Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Jersey Boys Giveaway

One grand prize winner will be randomly selected to receive two tickets to the Wednesday, December 5 performance of JERSEY BOYS and a Jersey Boys Fan Pack that includes:  "Jersey Boys: The Story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons" Hardcover Book, "Seasons Greetings" Christmas CD, Tote Bag, T-Shirt, Pen and Bowling Pin Bottle Opener/Keychain.

Second and third place winners will receive a Jersey Boys Fan Pack.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prizes must be picked up in person at The Orpheum Theatre's main box office at 203 South Main, Memphis, TN 38103.  Photo ID is required.

Click Here for more information or to purchase tickets to JERSEY BOYS playing at The Orpheum Theatre December 4-16, 2012.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Blue Man Group Ticket Giveaway

Experience the Phenomenon at The Orpheum Theatre November 13-18, 2012. BLUE MAN GROUP is best known for their wildly popular theatrical shows and concerts which combine comedy, music, and technology to produce a totally unique form of entertainment. The New York Times heralds the show as “One of the most delightful performance pieces ever staged.” E! Entertainment News exclaims, “BLUE MAN GROUP is what every live performance aspires to be.” The Baltimore Sun raves, “BLUE MAN GROUP packs a wallop. It’s a big, loud, funny, silly, visually arresting production!”
Although it is impossible to describe, people of all ages agree that BLUE MAN GROUP is an intensely exciting and wildly outrageous show that leaves the entire audience in a blissful, euphoric state. With no spoken language, BLUE MAN GROUP is perfect for people of all ages, languages, and cultures. BLUE MAN GROUP is now on the road for its first U.S. theatrical tour. This unique experience is a form of entertainment like nothing else; guaranteed to be an outing you will never forget.

TICKETS are still available.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Orpheum Goes Ghost Hunting

Although The Orpheum is a gorgeous gem of a theatre with a rich history, sometimes that history has a bit of a creepy side. Ghostly little girls have been spotted in box seats, disembodied voices echo in the basement, and occasionally tricks are played on unsuspecting employees (our marketing director has a theory that the ghost named Mary is the one that keeps changing all the dates on her spreadsheets). Last year we posted some of our more famous ghost stories, but this year I and a few other brave members of the staff decided to make some ghost stories of our own.

We enlisted the help of Rich Newman (with Paranormal Inc.) to stay with us after hours last week and do some ghost hunting with his gear. If you've ever watched any of the ghost hunting shows on TV, you know the drill: sound recorders are set in previously "active" areas (in this case Mary's box and the Upper Gallery), pictures are taken in night vision, and EMF sensors are used to detect spikes in electromagnetic activity. We split into teams (conveniently ignoring the advice of every horror movie in existence) and began to stake out our two hotspot areas, asking questions and pausing to allow for answers to be recorded as EVPs. After we finished we headed to another hotspot in the Gallery level bathroom and then down to the basement, where we had a very interesting question and answer session with something that was causing the EMF detector to go crazy.

(Not working in your browser? Click here to listen.)

Overall the experience was a lot more fun than it was spooky, and luckily none of the staff that attended were too scared to return to work the next day. A few days later Rich sent us the above EVP and several photos, including one from a previous visit that was never published:

That's Vincent Astor playing the organ. See anything else?

How about now?

And a photo from our investigation:

Can you spot the ghost? Hint: it's circled in red.

Since we were only in the theatre for about two hours, Rich wasn't surprised we didn't pick up more earth-shattering evidence. To get the really good stories you have to have spent years in the theatre, which is definitely something that Vincent Astor can claim. Watch the video below to hear his spooky experiences with Mary and more!

EDIT: A staff member just sent this photo after the post jogged her memory:

 "I gave a tour last year to a camera club and they took this. It isn’t doctored or smudged. I was standing right next to the guy and every other picture he took was perfect!"

Friday, October 19, 2012


Being a teenager takes on a new meaning for Frank Abagnale, Jr. in the hit musical Catch Me if You Can. Based on the hit 2002 movie with the same name, Catch Me if You Can tells the story of Frank as he goes from teenager to FBI’s most wanted. Catch Me if You Can combines classic Broadway with a modern touch, making it a fantastic musical for all ages. Catch Me if You Can greatly mimics the movie in both plot and dialogue. The major difference, though, is the interjections of musical numbers within the show, bringing the action to the bigger-than life Broadway style. It begins with the arrest of Frank Abagnale Jr., who, before being arrested, asks to tell his life “Live in Living Color” as an average 1960’s colorful, peppy television show. The musical then flashes back to Frank’s teenage years, showing his first lie as he pretends to be the French substitute at his new school. Eventually, Frank walks in on his mother dancing with one of his father’s friends, and soon after, his parents divorce. In the midst of the custody trials, Frank runs away, turning to check fraud in order to live the high life.

