Posts Tagged ‘featured’

Recreating CHEERS’ bar for the stage

Posted on: October 4th, 2016 by B.I. C. No Comments
Set of Cheers Live on Stage. Photo by Justin Barbin.

Photo by Justin Barbin

By Rob Walton

Few TV locations are as instantly recognizable as Cheers‘ Boston sports bar. There’s the Bradys’ groovy California split level with the open staircase. Monica and Rachel’s crocus-colored West Village apartment. But since Cheers seldom left the cozy confines of the Bunker Hill basement bar, it’s the one clear image we have of television’s popular and enduring series.

As familiar as Cheers the bar is from 11 years on television, it was no small feat to recreate it for the live theater. It seems like it should be easy. After all, as a voiceover reminded us at the top of every episode, “Cheers is filmed before a live studio audience.” So why not just use the original blueprints of the stage set and call it a day?

“There was nothing available to us,” explains CHEERS LIVE ON STAGE set designer Michael Carnahan. “The blueprints disappeared. They may be in some crew members’ basement and resurface at some point on eBay, but for now, we had nothing.”

Carnahan and his design team became digital detectives and video archeologists. They took thousands of screen shots from the TV series. By using Ted Danson’s real height and counting bricks from the floor, for example, they were able to glean exact wall heights. By counting the number of steps it took Rhea Perlman to get from the front door to Sam’s office, they were able to create an accurate floor plan for the CHEERS LIVE ON STAGE set.

“This is the first time I’ve created something like this, and you have a real responsibility to get it right. Everyone considers himself an expert on something they know from the past. I sent a picture of the model to my brother and within 30 minutes I got an email saying, ‘Where is the picture of Sam pitching behind the bar?’ You’re being entrusted with this property so you have to get it right. It’s a very beloved property.”

One crucial resource was at Carnahan’s disposal. The actual wood, brass and leather wet bar that Paramount custom built for the TV series was recently excavated from the studio lot and is being restored to go on exhibit at LA’s Museum of Television.  So Carnahan’s team was able to measure, photograph and replicate the actual bar.

“It is the one item where we tried to be slavish to all the original details,” Carnahan says. “Ours is a near exact replica, fully functional, with two working beer taps and running water. Sam and Coach are able to mix and pour drinks on stage. We’re actually using it as part of a VIP package. During intermission, audience members come through the backstage, enter the front door of Cheers, walk onto the stage and have drinks at the bar.”

For this reason the inside of the set is completely finished, 360-degrees, and not just two-dimensional stage facades. But, since CHEERS LIVE ON STAGE is a touring production, the bar must get broken down into pieces, able to be set up again in eight hours in the next city. Carnahan admits, “It’s a challenge to make a bar you can pick up and travel at the drop of a hat.”

After 10 weeks of research and design, it took 12 weeks to build the uncannily replicated set. There are 198 framed photos and objects on the walls, 48 liquor bottles, more than 200 glasses and 55 practical lighting fixtures. Michael’s two favorite props on the stage are one he acquired and one he created himself.

“We have an original 1926 National cash register that we had restored for the show. It’s fully working and makes the best sounds imaginable. We also had a cigar store Indian carved and painted to match the Indian that was by the front door of the TV show. It’s a terrific looking set piece.”

But it isn’t all slavish devotion to detail. Although the original Cheers was built in a cavernous 80-foot soundstage, in the TV broadcast you never see more than a foot over the actors’ heads in the basement bar. So Carnahan had to expand the set and add details to fill a 35-foot theater proscenium in a seamless way.

“On television, we only see eight feet of the set. We had to imagine all the set dressing above people’s heads and to make it still look like the Cheers bar that everyone remembers.”

Carnahan has some creative fun with lighting. “We have lots of specialty lighting built into the set so the hundreds of glasses glow, all the bottles at the back bar light up from the bottom and glow. There’s the famous jukebox and a piano that glows. And in TV, where you’d cut to commercial, the specialty lighting takes advantage of transitions.”

People have an emotional attachment to their TV families. Heck, Archie Bunker’s chair is enshrined in the Smithsonian Institution. Throughout 275 episodes of Cheers, we got to know the denizens of that downstairs speakeasy and felt as if we could be on an adjoining barstool, eavesdropping on conversations between Sam and Diane, hoisting cold ones with Norm and Cliff. We might not have noticed particular details, like the wooden cigar store Indian at the front door, the skull oars on the wall, the overhead Tiffany lamps, but they all added up to create TVs most iconic location: that ’80s bar where everybody knows your name.


