Monthly Archives June 2021

Uptown Music Theater Of Highland Park Announces Live Show This Summer And Cast

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Uptown Music Theater of Highland Park announces the cast of its first live-action production of 2021, Freckleface Strawberry, the Musical. Based on the beloved New York Times bestseller by famous actress Julianne Moore, the show is a fun and touching family musical.

Performances take place outside at Danny Cunniff Park, 3100 Trail Way, Highland Park, in a secluded parking lot surrounded by trees. Ticket reservations are general admission and valid for any performance. Performances take place Saturdays and Sundays – July 24, 25 and 31, August 1 at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. CDT.

Guests are kindly requested to bring their own rugs or blankets for children and chairs for adults. Tickets cost $ 10 per person and are now on sale at umthp.org.

Freckleface Strawberry’s cast, The Musical, take young audience families inside the pages of the book with Freckleface and his friends as they learn to “love the skin they’re in”. With the help of her adorable classmates, including an incredibly talented ballerina, cute jock, charming ditz, and a totally bonkers teacher, Freckleface learns that everyone is different – and that’s what makes everyone special.

The cast of Freckleface Strawberry includes: Korrine Yonan (Freckleface Strawberry), Emmie Ginsberg (Emily), Gemma Gardner (Ballet Girl), Brittany Vogel (Jane / Mother / Teacher), Al Katz-Mariani (Danny), Jason Sekili (Jake) , and Henry Gessner (Harry).

The Freckleface Strawberry production team includes: Debra Goldman (director); Marty Karlin (musical director); Sarah Makkawy (choreographer); Sue Jacobson (assistant director); and Jamie Davidson (producer).

For more information, please visit www.umthp.org.


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CHESS THE MUSICAL Set To Debut At The Concert Hall, QPAC In June 2021

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The worldwide stage hit CHESS THE MUSICAL, featuring the iconic music of ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson, lyrics by Tim rice & Björn Ulvaeus and book by Tim rice, will debut at QPAC’s Concert Hall, for its first professional presentation, in two exclusive performances on June 10th, 2021.

Inspired by extraordinary real-life events it first premiered to glowing reviews in London’s West End in 1986 starring Elaine paige. Featuring hits including I Know Him So Well – recognized in the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest selling UK chart single ever by a female duo – and the upbeat pop favorite One Night in Bangkok, music from CHESS THE MUSICAL is known the world over, with the original concept album described by Rolling Stone as having a “dazzling score (which) covers nearly all the pop bases”. Time Magazine declared the score as “rock symphonic synthesis ripe with sophistication and hummable tunes”.

CHESS THE MUSICAL tells the story of a complex love triangle combined with dramatic political intrigue, set against the background of the Cold War in the early 1980s, where Soviet and American forces attempt to manipulate an international chess championship for political gains.

The Brisbane performances of this much-loved musical, which recently premiered in Moscow, will feature the London West End orchestrations with a full twenty-five-piece orchestra. The stellar cast for this semi-staged concert style event will be announced in February 2021.

CHESS THE MUSICAL is produced by Adrian Storey from StoreyBoard Entertainment (Barnum, Follies, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), directed by renowned director Tyran Parke (Barnum, Follies, Broadway to La Scala), with Musical Direction by David Piper (Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Wicked), Set & Costume Design by Dann Barber (Barnum, 33 Variations), Lighting Design by Gavan Swift, Sound Design by award-winning designer Michael waters and Choreography by Freya List.

Booking Information:

When: Thursday June 10, 2021, 2:00 pm &, 7:30 pm

Where: Concert Hall, QPAC

Tickets: From $ 89 ON SALE 9am Dec 17

Bookings: qtix.com.au or 136 246


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CHESS THE MUSICAL at Perth Concert Hall

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StoreyBoard Entertainment has gone big with its production of CHESS THE MUSICAL. It’s a great cast giving great performances in a great setting, and supported by an orchestra and choir, the whole performance comes together to be an awesome production. While the stage itself is quite small, the creative team made the performances really pop, really letting the emotion behind the stories shine through.

