Watch out Chicago! A flurry of diva activity is coming your way in the next few months, so bundle up accordingly!
Wow. How’s that for a cheesy opener? Anyway, as I was looking at what’s coming down the pike, I noticed some big-time female theatre talent is making its way to the windy city. Here’s an overview:
The 101 Dalmatians Musical
Feb. 16 – Feb. 28 at the Cadillac Palace
She’s coming for you, and your little dog, too! The lovely and talented Rachel York is starring in this national tour as Cruella de Vil — a role I’m sure she’ll rip into with delight. Ms. York is a complete pro and has paid her dues, so it’s nice to finally see her get title billing in this show. I also wrote a Diva Friday post on her, which you can read here (and she also responded in the comments!). This just in: According to a comment posted below, Rachel will be out of the show after this week! Her website confirms this.
Once The 101 Dalmatians Musical ends its engagement at the Wharton Center in East Lansing, Michigan on Sunday, January 31, Rachel will hang up her furs and climb down from her stilts, ending her triumphant run as the notorious puppy snatcher Cruella De Vil. With a trunk full of unanimous rave reviews in hand, Rachel is heading back to Hollywood where she will pursue promising film and television opportunities.
An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin
March 2 – March 7 at the Cadillac Palace
Anyone who knows me knows of my devotion to this red-hot diva. I’ve spent fortunes seeing her in concerts, shows and clubs, and will even suppress my strong distaste for Mandy Patinkin to see her onstage yet again. This time, let’s hope I don’t get LuPWNED.
Billy Elliot the Musical
Begins March 18 at the Ford Center/Oriental Theatre
I’ve already discussed my love for Ms. Skinner here. I can’t wait to see her star in this hit Elton John musical as Mrs. Wilkinson, Billy’s zesty dance instructor and mentor. And, unlike the rest of the divas mentioned here, this run is open-ended — so she’ll be around for a while (hopefully).
An Evening with Christine Ebersole
March 25 at Harris Theatre
I was fortunate enough to see Ms. Ebersole in her Tony-winning role in Grey Gardens the week before it closed on Broadway, and it was a milestone theatrical moment. She’s magnetic, with a rapid-fire New Jersey swagger that seems entirely at odds with her crystal-pure voice. And if this concert is anything like her albums, it’ll be a class act, all the way. (Also, don’t forget to buy your tickets to see Stephen Sondheim, a diva in his own right, at Harris Theatre on March 4.)
(Am I missing anyone?)