Thursday, April 17, 2014

President's Page: Rocky Rocks the Ring

Continuing on our road to the Tony Awards, I was very surprised when I saw ROCKY - yes, the famed Sylvester Stallone movie is now a Broadway musical.  I was surprised because, honestly, I wasn’t expecting too much.  I was really skeptical: how could they turn this macho blood bath of a film into a musical?

Well, they did, and it worked.  While the story was the same as the first ROCKY, the production was awesome and very creative.  The cast was very good, and so were their voices.  The fight scenes looked almost real, but the finale with the big fight between Rocky and Apollo Creed was nothing short of fabulous - not so much the fight itself, but the boxing ring where the fight took place.  The ring was almost regulation size, and it rolled out over the first twelve rows in the center of the orchestra.  I was in Row 13 and could literally touch the “spit bucket” (not that I wanted to, but I could have).   
If you saw the movie you’ll remember how the audience was really engaged in the fight.  They were screaming and cheering when Rocky lasted the full 15 rounds of the championship bout.  Well, the sophisticated theater audience reacted much the same.  A standing ovation at the end of the show rewarded the performances in part, but it was also in support of the physical  movement of the stage – or the ring, rather.  This was my first time to see this in a Broadway production, and in my opinion, it equaled the helicopter scene in Miss Saigon.  Needless to say, I liked it, but at the same time I don’t anticipate that it will last more than a year at the Winter Garden Theatre, so see it while you still can! 

Pat Halloran
President and CEO

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Joseph Ticket Giveaway

Don't miss the magic of JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT live on the Orpheum stage April 22-27. Purchase tickets now or see below for details on how to enter to win two tickets to the opening night performance on Tuesday, April 22.

One of the most enduring shows of all time, Tim Rice & Andrew Lloyd Webber's JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT is the irresistible family musical about the trials and triumphs of Joseph, Israel's favorite son.

Directed and choreographed by Tony® Award-winner Andy Blankenbuehler, this new production will feature Broadway/television star Diana DeGarmo (Hairspray, Hair) as The Narrator and Broadway star Ace Young (Grease, Hair) as Joseph.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

President's Page: Pat Halloran Explains How To Become a Tony Voter

There's no denying that it's Tony Award time in New York.  All of the newest shows are lined up in Broadway theatres, marketing the heck out of themselves.  While box-office sales are most important to any show, as sales are what pays the bills, I would say that the Tony's are probably second on the list - specifically Tony voters.  I am often asked how one becomes a Tony voter, and today, I'm going to tell you. 

To become a Tony Award voter, you must either be a designated voter representing of one of many national industry organizations, or you must fall into one or more of three professional membership categories: Producer (people who raise the funds needed to get a show off the ground), Creative (including writers, actors, choreographers, and composers to name a few), or Presenter (the ones that bring shows to theatres across North America).  The latter is where I got my start, and for the last 12 years I have also qualified as a Producer since I have invested in and helped raise money for more than 15 productions since my first personal investment: the National Tour of SUNSET BOULEVARD.  

To prepare to cast my vote, I have been trying to get to NYC as often as I can to see as many shows as I can, as quickly as I can!  And I'm sure other Tony voters out there are doing the same.

To date I have seen seven of the eighteen shows that I think have a shot at a nomination and, therefore, would be in contention for an award during the Tony ceremony coming up in early June.  I've planned two New York trips in May, which should provide enough time to cover my voter responsibilities.  Keep checking back!  I will continue to tell you all about the shows I've seen, and I'll be posting my Tony predictions right here on Main and Beale before the Tony Awards Show on June 8th.

Pat Halloran
Orpheum President and CEO     

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Setting the Stage: Discover the Inspiration Behind JOSEPH's Dreamcoat!

Ace Young as Joseph and Diana DeGarmo as Narrator in “Jacob & Sons”
Photo by Daniel A. Swalec.
When JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, starring Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young, stops at the Orpheum Theatre April 22 - 27, you'll notice that this beloved production offers some great surprises, one of which is Joseph's incredible Dreamcoat.