A Fall Not to be Missed!

Posted on: September 11th, 2016 by B.I. C. No Comments

This fall, Broadway In Chicago has a number of upcoming shows that will offer you an unforgettable theatrical experience! Tickets for all of these productions are available for purchase on our website, at our phone line 800-775-2000 and at Broadway In Chicago box offices and Ticketmaster retail outlets. (Note: Hamilton tickets are only available for purchase in-person at The PrivateBank Theatre box office and cannot be purchased at any other retail outlets.)

Cheers Live on Stage is a faithful recreation of the television comedy classic featuring the iconic bar where everybody knows your name. Be sure to purchase VIP Access tickets for the chance to go on stage at intermission and have your photo taken while enjoying a beverage! The show begins performances September 20 at the Broadway Playhouse and runs through October 23.

HAMILTON is the story of America’s Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, HAMILTON is the story of America then, told by America now. Performances begin September 27 at The PrivateBank Theatre (18 W. Monroe).

A hilarious hit direct from London’s West End, Graeme of Thrones is inspired by TV’s hottest fantasy series and is sure to delight both fans and those unfamiliar with the show. Laughter is coming…to the Broadway Playhouse from November 1 through 13.

The true story of graphic novelist Alison Bechdel’s childhood became the 2015 Tony Award winner for BEST MUSICAL, Fun Home. This “exquisite” “emotional powerhouse” plays a limited run at the Oriental Theatre from November 2 through 13.

The classic musical featuring everyone’s favorite red-headed orphan and the eternal optimist anthem “Tomorrow,” Annie returns to the Cadillac Palace Theatre for one week only from November 9 through 13.

After a sold-out run last year, Emerald City Theatre’s A Charlie Brown Christmas returns to the Broadway Playhouse! Performances begin November 11, 2016 and continue through the holiday season until January 8, 2017.

The international sensation STOMP comes to the Broadway Playhouse for an extended holiday season run starting November 16, 2016 and continuing through January 1, 2017. Come and see what all the noise is about!

Discover the story that inspired ‘Peter Pan’ author J.M. Barrie in Finding Neverland, the new Broadway musical that will make you believe in magic! The winner of the Audience Choice Award for Best Musical will play from November 22 to December 4 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre.

The 2015 Tony Award winner for Best Play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, is based on the popular novel and brings the acclaimed story of the exceptionally intelligent Christopher Boone to life on stage. See it for yourself at the Oriental Theatre from December 6 through 24!

The spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera makes its triumphant return to Chicago and will play the Cadillac Palace Theatre from December 14, 2016 through January 8, 2017. Make sure to sign up for our email newsletter to be the first to learn when tickets go on sale!

See you at the theatre!

Pieces of Broadway In Chicago – Summer Concert scavenger hunt sweepstakes!

Posted on: August 12th, 2016 by B.I. C. No Comments

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Collect pieces of each of the shows performing at the FREE Summer Concert in Millennium Park at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, beginning at 6:15 pm on Monday, August 15, and share them on Twitter or Instagram for the chance to win a pair of tickets!

Beginning today, you have the opportunity to be entered to win a pair of tickets to one of our upcoming productions of your choice that is featured in the summer concert by sharing photos that remind you of the show on social media – just like a scavenger hunt! You can use the suggestions that we’ve offered below, or come up with your own inspiration (a Playbill, a ticket stub, etc.) Post your photos publicly on Twitter or Instagram of 4 items from different shows using #BICconcert and tag Broadway in Chicago so we can record your entry. You have up until 11:59 pm on August 22 to share as many photos as you can to gain a maximum of 8 entries; the more photos you share, the more you will be entered to win! Be creative with your entries as these are open to interpretation. You can find the full rules here. Good luck and have fun snapping pictures!


Broadway In Chicago FREE Summer Concert – Frequently Asked Questions

Posted on: August 10th, 2016 by B.I. C. No Comments

The annual Broadway In Chicago summer concert, hosted by ABC7’s Janet Davies, will take place Monday, August 15 at 6:15 p.m. at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. It will include performances from Disney’s ALADDIN, BEAUTIFUL – THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL, THE BODYGUARD with Grammy® Award-nominee and R&B superstar DEBORAH COX, FINDING NEVERLAND, the 2015 Tony Award®-Winning Best Musical FUN HOME, the 2014 Tony Award®-Winning Best Musical Revival HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH featuring composer and lyricist STEPHEN TRASK, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s THE KING AND I, Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, the completely original new musical comedy SOMETHING ROTTEN! and STOMP.

