Monday, June 29, 2009

Commercial Appeal Review of WICKED

Magic of 'Wicked' is not to be missed
By Jon W. Sparks

Friday, June 26, 2009

"Wicked" is an astonishing triumph, certainly one of the best productions ever to work its magic on the Orpheum stage.

The story of Oz before the disruptive arrival of Dorothy and Toto (mere pawns in a conspiracy!) brilliantly plays off our childhood love of the enduring "Wizard of Oz" film.

You immersed yourself in the cinematic adventures in and around the Emerald City; likewise, you will soak up the stage musical that is deliciously cinematic in its own way.

The clever tale shaped by composer Stephen Schwartz (and a winner of three Tony Awards) begins after Dorothy's fateful visit. Glinda the Good explains how Elphaba Thropp -- better known as the Wicked Witch of the West -- came to have such a poor reputation and met her liquid end.

The sheer energy of the show starts at the get-go, with Glinda descending among bubbles. Heléne Yorke is the frothy sorceress, a blend of Britney and "Clueless" who has a gorgeous voice and terrific comic timing.

As the eternally popular one at school, she becomes roomies with Elphaba, who is green skinned, studious and gifted with magical abilities, and who repulses all who see her, even Munchkins. Marcie Dodd pulls off this role with an exquisite voice and compelling presence. You will not soon forget her ascension in "Defying Gravity" at the end of the first act, rising on the stage and stunningly lit.

That lighting effect is merely one example of the brilliant design of the production that is meticulously arranged to not only wow the audience, but also lure us further into the story.

The sets are storybook Victorian expressions of a culture not so foreign to us. The lighting transports us, whether to places of darkness or to the Emerald City. Costumes look like they came from a Bizarro Christmas Carol, vivid and melding into the choreography. The busyness on stage is enhanced by a fascination with wheeled vehicles that frequently appear.

Everywhere you look or listen, there are more delights. Note the nods throughout to Harry Potter, "Beauty and the Beast," "Evita," "High School Musical" and "Chicago," which just add to the fun.

Orpheum president Pat Halloran announced before the show that 55,000 tickets had been sold out of 57,000 available.

You'll be disappointed if you miss the magic.

Theater Review


The show continues through July 12 at the Orpheum, 203 S. Main. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 1:30 and 7 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $38-$138. Call 525-3000.

A day-of-performance lottery for a limited number of orchestra seats will be held daily, about 21/2 hours prior to show for people present at the box office. Names will be drawn for a limited number of orchestra seats at $25 each, cash only, with a limit of two tickets per person.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Calling Memphis Artists

The 15th Annual Orpheum Summer Art Auction is Thursday, July 16, 2009 at 5pm.

This event benefits local artists and art in our schools. What could be better?

This year's Art Auction will feature a Live and Silent Auction. 75% of the selling price goes to the artist and 25% benefits the Orpheum's Education and Community programs department.

And the best part -- The artist sets the minimum on their piece.

If you are interested contact Kate Hackett at for more info and an art submission contract.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Best Pizza in Town? ~ Red Rooster?, Classic John Belushi

Who has the Best Pizza in town? Any glaring omissions here?
Yes, it is a personal preference, but who would you say? I'm a fan of the BBQ pizza which is partly why I've selected Boscos #1. Here are my rankings:

1. Boscos -- Germantown Purist(pictured above). I could easily eat two everytime.
2. Movie & Pizza Co.; Very fresh- generous with chicken
3. Camy's -- love all the combinations you can make and the veggie selections
4. Memphis Pizza Cafe- BBQ chicken
5. Carrabba's-- I know it's a chain but the Margherita Pizza is delicious.

I know some people really like Coletta's, Garibaldi's, ExLines, and Fox Ridge Pizza. Maybe I need to go back to re-evaluate those places. Victoria also puts in a vote for Old Venice.

Also, still have to try Johnny Brusco's, Fire N Stone Pizzeria,... and

RED ROOSTER! I'm going to walk over after Animal House and get the $12 pizza/pitcher special with my ticket stub from Animal House.
I'm trying to decide between The Delta King(BBQ piled high with pork, cheese, and signature sauce) or The Male Hale (chunks of ham, bacon, and pineapple piled high with tomatoes). Looking forward to trying it out. Maybe I'll sample both. Please feel free to pass along any other suggestions.

Just a preview of the awesomeness that will take place at the Orpheum this Friday.

Monday, June 15, 2009

How to Make a Toga!