The story follows Frank throughout his many adventures as a fugitive from the law—first as a crook, then as a pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer. The story stays exciting with a few near misses for Frank as he encounters his enemy FBI agent, Carl Hanratty, narrowly escaping many times before the capture shown in the first scene. This cat and mouse game along with other comedy sets the stage to be a hilarious play.

Even the best Broadway shows would be nothing with terrible actors. Luckily, the audience of Catch Me if You Can is not plagued by such a misfortune. Every character was played to its fullest, but a few stood out among the rest. Amy Burgmaier, who played Frank’s fiancée’s mother, was absolutely hilarious. She was so funny that she was considered by some to be the funniest character in the entire show. Other funny characters are the chorus of FBI agents who aid Hanratty in the investigation.

Merritt David Janes, who played Carl Hanratty, was fantastic. His portrayal of the obsessive FBI agent was compelling, and his bluesy voice helped bring the audience into the story. He was fun to watch, and his heartwarming change near the end of the story brought a good dynamic to the character. 

And, of course, I must mention Stephen Anthony, Frank Abagnale, Jr. His lovely singing voice is what brought the show to life, and his comedic timing was impeccable. He single-handedly fought his way through the show, depicting the lovable crook so common in old Broadway shows. 

Finally, one must not forget the chorus. The chorus, as in many other Broadway shows, had to be extremely versatile. The women’s parts ranged from sexy flight attendant to sexy nurses. Okay. Maybe not so versatile. Yet, they helped bring new life and energy to the show, as a chorus should. Through flawless quick changes and exciting dance numbers, the chorus helped the show flow. 

Old-time Broadway has taken a new turn with the musical Catch Me if You Can! Both the music and theme reflects classic Broadway, yet they modernized many elements. For example, instead of using a backdrop that had to be slowly changed between scenes, Catch Me if You Can used a monitor to project the images. As a result, the show flowed and they were able to provide a moving background. Also, the band, which was fantastic by the way, was seated on the stage, giving them a bigger part within the show. 

Catch Me if You Can is the perfect blend of classic Broadway and modern technology, creating a timeless masterpiece that the whole family will enjoy. It is showing at the Orpheum from Tuesday, October 16th through Sunday, October 21st. There will be a Broadway 101 Master Class on Thursday, the 18th. With all of these opportunities to see the show, why would you miss it? So, come see Catch Me if You Can at the Orpheum Theatre, and enjoy a night of pure entertainment.

Karen Schaeffer - STAR Reporter 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Goonies: Where are they now?

It's been over 25 years since the 'The Goonies' became a cult phenomenon. Take a look at what the adventure-seeking gang is up to now ...

The Goonies' adventure to save their parents' homes from being torn down all began thanks to shy, awkward Mikey, played by Sean Astin. 
Astin is most famous these days for playing loyal Hobbit sidekick Sam Gamgee in the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy.

'Mouth' was an accurate nickname for the smack-talking Clark Devereaux ...
... and for Corey Feldman himself, who's snuck back into the spotlight as a reality star on 'The Two Coreys' alongside his '80s foil, Corey Haim.

That's Captain Chunk to you! As Lawrence 'Chunk' Cohen, actor Jeff B. Cohen faced down the villainous Fratelli family and amazed us all with his Truffle Shuffle.
Minus the pirate hat (and his baby fat), Cohen is now an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles.

Richard 'Data' Wang, played by Jonathan Ke Quan, helped foil the bad guys with his inventions.
As a kid, Quan also had a memorable role in 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.' He now works behind the camera as a martial arts stunt coordinator for films like 'The One' with Jet Li.

Kerri Green's first big role was as the Goonies' cute cheerleader Andy Carmichael. She went on to star in other '80s favorites like 'Summer Rental' and 'Lucas.
Green stopped acting after her teen years, but she returned to the big screen in 2010 in the indie movie 'Complacent'.

