Monday 5 Dec 2016

Interview with Stomp's JOHN ANGELES

Performer/Actor JOHN ANGELES discusses his decade long involvement with STOMP and talks about what makes the show a international success. STOMP is currently playing the Broadway Playhouse through January 1, 2017. For more information visit





Showbiz Nation LIVE! Interview with STOMP’s JOHN ANGELES from SHOWBIZ NATION LIVE! on Vimeo.

Mr. Angeles is from Fort Worth, TX, where he began his music training studying percussion. He went on to study percussion and music performance at TCU where he got his bachelor’s degree in music education. He was a proud member of the 2001 DCI world champions, the Cavaliers, where he marched snare drum. Throughout college and thereafter, John has performed with various percussion groups and bands, and has toured the world doing performances and clinics. John would like to thank his parents, family, and his friends for helping make his dreams come true, and dedicates his performances to them all.

Production Information

Broadway In Chicago is pleased to announce that STOMP, the international percussion sensation, returns to Chicago to play the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place (175 E Chestnut) November 16, 2016 through January 1, 2017. From its beginnings as a street performance in the UK, STOMP has grown into an international sensation over the past 20 years, having performed in more than 50 countries and in front of more than 24 million people.

STOMP, an overwhelming success marked by rave reviews, numerous awards, and sell-out engagements, is the winner of an Olivier Award for Best Choreography (London’s Tony Award), a New York Obie Award, a Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatre Experience and a Special Citation from Best Plays.Created by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, STOMP continues its phenomenal run with four global productions: the ongoing sell-out production at New York’s Orpheum Theatre, a permanent London company, and North American and European tours. Throughout its life, the show has continued to change by creating new material; this year, it will incorporate two new pieces. It is safe to say you will never again look at supermarket carts or plumbing fixtures the same way… or paint cans, or kitchen sinks or…

In addition to the stage shows, STOMP has been an overwhelming success marked by rave reviews, numerous awards, an Academy Award nomination, four Emmy nominations and one Emmy Award for their acclaimed HBO special Stomp Out Loud, noteworthy TV appearances including The London 2012 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony, The Academy Awards (produced by Quincy Jones), Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and a series of award-winning international commercials.


The performers “make a rhythm out of anything we can get our hands on that makes a sound,” says co-founder/director Luke Cresswell. A unique combination of percussion, movement and visual comedy, STOMP has created its own inimitable, contemporary form of rhythmic expression: both household and industrial objects find new life as musical instruments in the hands of an idiosyncratic band of body percussionists. It is a journey through sound, a celebration of the everyday and a comic interplay of characters wordlessly communicating through dance and drum.

Synchronized stiff-bristle brooms become a sweeping orchestra, eight Zippo lighters flip open and closed to create a fiery fugue; wooden poles thump and clack in a rhythmic explosion. STOMP uses everything but conventional percussion instruments – dustbins, tea chests, radiator hoses, boots, hub caps – to fill the stage with a compelling and unique act that is often imitated but never duplicated.


Tickets for STOMP are now on sale. For more information, visit or


Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and over the past 16 years has grown to be one of the largest commercial touring homes in the country. A Nederlander Presentation, Broadway In Chicago lights up the Chicago Theater District entertaining well up to 1.7 million people annually in five theatres. Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago’s Loop including its newly named The PrivateBank Theatre, the Oriental Theatre, Cadillac Palace Theatre, the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University and just off the Magnificent Mile, the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place.

For more information, visit

Facebook @BroadwayInChicago ? Twitter @broadwaychicago ? Instagram @broadwayinchicago ? #broadwayinchicago


Friday 25 Nov 2016


Art AIDS America co-curator JONATHAN DAVID KATZ discusses ART AIDS AMERICA CHICAGO which is opening December 1, 2016 at the newly renovated Alphawood Gallery. Visit for more information.

Mr. Katz works at the intersection of art history and queer history, one of the busiest intersections in American culture, and yet one of the least studied. A specialist in the arts of the Cold War era, he is centrally concerned with the question of why the American avant-garde came to be dominated and defined by queer artists during what was perhaps the single most homophobic decade in this nation’s history.

Showbiz Nation LIVE! Interview with "ART AIDS AMERICA" co-curator JONATHAN DAVID KATZ from SHOWBIZ NATION LIVE! on Vimeo.

