A Question of Diversity

Though most stages are dark and classrooms empty as performing arts organizations head into the fall, artists and administrators are busier than ever. In this era when audiences can’t gather, and collaborative art is a struggle to create safely, Chicago artists are using their time to do difficult and important work around equity, diversity and inclusion, using this summer’s protests as a springboard for meaningful change.

Read more

Northlight Theatre Selected to Participate in National Livestream

Northlight Theatre, under the direction of artistic director BJ Jones and executive director Timothy J. Evans, has announced that it is one of a select group of nonprofit arts organizations participating in a free livestream theatrical event, an adaptation of Sinclair Lewis’ novel “It Can’t Happen Here.” The radio play, produced by Berkeley Rep and featuring David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck), will broadcast live on October 13, 2020 at 7 p.m. via YouTube.

Read more

Lookingglass Theatre Announces “Eastland: An Original Musical Watch Party”

Lookingglass Theatre Company has announced a one-night watch party of Eastland: An Original Musical Watch Party, Thursday, August 20 at 7pm (Central), a free online public fundraiser of the acclaimed production in support of Lookingglass Theatre Company. As the next offering in the Chicago Stories Initiative, Lookingglass invites audiences to revisit a relatively unknown piece of history that unfolded in the heart of the City. After the show, online guests may join creative team members Andrew White and Andre Pluess for a post-show conversation.

Read more

Victory Gardens Theatre Announces Lineup for Now Virtual 2020 Ignition Festival

Victory Gardens Theater has announced the lineup for the 2020 IGNITION Festival of New Plays, including Black Like Me by Monty Cole, North Star by Georgette Kelly, Last Hermanos by Exal Iraheta, and Pivot by Alex Lubischer. The annual festival of new plays, now online for Summer 2020, will run from mid-June to mid-July with free readings of four new plays from Chicago playwrights on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. Each reading will be followed by a “Coffee with the Creators” chat at noon the following day.

Read more

Porchlight Music Theatre Celebrates Sondheim’s 90th Birthday with Weekly Series

Chicago’s Porchlight Music Theatre present Sondheim @90 Roundtable, created and hosted by Porchlight’s artistic director, Michael Weber and special guests celebrating theater icon Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday this year. The series runs every Saturday at 7 p.m. (CST) via Porchlight’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/PorchlightMusicTheatre/). Upcoming guests of the series include, Klea Blackhurst, David H. Bell, E. Faye Butler, Jim Corti, David Girolmo, Gary Griffin, James Earl Jones II, Sean Allan Krill, Hollis Resnik, Marc Robin and Tony Award-winner Jessie Mueller and David Cromer.

Read more

Neo-Futurist Production Sets Model for Post Pandemic Theater Creation

Chicago prepares for its next phase of recovery without a firm date for resuming indoor performing arts events, The Neo-Futurist Theater has pioneered a new model of operation. Rather than sharing content from past productions, the company has moved its flagship show The Infinite Wrench to a digital platform, now called The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral, presenting 30 digital plays in 60 minutes each week. The Neo-Futurist ensemble of writer-performers continue to work from home and produce new plays weekly, which are then filmed and shared with patrons who subscribe via the Patreon platform.  

Since its launch in late March, the new digital theater-making model has proven successful, with The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral currently bringing in 50% of the production’s pre-COVID-19 revenue. The production has more than 650 weekly subscribers from Chicago and across the country, significantly more patrons than The Neo-Futurists’ 147-seat theater can normally accommodate over a performance weekend. As a result of the success of this digital theater platform, The Neo-Futurists’ ensemble members, contracted artists and staff continue to receive payment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are overjoyed by the response thus far, and thrilled to be sharing our uniquely personal, non-illusory theater with a broader audience,” said Artistic Director Kirsten Riiber. “For 31 years, The Neo-Futurists have provided a space for audiences to come together and see their experience reflected to them with honesty; and this is one of those times where staying present with our audiences, who we’ve never been able to do our work without, is vital. We chose the low price point to make our work as inclusive as possible. Accessibility is central to our mission and we know many people are struggling financially right now.”

The Neo-Futurists are the creators of Chicago’s longest-running late night show and normally perform live 50 weeks per year. For The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral, the Neo-Futurist ensemble continues to produce personal, of-the-moment content that speaks to the performers’ lives in isolation and other current events. Recent digital plays span from the humorous to the insightful, and have included topics such as murder hornets, singing from balconies, penguins exploring new environments, socially distanced Olympic training, and early retirement.

Read more

Mercury Theatre Mounts Online Video Series, “Backstage Stories”

L. Walter Stearns, executive director of Mercury Theater Chicago, recently announced an ongoing lineup of three video series featuring past and present Mercury talent, to include actors, musicians and members of several creative teams. The three series of videos will be entitled “Backstage Stories,” “On the Air with Mercury Theater Chicago,” and “On the Road to Priscilla,” and will be posted on an ongoing basis on the theater’s social media pages. The theater will also be coordinating a city-wide initiative video entitled “Stay Home Chicago” in response to the stay-at-home orders following the COVID-19 crisis, featuring performers from previous Mercury Theater Chicago productions.

Read more

Chicago Children’s Theatre Launches At-Home Initiative with Hope-Affirming Window Installation

Artists have transformed Chicago Children’s Theatre, 100 S. Racine Ave. in the West Loop, into a bright new beacon of hope.
Stroll by the former Chicago police station at Monroe and Racine any evening and you’ll see a gorgeous new window installation that changes the colors of the rainbow around the life-affirming message “Everything will be okay.”

Read more