Banana Shpeel – Cast announced for Chicago production

BananaShpeel

Stars from Broadway’s Jersey Boys and Wicked join cast

Playing at the Chicago Theatre from November 19 – January 3

Stars from Broadway’s Jersey Boys and Wicked will join the distinctive cast of comedic and dance talent in the brand new theatrical production, Banana Shpeel, presented by Cirque du Soleil and MSG Entertainment. Banana Shpeel begins performances at The Chicago Theatre on November 19, with an official Opening Night on Wednesday, December 2. The limited Chicago engagement concludes January 3, 2010, and Banana Shpeel debuts in New York at The Beacon Theatre in February 2010.

 

The Cast

 

banana-longoria-ashford Michael Longoria, who starred as Frankie Valli in the Broadway production of Jersey Boys, will portray Emmett, an innocent and romantic young actor, while Annaleigh Ashford, who starred as Glinda in Wicked on Broadway and in Chicago, portrays Emmett’s love interest Katie, and Remo Airaldi, a prolific resident company member of Boston’s acclaimed American Repertory Theater, portrays Schmelky, a cruel and irritable theater producer. Joining them is an international crew of comedic actors: Claudio Carneiro (Brazil), Daniel Passer (U.S.), Patrick de Valette (France), Gordon White (Canada), and Wayne Wilson (U.S.). In keeping with Cirque du Soleil’s unique and diverse performers, global talents showcased in Banana Shpeel include Russian hand balancer Dmitry Bulkin, Vietnamese juggler Tuan Le, Spanish foot juggler Vanessa Alvarez, and the American sister-brother tap dance duo, Joseph and Josette Wiggan. Completing the cast is a talented ensemble comprised of 10 “triple threats”: singer-actor-dancers Robyn Baltzer, Alex Ellis, Adrienne Jean Fisher, DeWitt Fleming Jr., Luke Hawkins, Kathleen Hennessey, Adrienne Reid, Anthony J. Russo, Melissa Schott, and Steven T. Williams.

The Band

 

Under the direction of Band Leader Robert Cookman, the Banana Shpeel original score is performed live on stage by Roland Barber (trombone), Bobby Brennan (bass), James Campagnola (multi-instrumental), Iohann Laliberté (drums), Jean-François Ouellet (saxophone), Peter Sachon (cello) and Scott Steen (trumpet).

The Show

Banana Shpeel is a roller-coaster mix of styles that blends comedy with tap, hip hop, eccentric dance and slapstick, all linked by a narrative that ignites a succession of wacky adventures. This is not circus, or a musical or a variety show, or even Bananas_Dancingvaudeville. It is Banana Shpeel!

Synopsis: Propelled by crazy humor and intense choreography, Banana Shpeel plunges us into the world of Schmelky, who dangles fame and fortune in front of Emmett, who has come to audition for him. Emmett soon finds himself trapped in a flamboyant, anarchic world where Schmelky sows terror and reigns supreme. Emmett falls in love with the beautiful Katie and meets a bunch of absurd characters, including the strange Banana Man. But who is this mysterious Banana Man and how can Emmett escape the clutches of Schmelky and his henchmen?

The Creative Team 

 

The Banana Shpeel Creative Team includes: Artistic Guides Guy Laliberté (Cirque du Soleil Founder) and Gilles Ste-Croix; Writer and Director David Shiner; Director of Creation Serge Roy; Composer and Musical Director Jean-François Côté; Comic Act Designer Stefan Haves; Choreographer Jared Grimes; Costume Designer Dominique Lemieux; Set Designer and Props Co-Designer Patricia Ruel; Props Co-Designer Jasmine Catudal; Lighting Designer Bruno Rafie; Sound Designer Harvey Robitaille; and Make-up Designer Eleni Uranis.

Banana Shpeel writer and director David Shiner started out as a mime in Paris. His career took off in 1984 when he was discovered at the renowned circus festival Cirque de Demain. Shiner later teamed up with Bill Irwin to create the wordless two-man show Fool Moon, which played from 1992 to 1999, including three Broadway runs. Fool Moon picked up numerous prizes, including a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award. In 2007, Shiner directed his first Cirque du Soleil production, the big top touring show KOOZA.

Performance Schedule

Banana Shpeel performs from November 19, 2009 through January 3, 2010 at The Chicago Theatre

Ticket Information

Tickets are available now for all performances and can be purchased at www.cirquedusoleil.com or www.thechicagotheatre.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Regular ticket prices range from $23 to $98, with limited Premium and Tapis Rouge VIP Experience tickets also available. Discounts are available for groups of 20 or more, by calling 1-866-6-CIRQUE (1-866-624-7783).

banana

Bomb threat during performance of Jersey Boys

BofA_Theatre Per Chris Jones’ Theater Loop blog, the Bank of America Theatre (The Shubert) was evacuated about half-way through the evening performance after suspicious boxes were found in the alley behind the theatre.  Per the blog:

According to a report from the Tribune’s William Lee, who was quoting a police source, one letter read "this is not a bomb," and the other note said "this is not going to end good." 

