Blog: Thoughts & Insights
February 14, 2015
Well, well, well….would you look who’s blogging again! A week or so ago, I did a video interview with Jim Jarvis (VP of Marketing and Sales at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora). Toward the end of our time together, he brought up my blog, saying something about how I post cool stuff and “recently” had posted something about a famous person’s birthday… It turns out that “recently” was October of 2013. Yes, seventeen months ago was my most “recent” blog. How embarrassing.
It dawned on me that due to the pervasive nature of the Paramount’s Facebook presence, there may be thousands–if millions–of people visiting this infamous blog Jim spoke of. 😎 And thus, it inspired me to start writing again. This time around, my posts may not always be hugely impressive or lengthy. Perhaps a short historical theatre tidbit or a recent revelation I’ve had. Today: an update. I figure those who were devout “Tom Vendafreddo Blog Fans” must not have a CLUE what I’ve been up to in the last 17 months.
Since October of 2013, I…
- -Moved to Olathe, KS for several months and played Jinx in Forever Plaid. I also played accordion, melodica, and piano. Oh, and donned a fake mustache for the Ed Sullivan sequence.
- -Took an amazing trip to Melbourne, Australia, where I taught master classes and coachings at Ian White Management and Patrick Studios Australia, performed in a Cabaret with famed Australian Grisabella/Elphaba Erin Cornell, and fell in love with a new city halfway across the world. No, I did not see any kangaroos or gigantic spiders.
- -Music Directed and accompanied Northwestern University’s Senior Musical Theatre showcase which was performed at the off-Broadway Second Stage Theatre.
- -Joined the cast of Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s Road Show for the final two weeks of their run as onstage pianist. A few days before the show closed, Mr. Stephen Sondheim was in the audience and thoroughly enjoyed the show. (I have a fancy personalized typed letter to prove it!)
- -Went to my own version of summer camp, meaning I was in Godspell at the Marriott Theatre over the summer, working with a supremely talented cast of wonderful artists.
- -Conducted my first Bernstein show, On the Town, at the Marriott Theatre.
- -Became the Founding Artistic Director of the Chicago Artists Chorale – a brand new choral ensemble for any professional Chicago theatre artists who do not have a choral home. On December 16, 2014, a 50-voiced choir comprised of actors, designers, directors, sign language interpreters, puppeteers, drag queens, etc. performed a concert at the Chicago Temple in the Loop for an audience of 250 people! (We are about ready to start up our Spring session, and I could not be more excited.)
- -Music Directed and Conducted Mary Poppins – the most successful selling show in the Paramount Theatre’s rich Aurora-based history.
- -Music Directed and Conducted The Who’s Tommy at the Paramount Theatre.
- -Continued to brainwash my (now almost 4-year old) niece Chloe. And by “brainwash” I mean encourage her love for music and theatre. I swear, without prompting, she will willingly break into ANY song from the Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz, or the latest Iggy Azalea album. No, I’m not kidding.
So there you have it: I’ve barely been busy in the last seventeen months; you haven’t missed much. In truth, the past year and a half has been absolutely amazing. Just when I thought my siblings would stop getting on my case for having over 2,500 Facebook friends (“How could you possibly know that many people??”), I am blessed to make new connections every single day. The Chicago Artists Chorale not only allowed me to meet new artists, but also cultivate relationships with artists that were formerly just acquaintances.
I will be back soon – hopefully not seventeen months from now – and look forward to it.
Thanks for reading,