Category Archives: The Addams Family

BIG FISH Composer Andrew Lippa Helps Emerging Chicago Writers Refine Their Work

Andrew Lippa and John August

Andrew Lippa and John August

There is nothing more exciting (or daunting) then the traditional out-of-town tryout.  Creative teams get the opportunity to revise, reimagine, and refine their work before it hits the Great White Way and we’re honored whenever Chicago gets chosen to be the city that gets a show’s tryout. The new musical Big Fish currently has the slot, held last season by Kinky Boots (which earned 13 Tony Award nominations on Tuesday, the most of any show this season). Big Fish composer Andrew Lippa is no stranger to Chicago, having worked on the pre-Broadway tryout of his musical adaptation of The Addams Family here in 2009. Even with Big Fish entering the final week of its out-of-town tryout and the revisions that that entails, Lippa still found time to lead a master class for emerging composers at Chicago Dramatists on Monday, April 29.

Working with emerging writers and composers “is one of my favorite things to do,” Lippa told Broadway in Chicago between takes of a behind-the-scenes video filmed at a recent matinee. “I was telling [Big Fish book writer] John August today how I was working with these fantastic writers on Monday night. And of course every time I do that, it’s really selfish because I get better. I listen to what we talk about and what they’re aiming for and not quite getting to and it reminds me of how to do my work.  It’s really the old saying ‘by your pupils you shall be taught.’  Teaching for me is a real opportunity to learn myself.”

When asked to describe the night of the recent master class, Lippa said, “I loved working with Chicago Dramatists, it was really great.” He went on to describe the experience: “It’s like going to church: it’s so incredibly spiritual for me to be around who love making things, in particular music and lyrics.“

It is a rare opportunity for an emerging writer to have the opportunity to have get direct feedback on their work with a writer as successful and acclaimed as Lippa, and he recapped the master class with warmth and fondness, “Look, I’m just one guy who happens to write musicals myself and I was only sharing with them what I’ve learned over time. The beautiful thing was that a couple of them wrote to [Chicago Dramatists Director of New Musical Development] Cheryl Coons and she forwarded some of these messages to me about how the things I said helped them and they started rewriting that very night. That’s just gratifying to know that I can be of help to some emerging writers and make their shows better.” A process we’re sure he can empathize with as he enters the closing weekend of the pre-Broadway tryout of Big Fish.

The show that enters a city for its pre-Broadway tryout is never exactly the same show that heads on to Broadway. Scenes and songs get added and cut, characters are more clearly defined, and both the cast and creative team get to make bold choices and take big risks to make the best show possible for its Broadway run. Those who live in a city lucky enough to get an out-of-town try have the fortunate opportunity to see the show evolve from what it was to what it can be. So even if you saw Big Fish at the beginning of its run here in Chicago, know that the creative team and cast have been passionately revising it each week to make it the best show it can be. Take advantage of the opportunity to see true artistry at work and see how the show has evolved since you first saw it. And if you still haven’t seen it yet, get yourself to the Cadillac Palace Theatre this weekend for the final performances. You definitely want to be able to say “ I saw it when…” before it takes Broadway by storm!

Danny Bernardo, Broadway In Chicago Marketing Team

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Filed under Big Fish, Broadway In Chicago, Kinky Boots, The Addams Family, Tony Awards

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

A Broadway State of Mind

Broadway is hot this season with a lot of new shows. I have spent 12 of the past 14 days in New York with a team of people from Broadway In Chicago. Once a year we go to NY and meet with all the producers and presenters of Broadway across the country. We saw some amazing shows, many of which we hope will come to Chicago sooner rather than later, but we will let you know as they make their plans.

We met to discuss the current and upcoming productions of LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, MEMPHIS, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, WEST SIDE STORY, WORKING and PETER PAN. We were also lucky enough to see:

PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN

SISTER ACT

WAR HORSE

THE BOOK OF MORMON

WONDERLAND

LOVE, LOSS & WHAT I WORE

HOW TO SUCCEED…

MEMPHIS

What are you hoping will come to Chicago?

Don’t forget to watch the Tony Awards on June 12 on CBS at 7 pm Central where the (record!) fifth Chicago Theatre will pick up a Regional Theatre Tony Award. Do you know which five theaters that have won?

