Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: theater

A wonderful night with The Merry Murderesses of the Cook County Jail and their rendition of a The Cell Block Tango. Another great production at the Drury Lane Theater. He had it comin’!!!

And we were sitting under a beautiful chandelier in the theater. Makes me glad we’re not seeing “Phantom Of The Opera”… if you know what I mean?!

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Categories: music, theater

Tonight at the Cadillac Palace Theater… a wonderful night in Agrabah!!!

Sure, it was a magical night… and the Cadillac Palace Theater is a great venue!
The architectural details and amazing craftsmanship. The moldings. The ceilings. The chandeliers. They don’t make theaters like they used to!!!

After gawking at the theater’s architecture… it was finally time for the show!

And apparently, there is more than one Magic Lamp…
or maybe just a great display board of Aladdin holiday ornaments at the souvenir stand!!!

The show itself is AMAZING!!!
They did a wonderful job of adapting the Disney animated classic to a live theater show. The colors, the settings, the dancing  the singing. ALl amazing!!! Sure, there are a few changes along the way. A few new characters, a few missing. Some new songs, some favorite classics. All in all, a WONDERFUL noght of musical theater!!!

And then there’s the Magic Carpet ride… Jasmine & Price Ali flying out over the Agrabah sky!

I swear I have no idea how this darn carpet flies!!! I watched intently when they took off and flew out of Jasmine’s bedroom window. I tried my best to figure out how it was happening. No visible cables. No signs of a crane. I tried… and I “assumed’ they were doing a great job of hiding them with the nighttime sky & star-filled setting. But when the carpet showed up again during Curtain Call in full lighting… I strained my eyes to see the trick. And STILL… no idea how this happens!!! They do a wonderful job here.

So when I got home, I had to do a little research… and everywhere online, any article I could find says that it’s just “Disney Magic.” And that all of the cast members are sworn to secrecy. So much for figuring it out… but isn’t this part of the fun?!!!

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Categories: Chicago, theater

Another wonderful evening of musical theater in the highly decorative Oriental Theater in Chicago. Hard to believe that it has been twenty years since I saw “RENT” for the first time… so good to see it again for the Anniversary Tour. Still an amazing show!!!

According to BroadwayInChicago.com
As one of the first motion picture palaces whose décor was inspired by the Far East, Chicago’s Oriental Theatre opened to much fanfare on May 8, 1926. Designed by George L. and Cornelius W. Rapp for theatre managers Balaban and Katz, the theatre, a virtual museum of Asian art, presented popular first-run motion pictures, complemented by lavish stage shows. Turbaned ushers led patrons from the lobby, with polychrome figures and large mosaics of an Indian prince and princess, through an inner foyer with elephant-throne chairs and multicolored glazed Buddhas, to the auditorium’s “hasheesh-dream décor.”

Among the many stars that played the theatre are Paul Ash (billed as “the Rajah of Jazz”), The Three Stooges, Judy Garland, Al Jolson, Stepin Fetchit, Sophie Tucker, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Fanny Brice, Danny Kaye and Alice Faye. During a record-breaking week in 1930, as many as 124,985 patrons visited the Oriental to see the hit film “Flight.” Although management changed hands several times in the subsequent decades, the theatre continued to feature films until the early 1970s, at which time it hosted live performances by such artists as Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and the Pips and Little Richard.

Soon the theater fell into disrepair. In an effort to preserve the theatre, it was added to the Federal National Registry of Historic Places in 1978, but the building continued to crumble. The theatre was closed to the public in 1981, and the site was considered for a two-story, 50,000 square-foot shopping mall and a 1,600 seat cinema. In 1996, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley announced that the Oriental would be restored to
its original grandeur for the presentation of live stage musicals. Renamed the Ford Center for the Performing Arts in 1997, the restoration of the theatre was completed in October 1998, at which time it was opened with the Chicago premiere of RAGTIME. In 1999, FOSSE debuted at the Oriental Theatre before embarking on a national tour. The list of hits goes on, including the pre-Broadway premiere of BLAST in 2000, the
world premiere of SING-A-LONG WIZARD OF OZ in January 2003, the record-breaking run of WICKED from 2005 to 2009, BILLY ELLIOT and the pre-Broadway World Premiere of BIG FISH in 2013. In 2014, the hits include the National Tour Premiere of MOTOWN and Disney’s NEWSIES.

 

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Categories: Taylor, theater

Another fun night of musical theater last night with my niece & oompa-loompa Taylor in her school’s production of Willie Wonka… complete with her first “official” headshot!

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Categories: creativity, inspiration, music, special events, theater

Tonight was a wonderful night under the White Big Top.
Located down in the south parking lot of Soldier Field is a temporary white tent..
and it’s HUGE!!! Much larger than the tent they had a few years back when CAVALIA
first came to Chicago. I saw the show then and was instantly mesmerized. I sadly assumed it was a one-time show… so imaging my surprise & excitement when I saw they were returning to Chicago with a new show!!!

