Category Archives: Spamalot: The Third Coming

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

find your grail

Chicago theatre is the standard by which I judge all the work I do. I’m grateful to Roosevelt University for so many things, but mostly for introducing me to the greatest city there is. The work is real, challenging, envelope pushing, inspiring. The people? Well, I’ve made many lifelong friends here who always keep me sharp.

My greatest memories in Chicago involve great laughter over a good pint, sneaking into the Auditorium peanut gallery after rehearsal to watch and learn (never mind how nervous those leaning seats made me), worshiping Steppenwolf, developing my crazy passion for the classics and the namesake of my equally dramatic cat, Shakespeare. I grew up here. I am so happy to be back. I won’t be gone again this long.

Yolanda Miller, Roosevelt University, good ‘ol Chi-town theatre…they changed my life. I’m back and I plan on havin’ a good time!

-Merle Dandridge, Lady of the Lake (Monty Python’s Spamalot)

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Filed under Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, Spamalot: The Third Coming

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

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

SPAMALOT Tickets Onsale!

GET YOUR TICKETS NOW BEFORE THE GENERAL PUBLIC!

Don’t want to SPEND-A-LOT? Be among the first to see SPAMALOT and save $10* to evening performances Jan 20-22 and Jan 25.

CLICK HERE or call 312-902-1400 and use promo code SWALLOW to get your tickets now!

Tickets also available at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, any Broadway In Chicago box office or Ticketmaster retail location.
Groups (20+), call 312-977-1710.

Winner of the 2005 Tony Award for Best Musical, Monty Python’s SPAMALOT, the musical comedy sensation lovingly ripped off from the film classic “Monty Python and The Holy Grail,” now returns to spread laughter and cheer throughout the kingdom. Directed by Tony® Award-winner Mike Nichols, SPAMALOT tells the tale of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table as they embark on their quest for the Holy Grail. But before they can find their grail, they’re taking a little side-trip to the fair city of Chicago.

*Not available with any other offer or on previously purchased tickets. Normal ticketing fees apply. Subject to availability. Other restrictions may apply. Presale and discount valid through 9:59 AM on Nov 21, 2008 to all performances. Discount valid to evening performances Jan 20-22 and Jan 25, 2008.

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