Josh Brolin scooped up an Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his role in 'Milk.' Seems like only yesterday he was making his big screen debut as older brother Brand Walsh in 'The Goonies'.
Brolin also earned acclaim in 2010 for his nuanced portrayal of George W. Bush in Oliver Stone's 'W.'

As Stef Steinbrenner, Martha Plimpton was a reluctant Goonie: "I feel like I'm babysitting and I'm not getting paid."
Plimpton's still a familiar face to Broadway buffs - she's an accomplished theater actress who's twice been nominated for a Tony award.

The kids couldn't have saved the day without the Fratellis' forgotten brother, Sloth - and he couldn't have done it without rocky road ice cream. The man behind Sloth's makeup was former Oakland Raiders defensive end John 'Tooz' Matuszak, who left the football field in 1981 to pursue an acting career.

Don't miss 'The Goonies' on the big screen Friday, October 12 at The Orpheum Theatre.  The movie starts at 7:15PM and tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under.  http://www.orpheum-memphis.com/events/detail/the-goonies

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Steven Spielberg made the true life story of Frank Abagnale Jr into the hit movie CATCH ME IF YOU CAN starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. Now the unbelievable tale of the teenage con man comes to life live on stage in a high flying new Broadway musical and the tour stops at The Orpheum Theatre October 16-21.  

In his quest for the glamorous life Frank successfully posed as a pilot, a doctor, a lawyer, and a professor to use millions of dollars in forged checks.  Do you think you could have spotted the impostor?  Now is your chance to find out by seeing this awe inspiring story at an exclusive discount!  

Save 25% on select seats for Wednesday, Thursday or Friday night performances by clicking on the link below and entering the password: CATCHME

Not good on previous purchases. Not available in all areas. No refunds or exchanges

To learn more about CATCH ME IF YOU CAN and all the other shows coming to The Orpheum Theatre visit www.orpheum-memphis.com

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What A Glorious Feeling! The Orpheum Commemorates 60 Years of "Singin' In The Rain" This Friday

In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of its release, Singin’ in the Rain has been added to The Orpheum's 2012 Classic Movie Series, and it will be dancing its way back into the theatre for a one-night-only event this Friday at 7:15pm. (Doors open at 6:15 for trivia and prizes!)

Dubbed "The Greatest Musical of Ever" by Time Magazine, Singin' In The Rain is a joyful piece of cinema set during the transitional period between silent films and "talkies" in the 1920s  a la The Artist (winner of the Oscar for Best Picture this year).

Here are a few things you might not know about this classic film:

1. The movie was mostly an excuse for Arthur Freed, the producer who made so many of the classic MGM musicals, to recycle songs that he'd written as a lyricist with composer Nacio Herb Brown two decades earlier for some of the studio's earliest musicals. As Betty Comden recalled, she and co-screenwriter Adolph Green were told by Freed, "‘Kids, you’re going to write a movie called “Singin' in the Rain”. Just put all of my songs in it.’ All we knew was there would be some scene where someone would be singing, and it would be raining."

2. The title number took seven days to film, with six hours of fake rain each day. The water was mixed with milk to make it show better on camera. The constantly drenched Kelly had a bad cold and fever the whole time, which makes his sunny demeanor during the piece all the more impressive.

3.  In an ironic case of double dubbing, when Debbie Reynolds (Kathy) was dubbing Jean Hagen (Lina)'s voice during the movie, the voice you hear is actually not Debbie Reynolds but Betty Noyes.

4. Debbie Reynolds (Kathy) was quoted as saying "The two hardest things I ever did in my life are childbirth and “Singin' in the Rain'." Although she praised Gene Kelly for his directing skills, he was a notoriously hard taskmaster when it came to the dancing routines. At one point she was so exhausted she curled up under a piano to cry, where Fred Astaire found her and offered to give her some pointers. She was only 19 when she was given the role.

5. O'Connor also worked himself to exhaustion on the "Make 'Em Laugh" number, which used bits of acrobatic comedy he'd done in vaudeville (including running up a wall and flipping into a somersault). O'Connor was a four-pack-a-day smoker, and after filming the number, he was bedridden for several days, only to learn that the footage had been accidentally destroyed. So he did it all again.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Memphian Jacob Zelonky talks about his role in Billy Elliot

At just 11 years old, Memphian Jacob Zelonky began his whirlwind journey on the Billy Elliot The Musical national tour. Two years later, Jacob looks back on his time playing Billy's best friend, the challenges he faced to get his first big break (including learning to tap dance and ride a bike!), and leaving the show this past July.