In those two days between trips to NY, we attended the League of Chicago Theatres Gala where THE NEW COLONY received their 2011 Emerging Theatre Award.  Also saw the new Mayor inaugurated in Millennium Park.

There is no better place to be than CHICAGO!

Eileen

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Filed under Broadway In Chicago, Catch Me If You Can, Emerging Theater, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, La Cage Aux Folles, League of Chicago Theaters, Love Loss & What I Wore, Memphis, Peter Pan The Show, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Sister Act, The Addams Family, The Book of Mormon, The New Colony, Tony Awards, War Horse, West Side Story, Wonderland, Working

Gone too soon

Beverley Randolph, production stage manager of  THE ADDAMS FAMILY; champion at her craft; an angel to all of us who knew her; with a spirit that rose above our art and a heart bigger than the stars she managed, passed away on Tuesday. We will miss her and I wanted to share with you how Broadway honors their own.

From Jeff Wilson (101 Productions), sent to me last night:

Broadway marquees were dimmed tonight in honor of Beverley.  At 8pm Bebe (Neuwirth) and the cast, in full Addams costume and make-up, stood outside the stage door with crew and dressers and Stuart (Oken) and Jerry (Zaks) and Sergio (Truillio) and others from the Addams team.  Beverley’s husband and sister and members of her family were there as well, and we all watched in silence as the lights dimmed at the Lunt, then the Marquis, then the Rogers, and so on down the street.  It was a very moving tribute to our dear friend and colleague.  She will be missed by many.

Missed both in NY and Chicago,

Eileen

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Filed under Broadway In Chicago, The Addams Family

So you want to be in Show Business?

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.

Eileen

 

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Filed under Broadway In Chicago, Hair, League of Chicago Theaters, The Addams Family

march to the theater this month

‘WHERE’ DID THE ADDAMS FAMILY GO?

It went to Broadway and from what we hear, the show is in great shape. Pictured on the front cover of Where magazine, they are set to draw that beautiful red curtain again, beginning March 8, revealing the ultimate dysfunctional family that Chicagoans fell in love with and soon New York will too.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET begins previews in March too. Chicago looms large on Broadway this month! And when both of these shows become big hits we can all say – we saw them in Chicago first!

What’s next this month at Broadway In Chicago….

Will we see you at the theater this month?

-Eileen

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Filed under Beauty & the Beast, Billy Elliot the Musical, Cadillac Palace Theatre, Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, Mandy Patinkin, Million Dollar Quartet, Patti LuPone, The Addams Family

happy/sad

THE ADDAMS FAMILY.

What an extraordinary experience! Everyone at Broadway In Chicago has loved every minute of this production, cast, creatives, management team and producers.

What is not to love about:

  • Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth hanging out in your theatre for over 3 months
  • Running into Rick Elice (Jersey Boys) and Marshall Brickman (Jersey Boys, Manhattan, Annie Hall) hanging out at the theatre and Argo Tea – writers and icons, stars in their own right
  • Sold out shows every night
  • Standing ovations with each performance
  • Opening Night with stars in attendance including Richard Kind, Elaine May and Jeff Garlin
  • The real evolution of a Broadway Musical with all of the work that goes into changes and cutting till it is done
  • Watching Chicago producers, Stuart Oken and Mick Leavitt, do what Chicagoans do best: work hard, keep focused,  make what started as a good musical GREAT.

There is nothing better! I hope that you have experienced THE ADDAMS FAMILY but if not, there are still 8 performances left! The show is leaving us this Sunday.

Don’t miss what Hedy Weiss (Chicago Sun Times), Steve Oxman (Variety) and many other reviewers saw (and a heck of a lot of audience members too) – an amazing show with an unbelievable cast that is destined to be a great musical with performances that Chicago is so lucky to see first!

-Eileen

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Filed under Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, The Addams Family

Nothing like a world premiere!

What a weekend!

Last Thursday, we had an invited dress rehearsal for THE ADDAMS FAMILY so friends and family of the show got to see the show run all the way through with no stops for the first time (still in rehearsal). Yes, that was the first time the show got all the way through without any stops! And it was amazing! THE ADDAMS FAMILY is surprising, stunning, a feast for the eyes and for the ears. I still can’t get the songs out of my head. And arguably one of the funniest scripts I have heard in a while – a real musical comedy – one that makes you laugh and touches your heart.

But would it stand the test of what I call “a real audience?” You know the ones that bought their tickets?

