Actor-writer Jim Jacobs — co-author of the hit musical Grease and benefactor of the Jim Jacobs Musical Theatre Scholarship at Columbia College Chicago — and Broadway and film actress Katie Hanley will headline a special event at Chicago’s American Theater Company on Wednesday, June 8, in tandem with ATC’s production of the musical Xanadu. Hanley, who co-starred in the original Broadway cast of Jacobs’ Grease and then appeared in the original 1980 film Xanadu, will join Jacobs for a talk-back and wine and hors d’oeuvres reception following that night’s performance of Xanadu.
Tickets for the June 8 performance and postshow reception and talk-back are $75 apiece or $125 a pair. The show starts at 8 PM, with the post-show event scheduled to begin at 9:45 PM. The American Theater Company is located at 1909 W. Byron, Chicago. For tickets, call 773-409-4125, ext. 102, or click here.
The creative team of Xanadu, which runs at the American Theater Company through July 17, includes lighting designer Michael Stanfill, a faculty member in the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department‘s Theatre Design BA program, and assistant director/assistant choreographer Jon Martinez, an alumnus of the Columbia College Theatre Department’s BA Program in Musical Theatre. The show’s band includes guitarist Cesar Romero, (BM ’13), a graduate of the Columbia College Chicago Music Department‘s Bachelor of Music Program in Contemporary Urban and Popular Music. For more information about Xanadu, click here.
Jim Jacobs, a native Chicagoan, established the Jim Jacobs Musical Theatre Scholarship at Columbia College Chicago in 2012. He has been a supporter of the American Theater Company since 2009, when ATC mounted its hit production of The Original Grease, an acclaimed re-imagining and restoration of the musical to its original version, which hadn’t been performed since its 1971 Chicago premiere. Grease began life in a storefront theatre on Chicago’s Lincoln Avenue, the Kingston Mines, before it transferred to Broadway in 1972, undergoing multiple revisions in the process. Though Jacobs now resides in Southern California, his ties to Chicago remain deep and strong.
Hanley, a native of the northern Chicago suburb of Evanston, went to Evanston Township High School before attending Carnegie-Mellon University and then moving to New York, where she created the role of “Marty” in the 1972 Broadway premiere of Grease. She also appeared in the Off-Broadway and film versions of another hit musical of the ’70s, Godspell, as well as appearing in the movie Xanadu and in such TV series as Charlie’s Angels.
Set in Venice, California, in 1980, Xanadu concerns a struggling artist who seeks to create his own version of the American dream by renovating an abandoned warehouse into a venue for world-class entertainment — a roller disco. This new production of the stage version of Xanadu is presented as a tribute to American Theater Company’s late artistic director, PJ Paparelli, who cited Xanadu as his all-time favorite movie. A 1980s camp classic, Xanadu celebrates the artist’s muse, even when it comes from the most unlikely of places.