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LEGENDARY songwriters Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland (better known as Holland-Dozier-Holland) were a huge part of Motown’s foundation, writing multiple hit songs for such artists as The Supremes, The Four Tops, Martha and the Vandellas, and Marvin Gaye. The trio has come together again to pen a collection of songs for the Broadway-bound musical, First Wives Club, based on the 1996 movie about three women dumped by their husbands. Holland-Dozier-Holland recently visited Chicago and joined a group of theater officials and theatergoers at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place for a preview of the show that will be presented on the Oriental Theatre stage from February 17 through March 29. In First Wives Club: The Musical, actresses Faith Prince, Christine Sherrill and Carmen Cusack are cast in the roles as the leading trio of spurned spouses (played by Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton in the movie version). The musical was written by Emmy winner Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and will be directed by Simon Phillips. But there will be great anticipation surrounding the musical score. The team of Holland-Dozier-Holland has written an amazing number of enduring hits, with 130 of them making it to the pop charts, 70 climbing into the Top 10 and more than 40 reaching the No. 1 spot. In answer to a question about how they can write convincing songs that reflect women’s feelings, they said, almost in unison, “Well, we all were involved with a whole lot of women!”
Chicago Is Talking About . . .
Holland-Dozier-Holland & First Wives Club: The Musical
The Magic Of Rodgers + Hammerstein's CINDERELLA
IF you believe in magic and beauty and that dreams do come true, then Rodgers + Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA is perfect for you and your family. The Tony Award-winning musical, which debuted on Broadway on January 25, 2013, is in the midst of a national tour that has stopped at the Cadillac Palace Theatre for a limited engagement through January 4. In this production, the pumpkin, the glass slipper and the masked ball are still a part of the classic fairy tale, but thanks to a new book by five-time Tony nominee Douglas Carter Beane, there are some unexpected new twists and transformations. This Cinderella character, played by Paige Faure, is a contemporary individual who is spirited, influential and not afraid to pursue her dreams. Andy Jones stars as Prince Topher. Although there are changes to the classic tale, much of what generations have come to love remain in the new production, including a collection of Rodgers + Hammerstein's beloved songs––“Impossible/It’s Possible,” “In My Own Little Corner,” “Ten Minutes Ago” and “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?” The musical is directed by Mark Brokaw and choreographed by Josh Rhodes. The music adaptation, supervision and arrangements are by David Chase, and the orchestrations are by Danny Troob.
Tickets for CINDERELLA at the Cadillac Palace Theatre range from $22 to $100. A select number of premium seats are also available for many performances. Tickets are available now for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710. Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph Street, 151 W. Randolph Street, 18 W. Monroe Street and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com.
FROM the moment that the curtain rises and ornaments come alive on the giant, colorful Christmas tree, Cirque Dreams Holidaze is a full buffet of nonstop entertainment that includes gravity-defying acrobats, illusionists, jugglers, dancers and singers––all set in a Christmassy environment to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.
The oohs and aahs that swept throughout the building didn’t only come from the wide-eyed kids during the opening night of the high-flying, colorful holiday extravaganza that will continue at the Chicago Theatre through December 21. With holiday tunes such as “O Holy Night,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” and “Jingle Bell Rock” as a backdrop, the international cast of performers flipped, spun and were tossed to frightening heights during a show that also highlighted the entertainers’ tremendous flexibility, strength and balance. Nowhere was that more evident than during Russian Oleg Bocharov’s chair-stacking performance that had him balancing on six chairs so high in the air that his head was near the theater’s roof; or during an act by the “Wobbly Penguins” (Vladimir Dovgan of Ukraine and Anatoliy Yeniy of Moldova) who carefully stacked five cylinders, placed a board on top and, together, gyrated in unison like surfers on a violent wave while they expertly kept their balance.
This winter wonderland of amazement is described as "a new cirque show, Broadway musical and family Christmas
The Holiday Stage Extravaganza 'Cirque Dreams Holidaze'
The Brotherhood Chorale's Christmas Concert
ONE of Chicago’s most dynamic and spirited musical treasures kicked off the holiday season with an electrifying Christmas concert that had a standing-room-only crowd at the Apostolic Church of God singing along with sustained joy and praise. The award-winning Brotherhood Chorale, a part of the musical ministry at the Apostolic Church of God, presented its seasonal concert, “The Amazing Gift, with a selection of traditional carols and other holiday-related songs, including “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” “Sing Noel,” “O, Holy Night,” “Festival Gloria,” “Let Everything Praise Him,” “Jesus, What a Wonderful Child” and “I Know What Prayer Can Do.” Under the direction of principal conductor Brian C. Rice, the group of approximately 150 men blended their distinctive voices with those of special guests Elizabeth Norman-Sojourner, Dwayne Lee and Stellar Award-winner Tiffany Joy McGhee to produce amazing collaborations on songs such as “Mary Had a Baby Medley,” “You’re Amazing” and “Our Father, You Are Holy.”
The nationally recognized Brotherhood Chorale, which has performed with the Chicago Civic Orchestra, is one of the city’s most sought-after choirs to participate in various musical events, including multiple appearances at the Music Institute of Chicago’s concert to commemorate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That annual performance has become one of the most noted and inspiring tributes to Dr. King. In further recognition of the group's widespread popularity, the Chorale has expanded its reach by harmonizing with well-known artists such as Al Jarreau, The Winans, Brian McKnight, Rachel Barton-Pine, Smokey Norful, Take 6 and Santita Jackson.
spectacular all rolled into one." There are dancing snowmen and gingerbread men, rope-jumping reindeer, singing ornaments, puppeteers and even Santa, who displayed his “unknown” skills while assisting a little girl (plucked from the audience) with moves similar to those of a gymnast. (She was later revealed as a member of the cast.)
One of the more engaging moments of the show came when Yeniy (who took on another role after the balancing act)––without speaking and armed only with his comedic instinct and a candy cane-like baton––acted as a maestro to five audience members who had been given bells to shake. The interaction created one of the genuine, laughable moments in the show when some of the bell ringers were a little slow to follow the maestro’s cues.
The show, created and directed by Neil Goldberg, is an entertaining mix of the holiday season and the sensational. It is a one-of-a-kind presentation, a fun-filled showcase that delivers a magical experience, one that’s enhanced by visually astounding costumes by Lenora Nikitan and Santiago Rojo, and some beautiful choreography by Heather Hoffman.
Cirque Dreams Holidaze, which began its first touring production in 2009, now has three touring companies that tour simultaneously across the country. Goldberg says audiences have grown rapidly because every element of the show celebrates the holiday season by combining “tradition, spectacle and imagination with song, variety and amazement.” Many observers agree that the show is colorful, merry and inventive, but in the end, they say, it’s simply entertaining.
Tickets are priced from $25 to $75 and are available at the Chicago Theatre box office, online at www.ticketmaster.com and via phone at 800-745-3000. Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more are also available by calling GroupTix at 773.327.3778 or visiting www.grouptix.net or by calling Group Theater Tix at (312) 423-6612. You can also visit www.grouptheatertix.com.