One musical is rocking the social media space. Newsies is the story of a rag tag group of newsboys in New York City at the turn of the century. While fighting for a better life against the publishing giants Pulitzer and Hearst, this crew finds strength and friendship in unexpected ways. Since my move to NYC was set I knew Newsies would be at the top of my list of must-see musicals. Growing up in theater means you watched and easily memorized the Newsies movie. And when they announced it was heading to Broadway, everyone made sure I was in the know. Between my excitement surrounding Newsies and my passion for social media I quickly realized the Newsies online brand is one to follow, and here’s just a few reasons why: Behind-the-scenes: Members of the cast take you behind-the-scenes with exclusive content for their followers. From backstage rituals and national morning show appearances to the experiencing the Tony Award nominations, Newsies is constantly pouring out stellar content to maintain fan interest. The opening night curtain call I caught via Facebook (above) was exciting by itself – I can only imagine what the full show will bring. Fan engagement: In interviews and social media posts, the cast refers to their fans as “fansies,” a unique way to personalize the connections with their fans. The brand leverages YouTube to introduce members of the cast. My friend and I have received immediate replies via Twitter from @Newsies and if you watch the stream the handle is constantly connecting with their followers. A show that boasts 14 Broadway debuts is remarkable. After all the following along I cannot wait for Sunday’s performance!
Activities like theater can truly mold a person. The bonds made hold strong for a lifetime and an auditorium becomes a second home. We learned these lessons, among many more, growing up with theater at Mother McAuley. It’s a great feeling to know you can always go home again. (Turns out the laughter of friends makes being 800+ miles away from home feel like I’m only a town away.)And a round of applause for the fabulous actors: PH, Coll, Karen, Lindsay, Laura, Jackie, Cassidy and the cast of 42nd Street.
[Editor’s note: As a performer growing up I am striving to expand my coverage of performances I enjoy. If you’re in Chicago and want to make a date for theater, dance, improv, the circus, dog shows, etc. I’m your girl. My goal is to educate on what I experience so if you’d like to see something added to my review format, speak up!]I texted my best friend during the intermission of Memphis to say there were so many dance breaks I had easily lost count. Labeling the comedic timing of Chad Kimball (Huey) and Montego Glover (Felicia) as ‘perfect’ feels like I’m underselling these performers. And you would never know J. Bernard Calloway (Delray) was making his Broadway debut – his delivery exuded seasoned professional. As the ensemble performed the closing number you could see the enthusiasm in their eyes and their true love for the show and their craft. If you’re ever questioning whether you are in the right career, go see a show. Or speak with an actor. These individuals chose a path outside the 9-5 cube cycle so many fall into. They repeat the same show over and over again, but strive to deliver a memorable performance each time they take center stage. The excitement and passion in the closing number nearly brought me to tears. Show: Memphis Location: New York, NY – September 2011 Companions: Flew solo Atmosphere: Sold out theater in the bustling area of New York City. Standing ovation from a crowd with young and mature theatergoers. Overview: Turn up that dial…From the underground dance clubs of 1950s Memphis, Tennessee, comes a hot new Broadway musical that bursts off the stage with explosive dancing, irresistible songs and a thrilling tale of fame and forbidden love. Inspired by actual events, Memphis is about a white radio DJ who wants to change the world and a black club singer who is ready for her big break. Winner of four 2010 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The facts:
• The Shubert Theater (open run)
• Cost: $41.50 – $251.50
• Tip: Good news Chicago friends! Memphis is currently taking our town by storm through December 4. ($37-95) Get on it! Recommended? A show that makes me want to dance, laugh and cry is a definite thumbs up.
[Editor’s note: As a performer growing up I am striving to expand my coverage of performances I enjoy. If you’re in Chicago and want to make a date for theater, dance, improv, the circus, dog shows, etc. I’m your girl. My goal is to educate on what I experience so if you’d like to see something added to my review format, speak up!]
Have you ever sat so close to the stage you felt like a part of the performance? That was the experience I had during my first outing to The Second City. These sketch and improv shows are a staple to Chicago and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to visit. After a cleverly-written and very well-executed show I am looking forward to round two.Show: The Second City’s South Side of Heaven Location: Chicago, IL Companions: Best friends Lindsay and Laura for my birthday Atmosphere: Seats are not assigned so line up a little early. Come ready to make new friends as tables and chairs definitely exude “the more the merrier” feel. Food and drinks are available and note you may be called out for purchasing the commemorative pint glass. My friends and I welcome the opportunity to be a tourist in our own city, which means I added the glass to my collection. Background: The Second City has ties dating back to 1959 with locations in Chicago, Los Angeles and Toronto. Over the years many stars have come up through the ranks moving onto shows like Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock and The Colbert Report, to name a few. Overview: “South Side of Heaven is a thought-provoking, irreverent and hilarious new show from The Second City exploring the many fates that propel our world and universe. From the cultural divide between Cubs and White Sox fans to the delicate distinction between dancing and stripping, South Side of Heaven rejoices in the earthly and ethereal. A President, an outgoing Mayor and a creepy TSA agent are all just part of the natural flow of South Side of Heaven.“ The facts:
• Open run
• Cost: $22-32
• Tip: The cast entertains with a bonus round of improv following the Saturday evening and Sunday performances. Enjoy the opportunity to see these professionals in their element! Recommended? Definitely!