Category Archives: Xanadu

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

there’s no business like show business

Did you know?

In the theatre business to break even with your finances often is referred to as “making your nut.” Does anyone know where the term “making your nut” comes from?

Leave your answer in the comments! We’ll pick a winner from the correct responses (that fancy random number generator again) and he or she will receive two tickets for the closing of XANADU this Sunday night (March 29 @ 7:30 pm!). You have until THIS WEDNESDAY at 5 pm to enter.

Closing performances are always fun…and I will be sorry to see XANADU go as it is really a very funny show and the audiences had a great time every night. But every show closing means another is opening – and we have a lot of those.
UPDATE: We have a winner! David Shum, we’ll be in touch on how to get your tickets for Sunday night!


Filed under Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place, Xanadu

don’t let this moment die

Elizabeth Stanley. Photo: Carol Rosegg

Elizabeth Stanley. Photo: Carol Rosegg

First spring day in Chicago!! I hate to even be inside for one moment on a day like today. It’s Thursday, March 5, and it is 62 degrees today (according to my iPhone)–it is GLORIOUS (according to me)! After being here for a couple months now, I finally feel like I’ve settled in to a bit of a pace; today I got up and headed to the Bikram yoga studio here (which I LOVE), and then enjoyed a leisurely walk to Trader Joe’s for some provisions before heading home to write this, and of course, before heading to the theatre to skate the night away with glitter and feathered hair.

I’ve had a few moments lately where I look around at all of us backstage and just laugh. I laugh at how ridiculous our costumes are (in a fabulous-accurately-80’s way); I laugh that night after night I pet a fake pony and then ride it into the sky; I laugh that Max has a dozen of the same muscle shirts hanging on his costume rack; I laugh at the glow-stick that is being used as a door-stop back stage; I laugh at the conversations about “Shena” (my wig) that sound as though she is actually alive…these are the small details that make me love my job all the more. It is rare that a group of people, a group of co-workers love each other so much, and have so much fun together. I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed as much as I have with this company. In these tough times, I am really grateful to have a job that I love, with people that I love, and that requires me to wear so much glitter! (Last weekend I was home visiting my parents who live 4 hours downstate. After finishing my laundry, I was cleaning the lint filter from the dryer—and even that was sparkling with glitter!)

Living the gypsy life is not always easy, yet I must confess to loving the variation it brings to life! Before I began Xanadu I was playing Eliza Doolittle at theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah–on our days off we went hiking and climbing in gorgeous Zion national park. The Xanadu tour began by the sea in lovely and mellow La Jolla, California, and now we’ve weathered the winter, feeling like true city-folk walking the streets of Chicago’s famous Magnificent Mile daily. Being “on tour” is literally a journey, and I feel fairly certain that I can speak for all of us when I say that we love this stop of our journey. It’s been wonderful to be in a city that has a thriving theatrical community…and amazing food. We are all anxious for our next stop: Tokyo!!!!!! We’ve had a couple of press junkets with journalists and press from Japan, and each time I get more and more excited about experiencing life there! And each time I feel the need more and more to buy the Rosetta stone for Japanese! I never dreamt that my work would take me to Japan–again, I am filled with gratitude. I can only imagine what I’ll be writing after my time there is complete…

Thank you for supporting the arts! May you radiate from within! Peace!

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Filed under Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place, Xanadu

oh, what a feeling!

Carol Rosegg

Elizabeth Stanley and Max von Essen Photo: Carol Rosegg

I have to admit that one of the best things about working in theatre is attending a press night when you know it is going to be a blast. Last Wednesday night, the press night of XANADU was so much fun. Most of us had seen the show either in NY or during previews but the entire staff showed up to root for the cast.One of our season ticket staff members, Bethany, got the chance to sit on stage. This may sound like a publicity stunt for press night but actually we have stage seating every performance for only $25. She told us that the actors made sure that everyone felt like they were part of the show. After the curtain call, Sharon Wilkins, who plays one of the evil muses, gave everyone hugs and thanked them for being not only being a great audience but an important element of the show. Of course, I can’t promise that one of the stars will greet people every night. Sitting in a regular seat at Drury Lane Water Tower, I was definitely jealous of Bethany when I saw her up on stage. I guess I will have to back and this time buy a stage seat and really be part of the show.

