Posts Categorized: Chicago

Avenue Q

Avenue Q in Chicago

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Avenue Q

Avenue Q

So I got an invite to see Avenue Q in Chicago Illinois this week.  Not only was I absolutely thrilled to see that Avenue Q was going to be going to the Bank of America Theatre in Chicago Illinois starting in early May, but that is also the theatre that had hosted one of Chicago’s longest running musicals Wicked.   Not only do I love the show and will get into why it will be a must see Broadway show in Chicago, but I love the theatre it will be in.  Lately I have been disappointed with theatres like the national theatre in Washington DC, but this is one of the classic goddy theatres in America.

The Bank of America Theatre or also known as the Oriental Theatre in downtown Chicago is one of those old theatres that you never forget.  It is completely over decorated in everything asian from India to Tibet to Thailand and more.  Everything is overadorned and you’ll find details on just about everything.  It gives you that classy, glamorous feeling that you would expect when you go to a theatre and that is one of the reasons I love these old fashioned theatres.  They really bring the class back into a show.  The only thing missing is one of the giant chandeliers that you always except to fall and sort of hope they do so you can see them up close.  Anyways onto why Avenue Q is a must see show in Chicago at the Bank of America Oriental Theatre.

Avenue is one of those funny shows that combines a couple of different shows and appeals to just about everyone.  I already did a review of it in this post about Avenue Q so I’m not going to re review it but because that would be overkill, however this is one of those shows that is almost impossible to have a bad performance with.

Avenue Q

Avenue Q

The Actors lucked out that get to do this show because besides the Gary Coleman character everyone is pretty much a muppet and has the ability to make a vocal mistake because they can move the muppet into a funny or embarrassed position or even just play it off like that is how it was supposed to sound.   They have a lot of room to mess around with the show, even though the producer would be pissed but in reality, the script is hilarious and because of the fact that they are muppets and singing about porn, a couple mistakes played off well can actually be even funnier.

I might actually make a trip to Chicago specifically just to see Avenue Q at the Bank of America Theatre because this really is a show that is worth seeing.  It is one that will almost always make you laugh and after you have heard the soundtrack you will definitely sing along.  Avenue Q always gets 4 out of 5 stars for me because you remember it, you love the songs and it makes you laugh or brings out emotions.  Avenue Q is a must see show and because it is in one of Chicago’s most fabulous theatres, it is even more of a must see.

chicago theatre

Chicago Theatre

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chicago theatre

chicago theatre

If there is one thing that everyone who was raised going to the theatre remembers or anyone who loves studying the history of a city and the cities architecture is the city’s original theatres.  Not only are theatres memorable and things that everyone remembers whether it is from school field trips to the symphony or family trips at christmas time to see Scrooge in A Christmas Carol or even the ballet for the Nutcracker when you were a kid.

People all recognize and remember the sign and the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall in New York and one of the most memorable signs for people that don’t even live in Chicago is the old and historic Chicago Theatre.  Old Theatres like the Chicago Theatre have so much history in them.

Not only have they had thousands of celebrities come through them but they have also hosted everything from parties to productions to concerts, comedians, plays, ballets, musicals and everything else.  In cities like Chicago they even usually offer tours on off hours so you get to see how everything works, the trap doors, the green rooms that the celebrities and stars get ready in and even learn some of the behind the scenes information that no one else gets to know unless they take the tour.

There is nothing like going into an old theatre and seeing the amazing designs and gorgeous architecture and detail that goes into these buildings.  I love the decorations, the statues, the chandeliers and everything else that we used to value and consider classy and upscale.  It seems like no one dresses up for the theatre anymore, they allow people to chew gum or bring food in and in London they even charge you to get a playbill so you can see who is in the cast and what they did before they were in the show you were watching.  It is kind of sad that people don’t have the same respect for the theatre that they used to, but at the same time I love being able to wear jeans and a regular shirt to the theatre and even though I also have eaten while watching a show, at least I try to be quiet about it.

If you have a favorite old theatre or want to share a picture of it, feel free to post a picture in the comments below or send me one by leaving your email address in the comments section below.  Don’t worry about your email going live since I moderate each post before it goes live.

Mommy Dearest Abba Remix – Sidetracks/EFN Lounge Version

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Ok, you can never go wrong with a classic from a showtunes night.  This video was made famous by Sidetracks in Chicago Illinois at their showtunes night and then copied and played over and over again across the country in every bar from Texas and New Orleans to JRs in DC and even up in New England.  I think I even saw it in California in Laguna Beach when they had the drag queens performing.

Everyone has seen the versions that all the bars have, but until you have gone to Sidetracks Chicago to see the full version of the Joan Crawford Abba video you have not seen how funny the video really is.

There is nothing funny about how Joan Crawford acted and treated people, if the way she was portrayed in the movie Mommy Dearest was accurate or true, but when you combine Abba and a brilliant VJ together and then throw in Mommy Dearest, you have a sure fire hit on your hands for every gay bar and showtunes night in the Country.

One thing that I was completely shocked about this past weekend was to find out that Sidetracks has been helping to launch showtunes nights in other cities now.  (This is a rumor only right now that they are helping to launch showtunes nights) and one of these showtunes nights is in DC at a bar which has a very bad reputation for being in a dangerous neighborhood called EFN Lounge.

