The United States and France have been linked since the birth of our nation over 240 years ago when Lafayette (America’s favorite fighting Frenchman!) & the French military helped us win our independence from the English. A few years later when the French called on us to help with their revolution we were very conflicted, and if you’ve memorized “Cabinet Battle #2” from Hamilton like we have you’ll remember that Washington had Hamilton draft a statement of neutrality. But what made us question whether the people were leading or rioting during the French Revolution?
You might think about checking Les Miserables for the answers, but contrary to popular belief when you heard those people sing it was about the July Revolution of 1830 not the French Revolution. Cut to a few decades earlier: The Seven Years War & American Revolution had placed the country in debt, harvests had been poor for years prior to 1789, and the French people didn’t appreciate the privilege gap between the classes. (Sound familiar?) So the French took up arms and did something about it. The first major conflict in the decade-long revolution was the storming of the Bastille, a medieval fortress being used as a prison, on July 14 1789. This day is now celebrated in France every year as quatorze juillet (14th of July) or simply the fête nationale (National Celebration). Here in the US we celebrate it as Bastille Day!
Eventually we were able to return the support the French provided to our revolution during World War II, when we helped them end the German occupation in France. Which brings us to An American in Paris: the story of a young American soldier who decides to stay in Paris as an artist after World War II, told to the tune of Ira & George Gershwin.
An American in Paris plays at the Oriental Theatre from July 25 – August 13 and tickets are available now at broadwayinchicago.com
To learn more about Bastille Day and the French Revolution, see the links below!
What is it Bastille Day and why is it a national holiday in France? –http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/bastille-day-2016-what-is-it-when-france-national-holiday-parade-say-in-french-a7136431.html
French revolutionaries storm Bastille – http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/french-revolutionaries-storm-bastille
Why the Misnamed “Bastille” Day Is Nothing Like July 4th – https://frenchly.us/why-the-misnamed-bastille-day-is-nothing-like-july-4th-2/
Watch reporter Janet Davies cover current and upcoming Broadway In Chicago shows on ABC7 Chicago’s “190 North” program.
In celebration of outstanding achievement in high school musical theatre performances, Broadway In Chicago is thrilled to announce the award recipients of the Sixth Annual Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards: Justin Smusz of Bolingbrook, IL (Benet Academy) as BEST ACTOR for his portrayal of Chad in ALL SHOOK UP and Carly Meyer of Northbrook, IL (Glenbrook North High School) as BEST ACTRESS for her portrayal of Hodel in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. Justin and Carly will represent the state of Illinois at The Jimmy™ Awards in New York on June 26, 2017.
York Community High School was awarded the Best Production Award for their production of WEST SIDE STORY and Cary-Grove High School was awarded the Grosh Scenic Design Award, celebrating excellence in scenic design, for their production of EVITA. Lauren Condon and Brian Wand were awarded the Best Direction Award for their direction of Benet Academy’s production of ALL SHOOK UP.
On Monday, June 5, Broadway In Chicago crafted a full day of workshops with theatre professionals for twenty-four nominees that culminated in a performance on stage at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place. During the day, nominees auditioned for a panel of casting agents and theatre professionals who chose the recipients of performance awards.
In addition to the day of workshops featuring Chicago actor Jonathan Weir (Jafar) in Disney’s Aladdin North American tour and Disney Teaching Artist Kelly Jacobs who previously performed in Chicago in Disney’s Mary Poppins North American tour, nominees will receive tickets to Disney’s Aladdin in Chicago, currently playing at Broadway In Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre through Sept. 10, 2017.
Justin Smusz and Carly Meyer will be provided with an all-expense paid trip to New York City to participate in a week-long theatre intensive of coaching and rehearsals with industry professionals in preparation for a one-night-only showcase on Broadway, where a panel of judges crowns the nation’s top performers. They will represent the state of Illinois at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, on Broadway, on Monday, June 26, 2017. The National High School Musical Theatre Awards, also known as The Jimmy™ Awards, are named for legendary Broadway theater owner and producer James M. Nederlander. Broadway In Chicago is a Nederlander presentation, and is excited to join the network of theatres across the country participating in The Jimmys™.
The Tony Awards are always the most anticipated theatre event of the year, and we always love discovering if there are any nominees that have connections to Chicago to share in their excitement. This year we have quite a few to celebrate!
One of these connections involve Laurie Metcalf, a veteran Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble member, who was nominated for her portrayal of Nora Helmer in A Doll’s House, Part 2. The show, currently nominated for 8 Tony Awards, is playwright Lucas Hnath’s take on what happened to Nora Helmer, 20 years later from where Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House left off.
The musical War Paint, which premiered here in Chicago at the Goodman Theatre last July 2016, is also being showcased in the Tony Award nominations. Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, who originated the roles of Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, are both nominated for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. The show also features several Chicago actors in supporting roles, including Mary Ernster and David Girolmo.
Ben Platt, who is currently leading the company of Dear Evan Hansen, was nominated for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. He’s no stranger to the Chicago theatre scene since you may remember him as Elder Cunningham in the First National Tour of the hit musical The Book of Mormon from December 2012 – October 2013 at the Bank of America Theatre (now known as The PrivateBank Theatre).
Kate Baldwin, a Northwestern University graduate who was last seen in Chicago as Sandra Bloom in the Chicago premiere of Big Fish at the Oriental Theatre April – May 2013, will be competing for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Irene Molloy in Hello, Dolly.
Stephanie J. Block, who is also nominated for Best Featured Actress in a musical for her work in Falsettos, has spent a good amount of time in Chicago herself. She played Elphaba in the Chicago premiere of Wicked at the Oriental Theatre back in June 2005, which ended up running until January 2009. She also played Grace O’Malley in The Pirate Queen at the Cadillac Palace Theatre October – November 2006.
Lynn Nottage, the playwright of Sweat, which is now nominated for Best Play, has also recently received this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Drama. You may recognize her work from the play Ruined, which premiered at the Goodman Theater in 2007. Nottage won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2009 for Ruined, making her the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice!
Come From Away, the new musical which has landed 7 Tony Award nominations, has nominees for Best Director of a Musical Christopher Ashley and Best Choreography Kelly Devine, who will also be a part of the Escape To Margaritaville creative team set to premiere here in Chicago at the Oriental Theatre beginning November 9, 2017!
Make sure to tune in to the 71st annual Tony Awards hosted by CBS on Sunday, June 11, 2017 beginning at 7 p.m. CT!