Debauchery @ The Orpheum
This Friday, wear your toga to the Orpheum Theatre in honor of the movie for the night, ANIMAL HOUSE. The Winner of the Best Toga Contest will receive 2 tickets to see Eddie Vedder's sold out show at the Theatre the next night. The Best Toga will be determined by audience reaction. If you want to wear your toga and not compete for Best Toga, that's fine too. The movie starts at 7:15 but the contest is before. Be sure to get there by 7.

First of all, you can always wear a sheet, but that amount of effort may not be enough to guarantee you win those tickets. Unless of course, you bring 10 friends and tell them to scream their loudest for you.

You could go to a cloth store like Hancock Fabrics or Hobby Lobby and grab some cheap cloth with a cool design.Or you could go with your classic white. Get four yards of cloth at standard 5 or so feet in width.

Here are the basics, according to,
The toga cloth is basically long and narrow
(Which is why sheets don't work well)
Pin one end of it to your waist
Wrap it around you at least once
Should hang to about the knees
Pin it at the waist again, on the right or left side
Throw the rest over one shoulder
Around the back
Pin it at the waist again
Wear gym shorts underneath, or whatever you want
Sandals, if possible

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This week's Movie Rundown, Cosmos, South Main Fashion Show, Perfect Father's Day Gift ~Shelton Clothiers

Tomorrow, Thursday the 11th, the Movie Series is back with the first Chick Flick of the summer.
SEX AND THE CITY at 7:15pm
-Lovely ladies will be modeling clothes from Runway Boutique and Muse Inspired Fashion.
-Guys will wear the hottest offerings from Shelton Clothiers.
-Itta Bena/B.B. King's in the lobby with special offers before the show
The short played before this movie is a Betty Boop cartoon from the 1930s.

And, on Friday, JAWS at 7:15pm.
Patrons are invited to bring in their best vacation photo. All those who bring one in will be entered in a drawing for a one night stay in the King Suite at the Downtown Hampton Inn.
Shark Attack Drinks-- Virgin and Alcoholic- Featuring a plastic shark with grenadine to squeeze in to add a touch of sweetness to your drink.
The short played before this movie will be the Lone Ranger.

If you can't make it to the movie, check out this recap JAWS in 30 seconds with bunnies

I went into Shelton Clothiers yesterday and was very impressed. It has to be one of the best clothing stores in Memphis. I walked in and Steve came over and asked to help me. I was looking at sportcoats. Here's the thing-- I'm not a standard size or easy to fit per se. In less than a minute without taking any measurements or asking any size-related questions, I was in a sportcoat that fit perfectly in the shoulders and chest and at the sleeves. I'd never met this guy before! In my experience, you usually have to try on at least three before they get it right.

They have really nice sport shirts and sportcoats-- very sharp looking and not unreasonably priced for men's fashion. I liked the uniqueness and versatility of the shirts the best. They are dressy, but they could also be casual. They have a look that you can't pinpoint to any one store. I can always tell when someone is wearing something from Men's Wearhouse. I shop there myself but have grown tired of the sameness of the clothes. Grab a gift certificate for Dad!

And, for those who have just graduated college or high school, treat yourself to a nice, expensive dark colored suit. It can be used for weddings, funerals,interviews and a host of other events. You owe it to yourself. These suits fit better and therefore look better! Maybe in the 40s and 50s you could buy a nice suit for $99, but not today.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dora the Explorer Live! Search for the City of Lost Toys, July 31-August 2 @ The Orpheum; Tickets On-Sale Friday, June 12

“Dora the Explorer Live!” is coming to explore Memphis!
Dora, the World Famous Explorer will perform at The Orpheum Theatre from July 31- August 2, 2009
Tickets are on-sale this Friday, June 12 and range from $12.75-$37.75

Fri, July 31, 2009 6:00 PM
Sat, Aug. 1, 2009 11:00 AM
Sat, Aug. 1, 2009 2:00 PM
Sat, Aug. 1, 2009 5:00 PM
Sun, Aug. 2, 2009 2:00 PM
Sun, Aug. 2, 2009 5:00 PM

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Say "Hi Bob" at the Children's Museum and see him on WREG's Live at 9

And you can play "Hi Bob" tomorrow night at the Orpheum as long as the spouse has the keys...

Bob the Builder will appear Friday, June 5 at the Children's Museum from 11-1. The Children's Museum folks have fun activities planned along with giveaways and drawings. He is looking forward to the interactions with the children as most of his time his spent with talking inanimate objects.

In the morning before he meets with kids at the Museum, Bob will be at Peabody Place to see how the work is coming along converting the place into suites. Of course, the project has stalled due to economic conditions, but Bob will meet with his friend Joe the Plumber and analyze the worksmanship to this point.
If you tune in to Live at 9 on WREG Ch.3, you might see a glimpse of the man himself.

