Musical producer returns to Broadway with new show

Musical producer David Garfinkle

DAVID GARFINKLE’S FIRST BROADWAY outing provided thrills, chills, and some unfortunate spills. But the Highland Park entertainment lawyer who was the original lead producer on Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark has shaken off the cobwebs of bad press to return to Broadway with Ghost: The Musical.

Based on the 1990 film starring Demi Moore, the late Patrick Swayze, and Whoopi Goldberg, the show goes into previews in New York on March 15. Garfinkle, who, along with the late producer Tony Adams, put together the initial financing for Spidey, found himself sidelined as problems with the $75-million musical mounted.

(Currently, original director Julie Taymor and the other producers are entangled in lawsuit/countersuit action, though the show continues to sell well.)

But some of the same Chicago investors who came on board for Spider-Man — Richard Chaifetz of ComPsych Corp, Jeffrey Hecktman of Hilco Trading, and Patricia Lambrecht (widow of Thomas Lambrecht, founder of Joliet’s Empress Casino) – are backing Garfinkle with Ghost.

The musical features book and lyrics by original screenplay author Bruce Joel Rubin and music and lyrics by Dave Stewart of Eurythmics fame and high-profile composer/songwriter Glen Ballard. And perhaps best of all – no high-flying, high-risk stunts.


Pegasus Players, which lost their longtime home at Truman College last year, has relocated to Uptown’s Beacon Street Theatre, the former home for Black Ensemble Theatre.

In a sad twist of irony, the Jane Addams Hull House Association that originally ran Beacon Street has itself closed its doors. But the theater will continue to house not only Pegasus, but other itinerant companies.  In March, UrbanTheater Company presents the local premiere of Suzan-Lori Parks’ F***ing A at Beacon Street.

Jeffrey Fauver, Steppenwolf communications directorPERSONNEL CHANGES: Jeffrey Fauver joins Steppenwolf as communications director. Fauver, who most recently worked in public relations at the Goodman, takes over from David Rosenberg, who is re-launching his freelance public relations business.

In addition to bigtime regional credits, Fauver is also the former managing director for storefront outfit the Ruckus.

EDDIE SUGARMAN joins Berwyn’s 16th Street Theater as managing director, where he’ll be working with founder and artistic director Ann Filmer.  Sugarman served in the same capacity with Cicero’s Jedlicka Performing Arts Center and most recently worked in marketing for Chicago Shakespeare. He, also, along with composer Andrew Gerle, created the award-winning musical Meet John Doe.

EVANSTON’S ACTORS GYMNASIUM, where Lookingglass Theatre learned its high-flying ways, has hired Jerry R. Foust as executive director. Foust comes to the North Shore after a long stint with the Bay Area’s Berkeley Playhouse.

Reggie WilsonTHE DANCE CENTER OF COLUMBIA COLLEGE receives a highly prestigious Joyce Award for 2012 – one of only four handed out this year. The $50,000 grant will go toward a new commission for choreographer Reggie Wilson. The Dance Center is now the only dance organization to receive two Joyce Awards in its history.

THE LATE PAUL SILLS, founder and leading light of the Second City and Paul Sills’ Story Theatre, was inducted posthumously into the Theater Hall of Fame in New York on January 30. Sills’ widow, Carol, accepted the honor in memory of her husband, who died in 2008.

SOME RECENT PASSINGS: Mike Enriquez, a longtime veteran of Chicago’s sketch and improv community, died last month at age 42 after a battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Enriquez received an on-camera tribute from his former student, “SNL” cast member Vanessa Bayer, on the January 14 broadcast. Bayer wore a t-shirt during the good-bye portion featuring a photo of herself and Enriquez. Friends are maintaining a donation site to help Enriquez’s family meet final expenses. Click here to donate

Sherman Shoemaker passed away on Christmas Eve after a long struggle with Huntington’s Disease. Shoemaker was associated with many companies during his career, including Chicspeare Production Company and Lifeline Theatre. Memorials in his name may be made at the Huntington’s Disease Society of America.

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