Chicagoans making news in entertainment world — on both coasts

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Richard Robin’s “A Sign of the Times,” inspired by Petula Clark’s music, opens Friday in Connecticut.

Well-known Chicago real estate developer Richard Robin — who has worked hard on this project for the past several years — is thrilled his new musical “A Sign of the Times” is having its premiere at Goodspeed’s historic Terris Theatre in Chester, Connecticut. Performances will run from this Friday through Sept. 4.

Goodspeed has previously launched many new musicals that went on to huge Broadway success, including “Annie,” “Man of La Mancha” and “All Shook Up” — something Robin hopes will be in the cards for “A Sign of the Times.”

This new musical is set in the 1960s and is based on a story Robin created, featuring classic songs made famous by Petula Clark — plus other tunes from that era. Writer and entertainer Bruce Villanch, himself a former Chicagoan, was brought on board to pen the book for the show.

The cast of “A Sign of the Times” includes such Broadway stars as Ephie Aardema (“The Bridges of Madison County”), Robert Lenzi (“Tuck Everlasting”), Bryan Fenkart (“Memphis”), Nick Bailey (“Casa Valentina”) and Crystal Lucas-Perry (“Little Children Dream of God”).

Chicago socialite and talented cabaret singer Shelley MacArthur — joined by the Brad Williams Trio — will be performing an evening of song on Aug. 24, titled “Mainely Magical” at the new Vinegar Hill Music Theatre in the Kennebunkport area of Maine, known as the summer home of the Bush presidential family. Located on Old Post Road in Arundel, Maine, the lineup at Vinegar Hill this summer includes such noted musical talents as Linda Eder, Liz Callaway, Maureen McGovern and Maria Muldaur. 

While MacArthur still calls Chicago home, she and husband William Farley, have a summer home in Maine. In addition, her singing career has taken her to a number of well-known venues, including New York’s Town Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Guild Hall in East Hampton — along with her performances locally at the Auditorium Theatre, Symphony Center and the Empire Room at the Palmer House Hilton. Recently, MacArthur’s PBS special, “Shelley MacArthur & George Perris Live in Chicago” ran on public broadcasting stations around the county.

†Congrats to Columbia College Chicago alum Sam Milman who has co-written and co-directed a film that will be released Sept. 26 in Britain and on digital platforms in the U.S. the following day. “Laid in America” is described as a raunchy buddy comedy, featuring YouTube stars KSI and Caspar Lee. DVD and Blue-ray versions will be released Oct. 4 and distributed in the U.S. by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

In the film, Daily Variety notes that Lee and KSI play two British high school exchange students who are desperate to lose their virginity with the girls of their dreams on their last night in America. The target audience for “Laid in America” is expected to be fans who flocked to see “American Pie” and “Superbad.”

Milman and his partner Peter Vass are the comedy duo behind the YouTube channel Bad Weather Films.

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