More than a groundbreaking visual art exhibition, Art AIDS America Chicago will serve as the catalyst for a citywide dialogue on the cultural impact of HIV/AIDS through robust public programming at the newly constructed Alphawood Gallery (2401 N. Halsted Street) and via a constellation of related events presented in association with local arts and advocacy community allies.  Art AIDS America Chicago opens at the Alphawood Gallery on World AIDS Day, Thursday, December 1, 2016, and continues through Sunday, April 2, 2017

Admission to the exhibition and all programming held at the Gallery-- artist & expert talks, panel discussions, performances, gallery tours, and HIV testing -- are free and open to the public.

Sunday 6 Nov 2016

Interview with WILLIAM V. MADISON

William V. Madison discusses his critically acclaimed biography Madeline Kahn: Being the Music, A Life, which dissects the incredible life and career of the famed singer/actress/comedian. Showbiz Nation LIVE! Interview with WILLIAM V. MADISON from SHOWBIZ NATION LIVE! on Vimeo. Madeline Kahn: Being the Music, A Life (University Press of Mississippi, May 2015) examines Kahn’s film career, including not only her triumphs with Mel Brooks and Peter Bogdanovich, but also her overlooked performances in The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother and Judy Berlin, her final film. Her work in television—notably her sitcoms—also comes into focus. New York theater showered her with accolades, but also with remarkably bad luck, culminating in a disastrous outing in On the Twentieth Century that wrecked her reputation there. Only with her Tony-winning performance in The Sisters Rosensweig, fifteen years later, did Kahn regain her standing. 39cfdc28-282b-43f8-aa1f-d2fa579bdbe3_1-4ff333fc4e3de947858dccc9fa5766ab

Drawing on new interviews with family, friends, and such colleagues as Bill Cosby, Lily Tomlin, Carol Burnett, Gene Wilder, Harold Prince, and Eileen Brennan, as well as archival press and private writings, Madison uncovers Kahn’s lonely childhood and her struggles as a single woman working to provide for her erratic mother. Above all, Madison reveals the paramount importance of music in Kahn’s life. A talented singer, Kahn entertained offers for operatic engagements long after she was an established Hollywood star, and she treated each script as a score. As Kahn told one friend, her ambition was “to be the music.”

Mr. Madison is a former producer at CBS News and a former associate editor of Opera News; he was the lone production assistant on the Broadway musical Rags in 1986. A graduate of Brown University and of Columbia’s School of Creative Writing, he is a native Texan. LINKS: "Madeline Kahn: Being the Music, A Life" is available on Official FACEBOOK Page. William V. Madison's Blogspot Page  

Monday 3 Oct 2016






By: Stacey Crawley


Photo Credit: Peter Bomberger


Pepper, an influence of reggae, rock and Hawaiian vibes, has been hitting it hard and flourishing for the past 20 years. It’s one of those groups you can’t wait to listen to when you’re in the mood for a laid-back party, the perfect backdrop to a summer night. I caught up with Pepper’s Bret Bollinger at Riot Fest in Chicago.  For additional tour dates and more information visit


(Stacey Crawley) You’ve got elements of Reggae and Ska, mixed with some Hip-Hop. What genre of music do you consider your work to be, and who are your major influences?


(Bret Bollinger) As soon as you say ‘genre’ bands go, ‘Well, we’re kind of like a funk, heavy metal, country band,’ but we’re so not good at that (laughs).


The reason I think people point that out on our resume, especially these days, is because the genres are so blended anyway. We were kind of into that early on in our inspirations, meaning like, when the new Rage Against the Machine came out, we went, ‘Oh my god, we’re doing this,’ and it’s not necessarily that song, but what we were inspired by. We’ve got songs like ‘Punk Rock Cowboy’, which is literally just a weird song. They’re all authentic, really. Remember that era when people were trying to blend things on purpose? We were, in the beginning, literally, just not very good musicians. I mean, we’ve been doing this for, let’s see, we started the band – next year will be 20 years. I was 17 years old when we started; our first show was our graduation party. So, weird it was that long ago. And, after all this time, I still have no idea because the genres are definitely blended.




(SC) What’s your process? Is it lyrics first or a little strum of something and you find the words, or is it both?


(BB) That’s the beautiful part, it’s definitely both and everything in between. I know a lot of bands that have their writers or write together. Sometimes you wake up in the morning – I wrote a song in the shower the other day. And it’s a song about this up-and-coming festival in Hawaii, which we didn’t get to play – “The MayJah RayJah”. It’s almost Jamaican vibe. That’s Hawaii, they love island music. In fact, there’s a genre called ‘Jawaiin,’ meaning ‘Hawaiian reggae,’ and it’s super warm, and kind of bubbly and fun. It’s not dark or anything.


