Shawna Hamic at The Last Ship opening night partyPhoto Credit: Amy Boyle Photography
‘The Last Ship’ cast member Shawna Hamic is originating the role of Mrs. Dees in the show. She spoke to Broadway In Chicago about her experiences so far during the pre-Broadway run.
I’ve been lucky enough to perform here in Chicago even before being a part of The Last Ship. I played the Cadillac Palace Theater twice as Madame Thenardier in the 25th Anniversary national tour of Les Miserables. So I have come to truly love Chicago and all it has to offer. This is actually my first time being here in a season other than Winter and I must admit- I like it even more when it’s warm outside. There is such a beauty to the city of Chicago. The buildings, the lake, the rivers, the museums, the culture, the food! So much to love. I have a few places i always have to visit when I’m here. For food it’s Mindy’s Hot Chocolate. I make a point of going every time I’m here. Another is a classic- Miller’s Pub on Wabash. It has an old school vibe and amazing food for really reasonable prices. I visit my favorite camera store (also on Wabash) called Central Camera. As an avid photographer I love to explore all the amazing history for sale. Film cameras and the places that sell them are a dying breed. Central Camera has been a family business for over 113 years. I just love it there.
Being here as a cast member in the pre-Broadway run of The Last Ship has been one of the most amazing experiences. It is unlike anything I’ve ever done. While I have been involved with a brand new musical before, this is the first time that it is Broadway bound and the first show that I’ve done that has changed daily. It has been a challenge and wonderful exercise on strengthening my muscles as well as the most important muscle for an actor- my brain! To be part of this company, led by our Director Joe Mantello, our Choreographer Steven Hoggett, Book by John Logan, Set and Costume Design by David Zinn, Orchestrations, Arrangements & Music Direction by Rob Mathes- It has been so fulfilling. I can’t end this blog without mentioning one of the most meaningful parts of this whole process… There has been a musician and artist who has written the music which is truly the soundtrack of my life. I associate important memories and moments with songs and most of them were written by the same person: Sting. To be a part of his first journey into musical theater has been an exhilarating and moving experience. He is humble and generous. He was there with us practically every day. Of course to be on hand to work on anything musically that needed tweaking, but also because he is as fascinated with the process as I am. A quiet man, yet still a dynamic presence, Sting continues to shape The Last Ship into something unforgettable. I can’t wait for audiences to experience the show. I hope they are as moved to be there as I am to be on the stage. I know that the show will continue to morph and change as we get closer to Broadway and the Neil Simon Theatre. I have never been more excited to continue a process as I am now. The work is blissful. I think that says a lot about a group of people when you look forward to going work every day. And I can say with all honesty- I do. So thank you Chicago for once again welcoming me and for being such a lovely fertile ground on which to grow a new brand work of art. You are a lovely town with wonderful citizens and I’m happy as can be to be here.
We’ll be doing a LIVE Twitter chat with Shawna at 12pm, Tuesday, July 1st! Join the conversation and ask your questions for her by using #LastShipBIC!
These are the songs that get stuck in your head as you leave the theatre, listen to original cast recordings of repeatedly and catch yourself spontaneously bursting into singing out loud. You have the nominees for Best Score to thank for all of it.
Best Score (Clockwise, L to R)
Steven Lutvak and Robert L. Freedman – A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Chad Beguelin, Alan Menken (pictured) Tim Rice, Howard Ashman – Aladdin
Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey – If/Then
Jason Robert Brown – The Bridges of Madison County
Listen to selections from the nominated scores below!
Here they are, the guiding forces behind each show to help realize the vision – the Best Director nominees.
Best Direction (Play) (Clockwise L to R)
John Tiffany – The Glass Menagerie
Michael Grandage – The Cripple of Inishmaan
Tim Carroll – Twelfth Night
Kenny Leon – A Raisin in the Sun
DID YOU KNOW? Michael Grandage founded his own theatre company in the U.K. which has produced shows such as Peter and Alice starring Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw, written by The Last Ship scribe John Logan.
Best Direction (Musical) (Clockwise, L to R)
Darko Tresnjak – A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Leigh Silverman – Violet
Michael Mayer – Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Warren Carlyle – After Midnight
DID YOU KNOW? Michael Mayer was asked to direct the original Off-Broadway production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch but had to decline due to prior commitments. 15 years later, he finally got his shot to take it on.
Gotta dance! Here are the choreographers who inspired fancy footwork and marvelous movement on Broadway stages.
Best Choreography (Clockwise, L to R)
Susan Stroman – Bullets Over Broadway
Kelly Devine & Steven Hoggett – Rocky
Warren Carlyle – After Midnight
Casey Nicholaw – Aladdin
DID YOU KNOW? Talk about the student becoming the master! Warren Carlyle was the assistant choreographer under fellow nominee director Susan Stroman on The Producers, and now he’s garnered his first Tony nominations for choreography AND directing.
Steven Hoggett is currently here in Chicago choreographing The Last Ship!
Broadway In Chicago is gearing up for the excitement of the 2014 Tony Awards on June 8th! We’ll be highlighting the nominees here on the blog and revealing fun facts. Keep checking back daily and make your predictions of the winners in the comments!
Best Lighting Design (Play) (Clockwise, L to R)
Japhy Wiedeman – Of Mice and Men
Natasha Katz – The Glass Menagerie
Jane Cox – Machinal
Paule Constable – The Cripple of Inishmaan
DID YOU KNOW?: Japhy Wiedeman designed the lighting for La Scala’s production of “Bluebeard’s Castle” in Milan, Italy
Best Lighting Design (Musical) (Clockwise L to R)
Kevin Adams – Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Christopher Akerlind – Rocky
Donald Holder – The Bridges of Madison County
Howell Binkley – After Midnight
DID YOU KNOW?: Donald Holder is a previous Tony Award-winner for designing the lighting for “The Lion King”.
Christopher Akerlind is the lighting designer for Broadway In Chicago’s upcoming pre-Broadway world premiere “The Last Ship”!
Last October, Sting performed his newest album “The Last Ship” in a series of intimate concerts at New York City’s Public Theater. One of these concerts was filmed for the PBS show Great Performances and will air tonight at 9 p.m. on WTTW. The television special will include many songs that feature in the upcoming musical The Last Ship, including the title track. You can view a preview of the show on the WTTW website here.
Also featuring cast member Jimmy Nail and a band of 14 musicians, Sting discusses the creative process of bringing the album to life and the inspiration he received from his hometown. The New York Daily News gives the show four stars, saying “[i]t’s the best lyric-writing of his career”.
Come visit us to hear all the latest gossip and behind the scenes information. We’ll have some BIC-ers chatting during the week, and on Fridays, a guest blogger – could be a cast member of a show, a show producer, a box office agent telling you all the inside tips on getting the best seat in the house without paying the highest price or even our public relations team gabbing on what it’s like to take cast members on interviews and public appearances. We hope to see you at the theatre very soon!