FIRSTS ARE SPECIAL:

It may have been Friday the 13th, but no bad luck for the audiences at this performance of THE ADDAMS FAMILY!

My day started off at the Oriental Theatre at 8 am. I met Mayor Daley, who was doing an interview in the theater lobby for Clef Notes Concert Journal for the Arts, which is doing a full-length feature about the transformation of the Loop and the excitement and economic generator that the Theatre District has become for the City. Before I even got into the building, I noticed that we already had a line for the box office for our student rush tickets – twelve (12) box seats are held for nearly every performance to the first lucky people in line to buy tickets at the Oriental. For the Reggi family it was certainly not an unlucky day either. They got to the theater at 4 am to be the first in line! With three purchases, their entire family was seated in the high-profile house right box for the very first public performance of THE ADDAMS FAMILY!

Anticipation was thick as the day progressed, and around noon, a special delivery came to the Broadway In Chicago team. Everyone was treated to lunch from the producers of THE ADDAMS FAMILY as a thank you and acknowledgment of Broadway In Chicago for why the show was here – why they choose Chicago.

Now it was time for Broadway In Chicago to thank the company by finishing the plans for the gifts to be sent over to the cast and creatives. While most gifts for shows are given out on the “Official Opening” or the night that the press attends, Broadway In Chicago has created the tradition with Pre-Broadway engagements to celebrate on the FIRST PERFORMANCE. This is our private celebration for the cast and creatives after the elation of the first paid audience and before all the hype starts from the opening, which in this case will not be till December 9.

By 7:30 pm, the audience was streaming into the theater. There was excitement in the air and only a few of us knew (having seen the Dress Rehearsal) that they are in for the treat of a lifetime. Every seat in the theater was filled and then the show got treated by what we say at Broadway In Chicago is our secret weapon – “The Chicago Audience” who love new work and are open to the experience of not knowing what it is going to look and sound like.

At 8 pm, the house rocked with applause immediately as the curtain opened for the first time, there was laughter throughout and even a tear or two – a show was born. When you are lucky enough to sit in that first public performance, you know that you are experiencing something that only a few get to do – to see a show be born. From nothing comes some notes and dialogue on a page and then for most shows a 3 – 8 year process of development and finally in one stroke of downbeat, a new musical is unleashed.

And finally, the perfect end to a perfect evening – a spontaneous standing ovation at the beginning of the curtain call. After the show Broadway In Chicago took the cast, crew, orchestra and producers out for a champagne toast and some fun at ATWOOD CAFÉ, giving them the chance to celebrate the miracle of what each and everyone of them created together over months and years. No one knows what will happen as yet….but for that one special night it is pure magic!

On Saturday and Sunday, there were more rehearsals and two more performances. By Wednesday, when they perform next, the show will change, ever so slightly from rehearsals in between and it will continue to change and grow until December 9 when the critics will say what they think.

Do not wait until then to buy your tickets! Every day another performance sells out. Now is the time, this is the show. See it before it leaves for Broadway!

-Eileen

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Filed under Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, The Addams Family

first look at the addams family

Holy. Moly.

You better get your tickets now – this is going to be amazing.

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Filed under Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, The Addams Family

the final countdown

addams family blog

Broadway In Chicago subscribers get into the spirit of Halloween this past weekend

I have been getting a lot of questions about the details on THE ADDAMS FAMILY. There are only 11 days left till the first preview and I am as anxious as our subscribers, who dressed up for Halloween as the entire “family,” and as our audiences, who have been clamoring on our blog for an update (this is for your Alex!).

This is what I know: the set is up and is stunning, the cast is working very hard and is such a tremendously rich ensemble, the writers of both the book and the music (Marshall Brickman, Rick Elice and Andrew Lippa) are going to deliver something that I think you’ll find surprising, and the show is led by a pair of the most unusual directors (Phelim McDermott & Julian Crouch) to shepherd a musical. Together with the tremendous ensemble, they are going to bring you a show that is as beautiful as it is intelligent – a total match for our Chicago audiences and one that I am telling you, you don’t want to miss! There are still tickets left, but don’t think you can wait – buy your tickets now!

FYI: The cast has been out and about in Chicago! Lots of sightings – McDonald’s, the Bean, Petterino’s, Architectural Boat Cruise, Northwestern – let us know if you have had any sightings of your own.

-Eileen

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Filed under Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, The Addams Family