Chicago took a bite of the big apple in Millennium Park on Aug. 17 with a free summer concert that celebrated 15 years of Broadway In Chicago reigning in the Windy City. More than 10 scenes were performed from the upcoming season of shows hosted by ABC 7's Janet Davies.
The iconic 42nd Street cast kicked things off with classic tunes; then A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder ran quickly but in a stodgy fashion. Emerald City Theatre's A Charlie Brown Christmas cast tugged at childhood heartstrings; Dirty Dancing's cast had the time of their lives singing but didn't dance.
Jackie Burns channeled Idina Menzel for If/Then but, with the real Menzel performing in the same park the night before, why not have the Wicked alumna herself just fly in on a broomstick to promote?
Tony Award winner Jessie Mueller was on hand, though, to treat fans to the eagerly anticipated Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and brought her natural interpretation to the stage.
Life was a Cabaret as the title song was belted out over the lawn by Roundabout Theatre Company, and Jerry Mitchell's Gotta Dance looked extremely promising. If they can have the stars from the filmed script, then count us in!
The musical Newsies had a lot of smooching for a Disney production, followed by The Lion King. It was stated that the young man playing the Simba role even ushered in the exact same theater where it will launch. Talk about a "Circle of Life..."
Book of Mormon was the surprise show at the end of the program, heralding an exciting return of the popular comedy to our neck of the woods.
Broadway in Chicago began in 2000, and has grown into a hub for touring productions ever since. For more information on current and future shows, visitBroadwayInChicago.com .
Photos and text by Jerry Nunn