Option Up!, Acclaimed Cabaret/Talk Show, Celebrates One Year Anniversary February 8

download (3)Option Up!, the acclaimed musical theater cabaret and talk-show, celebrates it’s one-year anniversary on Sunday, February 8, 2015 in The Cab at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Avenue, Chicago.  Featuring Aaron Benham and Christopher PazdernikOption Up! runs the second Sunday of each month through May 10 at 7:30 PM.  Tickets are available by calling 773.327.5252 or by visiting www.stage773.com 

Last February, Jeff Award and Broadway World Award nominees Christopher Pazdernik and Aaron Benham teamed up to create a unique event for the Chicago musical theater scene.  Now celebrating its first birthday, a new show is performed one night each month, featuring both performances and interviews with guest musical theater performers.  Option Up! also features musical theater analysis and trivia as well as spontaneous appearances from Benham and Pazdernik’s alter egos, Carol Channing and Patti LuPone. Over the past year, Option Up! has been featured in publications ranging from New City Stage to Glossed & Found, as well as a special mention from renowned theater historian Peter Filichia.

Previous guest artists have included Cooper Grodin and Ben Jacoby from the national tour of The Phantom of the Opera, Jeff Award winners Rob Lindley (Oh Coward!, Writers Theatre) and Michael Lindner(Sweeney Todd, Porchlight), Broadway veteran Katherine Condit (Chess, original cast), multiple Jeff Award winners Mark David Kaplan (Les Miserables & Ragtime, Drury Lane) and Rebecca Finnegan (Sweeney Todd & Closer Than Ever, Porchlight), as well as Chicago theater legend, Barbara Robertson (Wicked), theatrical wunderkind Patrick Andrews and many, many more. All previous guests have been invited to perform a one-time-only finale number at the anniversary edition on February 8.

Previous collaborations between Pazdernik and Benham include four hit cabaret revues at Davenport’s:  It’s an Art: the Songs of Stephen Schwartz; Nobody’s Side: Broadway’s Cult Classics (Vol. I)Un-Type Cast; and Carol and Patti: Together Again for the First Time. They also worked together on Anyone Can Whistle for Porchlight Revists—Porchlight Music Theater’s concert series of lost Broadway musicals—and will return to Porchlight Revisits in March with City of Angels.

Aaron Benham has worked across the Chicago-land area as a music director, composer, arranger and pianist. Music direction credits include Avenue Q and Spamalot (NightBlue Performing Arts), Second City, Anyone Can Whistle (Porchlight), We Three Lizas (About Face), Sweet Smell of Success (Kokandy Productions), Carrie & The Wild Party (Bailiwick Chicago) as well as work with Second City and numerous revues at Theo Ubique.   His original music has been heard at Hey Ladies!, Democracy Burlesque, FunEmployed, and The Fine Print Theater.

Christopher Pazdernik is a director/choreographer with “a near-encyclopedic knowledge of musicals” (NewCity Stage). Christopher’s Chicago credits include Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson & Bombs Away! (Bailiwick); A Streetcar Named Desire & Evita (Jedlicka); Miracle on 34th Street & Anyone Can Whistle (Porchlight); Time After Time: The Songs of Jule Styne (Theo Ubique); The Full Monty (Village Players), a series of musical theater revues at Davenport’s, and a Jeff nomination for co-choreographing Spamalot with Nightblue.

Option Up! runs February 8 – May 10at Stage 773—The Cab, 1225 W. Belmont Avenue, Chicago.  Performances are the second Sunday of each month at 7:30 PM.  Cover charge is $7. Tickets are available by calling 773.327.5252 or by visiting www.stage773.com.