Live Theater

by Kathy on July 9, 2012 · 13 comments

in Family, NaBloPoMo, Sean, Theater

There’s nothing like it, at least for me.

I try to get my fix a few times a year and if I could afford it would get season tickets to Steppenwolf and Broadway in Chicago.

My family has had a tradition, for as long as I can remember, of going to see one show together each year here in Chicago.

I have written posts in the past about local theater productions I have seen and referenced some of my favorite musicals as well.

In recent years we have started bringing Sean to see plays and musicals here in Chicago, especially because he has shown interest in performing on stage. He is even enrolled in a summer theater camp at our local arts center that will culminate in two weekend performances of Rugrats: The Musical later this month.

Earlier today my dad emailed me a link to this article announcing the return of Rent to Off-Broadway! Though I doubt I can fit it in to my already jam-packed BlogHer `12 schedule, it would be awesome to have the chance to see it again.

Note/Update: After I wrote this post I realized that somehow I came across an old email from my dad that I thought was written and sent today, but that he actually sent me last August (2011). After he pointed that out I realized that the piece (I linked to about Rent) and the news both seemed vaguely familiar… Oops!

Rent is one of my all-time favorite musicals, second only to Les Miserables (my sister Meg and me are pictured here before seeing it again with our family last year). I have seen both many times and when they return to Chicago, I do my best to get tickets.

I am excited that later this month Sean and I will get to see a new high-tech production of Dreamworks How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular at the United Center. You can read more about it and even get a discount code in this post on my review blog, One of a Kind Reviews.

What are some of your favorite plays or musicals? Have you seen any of them more than once?

If you could star or have a supporting role in any live theater production, what would it be?  


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lori Lavender Luz July 9, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Big Rent fan here, too!

I’m hoping to squeeze in a show in NY, as well, but the prices and the timing may not work.
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2 Kathy July 11, 2012 at 2:43 pm


Yeah, I am so excited for NY/BlogHer`12, but get the sense I won’t be seeing much of the city, other than during the 5K on Friday morning!
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3 RoseAnn July 9, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Some of my favorites: Wicked, We Will Rock You (seen in London which felt even more special), Legally Blonde. My all-time favorite is Mamma Mia; I’ve seen it three times in three different states! I even tried to convince my husband that we needed to plan a Swedish vacation in hopes that we could time it for a showing there.

If I were to be in one, it would have to be as a supporting character like in a chorus because I don’t think stage fright would allow me to have a more prominent role. In high school, we performed a medley of Les Miserables music and it was enchanting!


4 Kathy July 11, 2012 at 2:48 pm

I really like Wicked too! I haven’t seen We Will Rock You, Legally Blonde or Mamma Mia (thought I did see the movie version). That’s great that you have seen your favorite so many times and want to see it more in other places.

Thanks for answering my questions! In my fantasy world I would love a lead role if I actually had a singing voice worthy of that… But since I don’t, I too would like be in the chorus, which would be okay with me, especially because I love to dance. The medley of Les Mis songs sounds fabulous!
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5 Jjiraffe July 9, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Great topic! I loved Rent too, and Les Mis. And Avenue Q! That was really fun.

Darcy (my husband) only likes SERIOUS THEATRE, usually something very, very depressing. When we lived in London, he dragged me to a bunch of shows. I liked “The Shape of Things” with Paul Rudd and Rachel Weisz. (The casts were usually the best parts of the plays we saw.) We saw “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” right after I had a miscarriage. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a play less.

The last time we went to NYC we really wanted to see The Book of Mormon but it was prohibitively expensive.
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6 Kathy July 11, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Thank you! Fun that we share a love for Rent and Les Mis. I am curious to know more about Avenue Q and will have to look it up.

Interesting that your husband is more into serious theater. That is so cool that you got to see plays with such great casts in London. I am sorry that you had such a negative experience with “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” after your miscarriage. I love when you talk about your time “across the pond,” as it makes me nostalgic for the semester I spent living/studying there as a junior in college.

