Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



NUNN ON ONE: THEATER Mark Burrell is steppin' in 'Pippin'
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn

This article shared 1804 times since Tue Jul 28, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Life's a three-ring circus for the revival of four-time Tony Award winner Pippin. Now on a national tour, Pippin tells the story of a young prince on a death-defying journey and the choices he makes in life.

Mark Burrell wears many hats on the tour. He's an assistant choreographer, dance captain and understudy for the role of Charles. Burrell made his Broadway debut in the first national tour of Fosse and was also seen in other productions of Cats, Disney's Beauty and the Beast and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Windy City called him up right before his Chicago arrival.

Windy City Times: Hi, Mark. You are originally from Michigan?

Mark Burrell: Yes, I am from Lake Orion, it is a small town just north of Detroit. I have been in New York 20 years now.

WCT: So you are a New York City lifer?

MB: Well, actually I am looking to move out of there now. It is just gotten way too expensive to live there anymore. I have more connections to Chicago. One of my dearest friends lives there. I had a connection to the Joffrey Ballet there for a little while.

WCT: Did you move to New York to pursue theater?

MB: I went to pursue dance. I had only done community theater before that. My dream was to go to Juilliard and be a part of that world, whatever that meant. I got in and wound up being one of 24 dancers accepted. I did my first two and a half years there then left to do my first national tour of Fosse. I then booked shows and traveled for over three years. At age 25, there was still a little gray cloud above me and I wanted to finish my degree. I contacted the school and they let me back in to finish my degree. I had a better perspective on life at that juncture. That made my experience much more fruitful.

WCT: I read that you worked with The Rockettes for a long time.

MB: For 10 years. It was amazing. I started off as a dancer in the ensemble and ended up becoming the assistant choreographer. I left them to do Pippin when Chet Walker contacted me and asked me if I wanted to be a part of this project. He told me to meet with Diane Paulus, the director, who is now my friend for life. It has been a whirlwind!

WCT: Talk about this updated [version of] Pippin.

MB: I think the heart and soul is still totally in this musical. In 1972, it really tested people's limits on the Vietnam War. Diane has really broadened the spectrum with adding these circus elements, which Bob Fosse was such a fan of. If you go back to a lot of Bob's research for Pippin it was all Commedia dell'arte work that he did. The costumes and nuances that he did was all based on the oddities of the circus world. I thought it was brilliant that Diane picked up on those little subtle things and brought it into her re-creation of this.

This is a cross-breed unlike any other show. I have been in this business for 22 years and I have never been a part of something that is so intricate, detailed and risk-taking, but comes off effortlessly. It is such a spectacle before your eyes that you don't even realize until you walk out of the theater exactly what went into it. I think that is the magic that they created.

WCT: It is set inside of a circus?

MB: Yes, inside of a circus tent. It is a little microscope on this traveling circus troupe of performers that could pick up and leave going to the next city. That is what we do on the national tour. We are living it!

In the circus world, you rely on one another for the heart and soul in your life. I have been a part of many national tours and there is always that one person that will suck you dry on a tour but with this particular group of human beings there is not an ounce of that. This troupe travels as a true family. Audiences really feel that love for one another and the support when they see this production.

WCT: So as a touring show, this might even work better than the Broadway version?

MB: I think the setting and the essence of it are absolutely what [it] ... is now embodying.

WCT: You raised money for AIDS at Downtown Dancing at The Joyce in New York?

MB: It was with high school students that I did that. Dancers Responding to AIDS has an outreach program that they open to many dancing studios in the metropolitan area and across the country. I created a work called The Princess Tangos, which was a Disney parody of the Cell Block Tango from the musical Chicago. We raised a lot of money and it is still a legacy that I believe so highly of.

We have someone on this tour that deals with all of the Broadway Cares events. As a gay man, this cause has always been apparent in our lives and will be in our lives. I have seen many of my friends pass from the unfortunate epidemic. It is amazing to do something so simple as put my feet on the floor and raise such huge funds for an organization that needs the support.

WCT: You should have an event while in Chicago.

MB: We are having an event at Sidetrack on Aug. 3. Cast members will be singing songs and little vignettes, not only from Pippin but also the life of theater. It will be a lot of fun!

Pick up your Pippin tickets at as it runs July 29-Aug. 9 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St.

Swing over to Sidetrack, 3349 N. Halsted St., on Monday, Aug. 3, 7-9 p.m., where a $25 donation to Broadway Cares includes 2 drinks. For more info, visit .

