep before the Concert in the Park! This is probably my favorite event of the year. What could be better than sitting outside listening to some amazing performers sing songs from my favorite shows? This year’s concert will include performances from Mary Poppins, Jersey Boys, Young Frankenstein, In the Heights, 101 Dalmatians and Boys v. Girls. Not only that, but Roger Bart, Dennis DeYoung, Ashley Brown, Gavin Lee and the whole cast of Jersey Boys will be there along with an Olympic athlete!

 

 I have been attending these concerts for far longer than I have worked at Broadway In Chicago, so it is a lot of fun to be in on the planning process this time around. Sure, there is a lot of work involved—have you ever tried to transport dollies laden with fun merchandise through the packed streets of the Taste of Chicago – but there is nothing more rewarding than seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces as they leave the concert.

 

I truly hope that everyone joins us for at least one of these wonderful events this weekend. We put a lot of effort into making these experiences fantastic for all who attend, and love to share our passion for theatre with everyone that we can. See you this weekend!

 
-Mary Brennan (Marketing Coordinator)

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Filed under 101 Dalmatians, American Musical Theatre Project, Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, Bank of America Theatre, Broadway In Chicago, Cadillac Palace Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place, Feature Story, Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, In the Heights, Jersey Boys, League of Chicago Theaters, Mary Poppins, Northwestern University, Young Frankenstein

we are family

Dominic Scaglione Jr. (Jersey Boys) & Becky Gulsvig (Legally Blonde the Musical) chat before their performances at the League fo Chicago Theaters Gala

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)

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!

-Eileen

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Filed under Broadway In Chicago, Emerging Theater, Jersey Boys, League of Chicago Theaters, Legally Blonde The Musical, Mary Poppins

it’s a jolly holiday with mary (and ashley…)

Check out this great piece on Ashley Brown from Glossed and Found.

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Filed under Mary Poppins