The cast of Marriott Theatre's "Dreamgirls."
At a recent blogger meet-up, I learned two things. One: If I hope to start making any real money blogging, I need to start a fashion blog. Pronto. Two: I guess I should probably gain a sense of fashion at some point.
I also learned that people whom I'd consider uniquely tuned into the city -- local cultural bloggers -- have shockingly limited sense of the breadth and depth of theatre this city offers.
Nearly everyone I met at the event equated Chicago theatre with Broadway in Chicago
. Meaning, the half dozen theatres in the loop that host national tours (including the hotly anticipated The Book of Mormon
Don't get me wrong: I love the work Broadway in Chicago does bringing in top-tier talent and cultivating pre-Broadway tryouts. (After all, Chicago is the city where The Producers, Sweet Smell of Success, the Billy Joel/Twyla Tharp dancical Movin' Out and The Addams Family got started, to name a few). BIC also brings a lot of money into the city through tourists, restaurant partnerships, what have you.
But that's just a small fraction our city's theatre scene. Chicago theatre consists of 300-plus companies around the city, from 50-seat storefronts to major players like Steppenwolf, Goodman, Lookingglass and Court Theatre.
"But what about musicals?" the fashion bloggers asked me. "Chicago seems to only do heavy, dramatic plays, and plays are boring. I might as well watch a movie." OK, as a self-professed musical theatre queen, not true on all accounts. But without getting into some artistic debate about the merits of live theatre, musicals are happening all over the city, and are being produced by local companies. To name a few:
I urge you: get out of your comfort zone and support local theatre. It's affordable, exciting and very Chicago Like a Local.