So I wrote this ‘Jawaiin’ song – I kind of want it to be the intro song for the Mayjah Rayjah! Like a TV show almost. And I wrote it in the shower. I had Dr. Bronner’s soap in my eyes and I started singing, ”Come on everybody to the MayJah RayJah.” It’s supposed to be that kind of funny, stuck in the 80’s for a lack of a better term – almost dorky, hokey reggae at its best. Really fun, warm, bring the family. I really enjoyed it, and I haven’t put any music to it yet, but I put the recorder on and you can hear me kind of screaming in the background, ‘My eyes! My eyes! Peppermint!’ (laughs). So, literally, I don’t know – it comes every which way. Sometimes you’re jamming and you go, ‘that’s it.’ It’s all the way in-between, so long as it comes out, whatever your formula.






(SC) I saw you in 2006 at Lolapolloza at Grant Park.  What has been the biggest transformation for Pepper in the last decade?


(BB) The last ten years, there are a couple of things. Musically, we hit the brakes on trying to crack every market and make it down to South American once a year, and make it up to Europe once a year, and make it Australia. Physically, that’s so taxing. At one point, we were known for being such grinders, we clocked in 252 shows in one year. Not travel, not tour days, not with days off. We’re talking actual show dates. So we were known for cracking those numbers and just going after it.


Almost 20 years, no real major commercial MTV success, so those times were gone before our time, so we just got out there and toured with bands we really liked. So, that we’ve kind of slowed, that role, and have enjoyed a lot of time off. Which has been very refreshing – just kind of doing different things. Our guitar player is really into yoga. He opened a yoga studio with his wife he loves. Our drummer’s really – he took our record label that we own, and he’s just, he signed like 3 acts this year, and he’s really excited about the music. I started an apparel line. We just go into Lulu’s the boutique. And we’ve only been around for 6 months, it super huge. I’ve got a new single coming out, so I’m doing extra music. So we’re doing all kinds of fun stuff.


(SC) Thank you for taking the time to hang out and chat, have a great show!


(BB) Anytime, we’ll see you up at the show –thanks!


Monday 3 Oct 2016



By: Stacey L. Crawley

Photo Credit: Peter Bomberger

Julian Marley performed his late father, Bob Marley, and The Wailers’ album, “Exodus,” this year at Riot Fest in Chicago. I had a chance to chat with him after the show about what it means to perform such an important, relevant piece of music history. For tour dates and more information visit


(S) Great show. Everybody was really loving the vibe, singing along to the songs.

(J) Thank you very much.

(S) You look so relaxed and at home onstage. Do you do anything outside of music to relax and help your creative process?

(J) Well, I mean mainly some good music, calming music, and smoke some herb. And music is like, the biggest thing that soothes you, you know. And you have different kinds of music – music for energy and music to make you relax, like classical music. When I listen to classical, I turn it down real low, just to barely hear it, and I doze off. That’s the great effect music has on people, really.

(S) Exodus came out almost 40 years ago. So much is going on in the world today, police brutality, and racial inequality. What’s it like playing something so relevant today?

(J) It is relevant, yeah, and it’s 40 years ago. It kind of put me in a trance really. I was in a trance – just singing all of those songs back to back like that. And it’s so relevant, because you know, our father’s words, you realize it’s like prophecy. It feels so good, you know, to sing these songs, and to know that the message is getting across to so many different people.

S) Do you feel the young artists of reggae today – are they making music for the ages or is it more quantity over quality?

(J) Well you know, what you’ve got is a lot of youth playing roots reggae and they’re kind of changing the game from so-Cal commercial or pop. Because ‘pop’ means popular music, I mean, if it’s a hit and your sound is out of the box, then it becomes that popular music. But there a portion of youth that’s playing the roots reggae, and they’re sounding like a blend of Third World, and then you’ve got some that, kind of have that Steel Pulse vibe. So Reggae music is really still coming up strong you know.


(S) You started in London then moved to Kingston. How do you feel your music is evolved?

(J) I feel – I feel that we don’t need to think – we just feel. And you know, now it’s like I’m a bit of a mad scientist of music. The creation is there – it’s always there you know.

(S) Are you working on anything now?

(J) Yeah we got the new album – live music and hopefully for this coming spring we’ll have something for the fan.

(S) I look forward to it! Thank you – best of luck with the new album.

(J) Thank you .


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