Ordway Blog: Stay connected here with what is happening at Ordway and take a look at what is going on behind the scenes.
Wed, Feb 6, 2013 3:42 PM by Luke Anderson
The Ordway will turn into a Mardi Gras party-like atmosphere this Friday, as C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band march into the music theater. Bring your dancing shoes for this upbeat, energetic and fast-paced performance!
With a solo career dating back to 1987 and several albums under his belt, C.J. Chenier is widely regarded as one of the best zydeco singers, musicians and performers in the world. He has been called “the crown prince of zydeco” by The Boston Globe and “the best living zydeco singer and accordionist” by Living Blues Magazine.
C.J. Chenier’s earliest musical influences were an eclectic mix of funk, soul, jazz and Motown, and his first musical instruments were piano, saxophone and flute. He earned a scholarship to attend Texas Southern University, where he studied music and starting playing Top 40 music.
Son of the “King of Zydeco” Clifton Chenier, C.J. joined his father’s famous Red Hot Louisiana Band playing the saxophone when he was 21-years-old. His father was the first Creole musician to win a Grammy Award for his album “I’m Here,” which featured C.J. playing the saxophone.
After making the switch to join his father’s band, C.J. Chenier admits it was a bit of a transition and that he didn’t quite understand zydeco music at first.
“I just didn’t understand it. It all sounded the same to me,” he says. “Until I started playing it. Then I was able to understand what was going on. Every time I heard it my feet were tapping and my head was boppin.’”
When his father passed away in 1987, C.J. Chenier decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and continue his legacy by picking up the accordion and becoming the leader of the band. Since taking over the band, C.J. has become well-known for his own unique musical and performing skills. He has spread word of zydeco music to the world, all the while pushing the genre to new heights.
“My daddy always told me to do the best I can do in my style,” he says. “You master what you do. He told me, ‘Be yourself.’ Clifton Chenier already did his thing. I’m trying to just be C.J. Chenier.”
Although traditional zydeco remains the core of the band’s music, C.J. Chenier has continuously pushed those boundaries, adding in new elements of modern funk with healthy does of blues, R&B, swamp pop and even country. C.J. Chenier’s mastery of the accordion, combined with his rich and satisfying voice, is the driving force behind this powerhouse zydeco band.
The band’s most recent album, “Can’t Sit Down,” was nominated for a 2011 Grammy Award in the Best Regional Roots Music category. Focusing on freshness, energy and capturing the “live” moment, the album was recorded in only one recording session.
C.J. Chenier is a crowd pleaser and an authentic zydeco master.
What is zydeco music?
“You go to a gig by a jazz band, and everybody's sitting down, sipping drinks. You play zydeco and you see shoes flying off. You can’t come to my show and stay unhappy all night long. You’re going to break a smile and stomp your foot before too long. This is happy music, and it makes you dance.” – C.J. Chenier
Zydeco is the music of southwest Louisiana’s Black Creoles, a group of people of mixed African, Afro-Caribbean, Native American and European descent. It is a relatively new genre of music, branching out as a unique style of its own in the mid 1900’s.
Usually including a fast tempo dominated by the button or piano accordion, Zydeco music was originally created at house dances, where families and friends gathered for socializing. In addition, zydeco bands typically include a modified washboard called frottior, the electric guitar, bass and drums. Secondary instruments include the fiddle, keyboards and horns. The music style itself sounds much like the blues, but the upbeat, fast-moving zydeco style is made for dancing.
For more information about zydeco music, visit http://www.cjchenierandtheredhotlouisianaband.com/CJ_Chenier/Home.html
Puchase your tickets for C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band here.
Wed, Dec 26, 2012 3:37 PM by Emily Kudrle
In honor of Buddy the Elf making Ordway his home for the month of December we decorated our lobby with all the things Buddy loves, like candy canes, paper chains and - snowflakes! Buddy is a wiz with paper and scissors and our skills are no match for his; so we invited more than one hundred students from across the Twin Cities to help.
Thank you to all who participated in transforming our lobby into a winter wonderland:
Battle Creek Middle school
Hallie Q. Brown Community Center
Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented Magnet School
Linwood-Monroe Arts Plus
Dayton’s Bluff Achievement Plus Elementary School
J. J. Hill Montessori Magnet School
Washington Technology Magnet School
Wed, Dec 19, 2012 10:36 AM by Emily Kudrle
This week’s Wednesday Webisode is brought to you by our very own Ordway staff! We took a camera behind the scenes of Elf the Musical on Tour this week to bring you the inside scoop from the cast and crew!
Mon, Dec 10, 2012 2:46 PM by Luke Anderson
Critics are raving about Elf The Musical at the Ordway! Below are several local reviews from last weekend’s performances.
Star Tribune, “‘Elf’ is a sweet holiday treat,” By Rohan Preston
Pioneer Press, “‘Elf’ review: Ordway’s musical could become Christmas classic,” By Rob Hubbard
HowWasTheShow.com, “Elf at the Ordway,” By Janet Preus
TCJewfolk.com, “Elf The Broadway Musical - A Christmas Extravaganza,” By Monica Routman
WCCO Online, “Curiocity: ‘Elf’ Strays From Film, But Provides Festive Fun,” By Sara Boyd
Twin Cities Daily Planet, “Elf the Broadway Musical”: The Ordway delivers a holiday gift—wrapped in brown paper,” By Jean Gabler
Elf The Musical is at the Ordway through December 30. For ticket information, click here.
