‘Next H!T musical’ makes it up as it goes along
By Chris Peterson For Sun-Times Media January 30, 2014 7:56PM
‘Broadway’s Next H!T Musical’
♦ Elgin Community College, 1700 Spartan Dr.
♦ 7 p.m. Feb. 1
♦ Tickets, $32
♦ (847) 622-0300
Updated: February 6, 2014 10:48AM
Under normal circumstances, performers in musical theatre don’t improvise unless they’re forced to.
But for the performers who make up the cast of “Broadway’s Next H!T Musical,” improvisation is the name of the game. That’s because everything about “Broadway’s Next H!T Musical” is made up on the spot, and that includes the words and music to every song.
Audiences in Elgin will have the chance to experience this one-of-a-kind musical for themselves when it comes to the stage at the Blizzard Theatre at the Elgin Community College Arts Center.
Brought to life by a cast of experienced improv performers, “Broadway’s Next H!T Musical” is created entirely from suggestions from the audience.
The show’s first act takes the form of a satirical awards ceremony honoring four fictional “Best Musical” nominees. The songs featured during the awards show are based on audience-created song titles. At the end of the first act, the performers head backstage and choose the “Best Musical” winner from the four songs they improvised. The show’s second act is an entire musical based on the winning song from the first act, improvised entirely off the top of the cast’s heads.
This means that “Broadway’s Next H!T Musical” is a different show every time it’s performed. Past performances have yielded shows like the political thriller “The Corruption of Rodrigo McGrane,” the Cold War family comedy “Red Scare,” and “Deception,” the story of an Italian father who harvests his family’s organs.
The cast of “Broadway’s Next H!T Musical” is made up of veterans of the improv and theatre scenes in New York and Chicago. Deb Rabbai has appeared on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” and is a performer in the national touring company of Chicago City Limits.
Rob Schiffmann serves as co-artistic director and co-producer, and has performed with Chicago City Limits and appeared on “The CBS Early Show.” Robert Z. Grant has performed at Caroline’s on Broadway, the American Globe Theatre and The NY IMPROV, as well as with improv groups ComedySportzNY and Codependent Theater Co. Kobi Libii studied improv at Second City Chicago and has performed with Chicago City Limits and Symposium. Stefan Schick also has been a member of Chicago City Limits’ national touring company and its resident company.
Rebecca Vigil has been a main company performer with Improv Olympic West and The Space as well as the founder of improvised rock group The Vigilante. The cast is joined by host Greg Triggs and pianists Eric March, Andrew Resnick and Gary Adler.