“Mary Poppins” comes here first!

Mary Poppins - West EndEven with tepid reviews, “Mary Poppins” becamse one of the few Broadway hits during the past year.  And now the producers of “Mary Poppins” (Cameron Mackintosh and Walt Disney Theatricals) have announced that the first stop on their national tour will be in Chicago, specifically March 2009.  What’s interesting is that the producers have not yet posted any city/dates beyond the opening, which possibly implies that they are expecting the British nanny to enjoy an extended stay in the Windy City.  So don’t be surprised if you see a middle-aged English woman, umbrella in hand, flying around the Cadillac Palace Theatre!!  Supercalifragilisticespialidocious!  (sp?)

Ana Gasteyer talks to Chicago Tribune about “Passion”

Here’s a great interview with Ana Gasteyer, the lead in the Chicago Shakes‘ musical production Passion, by Stephen Sondheim.  The interview also includes Tony-award winning director Gary Griffin.

Review – “Altar Boyz” at Drury Lane

altarboyz2.jpgProduction: Altar Boyz
ProducersDrury Lane Water Tower
Synopsis: The Christian rock band, The Altar Boyz, is holding their final concert before they break up, and you’re the audience.  In the process of the evening, a handy “Soul-ometer” updates the audience as to how many souls have been saved as the concert continues.  Will your soul be saved by this kitschy group of boy band popsters?
Pros: Cleverly cute songs, including “Jesus Called Me On My Cell Phone” and a lesson in maneuvering a Catholic mass (“Stand up, sit down, kneel, go in peace…).  The mostly-local cast is great, and the show’s gimmick, the large digital “Soul-ometer”, works well, holding the show together.
Cons: Songs trend towards pop fluff, high ticket price.
Overall: Though you will not walk away from Altar Boyz spiritually enlightened, you definitely will be exhausted from the pure fun and athleticism of the show.  Check it out!

Rating: «««½

Fun video from Bailiwick’s “Zanna, Don’t”

Here’s a rough-ish recording of the bows and finale from “Zanna, Don’t!” at the Bailiwick.  I especially like the 3-part accapella section near the end of the clip.  Can’t wait to see it myself!

“Zanna’ trivia – Queer Eye star played lead

For most of the segments of “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy” that I sat through, I often wondered “why the hell do they have this culture guy on?  He’s useless!”.  I was talking about Jai Rodriguez, the Queer Eye rep in charge of the vague “culture” aspect of straight-guy-reprogramming.  Anyway, it wasn’t until later that I found out that he was an accomplished singer/performer, playing the lead in “Zanna, Don’t!” during the Off-Broadway run of the show.  I dug up a montage of his performances.  Unlike the Off-Broadway cast recording, he seems to have taken some bad advice, plunging into an American-Idol-singing style.  Oh well….