If you're not familiar with the story, JOSEPH is the fun, family-friendly musical adaptation of the Biblical story of Joseph.  Early on in the tale, Jacob, Joseph's father, gives him a beautiful coat - much to the envy of Joseph's eleven brothers, spurring them into some epic acts of sibling rivalry.  So, needless to say, the Dreamcoat has to be pretty spectacular.  And it is!
Jennifer Caprio's design for Joseph's Dreamcoat

Costume designer Jennifer Caprio was influenced by a Marc Chagall stained glass installation at the Abbell Synagogue located in the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.  The artwork consists of 12 windows, one for each of the Twelve Tribes of Israel or, more literally, one for each of Jacob's sons.  Caprio was inspired to incorporate a stained glass look into the coat's tapestry, creating 12 panels with each color representing a different brother.  Because Joseph and his brothers have a presence in the design of the coat, it becomes much more than a part of the show: "it's an overarching symbol of love and family," Caprio said.

We won't give anything away, but let's just say that the coat makes an even bigger impression in finale, so make sure to get your tickets today and see this amazing Dreamcoat first-hand! 

JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLR DREAMCOAT plays at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, TN April 22 - 27.  Tickets are on sale now.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Setting The Stage: Joey The WAR HORSE In Action, Opens to Rave Reviews!

On Tuesday, March 25th, Joey the War Horse made a special guest appearance in the Orpheum Theatre lobby.

Watch this fantastic footage to learn first-hand how Joey works, see how real horses from the Memphis Police Department Mounted Patrol Unit react to Joey, and meet the puppeteers!

Want more?  Check out these local articles, reviews, and newscasts:

Commercial Appeal Review - "War Horse is dazzling!"
Commercial Appeal Blog - An "impressively life-like creation"
Broadway World Memphis - "Some of the most ingenious stagecraft of our time"
Examiner Online - Awards five stars, a "must see!"
Commercial Appeal Feature
Memphis Flyer Feature
Memphis Flyer Intermission Impossible Blog
WMC-TV Action News 5
WREG-TV News Ch. 3
WATN-TV ABC Local 24

WAR HORSE plays through Sunday, March 30th at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, TN.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

President's Page: The Orpheum Centre Breaks Ground

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 is a date I will never forget.  When I look back at my 34 years of being with the Orpheum it's easy to recall certain milestones: the grand re-opening of the Orpheum after the first renovation in January 1984, for example.  Next there was the stage expansion in 1997 which allowed PHANTOM OF THE OPERA to be presented for the first time in the Mid-South.
But I must say that March 18th might have been one of the most important dates in our history.  On Tuesday we held the formal groundbreaking ceremony for our new Orpheum Centre for Performing Arts & Education.  I've spoken about the Centre several times on this blog, but for the first time I can tell you that the building is officially under construction. 

Once complete, the $14.5 million, 39,000 square foot, two-story Centre will be the central gathering place for students from pre-school through college.  This building will allow the Orpheum's education programs to serve over 100,000 students annually, representing our community's racial, religious, economic, and geographical diversity.  These students will come to the Centre to learn and to grow as individuals, preparing them for the exciting challenges ahead of them. 
Of course, the curriculum will be all about the arts, including performance, creativity, technical theatre, and audio and video instruction.  Then there's the added value of students working together as a team on a production.  Students will also learn about arts management as it pertains to marketing and social media, best business practices, fundraising, and many more subjects that they can use no matter where their future professional lives take them.
The numbers are amazing.  Tens of thousands of students every year will be exposed to all the life advantages that the arts provide.  I truly believe that the Centre will be a major force in preparing future generations to grow into a creative, problem-solving, and tolerant community, creating a better future for us all.

Pat Halloran
Orpheum President and CEO

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

War Horse Ticket Giveaway

Don't miss War Horse live on the Orpheum Stage March 25-30. Purchase tickets now or see below for details on how to enter to win two tickets to the opening night performance on Tuesday, March 25th.

This powerfully moving and imaginative drama, filled with stirring music and songs, is a show of phenomenal inventiveness that is currently playing to packed houses in London, New York and Toronto. At its heart are astonishing life-sized puppets created by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, that bring to life breathing, galloping, charging horses strong enough for men to ride.

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