The Book of Mormon is either here or coming soon to Chicago and my sister is pushing for that to be our family theater outing this year or next (since I believe it is set to run into 2013). We looked into tickets awhile back and they were very pricey and weren’t ready to commit to a date so far in advance, even though we like to plan ahead. But I do hope we get to see it at some point while it is in town.
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7 Kristin July 10, 2012 at 12:41 am

I have to admit I haven’t seen Rent or Le Miz. My faves are old school. I truly love Guys and Dolls and the Music Man. I would just die to see Jesus Christ Superstar.
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8 Kathy July 11, 2012 at 2:57 pm

I highly recommend you see both (or get them on DVD) if you ever have the opportunity. I am not sure if I have ever seen Guys and Dolls, but really like The Music Man and was even in my grade school’s production of it many years ago. I have happy memories of learning the songs “Pick-a-little-talk-a-little,” “76 Trombones” and my favorite “Good Night My Someone.” I hope you get the chance to see Jesus Christ Superstar someday! It got to see a production of it when I was in college that was a lot of fun.
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9 missohkay July 10, 2012 at 11:15 am

I would have to say my favorite musical is also Les Mis, which I’ve seen about 3 times. (And fave movie-musical is The Sound of Music, which I’m obsessed with.) When I was a kid, I dreamed of seeing Phantom, which we eventually bought tickets for in Toronto on a family vacation. I was in HEAVEN. I haven’t seen as many shows lately, but have checked out Avenue Q, Mary Poppins, and the Addams family since we’ve lived in Chi.
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10 Kathy July 11, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Cool that we share a love for Les Mis! If and when it comes back to our town, maybe we can go see it again together?! I do also really like The Sound of Music and have watched it more times than I can remember. I recall growing up and being the ages of each of the girls in the Von Trapp family and comparing myself to them/imaging I was them. It has been years since I saw Phantom, but do remember really enjoying seeing it when it first came to Chicago. You and Jjraffe have me so curious about Avenue Q… It must not have been on my radar when it was here. I also missed seeing Mary Poppins and Addams family. Glad you got the chance to see them.
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11 Winnie July 10, 2012 at 9:05 pm

I am lucky to live in NYC as I have seen many plays. My favorite was Les Miserables. It was amazing. I also loved Brother Brothers (both Cassidy brothers were in it at the time) and Phantom. My hubby is an off broadway actor, and does recreations of old-time radio. I love them. Since we were married last year, I spend a lot of time seeing his friends in shows and have a blast. I hope you get to see some fun stuff when here in Aug. I haven’t seen anything in awhile on Broadway. The one drawback of Broadway is the cost. But then again, EVERYTHING lately is expensive..even a movie!
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12 Kathy July 11, 2012 at 3:23 pm

You are lucky! I feel that way, only about living in Chicago, where we get a lot of great theater productions too. Les Mis is awesome! Do you mean Blood Brothers? I saw that when I studied for a semester in college in London and liked it, though its been a long time and I don’t recall much about it. Yes, Phantom is another old favorite of mine. That is so cool that your hubby is an off broadway actor and that you get to see a lot of show to support him and his friends! Yes, Broadway shows are pricey, so I don’t get to see as many as I would like to, but when I do it is such a treat!
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13 loribeth August 7, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Never did get to see Rent. 🙁 I LOVE live theatre. When I was in jr high & high school, we would buy season’s tickets to Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg (about an hour away) for something like $20. They would bus us in to a matinee & then home again, stopping at McDonalds en route for something to eat. ; ) Fabulous productions, often of plays we’d studied in school, like Macbeth & A Doll’s House. One of the very first plays I saw there was Cyrano de Bergerac, starring Len Cariou (who later won a Tony on Broadway). Winnipeg also had (& still has) an outdoor summer theatre called Rainbow Stage that puts on two musicals every summer. I saw lots of classic musicals there — probably my favourites were Fiddler on the Roof and Mame.

Here in Toronto/southern Ontario, we are blessed with lots of world-class live theatre. The Stratford Shakespeare Festival & the Shaw Festival in Niagara on the Lake (near Niagara Falls) are both about a two-hour drive — close enough for a day trip, but both towns are so much fun to visit for a weekend getaway.

Les Miserables is probably my all-time favourite. Sam & I saw “Rock of Ages” a few years ago on our 25th wedding anniversary & that was such a hoot — much better than the movie. In the past year, I saw touring productions of “Chess” with a girlfriend and “Hair” on New Year’s Eve with Sam. Right now, “Backbeat” (about the Beatles in Hamburg) is on, but I am not sure we are going to be able to see it before it ends. 🙁

I acted in a few high school musicals ; ) — I was Mrs. Banks in Mary Poppins, and Auntie Em and Gloria (who doesn’t appear in the movie) in the Wizard of Oz. My lifelong secret dream was to be Liesl in The Sound of Music, so that I could sing “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.” ; )
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