Drury Lane Theatre has announced that it will transfer Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story from the chain’s Oakbrook Terrace outpost to its troubled Water Tower Place venue this fall. The downtown run begins previews 9/10 and opens 9/19. Buddy will be followed into Water Tower Place in November by a Christmastime favorite: the stage version of the classic film musical Meet Me in St. Louis.
Both Buddy and St. Louis have been hits at Oakbrook Terrace, and the obvious hope is that their suburban success will follow them into town. Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place can use the help: recent productions of Altar Boyz and Shout! were box office disappointments there. Neither show had strong name recognition–especially compared to Wicked and Jersey Boys in the Loop, which competed for the same target audiences of tourists and occasional theatergoers—and Shout! got poor reviews to boot. But some industry observers question whether the problem was the shows or their location. Though the Water Tower Place space is lovely, it’s situated in an area known mainly for shopping, not entertainment, and its marquee on Chestnut Street isn’t readily noticeable from Michigan Avenue. Buddy and St. Louis will make interesting tests of the site’s viability as a destination for theater.
The operators of Drury Lane Water Tower Place have also cut a deal with Chicago Cabaret Professionals to host a series of off-night cabaret concerts called Musical Mondays at Drury Lane. This singers’ showcase, intended to keep the theater lit between productions, may raise Drury Lane’s visibility among musical theater lovers. The next installment, All American Songwriters, features such local notables as Tom Michael, Joan Curto, and Daryl Nitz performing selections by the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, and other masters. Mon-Tue, 7/14-7/15, 7:30 PM, 312-642-2000 or Ticketmaster.