And it’s got to be that big to house a show this HUGE!!!
You should know by now that I’m a card-carrying Cirque du Soleil geek.
And while this is NOT a Cirque show, it is definitely very reminiscent of their splendor.
Think of it as Cirque du Soleil with a herd of horses running free!!!

Click here to see the official trailer for CAVALIA’s ODYSSEO.

It’s an amazingly beautiful and mesmerizing evening. The live band and singer were captivating while each of the acts were amazing. The colors, the costumes, the complete package. The horses are amazing in all their regal glory. Somehow they “perform” just as much as the human performers. They dance, prance and turn on cue. Somehow these “wild” horses storm the stage racing at full speed… and then a moment later are gentle, clam & graceful. It’s amazing to watch how well trained the horses are. And even more touching that you can actually see how much the trainers love their horses… and even better, that you can literally see how much the horses LOVE their trainers. Seriously. You can see the bond, the trust and the love of working together among the entire cast… human and equine!!!

Sure, there are acrobatic acts much like a more traditional Cirque du Soleil show…

But then there’s also horse galloping and trick riders flying all over the place.
Oh wait, and did I mention the water?!!!

For a bit more insight about the creator and the show from behind the scenes, click here for a very insightful CAVALIA video on YouTube.

And while the show is AMAZING!!!
They also host a wide collection of horse sculptures and paintings.
A veritable art gallery… like the CAVALIA theatrical spectacle weren’t enough!!!

And you know how I LOVE rusty metal….

In addition to the metal sculpture horses,they also had a wide collection of incredible horse paintings. I loved the gestural line quality of these beauties by Sebastien Larochelle…

And my favorite painting by Lea Riviere…

Overall, an amazing night of equine beauty.
It’s all of the spectacle drama and beauty of Cirque du Soleil AND horses!!!
If you EVER have a chance to see CAVALIA live under the Big Top… by all means do!!!

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Categories: special events, theater

Looks like “big fun” has popped up along the Lakefront. We already have our tickets…
no horsing around for us!!! Can’t wait!!!

Categories: theater

A great evening of musical theater last night at “URINETOWN: The Musical.”
For a quick sneak peek… click here for a BoHo Theater highlights reel on YouTube.

Possibly the smallest theater space ever… but brilliantly staged & choreographed. Much better than the huge Broadway version I saw years ago!!! Incredible voices in this laugh-out-loud musical. Only here for another week… it’s a MUST SEE!!!

Click here to see if you can still get your tickets at Stage 773 on Belmont.

Just look how small the stage is!!! That’s it.
Nothing in the wings. And a six piece band squeezed in the back left corner!!

It’s a bit of a love story mixed with corporate greed and struggles of drought and greed.
With a LOT of punny wordsmithing along the way. Very clever. Very well-played!!!

Here are the star-crossed lovers Bobby Strong and Hope Cladwell…

And Miss Pennywise… the operator of “Public Amenity #9″ restroom with a secret past…

And Little Sally… the idealistic observer who points out the obvious…

One of the more enjoyable “quirks” of the show was their staging & visual references to other Broadway musicals. Like when they break into a rumble finger-snapping riff ala “West Side Story”… or a Jewish line dance ala “Fiddler On The Roof”… or my favorite, the rebel forces joining and marching forward ala “Les Miserables”… complete with the big red flag waving!!! Brilliant… and hysterical if you catch all of the references.

 

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Categories: theater

After a long day of glazing & loading, followed by an “all-nighter” of firing… it was great to grab a quick nap followed by a fun evening of musical theater with friends. We went to see “Singin’ In The Rain” at the Marriott Lincolnshire. Fun show with all the songs you know and lots of tapping! Yes, they do the infamous sofa flip… and yes, it even RAINS REAL RAIN!!!

Categories: music, theater

After an astounding 30 years on Broadway, “Les Miserables” closed the curtain & put away the red flag of rebellion today. Click on the link below to see some of the stars who have appeared in THE BEST MUSICAL EVER!!! Yes, I’ve seen it live on stage far too many times. And have several versions of the soundtrack… all of which I’ve memorized. For the record, I can sing all the parts, and I sound amazing in the car. Not to mention the movie… or the DVD’s of the Anniversary Concerts in London. Both of them. Yep. I’m a dork.

If you read further in the link, it mentions a National Touring Company in 2017.
I can’t wait to see it again.. and again.. and again!!! One Day More…

Click here for the video link... The Many Faces of “Les Miserables.”

Categories: food, theater

Fun night of musical theater last night with my friend Pam…
followed by even more fun at Andy’s Frozen Custard in Evanston!!!

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