Because of time constraints, following the realization that the boxes held nothing dangerous, there was no time left in the evening to complete the second act, and it was canceled. The audience members were informed that ticket exchanges would be available for any Tuesday performance in the month of October.

The entire posting can be found here, including some fairly heated comments below the story. Full Chicago Tribune coverage, including video, here.

“Jersey Boys” to appear on The Oprah Show

Oddly, in the video, they don’t say what day they will appear (perhaps they don’t know themselves???)

Jersey Boys Chicago on the Tonys!!!

 

Wow

 

 

million-jersey-boys

 

 

 

*As of today, number of people that have seen Broadway in Chicago’s Jersey Boys.

 

Mother’s Day theater specials

Stumped on a Mother’s Day gift?  Take her to the theatre!!

 

Don José (Noah Stewart) and Carmen (Sandra Piques Eddy) in Chicago Opera Theater’s production of La Tragédie de Carmen. LA TRAGÉDIE DE CARMEN AT 3PM!

Chicago Opera Theatre

MOTHER’S DAY TICKETS specially priced!

312.704.8414
Tickets also available on May 13 and 15!

“Those with a passion for the minimalist aesthetic will be enthralled by ‘La Tragedie de Carmen’…This Carmen is a realistic acting vehicle as much as a musical one.” – Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Opera Theater performs at:
The Harris Theater in Millennium Park
205 East Randolph

 

 

Mark 5:27 — When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak...

Mark’s Gospel, starring Max McLean, the hit Chicago premiere presented through May 17 at The Mercury Theater, is featuring a special Mother’s Day celebration on Sunday, May 10.  The first 25 moms to arrive at the theater prior to the 3 p.m. show will receive a treat-filled spring gift bag from popular Southport candy shop Candyality.  All mothers in attendance will receive a rose from Southport Blooms, and after the performance everyone in the audience is invited to indulge in complimentary cake and coffee, served by Cullen’s Bar and Grill in the lobby following the show.

 

cinderalla-hug The Emerald City Theatre Company invites you to celebrate Mother’s Day Weekend with Cinderella on either May 9 or 10. Cinderella, an original musical adaptation of the classic fairytale, has been extended through May 31 by popular demand!  Tickets available either through website or calling 773.935.6100.

Mom’s ticket is FREE (with the purchase of 3 regular priced adult or child tickets) when you celebrate Mother’s Day by bringing her to Cinderella on May 9 or 10. We’ll shower her with 3 ways to say ‘I love you’. In addition to her free ticket, the Fairy Godmother will give her a flower and chocolates!

 

Jersey Boys, now playing in the theatre district in Chicago's Loop Buy Jersey Boys tix for mom, and get her a FREE MASSAGE as well.

Purchase a pair of tickets by Mother’s Day to any Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday performance through June and receive a certificate for a FREE ONE HOUR MASSAGE* courtesy of Massage Envy! Click here and use the code MASSAGE in the ‘Promotions and Special Offers’ box when ordering. Certificates will be mailed via USPS within five (5) business days of purchase to the billing address. Hurry! Offer only valid while supplies lasts through May 10.


Now with 20 Chicagoland locations
www.massageenvy.com

Other Mother’s Day Specials

  • Brunch at Hyatt Regency McCormick Place’s SHOR on Sunday, May 10. For reservations, call 312.528.4140
  • Mini massages at Geja’s Café on Sunday, May 10. To make reservations, please call 773-281-9101.

"Addams Family – The Musical" – Nathan Lane, Bebe Neuwirth participate in first public reading

 

UPDATE: Read our review3 stars!!    review

 

bebeneuwirth nathanlane 

Wow – Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have this same list of Broadway stars headline the pre-Broadway Chicago production?  And doesn’t Bebe Neuwirth seem like the perfect Morticia Addams? 

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Excerpts from the Playbill-Online article:

The cast of this developmental workshop includes Nathan Lane as Gomez, Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia, Kevin Chamberlin as Fester, Zachary James as Lurch, Mary Louise Burke as Grandmama, Terrence Mann, Jan Maxwell and more. As is often the case with readings and workshops, this does not necessarily reflect what the final production casting will be.

As previously announced, the musical will make its world premiere Nov. 13, 2009-Jan. 10, 2010, at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre in Chicago, prior to a spring 2010 launch on Broadway.

With a book by Marshall Brickman and partner Rick Elice (librettists of the 2006 Tony Award-winning Best Musical, Jersey Boys) and music and lyrics by Drama Desk Award-winning composer-lyricist Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party), the musical is wholly original and not based on Addams Family material from other media.

Produced by Elephant Eye Theatrical and Roy Furman, The Addams Family has direction and design by Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch, the creators of Shockheaded Peter.

The Addams Family creative team also includes choreographer Sergio Trujillo, lighting designer Natasha Katz and musical director Mary-Mitchell Campbell.

For more information on the premiere engagement of The Addams Family, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com.  Read the entire article here.

UPDATE: Addams Family opens in Chicago!!!