This article shared 1804 times since Tue Jul 28, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

THEATER 'A Michael Martin Tribute' Nov. 11-28 2021-10-27
- Curious Theatre Branch will host a three-week celebration of the solo performance monologues of the late Michael Martin, curated by Kelly Anchors. A Michael Martin Tribute will take place Nov. 11-28 at Pride Arts Center, 4139 ...

Gay News

THEATER Melissa Gilbert joins 'Rehab' cast with Dan Butler 2021-10-25
- Melissa Gilbert—an Emmy-winning and Golden Globe-nominated actor, director, producer and New York Times best-selling author known for her role on TV's Little House on the Prairie—will join the cast of the upcoming world premiere of When ...

Gay News

REVIEW Randy Rainbow tackles politics, shows talent at The Chicago Theatre 2021-10-24
- YouTube sensation Randy Rainbow brought The Pink Glasses Tour to The Chicago Theatre on Oct. 22. Best known for videos that parody musical numbers with a focus on politics, the heavily curated show began with a ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ JoJo Siwa, Haring/Ortiz mural, Jamie Lee Curtis, Billy Porter 2021-10-24
- Dancing the foxtrot alongside partner Jenna Johnson to Olivia Newton John's "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee (Reprise)" for Dancing with the Stars' Grease night, 18-year-old social-media star JoJo Siwa received the season's first perfec ...

Gay News

Stage Left Theatre names new artistic director 2021-10-21
- Stage Left Theatre announced Bobbi Masters as its new artistic director. Masters has directed plays at theaters around the nation such as No Strings Theatre Company in Las Cruces, New Mexico (The Bald Soprano); and Kitchen ...

Gay News

THEATER E. Faye Butler to star in 'Fannie' Oct. 25-Nov. 14 2021-10-21
- Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., will host the run of Cheryl L. West's Fannie (The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer), which will run Oct. 25-Nov. 14. E. Faye Butler stars as U.S. civil-rights ...

Gay News

Hubbard Street Dance back on the stage with 'RE/TURN' 2021-10-21
- Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC) will present Fall Series: RE/TURN to herald its return to the stage at the Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph St. The program will feature new premieres as well as audience favorites ...

Gay News

Lyric Opera presenting 'Florencia en el Amazonas' Nov. 13-28 2021-10-21
- During Nov. 13-28, Lyric Opera of Chicago will run the company premiere of Florencia en el Amazonas—the first Spanish-language work to be presented as part of Lyric's mainstage opera season. There will be evening performances on ...

Gay News

Theater review: This Wide Night 2021-10-17
- Title: This Wide Night. Playwright: Chloe Moss At: Shattered Globe Theatre/Interrobang Theatre Project at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: $25-$45; Runs through: Nov. 13 The landlord calls ...

Gay News

MUSICALS 'Pretty Woman' tickets go on sale Oct. 15 2021-10-15
- After a pre-Broadway run in Chicago and being on Broadway, Pretty Woman: The Musical, based on one of Hollywood's most beloved romantic stories of all time, returns to Chicago. The production will run at the CIBC ...

Gay News

THEATER Broken Nose presenting looter drama 'Primer' Nov. 15-Dec. 5 2021-10-15
- Broken Nose Theatre, a pay-what-you-can theater company, will run the world premiere audio drama Primer, described in a release as "a deeply honest look at the prioritization of property over people. Ensemble member Spenser Davis wrote ...

Gay News

THEATER 'A Rocky Horror Picture Party' at The Den on Oct. 30-31 2021-10-12
- Haven is presenting Science Fiction / Double Feature: A Rocky Horror Picture Party—an immersive Halloween experience that brings to life in vivid technicolor the world of the cult-classic film—directed by ...

Gay News

THEATER Rivendell's '8:46' to run Oct. 21-23, stream Nov. 1 2021-10-12
- Rivendell Theatre Ensemble (RTE)—Chicago's only Equity theater dedicated to producing new work with women at the core—announced 8:46 (Breathing Room), a new play festival of four commissioned plays each eight ...

Gay News

COMEDY Janeane Garofalo at The Den Theatre on Nov. 19-20 2021-10-12
- The Den Theatre will present comedian Janeane Garofalo for four performances on Nov. 19-20 (at 7 and 9:30 p.m. each night) on The Heath Mainstage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. Garofalo has had many memorable and critically ...

Gay News

DRAG Utica Queen finds a home in Chicago 2021-10-12
- Ethan Mundt rose to fame as Utica Queen in season 13 of the Emmy-winning show RuPaul's Drag Race. Ultimately placing sixth in the competition, this young, gay 25-year-old showed creativity and personality. Mundt's latest project, Homecoming ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.