Black Ensemble Theatre to present world premiere: “The Message Is in the Music”

photo Ricky Message in the music The Black Ensemble Theater opens its Five Play Season of Excellence Dedicated to the Music with the World Premiere production of The Message Is In The Music (God Is A Black Man Named Ricky). Produced, written, and directed by Black Ensemble founder and executive director Jackie Taylor, The Message.. is a fanciful, song-filled production featuring selections by superstars ranging from Curtis Mayfield to Stevie Wonder; The Isley Brothers to The Temptations; The Beatles to Paul Simon, just to name a few. Scheduled for an open run, preview performances will begin October 3, with opening night being Sunday, October 18th. More info here.

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“Billy Elliot the Musical” announces its 3 Billys!

Cloud GateThe 2009 Tony Award-winning Billy Elliot the Musical (website) has announced that Tommy Batchelor, Giuseppe Bausilio and Cesar Corrales will star as ‘Billy’ in the Chicago production of the musical. Billy Elliot will begin an extended run on March 18, 2010 at Chicago’s Ford Center/Oriental Theatre before embarking on a multi-city tour.

Amazingly, more than 1,500 boys auditioned for the role of ‘Billy’!!

The ‘Billy’ bios:

Stage DoorTommy Batchelor, 14, is currently play ‘Billy’ on Broadway in rotation with David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish. Tommy is a native of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and made his Broadway debut in the role of ‘Billy.’  He started his training at age 4 at Dance Factory in Minnesota and has starred in Miami City Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker as well as having competed nationally in the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix

Cesar Corrales, 13, was born in Mexico before moving to Montreal with his family.  At age 4 he performed with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in Madama Butterfly.  Among his other credits, Cesar placed first at the Coupe Quebec gymnastics competition in 2008, the same year he joined Canada’s National Ballet School

Buckingham FountainGiuseppe Bausilio, 12, was born in the Swiss capital of Bern and began his ballet training at age 4.  He has performed with the State Theatre of Bern in Coppelia, as well as in the operas Mazzepa and Falstaff, among other roles.  Giuseppe has won numerous awards for the competitions in the US and Europe.

 

The 3 actors will perform in rotation throughout the run here in Chicago

 

 

Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America” set to play Off-Broadway in 2010

 It has been announced that Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes will fly again in New York — but off-Broadway.

FILE - In this April 30, 2009 file photo, Tony Kushner is shown during a breakThe mammoth, two-part drama by Tony Kushner will be presented by the Signature Theatre Company during its 2010-2011 season as part of a yearlong celebration of the playwright.  The play’s two parts, “Millennium Approaches” and “Perestroika” will be performed in rep, says artistic director James Houghton.

The play, a tale of AIDS in the Age of Reagan, will be directed by Michael Greif, who also directed "Rent" and "Next to Normal."   As of yet, casting has not been announced.

The Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning "Angels" was first seen on Broadway in 1993 and later was made into an HBO film starring Al Pacino and Meryl Streep.

Opening and Closing this week

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show openings

The Adventures of Nervous Boy Gorilla Tango Theatre

Diva! Diva! Divas!Northwestern University Theater

Jinx Appetite Theatre

The Siren Song of Stephan Jay Gould Gorilla Tango Theatre

Juno and the Paycock The Artistic Home

Savage/Love The Viaduct Theater

A Walk in the Woods Redtwist Theatre

 

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show closings

The 9/11 Report La Red Music Theatre

Battleprov ComedySportz 

The Bucktown Stand-Up Show Down Gorilla Tango Theatre

Dead Wrong The Factory Theater

Get Comfortable, a Night of Shorts Gorilla Tango Theatre

Girls vs. Boys American Music Theatre Project and The House Theatre of Chicago

The Great American Nudie Spectacular! Theatre Building Chicago

The Hollow Lands Steep Theatre

Never the Sinner Project 891 Theatre

Scientology! The Unauthorized Musical Annoyance Theatre

Sodomites!!! A Musical of Biblical Proportions Annoyance Theatre

Somewhere in Texas Dream Theatre

Steel Mags Chicago Center for the Performing Arts

Storybox Piven Theatre

Two Spoons Bailiwick Repertory

Walker and Dunn Gorilla Tango Theatre

White Rainbows Gorilla Tango Theatre

Think Fast: Anima auditions, Rockin’ Messiah

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  • Anima Young Singers of Greater Chicago (formerly Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus) is accepting new singers of all interested children and there is no pre-requisite for admission. Ensemble placements are being held now. Families are encouraged to call immediately for information or to schedule an appointment: (630) 858-2471.

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  • This is an event I would never have imagined – Handel’s Messiah, on stage, with a rock beat (as opposed to a disco Beethoven’s 5th Symphony?).  Performing at the Auditorium Theatre, the production runs for 2 nights only, starting on November 20th (my birthday!).  For more info, go to HowDoYouHallelujah.com.  

Video: Aerial training for Steppenwolf’s “The Tempest”

Came across this YouTube video featuring Emma Rosenthal and Miles Fletcher discussing their aerial training for “The Tempest“, which opens this weekend at the Steppenwolf Theatre, directed by ensemble member Tina Landau.  Heard on the video, this tamer-than-it-sounds quote from cast member Miles Fletcher:  

“I can’t tell you how many times we were told to wear tight-fitting clothing to our callback and audition.”

Who needs the health club when you have rehearsals like the one in the video!!

 

 

“The Tempest”, by William Shakespeare, also features ensemble members Alana Arenas, K. Todd Freeman, Frank Galati, Jon Michael Hill, Tim Hopper, James Vincent Meredith, Yasen Peyankov, Lois Smith and Alan Wilder with Eric James Casady, Miles Fletcher, Stephen Louis Grush, Emma Rosenthal and Craig Spidle

Chicago Theater first – Cirque du Soleil comes out of the tent

Cirque du Soleil to premiere major new show format in Chicago this fall

It will be called “Vaudeville.”

cirque_vaudevilleAnd the new Cirque du Soleil show in the works will both rehearse and start in Chicago—most likely at the Chicago Theatre. According to information circulating in New York, Cirque du Soleil is preparing a major new proscenium-style show under the direction of David Shiner (“Kooza”) and written by Larry O’Keefe (“Bat Boy” and “Legally Blonde”). The choreographer is listed as Jared Grimes, known for his tap and hip-hop work.

 

Says Chicago Tribune:

The idea is to create a 90-minute hybrid of a Cirque circus-style show and a more traditional musical-theater production. This would be the Montreal-based Cirque’s first foray into Broadway-style theater. It is likely to be a high profile show in the Loop next holiday season. Plans call for rehearsals this fall in Chicago, followed by an opening here in November. Thereafter, the show will move to New York’s Beacon Theatre for a run of six months or more and, most likely, a tour elsewhere. The Beacon Theatre is owned, like the Chicago Theatre, by Madison Square Garden Entertainment.

A Chicago spokesman for Cirque wouldn’t comment about any future projects. The Cirque has long said it wanted to explore new arenas for its work. This one will be as close as Cirque has ever come to Broadway, complete with the traditional Chicago tryout.

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