Thursday, May 29, 2014

President's Page: Pat's Tony Ballot for the Top Awards

have done my due diligence and officially cast my vote for the 2014 Tony Awards.  There were about 14 new musicals, and that is where I focused my attention this year.  Below are my picks for the top prizes, and why I thought they were deserving of my vote.
I was torn between Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.  These are two completely different productions.  Being a fan of Carole King, I thought I would slide that way.  It had a wonderful score with all of her top hits.  Then I considered A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder.  It was a great comedy with a creative storyline unlike anything I have ever seen on Broadway.  All of the music was original and well  orchestrated.  So in the end, my vote went to A Gentleman’s  Guide to Love and Murder.
For me, this was no contest.  I had to go with my favorite musical of all-time: the modern-day classic Les Miserables.  I could sit through this production every week for the rest of my life.
These categories are separate, but I think I made my case in the BEST MUSICAL section.  A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder won my vote in both categories.   
Here is where I paid homage to Beautiful.  Jesse Mueller as Carole King was astounding.  Her performance made you feel like you were listening to a concert by Carole King herself.  She completely embodied the character, and she deserves this award.
There were some excellent nominees in this category.  Andy Karl in Rocky and Jefferson Mays in A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder were phenomenal in their roles, but Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig and the Angry Inch was a clear stand out.  What a performance!  Neil Patrick Harris gave an hour and fifty minutes of non-stop talent that I will never forget.  
I won't go into the technical awards this time, but I will point out one sin of omission: I think the nominating committee for this year's awards did a disservice to Disney’s Aladdin by not honoring the show with a nomination for Best Costume Design.  There must have been 500 costumes in that show, and all of them were spectacular.  
All in all this was a pretty good year for the industry.  There were a number of good productions, a great list of stars that we don't normally get to see on Broadway, and what appears to be a nice crop of shows that will go out on tour - shows that might just make a stop at the Orpheum Theatre!
Pat Halloran
President and CEO


Tune in for the Tony Awards on Sunday, June 8th at 7:00 PM Central on CBS.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

If you are walking around downtown Memphis on Friday night, May 30th, you might think you are in an episode of TheWalking Dead.   No need to be alarmed!   It’s only The Memphis Zombies holding their annual Zombie Walk.  The Orpheum invites all zombies to come and see the double feature: Zombieland and Night of the Living Dead, which will be showing as part of our Summer Movie Series. 
The Memphis Zombies were founded in 2007 and have been holding their zombie walk every year since then.  Not only do the Memphis Zombies entertain Memphians and tourists of the downtown area, but they do their part in helping the less fortunate in the city.  The zombies created “Cans 4 Brainz,” which is their way of giving back to the Memphis community.  People that participate in the walk can voluntarily donate canned goods or monetary donations, which the Memphis Zombies give to the Mid-South Food Bank.  In years past, the Memphis Zombies have donated over 700 pounds of food and over $200 in cash donations.  Each year they hope that more people will want to become “zombified” and take part in their annual walk.

Zombie Walks have become a popular event, and they continue to grow every year across the country.  The first zombie walk was held in Sacramento, California in 2001.  Since zombie movies and TV shows have become more and more popular throughout the years, so have zombie walks.  Zombie walks are held in cities across the country, and even take place in other countries as well.  Some zombie fans even go as far as traveling to these countries to see their take on zombie walks, while others use the zombie walk as a time to get married and have a zombie themed wedding.  What does it say on their getaway car? Not “just married,” but “just buried.”   True zombie fashion.  

The 8th annual Zombie Walk in Memphis will begin at 6:30 pm in Army/Navy Park.  The zombies will walk through the South Main Area, pass in front of the Orpheum, and will finally end up on Beale Street. So, how can you participate in the zombie massacre this year?   All you have to do is show up to the park a little early, so a zombie can help you become “zombified.”  If you wish to become a victim of the zombies, all you’ll need to do is duct tape an X visibly on yourself.  This will let the zombies know that you are a victim.  People not marked with a visible X on the night of the walk will be left alone.   

Night of the Living Dead and Zombieland will start at 7:00 pm and, the following movie will begin shortly after.  Zombies are invited into the theatre in costume.  Tickets available at the Orpheum kiosk outside the theatre or you can purchase them by clicking here.  Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children under 12.  A pack of 10 tickets is available for $50 and can be used for movies for the whole season.  We ask that all zombies please respect the theatre and the seats inside.  We will be prepared with seat covers and an area for the extremely gory zombies where they can remove some of their makeup, so they can enjoy the movies. 