Linda Flasch, the Broadway In Chicago Group Sales Manager, also had a fabulous time. She bumped in into Kyle DeSantis in the lobby pre-show. Although, he now owns the theater, Linda remembered him from when he was two years old and she was a very young girl working for his grandfather at Drury Lane Oak Brook. They had a great time catching up.

Rob Ahrens, one of the producers, told me that Elizabeth Stanley, who plays Kira/Clio, made sure that everyone cast started off press night on the right foot. She baked roller skate-shaped cookies for everyone in the cast. It must have worked – XANADU got incredible reviews!

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Filed under Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place, Seating, Xanadu

manic monday

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

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!


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Filed under Broadway In Chicago, Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde The Musical, The Addams Family, Xanadu

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!



Filed under Broadway In Chicago, Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage, Grease, Spamalot: The Third Coming, Wicked, Xanadu

Veep Talk

Happy New Year!
What a great year it has been! Now Broadway In Chicago looks to what is coming next. Loved Chris Jones’ New Year’s resolutions in the Chicago Tribune – “Make theatergoing a weekly habit.”  What could be a better resolution!  He also said “Broadway In Chicago had to find a replacement for WICKED.”  Can you imagine? There are no replacements for shows, just more, different, longer and newer shows – but never a replacement.  WICKED is like a child to me and to the many of the staff members at Broadway In Chicago. Three and a half years – that is longer than many marriages (mine aside – 28 years and counting – with a theatrical producer no less).

Don’t forget, I say, we already have an existing long-run and that is JERSEY BOYS! And opening next week is XANADU!

Whatever, we are all preparing for the departure of WICKED: we are planning for a big party and this weekend the orchestra announced that they are going to do a special concert for the cast between shows on Saturday to thank the cast and crew for the wonderful experience that WICKED has been. This is one of the most generous and touching gestures I have seen in theatre.

Today in the office we are frantically putting the final touches on the opening night for GREASE.  The creator of the show, Jim Jacobs (and fellow Chicagoan), will be in attendance and the opening night cast party will be at the Kingston Mines.  I will give my personal opening night tickets to GREASE, Tuesday Night, at the Auditorium Theatre, to the first person who comments to this blog with the answer to the question: Why is the party at the Kingston Mines?

Sorry have to run now as I am meeting with the League of Chicago Theatres to plan the League’s Annual Benefit, more next week.


Filed under Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, Broadway In Chicago, Grease, Jersey Boys, Wicked, Xanadu

Theaters going dark? Not in this town!


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.


Filed under A Bronx Tale, A Chorus Line, Grease, Legally Blonde The Musical, Mary Poppins, Rain: The Beatles Experience, Spamalot: The Third Coming, Xanadu

Strap on your skates! Get FREE TICKETS!

Strap on your skates! The first 20 people to roller skate to the Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place box office (175 E Chestnut St) TOMORROW (10/24) receive a XANADU CD and a free pair of tickets to the first performance in Jan ’09!

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Xanadu Cast Announced

Chris Jones

Chicago Tribune


Elizabeth Stanley , who just completed a run as the female lead of John Waters’ “Cry Baby” on Broadway , will star as Kira in the Chicago production of the Broadway musical “Xanadu.” The Chicago sit-down is to begin in January and is expected to run for about six months at the Drury Lane Water Tower. The show, an affectionate spoof of the infamous disco-era movie that starred Olivia Newton-John, is here under the auspices of Broadway In Chicago. Other principles in the show include Max Von Essen (Sonny), Sharon Wilkins (Melpomene), Joanna Glushak and Larry Marshall. Julius Thomas III and Tiffany Topol are in the ensemble.

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Filed under Xanadu