Click here to learn more about Billy Elliot The Musical, playing at The Orpheum Theatre September 18-23!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Let's Dance: A Conversation with 'Billy Elliot' Choreographer Peter Darling

Billy Elliot the Musical is a glorious celebration of dance – all kinds of dance.

Yes, it’s the story of a young boy who aspires to a career in ballet, which is why people are often surprised to discover the broad movement palette utilized by choreographer Peter Darling. The choreography encompasses tap, hip hop, jazz, acrobatics, and folk dancing; even a pedestrian activity such as walking – no pun intended – is used as a form of expression.

Kylend Hetherington (Billy) in “Billy Elliot the Musical.” Photo by Kyle Froman
That diversity was very deliberate. “I didn’t want to convey the notion that only one form of movement is of value,” says Darling. “I wanted to use as many different forms of movement as possible. We’re celebrating dance; dance is worthy of celebration and all forms of dance can tell a narrative. Ballet can tell a narrative. Tap can tell a narrative.”

Tap fuels the show at least as much as, if not more than, ballet. “Tap is rhythmically exciting and such an expressive kind of dance,” says Darling. “At the same time, it’s synonymous with show business and musicals. And Billy Elliot is very much a musical; it’s not a ballet.”

In most musicals, tap is a rapturous articulation of joy. Often, its raison d’etre is nothing more – or less – than to entertain the audience. That kind of tap exists in Billy Elliot, most notably in the exuberant finale. But Darling also uses tap in a dark and powerful way in the “Angry Dance,” Billy’s response when his father orders him to give up ballet.

“Tap actually lends itself extremely well to anger,” says Darling. “The ‘Angry Dance,’ in a way, is about Billy wanting to stop dancing. But the rhythm in his head keeps on going. If you want to stop your feet from moving, you slam them to the floor. So that’s where the idea came from: Billy would slam his feet to the floor, and there would be a rhythmic element to it. And it went from there.”

The dances in Billy Elliot either advance the narrative or reveal something about the characters. “Born to Boogie” takes place after Mrs. Wilkinson, Billy’s teacher, reads a letter from the boy’s dead mother. Rather than launch into a ballet, Darling upends expectations with a jazzy number. “When you study ballet, it’s non-stop classes,” he says. “It almost feels like wearing a straitjacket. When Billy gets upset by the letter, Mrs. Wilkinson decides to give him a present, to cheer him up. Instead of saying, ‘We’re going to do 24,000 tendus again,’ she says, ‘OK, let’s have some fun. Let me find out how you move.’ So Billy starts to do Michael Jackson moonwalking, and she starts to do a few old steps. It’s a conversation, a fun dance, which is what jazz is.”

Darling infused the ballet choreography with contemporary movement, steps that would be anathema to traditional classical dance. When Billy auditions for The Royal Ballet in the number “Electricity,” the ballet he performs includes street dance, hip hop and acrobatics. “The idea is that The Royal Ballet is looking for young dancers with potential, who are phenomenal movers,” says Darling. “And Billy shows that he’s a phenomenal mover who can also turn three pirouettes.”

That number, more than any other in the show, underscores the beauty and vitality of ballet. “Ballet can be one of the most thrilling things you’ll ever see, because of the amount of training, technique, and strength required to do it. The training enables the body to do things that are phenomenally difficult. You’re able to travel through the air. It’s got a great freedom to it.”

Billy Elliot the Musical @ The Orpheum Theatre September 18-23.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How 'bout some more beans, Mr. Taggart?

 This Friday, July 27th, The Orpheum Theatre will host a “bean” drive for the Mid-South Food Bank in conjunction with the screening of hilarious  Mel Brooks’ western classic, Blazing Saddles.

Those familiar with the movie will understand the bean reference. Yet, did you know that there are so many positive nutrition facts when it comes to beans? Let’s start with the amazingly high fiber count. One cup of black beans (2 servings) has more than 115% of your daily value of fiber, which gives beans the ability to satisfy your appetite while seriously burning fat! Beans are also high in protein, which is why vegetarians aren’t the only ones eating beans in lieu of meat. With more than 40 grams of protein in 1 cup of beans, you can see why they top the list of fat burning foods.