I went to EFN Lounge last Sunday when I heard they had showtunes and when I saw everything from every show and that it was actually a fun filled and quality showtunes night, I decided that it is definitely worth the risk to walk through the area…and btw, the area used to be bad but is cleaning up very fast.  Just don’t be stupid if you’re walking through and use common sense and you should be fine.

Anyways, when I saw this posted on their Facebook Fanpage and also saw the ad saying that it was Sidetracks/EFN Lounge, I was shocked, they actually got Sidetracks to give them their Joan Crawford Mommy Dearest Abba remix.

Now, there is absolutely no comparison on the way the video is shown and watched in other cities compared to Chicago, there isn’t as much audience participation and the people laugh and love it but don’t go crazy over it, but it is still always a huge hit (pun intended) and everyone is one of it’s fans.  So race over to the nearest Showtunes night in your city (especially if it is being hosted or run by Sidetracks Chicago) and and grab your flask as you wave left, right, left, right, and shout out how you know the original and that they should give you the respect you are entitled to and have a great time.

So here is the Joan Crawford Mommy Dearest Abba Remix.  (Before you watch this, I do have to warn you that there is a lot of swearing and some disturbing scenes from the movie so please do not play it if you are not ok with some foul language and not so pleasant clips about child abuse, drinking and violence).  Enjoy!

Broadway’s Titanic – Audience Participation

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Although the show Titanic on Broadway pretty much sunk like its main focus, it did become a huge hit at showtunes nights everywhere across the country.  Not only do people sing along “All aboard the Shiiipppp Titaniiicc” and make fun of the faster versus by singing blah, blah, blah, blah, blah but they also created an entirely fun audience participation routine to match the main song.

When the camera is scrolling along all of the people lined up from the back right to the front, you see an angry woman staring and also a woman put her fingers in front of her lips like she is saying, shh…. When you see the angry woman staring you’ll hear people yell Hey! She’s wearing my hat and all of the sudden you see the woman saying Shh….

Then when they break away from the line because the crew is yelling all aboard and people scatter, you’ll hear people at showtunes nights start yelling run for your lives, run for your lives.  Oddly enough if only Showtunes Audiences would have been there when the original ship launched.  If you’re a Mame fan, when you see the boy running across the stage, you can yell Run Patrick Run!   But the most fun part of the audience participation for the show Tiatnic is the end when they get everyone on board and finish the song.

Just before the song ends and they are casting off, everyone starts waving the cast away with napkins in their hands and then on cue everyone tosses them in the air and creates a fun and napkin filled room.  Kind of like confetti and waving off a ship leaving for a cruise or trip in real life.  Oddly enough it is also like waving this show off onto Broadway History for ever as well.

Although the Broadway Show Titanic sunk, it definitely made its way into broadway fame by reappearing at Showtunes nights across the USA and becoming a fun audience participation show and song.  Unfortunately it is only one song that people know and sing, but hey, that is better than most.  Titanic flopped and I would probably never go see it, but I do love how it made an appearance at Showtunes Nights and if you are ever in Chicago you have to go to Sidetracks for this song to really see everyone go crazy over it.  Titanic flopped but definitely became a hit with showtunes nights in most major cities.

Sidetracks Chicago – The home of Showtunes Night in the US.

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So if your a broadway buff and want to have a great night out with everyone from Bea Arthur and her Bossom Buddy to Patty Lupone where she agrees that anything goes and have a vodka stinger with Elaine Stritch, then you cannot get better than Sidetracks in Chicago on Friday evening, Sunday Evening and all Monday night.

Sidetracks which is one of the more popular trendy gay bars in Chicago Illinois is a ton of fun but also the home of Showtunes night in the United States.  Going there is insane, it is like a 12 hour marathon of call backs and people yelling at the screen, everyone singing songs from shows from the Zigfield Follies to Wicked and Spring Awakening and even throwing napkins on queue during Evita and Titanic.   It is one of the most amazing and energetic showtunes nights in the world and the best part is that even if you are straight you won’t feel left out as everyone is welcome on showtunes night and there is a huge straight population that shows up, so lift up your head and wipe off that mascara ladies because you’re gonna get out of there and head to boystown for an amazing night at Sidetracks.   Now, with three different nights to go to showtunes there, how do you choose which one to go to?

I’d say go all three nights every week but get there before 11 as the last couple hours of showtunes on Monday and 7 each other night is packed and it will be hard to get a drink,,,even though they have 7 full bars throughout the club.  If you can’t make every night for showtunes at sidetracks in chicago, then you may want to do Sunday evening from I think 4pm to 9 pm.  My opinion on this is that it is the perfect way to end your weekend and have some fun before your have to start your week over again and hey, if you really need to get away or come down after a long week at work, stop by on Friday evening for a drink and have fun with the bartenders who sing and dance along with the crowd.

Sidetracks showtunes is amazing and the DJ Mikey is one of the best and has one of the largest collections and most amazing hard to find broadway videos in the world.  It is sure to be a good time for all broadway fans and a perfect vacation getaway if you happen to be in Chicago on a friday sunday or monday.   I love showtunes in Chicago and know you will to.