Mon, Dec 10, 2012 11:18 AM by Emily Kudrle
Elf The Broadway Musical is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. This modern day Christmas classic is sure to make everyone embrace their inner Elf. It is the one present everyone wants this holiday season, but hey, don’t take our word for it!
Check out the reviews from our guest bloggers, who saw the show on opening night, to find out what they had to say about the show!
“Elf the Musical” by Rachel Welch
“Review: Elf the Musical” by Stephanie Kwong
“Elf the Musical – Family Fun Fare” by Brenda Anderson
“Elf the Musical at the Ordway” by Michelle Wermerskirchen
“Blogger Night at the Ordway: "Elf the Musical" by Monica Rupert
“Elf the Musical = SparkleJollyTwinklyJingley” by Katherine Emmons
“Who’s Your Buddy” by Daniel Undem
“’The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to sing loud for all to hear’ Buddy the Elf” by Bartley Stratton
“Elf - the Ordway” – Alexandra Haider
“The Ordway Production of Elf Was SparkleJollyTwinkleJingely” by Mark Baillie
"A Buddy for Christmas" by Daniel Zillman
Think you’re a great writer? Do you have a blog? Want to be a guest blogger? Send your blog URL to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Fri, Nov 30, 2012 4:43 PM by Emily Kudrle
Elf the Musical will be here in less than one week! To celebrate Buddy the Elf’s arrival, we are giving away a pair of tickets to one lucky winner to see the show on Wednesday December 5th!
For a chance to win, answer the following question:
Buddy’s favorite holiday meal is spaghetti and syrup; what’s yours?
Please post your answer in the comment box below by Monday December 3rd at 3pm and you will automatically be entered to win a pair of tickets to this jolly, jingly, holiday show, Elf the Musical!
Wed, Nov 28, 2012 11:25 AM by Emily Kudrle
Watch Elf stars Sebastian Arcelus, Amy Spanger, Beth Leavel and Matthew Gumley make the holidays sing at the recording session for the hit Broadway musical ELF!
Wed, Nov 14, 2012 10:54 AM by Emily Kudrle
Every“Buddy” loves Elf the Musical! See what fans have to say about the hilarious tale of an orphan Elf in New York City
Fri, Oct 12, 2012 11:06 AM by Emily Kudrle
Winner of 10 Tony Awards, Billy Elliot The Musical is the joyous celebration of one boy’s journey to make his dreams come true. The show takes on a life of its own and will leave you in awe of the dynamic choreography, the energetic dancing, and the heartfelt story; but, hey, don’t take our word for it!
Check out the reviews from our guest bloggers, who saw Billy Elliot on opening night to find out what they had to say about the show!
"Billy Elliot the Musical - A Show with Heart" by Brenda Anderson
“Chasse, Step, Chasse, and Turn!” by Brett Burger
“Billy Elliot at the Ordway” by Alexandra Haider
“Review: Billy Elliot” by Stephanie Kwong
“Billy Elliot – The Review: Its all about individuality!” by Mark K Thompson
“Billy Elliot and the Struggle Within” by Daniel Undem
“A night at the theatahhhhhh” by Megan Love Warner
“Billy Elliot” by Rachel Welch
Think you’re a great writer? Do you have a blog? Want to be a guest blogger? Send your blog URL to email@example.com! We are always accepting new bloggers so spread the word!
Thu, Oct 11, 2012 2:20 PM by Luke Anderson
Critics are buzzing about Billy Elliot the Musical at the Ordway! Below are several local reviews from Tuesday night’s opening performance.
Star Tribune, “This engaging ‘Billy’ takes gorgeous flight,” By Rohan Preston
Pioneer Press, “Glitz and grit: The musical ‘Billy Elliot’ soars with perfect balance,” By Rob Hubbard
BroadwayWorld.com, “Billy Elliot Pirouettes with Stunning Grace at the Ordway,” By Kristin Frosch
HowWasTheShow.com, “Billy Elliot The Musical at the Ordway,” By John Olive
Lavender Magazine, “Billy Elliot sets the Soul to Dancing,” By Kathleen Watson
Twin Cities Daily Planet, “‘Billy Elliot’ at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts: Entertaining, but challenging,” By Jean Gabler
Billy Elliot the Musical is at the Ordway through this Sunday, October 14 only. For ticket information, click here.
This blog is a group effort by Ordway staff, actors, artists, musicians, dancers and all those involved in the creative process of performances, programs and events at the Ordway to provide a behind the scenes look at what happens onstage, backstage and in support of the work presented at the Ordway. We also hope to discuss pertinent topics in our industry.
The purpose of this blog is to engage with you in the blogosphere. We wish to let you know that our posts do not go through any official editorial process for spelling, grammar or fact checking, therefore errors may occur – please be kind! Every blog post is open for public comment, questions or suggestions and the Ordway chooses not to pre-screen these responses. That being said, we do reserve the right to remove any offensive, illegal, or inappropriate content at the Ordway's sole discretion.
As part of our new branding initiative surrounding the joy provided by performing arts, by posting a comment, question or suggestion you provide the Ordway with the right to use your submission for marketing and promotional purposes. (I know, I know, I promise to not make future posts as boring as this one!)
Phew! I'm done talking "legal jargon." Thanks for stopping by and reading our blog!