Leo On Ice!
In 2012 I was asked to create and direct a second consecutive Leo Burnett Breakfast, the annual “company meeting” for an audience of thousands. I accepted the challenge under one condition: this year, the Breakfast wouldn’t be a mix of videos, skits, and speeches; it would be entirely sung. As in a completely original rock opera. That I would write and produce. At the Chicago Theater. It would fool people into thinking they were watching an ice skating spectacular, then reveal itself to be a story about Leo Burnett, the man, being unfrozen from a cryogenic chamber. The resulting show was one of my most satisfying creative endeavors ever, and my only regret was that it was for a private event.
Credits for the show are such a massive list I think it would break the internet to include them all, but I do want to acknowledge here: John Scholvin (who played guitar but much more than that helped me score the music arrangements for the whole thing), Stephen Alltop (vocal arrangements), Linda Madonia (music director), Brenda Didier (director, choreographer), Jim Baudry (assistant director, choreographer), Rob Tripas (producer), Jason Passaniti (producer), Chris Clark (producer), Cliff Schwandner (executive producer), Mark Bazer (additional lyrics), Susan Credle (additional lyrics), and Todd King (design). It starred Skyler Adams and Chris Baum, as well as these immensely talented people: Tom Bernardin, Mark Tutssel, Rich Stoddart, Susan Credle, Jordan Yentz, Lisa Estridge, Scott Sowinski, Christopher Carter, Joe Tokarz, Molly Callinan, Jessica Joy, Tammy Mader, Scott Alan Jones, Michael Ehlers, Sylvia Ebeid, Dave Kuta, Jordan Simonson, Chris Gallevo, Chris Wurst, Chrissy Bruzek, Cliff Schwandner, Dani Jackson, Dominque Robinson, Jessica Harrison, Laura Zimmer, Leah Johnston, Molly Babczak, Mary Cheney, and Dan Thorne, Brent Fagerburg, Steve Tabor, Bobby Gruenberg, Mark Phan, and Lauren Loehr. The band also featured Mark Hogan (bass), Ethan Deppe (drums), Kirk Garrison & Fred Cantu (trumpets), John Mose (trombone), Debbie Mose and Katherine Hughes (violin), and Jill Kaeding (cello). The music was recorded by Shane Hendrickson at I.V. Lab Studios in Chicago (sorry, contrary to the video, the music is not available for public consumption), and the video was edited at Whitehouse Post in Chicago.
- December 7, 2012