When it comes to nutrition facts, beans are where it’s at.  With large amounts of thiamin, folate, vitamin B6 and niacin, beans can provide you and your fat burning efforts with plenty of health benefits to promote wellness. You also get lots of nutrients when you add beans to your diet, including; calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and manganese.

Beans have also  proven to provide many health benefits that include lowering cholesterol and preventing spikes in blood sugar. This makes beans even more appealing for diabetics, those suffering from hypoglycemia and a resistance to insulin. Furthermore, the soluble fiber in beans helps reduce your risk of coronary disease and heart attacks.

If you can set aside the sometimes embarrassing side effects of eating beans, you’ll find that the health benefits far outweigh that small problem. Yet it’s the side effects that have made beans the subject matter of countless jokes, children’s songs, and a memorable campfire scene in the Mel Brooks movie, Blazing Saddles. Although Warner Brothers executives asked Mel Brooks to remove the famous campfire scene, he ignored the request and the film became a international success.

Can you imagine the Blazing Saddles without the beans?  Can you imagine your pantry without beans? Sadly, many Mid-South families can.

But you can do something to help.  This Friday night, bring a can of beans to The Orpheum’s showing of Blazing Saddles and you’ll save $2 off the price of admission while also helping The Mid-SouthFood Bank stock the pantries of needy families in our community. Donations are often slow in the summer, and every can helps fight hunger in the Mid-South. 

The Mid-South Food Bank fights hunger through the efficient collection and distribution of wholesome food and through education and advocacy. It serves a network of partner agencies that includes food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, youth programs, senior programs, rehabilitation centers and other charitable feeding programs. The Mid-South Food Bank has distributed 10.3 million pounds of food and other groceries in its 31-county service area in 2011. For more information, please visit www.midsouthfoodbank.org.

Blazing Saddles @ The Orpheum this Friday, July 27th. Doors open at 6:15 PM for pre-movie fun.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Inconceivable!... Rob Reiner's Fan Favorite Fairy Tale Celebrates Silver Anniversary & Makes Orpheum Summer Movie Premiere this Friday

Scale the cliffs of insanity, battle rodents of unusual size, face torture in the pit of despair, and join Princess Buttercup and Westley on their spell-binding journey to find true love when The Princess Bride makes its Orpheum Theatre summer movie debut this Friday, July 20th. A classic fairy tale complete with heroes, villains, trickery, mockery and death-defying miracles,  The Princess Bride captures audiences young and old with its brilliant, memorable dialogue, enchanting story line and bewitching characters. This year marks the film's 25th anniversary of its debut in 1987.

From celebrated director Rob Reiner (The Bucket List) and Oscar®-winning screenwriter William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) comes "an enchanting fantasy" (Time) filled with adventure, romance and plenty of "good-hearted fun" (Roger Ebert).  Featuring a spectacular cast that includes Robin Wright (Forrest Gump), Cary Elwes (No Strings Attached), Mandy Patinkin ("Homeland") and Billy Crystal (When Harry Met Sally). Click through to see the cast then and now!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Review of Mamma Mia! by Holly W.

I had a real treat when my friend and I decided on a whim to see Mama Mia! this week at the Orpheum. I’ve been to several shows at this downtown landmark, and every experience has been a blast. The historic setting immediately puts me in the mood for “the theatre” and I always feel like I’m having a big night on the town, whether it’s a Broadway musical or a summer evening movie night. Mama Mia! was no exception.

The first thing I noticed about this show was the attitude of the performers. Their energy was infectious, and they were obviously having a great time. This musical is light, fun, and a little campy, and the cast goes over the top to entertain through great songs, dancing, and plenty of humor. There’s usually one character or performer in a show that stands out to me as the scene-stealer, but I can’t pick just one from Mama Mia!

Chloe Tucker, who plays the youthful and charming Sophie, appealed to me immediately. You’ll find out that Sophie is hoping to discover the identity of her father before her upcoming wedding, and the suspense of this narrative carries the show. Her mother is the free-spirited Donna played by Kaye Tuckerman. Her voice along with her dance moves make every song a seamless performance, especially the show’s catchy eponymous tune. Sophie’s three possible fathers are comprised of a British gentleman, a swaggering Aussie author, and an American architect with a quick wit. Donna’s irreverent friends and Sophie’s fiancé and his mischievous pals all provide of range of comedic styles from slapstick to sarcasm that had the multi-generational crowd laughing through the show. From a dream sequence involving scuba gear to a tastefully flirty bachelorette party, the sets and production complemented the tunes perfectly.

