Fred Anzevino, co/founder and artistic director, shares his insights about the upcoming season.
Tell us about the 2011/12 season.
This year is a bit different and perhaps more challenging than previous seasons as we will be producing four musicals. During the 2010/11 season, we were prepared to do four shows but extended the highly acclaimed, sold-out Some Enchanted Evening: The Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein.
Starting Here, Starting Now is our first show. I was introduced to Starting Here, Starting Now in 1981 with the Rhode Island College Cabaret. It was written by Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire who both as a team and individually have created some of the most successful and recognizable theatre music of the past quarter century such as Baby, Big and Closer Than Ever, to name a few.
One reason I find Starting Here, Starting Now so compelling is although it’s a musical revue, it’s more than just a series of songs. Each song is a dramatic event that’s driven by the character’s personality. Through music and lyric, with no dialogue, the characters effectively go on a journey of self discovery, through rejection and heartbreak, emerging more self-aware and capable of loving, and therefore worthy of love. It’s really the story of growing up and becoming comfortable with who you are.
Maggie Portman, two-time Jeff Non Equity Award winner for Best Actress/Musical (Chess and Evita), also nominated for the Jeff Non Equity Award for choreography for Cabaret, will serve as choreographer. Musical direction is by Eugene Dizon, a six-time Jeff Award winner who, for many years, was resident musical director at Porchlight Music Theatre.
Pump Boys and Dinettes, our next show, is simply great entertainment. It ran for five years at the Apollo Theater and continues to be a popular choice for audiences. I’ve asked both Brenda Didier, who directed and choreographed Cats, and Austin Cook, musical director for Some Enchanted Evening, to join me in creating this foot-stomping favorite.
Our spring show, The Light in the Piazza, is what I consider a director’s dream project. It not only has an exquisite musical score, but also a riveting dramatic storyline which allows the director to add a strong personal creative concept to the show. Music and lyrics are by Adam Guettel, the grandson of musical theater composer Richard Rodgers. The Broadway production won six Tony Awards including Best Musical Score. The Village Voice recommended the play’s “humanity” and New York Magazine praised it as “original and daring.”
Every summer, we highlight one composer. This year, our summer heats up with Time After Time, the songs of Jule Styne. Styne wrote some terrific and iconic pieces of musical theatre, including ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade,’ ‘Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend,’ and ‘Everything’s Coming up Roses.’ This show will surely be cool way to top off a hot Chicago night.
How do you pick the plays for each season?
We want to present popular, commercially successful shows as well as lesser known ones. The Theo Ubique experience is always different than your typical “black box” theatrical experience, so even a show people have seen before is going to be completely new.
It sounds like youʼre ready to get started.
As usual, the production team and artists will create that special Theo Ubique experience. We’re looking forward to getting the season underway.