The Playgoer: Chicago off-Loops get a break

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Friday, November 18, 2005

Chicago off-Loops get a break

One reason the Chicago small-theatre scene is so vibrant is the political work done, like this, to lobby city government and get structural/legal support. In this case, something as nitty-gritty as zoning codes and fire regulations. Of course, the city of Chicago sees theatre as a great cultural attraction. New York sees Broadway as a great commercial attraction, otherwise...

3 comments:

thewebloge said...

Missing my daily dose of Playgoer...

Anonymous said...

Seems as though Playgoer has retired. :-(

John Branch said...

I appreciated Playgoer's concise suggestion of a difference between Chicago's attitude toward theater and New York's. I get the impression, from occasional visits to an actor friend in Chicago, that theater there is integrated into the life and thinking of the city in a down-to-earth way; though commercial productions are done there, they don't distort the perception of everything else. Whereas in New York, all the attention paid to Broadway feeds (and is fed by) a kind of bigger-is-better mentality. There's also (though I hesitate to say it, lest anyone I've worked with take it as a criticism) a tendency to think that New York is the capital of American theater and that if you've done a show here you've necessarily accomplished something--a gilt-by-association principle. To be blunt, I've seen more bad theater here in New York than I saw in Dallas, Texas. No doubt Chicago has its share of poorly-done shows, but I sense a little more of a workmanlike devotion to craft there and a little more modesty about what they're doing.

I'm not sure I've managed to say quite what I mean, but this is the best I can do in a short time. Writing, like theater, is hard...