A highlight of the show featured Donna and the Dynamos—Donna and her two pals’ reunited singing group from “the old days”. This show-within-a-show element provided a vehicle for some of the crowd’s favorite songs (“Dancing Queen”) and all the sparkly, neon, Spandex costumes you could hope for. After the resolution (I was dying to find out which gentleman was Sophie’s father!) the cast brought us to our feet with a fun finale you’ll have to experience for yourself.

I hadn’t had the opportunity to see the show or the movie before, and I was only familiar with a few of the more popular songs. On the other hand, my friend has seen the show and the movie, and is a huge fan of the entire soundtrack. Since I had no expectations, and she had a lot of expectations, it was great to see how we both enjoyed the show. I would recommend it whether you’re a longtime ABBA fan or just are in the mood for something bright and uplifting. By the end, we were both tapping our feet and clapping along with the rest of crowd. The ensemble’s energy was relentless to the last bow, and I left the Orphem happy and humming. If you’re looking for something that will leave you in a fantastic mood, go see Mama Mia!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Pat's Notes from Broadway

I just returned from New York where Broadway is the most important street in the city. I saw five productions in four days and was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed everything I saw.  As a TONY award voter they expect us to see everything and without a doubt all that are nominated for an award.

Here are my notes about what I saw recently:

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR – The music is the show and has always great. The story isn’t bad either but it always ends the same way, not good.  This production takes on a new high tech staging with a Wall Street ticker tape addition letting you know that you are Jerusalem on Wednesday as the story unfolds and on Thursday you are in the garden of Gethsemane. A novel approach but pushing the point.  And all of the bad guys are wearing long black leather coats and are sporting dreadlocks.

PETER AND THE STARCATCHER was the highlight of the five shows.  Had no idea what it was about and was blown away by the acting especially that of Christian Borle, from the TV show Smash, was fabulous.  Show moved so fast and dialog came at the audience at mach speed. I must see it again.

NEWSIES is a Disney musical and was much better than I thought it would be, since the movie was a flop.  I wasn’t expecting much but thought it far exceeded my pre-show bias. 

NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT was excellent. Take Gershwin Brothers, insert a funny story with a fabulous female lead, Kelli OHara, add Mathew Broderick and it’s an enjoyable night at the theater.

Last but far from the least was GHOST, the musical adaptation of the movie with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. The reviews have not been spectacular but I really enjoyed the show and it's another high tech addition to Broadway. I really liked how they had people appear to walk through walls. The opening scene is a film of a  super fast tour over the buildings of Manhattan, sort of like Harry Potter goes for a night out sans the broom.

Going back to NYC on the 31st of May to see what I expect to be the  two TONY award shows one for the revival category – EVITA  and ONCE for best new musical. I think I’m saving the best for last. We’ll see. More later!

Pat Halloran
President & CEO
The Orpheum Theatre

Friday, May 18, 2012

The 2012 Orpheum Summer Movie Series

Jam-packed with classic movie hits and cult favorites, The Orpheum's 2012 series of “Cults, Classics and Concerts,” will offer big entertainment at a small price. In addition to award-winning, critically acclaimed classic films, The Orpheum offers pre-show activities such as trivia contests, fashion shows, themed costume contests, vintage film shorts, and even a mini-concert on The Orpheum's own Mighty Wurlitzer Organ before select feature films.
Established for those who enjoy the edgy side of independent film, Indie Memphis Cinema Social Club events will be held on four Thursday nights during the summer. Films in the series will begin at 7:30 p.m. Each evening’s film will be preceded by a themed social hour that will include special libations and live music in the lobby of The Orpheum.
The series will include four acclaimed features, including Donnie Darko and Pulp Fiction. All tickets will be $7 each at the door. Indie Memphis members will receive a $2 discount with their valid membership card. The price of the ticket includes the social hour which will begin at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets for both the Summer Classic Movie Series and the Cinema Social Club are just $7 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under and may be purchased at The Orpheum Theatre Box Office two hours prior to movie start time. Doors open one hour prior to movie start time. A 10-ticket pack is available for $50 in advance at The Orpheum Theatre Box Office or the ticket counter at The Booksellers at Laurelwood and may be used in any combination for any movie in the series. For more information, please call (901) 525-3000.