While it’s easy to start with the awesome cast that is at the center of this performance, what really makes this show is the creative team. Benny Anderson and Bjorn Ulvaeus of ABBA Fame created the concept album CHESS as an outlet for their ideas that didn’t necessarily fit the band. The album (released before the musical) topped the charts and was praised at the time for its many layers and impressive sounds. Music Director David Piper has spent a lot of time recreating the original sounds and intent of the album for a score that goes from powerful ballads to classic Broadway styles to 80s synth pop and it all works perfectly. Having been designed in the studios used by ABBA, the original album looks a lot like ABBA and it has been reproduced as faithfully as possible. The 26 musicians of the Perth Symphony Orchestra, led by renowned Perth conductor Craig Dalton, have done perfectly. While the Perth Symphony Orchestra playing an Anderson / Ulvaeus score in the Perth Concert Hall would be an experience in itself, it provides perfect support for CHESS THE MUSICAL, and the orchestra’s position – near and around from the stage – brings an impressive atmosphere to the performance.

Director Tyran Parke and set designer Dann Barber used a deceptively simple layout for the scene itself. Four large chess pieces serve as different sets throughout the show, with BWW Review: CHESS THE MUSICAL at Perth Concert Halla few chairs and a chessboard are the only other props used on the small chessboard-style stage. At first, the setup seems minimalist, and one wonders how it can convey the different scenes throughout the show. However, by reimagining the story (as producer Adrian Storey was looking for before he started production), the set was stripped down, and it works great here. With so little on stage, it took extra creative work to convey the show’s themes and ideas. Dann Barber doubled down on the costume design, and again with a pretty straightforward premise – all costumes are shades of white, black, or red – the costumes help convey the changes and differences that occur over time. as the show progresses. Lighting designer Gavan Swift also helps bring an extra dimension to the show. Shadows dance along the walls during in-game scenes, and it’s always clear who the focus is on (even in multi-layered scenes and songs), while simple changes from light to dark make it clear what the focus is. emotions of every scene where the story cannot fully describe it. Credit also has to go to choreographer Freya List, who uses the small ensemble well to direct the show and add to the relatively small cast. The ensemble is used in dance pieces even when the focus is on the two lead actors in a smart and creative way that really adds depth and intrigue in multiple parts of the show.

BWW Review: CHESS THE MUSICAL at Perth Concert Hall
The complete cast and the whole

While the creative work is mind blowing, the cast of big names is equally impressive. Natalie Bassingthwaite is an excellent and complex Florence Vassy. Bassingthwaite is well known as an actor and singer, and both skill sets are showcased in CHESS THE MUSICAL. Likewise, Paulini’s skills as a singer and artist are unmistakable. She only started acting in the last few years, but you have to think from this performance that she has a lot more ahead of her. It is an absolute treat and a highlight of the night to see the two great ladies

BWW Review: CHESS THE MUSICAL at Perth Concert Hall
The duo of Paulini and Bassingthwaite is a highlight

duet for ‘I Know Him So Well’, perhaps the most famous song in the series. Mark Furze perfectly plays all sides of the volatile Freddie Trumper, while Alexander lewis is a superb Anatoly Sergievsky. Lewis rose to fame in musicals and opera and shows both skill sets in this role. Versatile Rob mills is an excellent Walter De Courcey, the manipulative TV producer, in another impressive role to add to his CV, and one can hardly miss Eddie Muliaumaseali’I as Molokov. His thunderous voice suits Molokov’s accomplice perfectly, while his sung parts were almost made for the concert hall. The Arbiter has traditionally been played by men (and has only recently expanded to become a larger part of the series), but proud First Nations woman Brittanie Shipway wears it perfectly, with her pragmatic character. which perfectly complements the other main roles as they try to push their agendas. The eight-person ensemble also looks great here. With limited time off the stage (they spend much of the show off the elevated stage but still very visible) they really keep the energy in and set the mood for the show.

CHESS THE MUSICAL is well known for its hard to follow story. Director Tyran Parke deliberately scaled it down, and while what remains of the Cold War allegory behind the narrative may not translate well for contemporary audiences, the central engines are still there, and the show is performed. so that the motivations behind are no longer important. What the show lacks in the story is more than made up for its superb staging, costumes and lighting, a brilliant orchestra (backed up by an impressive chorus), and that’s before it even gets to the powerful performances of the well-known actors. There are many distinct parts of CHESS THE MUSICAL that would be worth seeing individually, and they are perfectly combined in this must-see show.

CHESS THE MUSICAL is at the Perth Concert Hall until June 5 before moving to Brisbane from June 8-10. Tickets and more on Chess The Musical Australia.

All photos courtesy of Jeff Busby.


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