How long will the summer concert last?

The concert is expected to run approximately 70 minutes.

What time should I arrive to get seating for the concert?

The concert will begin promptly at 6:15 p.m. Seating will begin at 5:15 p.m.

Expect to wait in line before seating begins as we do anticipate a large crowd for this event. Seating in the bowl is first come, first serve. Millennium Park staff is responsible for crowd control and organization of lines/entry.

Come prepared with blankets, lawn chairs and an umbrella or poncho (just in case!) as this concert will take place rain or shine! Additional information can be found at:

Can we meet the performers after the show?

Unfortunately there is no arranged meet-and-greet opportunity available for this event.

Is food and drink permitted?

Yes, per Millennium Park’s Frequently Asked Questions: For most public performances in Millennium Park, alcohol is allowed in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and the Great Lawn. As long as guests are orderly and respectful of the Park and other guests, they may remain for an hour after the concert ends. Millennium Park is the perfect place for a picnic and a night of music and dining al fresco. However, in order to ensure that events are enjoyable for all attendees and to protect the lawn from wear and tear, please respect the following rules of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion: Tents, oversized umbrellas, oversized blankets or plastic tarps, helium balloons, oversized flags, signs/banners, barbeque grills, open flame candles or staking of any kind are not allowed on the Great Lawn area.

Our partner restaurants have also put together some great “boxed dinner” specials for you to pick up before the concert to bring with you and enjoy!

Swing by our 33 N. Dearborn location and grab a Broadway Box Dinner before you head out and enjoy an evening of some of the best performers Broadway has to offer.
Your Broadway Box Dinner meal includes – your choice of sandwich (choose from chicken, falafel, or veggie), hummus, pita chips, cookie, and a bottle of water for $10.25.
Beat the rush and pre-order your meal by calling 1.877.OMG.ROTI and mentioning “Broadway Box Dinner”. The show will take place at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, and will begin at 6:15pm. Broadway Box Dinner meals will be available for pick up any time after 4pm. For more information, please click here.
So bring your friends, pack a blanket, and enjoy the final days of summer with a concert in the park and Roti!

Hard Rock Cafe
Going with a group? The Hard Rock Cafe offers boxed meal for groups of 8 or more at $16 per box (tax and drink included). Call Heather Wishne with the sales department at (312)-943-2252 for details. All box lunch orders must be placed by Friday at 5pm.
Need a last minute option? The Hard Rock Cafe offers take out on our full menu. Call us at (312)-943-5572 and we will get you all set up for your night out in Millennium Park. For take out orders, please click here.
We offer valet parking at $15 for three hours so feel free to pull up, grab your meal, and let us handle parking so you don’t have to!

When do tickets go on sale for these shows?

Typically 8-10 weeks before performances begin in Chicago; however concert attendees will be given a special presale code to begin booking tickets before anyone else for select shows! Can’t make the concert? Join our mailing list here.

How else can I get tickets for upcoming shows?

You can win tickets by joining the Broadway In Chicago mobile club! Text ‘CONCERT’ to the number shown up on screen before the concert to enter to win!

You can also win tickets by playing Pieces of Broadway In Chicago, our summer concert social media game! Our staff will be handing out bookmarks and helping to assist you with getting your pieces completed to enter to win. Make sure you’re following us on Twitter and Instagram for all the updates and confirmation of your contest entry.

We look forward to seeing you there on Monday!


Tickets to HAMILTON in Chicago go on sale June 21

Posted on: June 9th, 2016 by B.I. C. No Comments


Tickets will be available to the public to purchase online at and, by phone at 800-775-2000 and in person at The PrivateBank Theatre box office only (18 W. Monroe) on Tuesday, June 21 from 10 a.m. Central.

There is a maximum limit of 6 tickets per household.

CONSUMER WARNING: Broadway In Chicago and Ticketmaster are the only OFFICIAL TICKETING PROVIDERS for events at Broadway In Chicago Theatres. Tickets obtained from other unauthorized sources may be stolen, counterfeit or invalid and may not be honored. Tickets purchased from other sources are often inflated in price and not eligible for assistance if tickets are lost, stolen or in the event the show is cancelled or rescheduled. Broadway In Chicago is not responsible for tickets purchased from other sources.