Friday, April 20, 2012

2012-2013 Broadway Season Announcement

We know you come to The Orpheum to see the highest quality theatrical experiences, so through the generous sponsorship of our friends at Harrah’s Tunica, we’ve put together a delightful mix of new productions and Mid-South favorites.

We kick off the season with BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL, the inspirational and uplifting story of a young boy who follows his dream by trading his boxing gloves for ballet shoes. Next we have CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, the true story of Frank Abagnale Jr. who successfully conned millions of dollars worth of checks as a Pan Am pilot, a doctor, and a legal prosecutor, all before his 19th birthday. The internationally acclaimed extravaganza, BLUE MAN GROUP, along with the dazzling heartwarming Disney classic, MARY POPPINS, and the splendid new production of Cole Porter’s ANYTHING GOES are sure to thrill audiences young and old alike.

The JERSEY BOYS will be working their way back to The Orpheum, along with the show that won our hearts, MEMPHIS. If you’ve already seen these fine productions and prefer not to include one or both in your season package, you may “opt-out”. As an “opt-in”, but for one weekend only, we are bringing you ROCK OF AGES, the rock ‘n’ roll romance told through the heart-pounding hits of Def Leppard, Joan Jett, Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Night Ranger, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Poison, Whitesnake, and more.

The support of our season ticket holders helps us bring the best of Broadway entertainment to the Mid-South while enhancing cultural life in our community, and preserving the beautiful Orpheum Theatre for future generations. With these great shows in The Orpheum’s 2012-2013 Broadway Season, and with more benefits than ever before, there’s never been a better time to become a season ticket holder!

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I whole-heartedly thank you for your patronage and support and I look forward to seeing you for another exciting season at The Orpheum!

Pat Halloran
President & CEO

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review of La Cage Aux Folles by Rebecca S.

As a longtime fan of the movie The Birdcage, I was eagerly anticipating attending the live musical on which it was based. And I was pleasantly treated with a fun and energetic version of La Cage! Lively is a very fitting word for this show, from the upbeat and athletic dance numbers to the simple yet funny dialogue between the characters. The story takes place in a gay nightclub, run by the owner and his male partner, the star of the floor show. When their heterosexual son returns home to announce his engagement to the daughter of an extremely traditional politician, the antics, emotions, and songs ensue!

George Hamilton commands the stage with his quiet, yet confident, presence. While there is no denying it is the tan man himself, he plays the "straight" lead (no pun intended!) to the best of his abilities, giving us a Georges who is kind and caring. However, it is Christopher Sieber's turn as Albin that really brought the show to life. Vaguely familiar from years of television, Sieber brings the star power without lingering memories of former characters. This really allowed him to bring Albin's powerhouse alter ego, Zaza, to life. His comedic timing, singing voice, and perfect flamboyant mannerisms stole the spotlight every time he walked on stage.

Some of my favorite scenes took place at La Cage Aux Folles itself. The chorus, a group of 6 transvestite males, brought so much energy and talent to every number. Some of the most athletic dancing I have seen in a show, from full splits over and over to a can can line to hanging on a cage, I was so impressed with the abilities of this group. The rest of the supporting characters were perfectly cast as well- the "butler" was full of bubbly personality, the son brought the right amount of manly touch, and the father-in-law-to-be was gruff and protective. Additionally, the staging and directing really brought the show together, including interactive parts where the cast truly connected with the audience.

For a light hearted, enjoyable evening filled with laughter, head down to the Orpheum for this delightful version of La Cage! I think the only thing you will find that you don't like (particularly ladies) is the men have better legs, and they sure do show them off! One last warning- beware flying beach balls!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Treasured Stories by Eric Carle

Mermaid Theatre’s production of Treasured Stories by Eric Carle brings together old favorites and new friends. Featuring evocative music, stunning visual effects and innovative puppetry, the triple-bill celebrates three of Eric Carle’s most beloved tales.

A veteran of more than 2200 performances, The Very Hungry Caterpillar joins a whimsical menagerie, drawn from the pages of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?. The poignant story of a young girl’s unusual quest, Papa, Please Get the Moon For Me, completes a fanciful production, that is guaranteed to entertain and educate a new generation of young theatergoers.

Eric Carle’s classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar follows the wonderful adventures of a very tiny and hungry caterpillar, as he progresses through an amazing variety of foods, towards his eventual metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly.

First published in 1967, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? was written and illustrated by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle and has served to help countless toddlers learn to associate colors and meaning to objects. Capturing the rhythmic text and beautiful tissue-paper collage illustrations of the classic picture book, Mermaid’s adaptation generates fresh appreciation for the endearing cast of characters.

