WBEZ | Jr. http://www.wbez.org/tags/jr Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Photo of the day: December 5, 2012 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/photo-day/2012-12/photo-day-december-5-2012-104201 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chollsjr/8243171483/in/pool-32855810@N00/" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/POTD_wordlessOnWentworth.jpg" title="Wordless on Wentworth (Flickr/Carlton Holls, Jr.)" /></a></div></p> Wed, 05 Dec 2012 11:10:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/photo-day/2012-12/photo-day-december-5-2012-104201 Jonathan's round-up of the latest on Broadway and beyond http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-25/jonathans-round-latest-broadway-and-beyond-93440 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-25/broadway in chicago.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-25/jessie mueller.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 234px; height: 350px;" title="Jessie Mueller with Ed Kross in 'Animal Crackers' at the Goodman in 2009.">We hear that Chicago’s-own Jessie Mueller, soon to make her Broadway debut as the romantic lead in a major revision/revival of <strong><em>On A Clear Day You Can See Forever</em></strong>, has been moonlighting from rehearsals in spectacular fashion. To wit: she’s been doing a nightclub act with Harry Connick, Jr. at the swank Rainbow Room atop 30 Rockefeller Center. Actually, it’s more like an extension of rehearsals, as Jessie plays a 1940’s nightclub chanteuse in the show, and her leading man is, in fact, Connick. So it’s just another case of life imitating art. The show goes into previews Nov. 12 and opens Dec. 11 at the St. James Theatre. Proud Mama and Papa, the highly-regarded acting couple Roger Mueller and Jill Shellabarger, already have booked their tickets to NYC for the opening. Roger and Jill are friends of many years, and Jessie’s grandmother, the stylish and handsome Ruth Mueller, has become a more recent friend.</p><p><a href="http://www.chicagocabaret.org"><strong>Chicago Cabaret Professionals</strong></a>, having just completed a spectacular gala at Park West, now is planning its annual <em>Merry Melodies</em> holiday shows at Davenport’s, Dec. 5 &amp; 6, which will feature a different line-up of Chicago’s diverse cabaret talent each evening. Each solo or duel spot is limited to two songs, so Merry Melodies will offer an ever-changing vista of holiday-themed musical entertainment.&nbsp;</p><p>If you’re reading this late, you may be too late. Little-known fact: on the 25<sup>th</sup> of each month, <strong>Broadway In Chicago</strong> offers a limited supply of $25 tickets for several of its touring Broadway shows. The shows offered today are <em>Mary Poppins</em> (at the Cadillac Palace through Nov. 6) and <em>Ann</em> (Holland Taylor’s tribute to late Texas governor Ann Richards), at the Bank of American Theatre Nov. 13-Dec. 4. The only catch: you can only access the tix through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/BroadwayInChicago">Broadway In Chicago’s Facebook page</a>. They call the promo “$25 on the 25<sup>th</sup>.”</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-25/broadway in chicago.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 239px; height: 350px;" title="">We missed it by a few days, but <a href="http://www.athenaeumtheatre.com%20"><strong>The Athenaeum Theatre</strong></a> (2936 N. Southport) celebrated its 100<sup>th</sup> birthday with a public party on Oct. 11. This gem, lovingly restored over a period of years by the late Fred Solari, opened in 1911 as a recreational center for St. Alphonsus Church (of which it remains a part), serving the mostly German immigrant community of the day. The building featured a 1000 seat theater for German opera, a gymnasium, bowling alleys, and music and meeting rooms. Over the years, meeting rooms gave way to classrooms and the theater became a temporary church in the early 1950's after a devastating fire damaged the St. Alphonsus sanctuary. Today the Athenaeum is once again fulfilling its original purpose as a theater as the classrooms have been renovated as three studio theaters and offices for various non-profit cultural organizations. Check out&nbsp;website for the current productions.</p><p>And next Wednesday is the 90<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the <strong>opening of the Chicago Theatre</strong>, designed in 1921 in florid French baroque style by the architect brothers George and Cornelius Rapp. The 3400-seat house, originally home to the greatest vaudeville headliners, was a crown jewel of the Balaban and Katz theater chain, and continued to offer a live stage show and a hit movie into the 1960’s before shuttering and falling into decay. It’s the place where, as a boy, I first saw Louis Armstrong live during one of the stage shows. The house was lavishly restored in the 1980’s.</p><p>For <strong>Light Opera Works</strong>, the bricks-and-mortar story is neither an old theatre nor a new one. In the first major change to its physical set-up in years, Light Opera Works (LOW) has acquired new administrative and rehearsal headquarters that take its offices from Evanston to Wilmette and give the company its first proper rehearsal space that isn’t begged or rented on-the-cheap. The new HQ for the 31 year-old company will be the former Duxler Tire Center at 516 4<sup>th</sup> Street, a half-block from the Linden CTA Purple Line stop. An advantageous five-year lease will allow LOW to hold rehearsals for the first time in a suitably spacious facility, with a sprung dance floor, that replicates the company’s performance space, Northwestern University’s Cahn Auditorium. The new rehearsal center will be rented to other theater companies, dance instructors and fitness classes when not in use by LOW. It also means there’s a new box office phone number for patrons: (847) 920-5360. Web address <a href="http://www.light-opera-works.org">remains the same</a>:&nbsp;The next Light Opera Works show is <em>The Secret Garden</em>, Dec. 26-Jan. 1.