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Can't Wait! 2014 Classic Summer Movie Series Announced

Over the years the Orpheum's Classic Summer Movie Series has become nothing short of a beloved tradition, not only for our patrons but for the Orpheum Staff as well. 

At times, there have been some passionate debates in the office over what theme we should focus on and which wonderful movies should make the cut.  But this year, we left the themes behind as the Orpheum Theatre celebrates its Movie Series fans with a wide selection of fan favorites and audience picks!

In addition to offering hits like LABYRNTH, CASABLANCA, THE PRINCESS BRIDE, and THE WIZARD OF OZ Sing-Along on the Orpheum big screen, we're amping up our pre-movie activities. 

Audiences can expect hands-on fun like costume contests, special guest appearances, local beer tastings, photo booths, drink specials and, of course, movie trivia.  We'll be letting movie fans vote on which ending they would like to see for CLUE, zombies are always welcome at our Zombie Double Feature, and come celebrate Shark Week with JAWS.  Want to enjoy a one-of-a-kind family outing?  Come to a Tea Party before the matinee showing of Shirley Temple in THE LITTLE PRINCESS.*

There are so many great reasons to spend your summer in Downtown Memphis.  Between Trolley Nights, Peabody Rooftop Parties, Redbirds games, and the Summer Movie Series, you'll have a full calendar!

Click here to see the full 2014 lineup.  If you have more favorites you'd like to see for upcoming series, make your voice heard on our Facebook and Twitter pages or on this very blog! 

We'll see you at the movies!

*The Little Princess Tea Party is a ticketed event limited to 100 guests.  Tickets are $20 per person and includes beverages, sandwiches, fruit, desserts, and admission to the movie.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The 5th Annual High School Musical Theatre Awards: Credit Where Credit is Due

On Monday, May 12th, the Orpheum Theatre will host its 5th Annual High School Musical Theatre Awards ceremony, which is part of the National High School Musical Theatre Awards program that includes 31 peer programs from across the country.  This year, the red carpet will welcome students from all over the Mid-South, representing 28 schools from three states.

Excitement runs high as the awards ceremony approaches.  The evening's fantastic performances from over 200 students (combined with a noticeable sense of camaraderie throughout the theatre) will make it easy to see that this awards show is about more than naming a winner.  It's about honoring the amazing work that students and teachers alike have produced.

Our group of prestigious judges has no easy task.  How does one begin to decide on a winner?  Surely even Tony voters struggle with the same question because it's simply that tough, especially when the level of talent that we find in West Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi is so incredible.

The fact of the matter is that win, lose or draw, our high school students have produced a fantastic season of very successful and artistically sound shows.  Please join the Orpheum in congratulating all the nominees.  Here's to a great 2013-2014 year, and we look forward to the big event on Monday!

Click here for a full list of this year's nominees as well as more information about the Orpheum's High School Musical Theatre Awards.  A limited number of tickets are available by calling 901.525.3000 or by visiting the Orpheum Box Office or the Orpheum ticket counter at the Booksellers at Laurelwood.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

President's Page: Heading Back to NYC for Tony Picks!

It's no secret that the Tony's are on their way, and Broadway is buzzing with excitement!

As I've mentioned in past posts, I've been gearing up to cast my Tony ballot by seeing as many new shows as possible, such as:
  • BEAUTIFUL The Carole King Story: I loved the music, but it lagged in some parts.  It didn't have the fascinating storyline like, say, JERSEY BOYS does.
  • AFTER MIDNIGHT: A nice jazzy surprise starring Vanessa Williams. 
  • THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY: I was skeptical at first, but the show was very enjoyable.  The new music fit the script surprisingly well.
  • ROCKY The Musical: An amazing surprise with incredible staging for the final fight.

In May, I'll be returning to the Big Apple to round out this year's Tony contenders.  I like to focus on the musicals because that is what we here at the Orpheum Theatre for the most part.  While I do see some plays, there are just too many for me to attend in my limited time in NYC.  On this next trip, I'll be catching some other exciting new titles:
  • IF/THEN: A new musical starring Idina Menzel (of WICKED and Disney's FROZEN fame).  It is sure to get some Tony “buzz” because of her.
  • BULLETS OVER  BROADWAY: This is Woody Allen’s new musical.  It's an adaptation of his movie by the same name that was released in 1994.
  • VIOLET: This new musical stars Sutton Foster, who actually lived in Memphis while in high school and won her first Tony for THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE.
  • ALADDIN: Disney’s newest Broadway production based on the famous animated feature.  Since the Orpheum always presents Disney musicals, I am very anxious to see this one.
As always, I'll post my thoughts, opinions, and reactions to these shows when I return from New York.  I look forward to reporting back to you soon.
Pat Halloran
President and CEO