Regarded as one of Eric Carle’s most imaginatively-designed works, Papa, Please Get the Moon For Me has been delighting young audiences since its publication in 1986. Mermaid’s production mirrors the book’s stunning illustrations, drawn in thick brilliant brushstrokes of blue and greens and dazzling reds. An unusual quest for a unique plaything - the moon - offers a splendid introduction to the wonderment of the lunar cycle.

Audiences familiar with Mermaid’s earlier adaptations of Eric Carle’s books will find the same attention to detail that has won international acclaim for the company. The use of “black light” for some aspects of the show, enable puppets and props to make their appearances, as if they are animated on their own. The final story in the trilogy will incorporate the magic of both projection techniques and shadow puppetry.

Treasured Stories by Eric Carle will be presented live at The Orpheum Theatre Friday, February 24 at 6PM.  Click here for tickets!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Million Dollar Quartet Giveaway

Enter below for your chance to win a Million Dollar Quartet prize pack containing a hat, magnet/bottle opener and a set of four shot glasses.  The hit Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet will be at The Orpheum Theatre February 14-19 and great seats are still available!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Locomotion: Dealing with Life's Challenges

Meet Lonnie Collins Motion,
Meet all the people he cares about
even those just passing through.
Meet them in his words.
Meet them in his rhythm.
Meet them all in Locomotion.

Based on the award-winning verse novel by Jacqueline Woodson, Locomotion is a journey through one boy’s heartbreak and the healing power of poetry.  Lonnie is eleven and alone.  His parents died unexpectedly and his sister was placed in a different foster home.  He misses them all and a teacher encourages Lonnie to express his feelings on paper.  As he revisits the past and explores the present, Lonnie discovers a newfound hope for the future.  Locomotion is a dance of perfect moments in an imperfect world.  It is both happy and sad but ultimately inspiring.

Watch the story come to life on The Orpheum Theatre stage Tuesday, February 7 at 6 pm, as part of the Theatre’s 2011-2012 Family Series.

 For more information or to purchase tickets, call (901) 525-3000 or visit www.orpheum-memphis.com.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How The Magic School Bus Books Come Alive

Based on the best-selling Scholastic book series written by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degen, The Magic School Bus is an Emmy Award-winning animated television series that is seen in more than 39 countries and 16 languages. Now it's coming to life and zooming to The Orpheum stage this Saturday, January 28, as part of the Theatre's 2011-2012 Family Series.

This musical interpretation of the beloved book series focuses on one of the most important environmental issues facing the Earth today: climate change. However, how does a children's book address such a series issue like climate change with humor, fun, and even magic?  To find out, read the article below which is an in depth look from writer Joanna Cole and illustrator Bruce Degen, the creative forces behind The Magic School Bus.

Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen have collaborated for twenty years, bringing humor and true kidlike curiosity to science and learning. Booklist heralded Ms. Frizzle as “the wackiest, wisest teacher in picture books.” Two Magic School Bus titles have been named School Library Journal Best Books of the Year, and they have won countless state book awards, from New York to Nebraska.

Each The Magic School Bus book begins with in-depth research. Cole does extensive reading, visits museums, and talks with experts. Once she's collected enough information, the author synthesizes the facts into a dummy book with sketch ideas and text for the story, speech balloons, and school reports "written" by Ms. Frizzle's students. Cole also writes the jokes found in every book. Sometimes, a page in the dummy will have a layer of jokes, all on different colored Post-it™ notes. "Eventually when I go see my editor, if he doesn't laugh at the joke on top, I say, 'Let's see what else there is, and we peel them away until we find one that he laughs at," says Cole.

Once Cole has finished her dummy and it has been reviewed by a specialist, it's time for Degen to work on the illustrations. "I take out the dummy Joanna has prepared, I look at all the research books, I look at all the notes, and then I have a cup of coffee," jokes Degen. Next, Degen prepares series of sketches showing how every page of the book will look. The collaborative process really takes off when Degen meets Cole to discuss the sketches. They talk about the story line and decide whether the art works with the action and science in the story, all the while playing off of each other's imagination.

To continue reading, please click here.

Magic School Bus Live! The Climate Challenge is an official 2011-2012 Family Series Show. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (901) 525-3000 or go online at www.orpheum-memphis.com.