Then at night, he returns to the stage for Bob the Builder LIVE! at the Orpheum at 6pm.

JERSEY BOYS to perform at Tony awards this Sunday

The Tony Awards are this Sunday, June 7 from 7-10pm on CBS. This year's awards show will feature a special performance by the touring production of JERSEY BOYS. If you are looking for a preview of The Orpheum's 2009-2010 season, tune in on Sunday and watch a performance from this 2006 winner for Best Musical. JERSEY BOYS is a worldwide smash hit musical, and is coming to Memphis for a three week limited engagement Jan. 27- Feb. 14, 2010.

There will also be performances from Legally Blonde:The Musical and Mamma Mia!,which were both part of last year's Orpheum Broadway Series.

Marketing Intern Quentin Busey attempts the Kookamonga Challenge at the Kooky Canuck

Orpheum Theatre Marketing Intern Quentin Busey took the Kookamonga Challenge yesterday and made a valiant effort to eat the 4 lbs of beef, 2 lbs of bun, and one and a half pounds of lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, and cheese. As of June, only 5 people out of over 2,000 have finished it in under 60 minutes. In other words, there's a 99.75% Fail rate. Two of Kookamonga's five conquerors were world-class competitive eaters.

Shawn, owner of the Kooky Canuck presented him with the Kookamonga and introduced our intrepid culinary adventurer/glutton to everyone in the restaurant. After a rousing applause, Quentin began his journey toward immortality.

He started by ignoring competitive eating wisdom that says you should start with the bun. He devoured a good portion of the meat in the first 10 minutes and showed no signs of slowing. He was focused and confident, undaunted by the burger's mammoth size. Knowing that such an amazing feat would earn him esteem and bring honor to his family, he fought through the first twinge of pain. The pain would subside, he assured himself, but his pride, the Kookamonga would not strip him of his pride.

"I literally feel like I'm going to vomit." - Quentin Busey

Quentin collected his emotions and tackled the pickles, one of his least favorite foods. Watching him eat those pickles, you wouldn't have guessed his distaste for them.

Quentin continued his consumption, digging deep inside for the strength to keep eating. And you know what? He found that strength... Well, kind of.

"I feel like I can't taste anymore." -Quentin Busey

He started to slow considerably, and his eyes glazed over. His face had lost its competitive fire, and was now serene or maybe even emotionless.

Quentin didn't take down the Kookamonga Burger that day. No, in fact, he didn't even come close. But he did show us that a person can do great things in this life if they follow their dreams. And those dreams happen to involve eating seven and a half pounds of food in one hour.

Congratulations to you, Quentin Busey- Legend among Men

Photo Recap

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Orpheum Theatre Intern to take on Kookamonga Challenge at the Kooky Canuck tomorrow at 1pm...

Fresh from his first year at Wagner College in NYC where is pursuing his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Quentin Busey is back home and working for The Orpheum. Coming home from your first year at college is always a tough adjustment, and we thought what better way to get old Q re-acclimated to life in Memphis than a stop at the Kooky Canuck for an enormous burger eating challenge.
If you can't make it to Kooky Canuck on Wednesday, we'll make sure to post some pictures. Read more about the challenge here.
You can see more of Quentin this summer! He will be emceeing Summer Movie Series trivia contests in July and August. Also, be sure and check him out in the Theatre Memphis production of Curtains, June 12-28!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Putting Education First: The Orpheum Theatre awarded National Endowment for the Arts grant!

The Orpheum Theatre’s Department of Education and Community Programs has been awarded a Regional Touring Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and Southern Arts Federation for Dallas Children’s Theatre’s Most Valuable Player, coming to The Orpheum February 16, 2010 as a part of the Family Series and Student Matinee Series. This triumphant story of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play major league baseball, chronicles the young athlete's nonviolent struggle to integrate what was then considered a "white man's game." Jackie's courage, intelligence, leadership, resilience, and athletic skill propelled him to become a national hero.
The majority of students who attend The Orpheum’s Student Matinee Series performances qualify for the Federal Free Lunch Program and The Orpheum offers ticket discounts and grants in order to ensure that children in Memphis and the surrounding areas have equal access to quality children’s theatre performances at the theatre.

Last school year, The Orpheum awarded over 5,000 free Student Matinee Series tickets to students in deserving classrooms all over the city.

Click here for more information on The Orpheum’s 2009-2010 Student Matinee Series.

-Shelby Monning Patterson
Manager of Education and Community Programs