</p></p> Tue, 25 Oct 2011 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-25/jonathans-round-latest-broadway-and-beyond-93440 Nussbaum and Mueller land juicy out-of-town roles http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-30/nussbaum-and-mueller-land-juicy-out-town-roles-91241 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-August/2011-08-30/AP041220014645.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" ap="" at="" class="caption" glen="" glengarry="" goodman="" ross="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-30/AP041220014645.jpg" style="margin-right: 15px; width: 500px; height: 341px;" the="" theatre.="" title="Mike Nussbaum, left, in 1984 in a scene from the play &quot;Glengarry Glen Ross&quot; at the Goodman Theatre. (AP/File)"></p><p>Iconic Chicago actor Mike Nussbaum has put on his traveling shoes for a rare trip out-of-town. He's playing Solomon Galkin in <em>Imagining Madoff</em>, a controversial play by Deborah Margolin presented at Theater J in Washington, DC, where former-Chicagoan Ari Roth is artistic director. As the title suggests, convicted financier Bernard Madoff is the antagonist of the play, which is a fictional account of Madoff being confronted by a man he's nearly ruined, Solomon Galkin. In the play, Galkin is a Holocaust survivor, important literary figure and noted philanthropist whose foundation is decimated by Madoff's collapse.</p><p>If Galkin sounds suspiciously like Elie Wiesel, that's because he originally WAS Wiesel as Margolin wrote the play. One of several high-profile Madoff victims, Wiesel made extremely nasty public comments when he heard about the play (before its 2010 world premiere) and threatened legal action if he wasn't removed from it. Margolin probably would have won any lawsuit--Wiesel is a public figure, after all, and he was not defamed in the play--but lawsuits are long and expensive so she chose instead to substitute the thinly fictionalized character of Galkin. The controversy was such that Theater J postponed production of <em>Imagining Madoff</em> for a year, thereby losing the chance to stage the world premiere (which was done at Stageworks/Hudson Stage in upstate New York). <em>Imaging Madoff</em> runs Aug. 31-Sept. 25 and is directed by Alexandra Aron.</p><p>Popular Chicago actor and singer Jessie Mueller has landed a plum co-starring role for her Broadway debut, playing the romantic lead opposite Harry Connick, Jr. in a big revival of the 1965 musical, <em>On a Clear Day You Can See Forever</em>. Mueller spent July in New York as part of a workshop for a new version of the show, after which she was signed for the real deal, to be directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer with a heavily reworked book by playwright Peter Parnell. The show's original authors, Burton Lane (music) and Alan Jay Lerner (book and lyrics), long since went to the Great White Way in the Sky.</p><p>In the original show (also made into a 1970 movie starring Barbra Streisand and Yves Montand), the heroine is drab Daisy Gamble who seeks hypnotherapy to stop smoking at the request of her boyfriend. Under hypnosis, she reveals to her psycho-therapist details of colorful past life as Melinda Wells in Regency-era London, and her doc falls for Melinda. In the 2011 version, the hero is David Gamble, a gay man who wants to stop smoking for his boyfriend. During hypnotherapy, David reveals details of his past life as 1940's jazz singer Melinda Wells, and the doc falls for Melinda. Connick is the doc and Jessie Mueller has the juicy role of Melinda.</p><p>A Jefferson Award winning performer, Mueller is the daughter of highly-regarded acting couple Roger Mueller and Jill Shellabarger, all four of whose kids have followed Ma and Pa into show biz. Mueller has worked at most of the big Chicago theaters such as Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman and Marriott. <em>On a Clear Day You Can See Forever</em> is scheduled to begin previews Nov. 12 at Broadway's St. James Theatre, with a Dec. 11 opening night.</p><p>A Broadway casting notice for David Henry Hwang's <em>Chinglish</em> appeared in a recent edition of Back Stage, the national trade paper for actors, and it made clear that many roles from the June hit Goodman Theatre world premiere of the play may be up for grabs. Indeed, every role in the play was listed in the audition notice except that of Peter, the Australian character of European extraction who speaks fluent Mandarin, and who was played in Chicago by Stephen Pucci. As for the other roles--six actors playing eight characters, five of them Chinese and all of them needing to be fluent in Mandarin as well as English--all of them were described in detail. There was, however, one important caveat in the Aug. 11 posting: "Most positions in the Broadway production have been offered, but have not yet been accepted; they are therefore considered available." Of course, it can't hurt to audition if you have the acting chops and the language chops: the Broadway production also seeks understudies, and there could be a touring company in the future. By the way, Broadway minimum is $1,653 a week (trust me, these actors will earn more), rehearsals begin Sept. 12 under director Leigh Silverman (who directed Chinglish here), with previews beginning in October.</p></p> Tue, 30 Aug 2011 15:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-30/nussbaum-and-mueller-land-juicy-out-town-roles-91241