Lately, the question “What is Broadway In Chicago committed to?” seems to be coming up more and more often, so I thought you might all like to know what we are really committed to and who works for Broadway In Chicago. I am so proud of what we do. I have had the joy of being one of the founding executives of Broadway In Chicago with Lou Raizin (President) and Suzanne Bizer (Vice President) as well as many of our team who are still with us almost 10 years later. And like me, most of our team are Chicagoans that have been involved in Chicago Theatre and many continue to work in the theatre community in addition to their jobs at Broadway In Chicago, volunteering their time, on boards, on stage and in many other capacities.
Obvious from our name, we have two major areas of focus: Broadway and Chicago. While Broadway might come first in the name, the most important part to us is Chicago and our Chicago audiences, satisfying their interest in seeing the best and the newest to and from Broadway. We want our audiences to be able to see Broadway shows in Chicago first before they go to New York, and we want shows to come direct from Broadway, rather than touring the country before eventually making their way to our city. We want shows to run as long as the audiences of Chicago demand, extending the Chicago runs of shows when we can as long as appropriate and creating Chicago as a destination market for theater.
We are a proud members of the Chicago Theatre Community, always promoting the theater community to every producer who will listen. We encourage them to see Chicago theater, not just Broadway In Chicago shows, and to understand that nowhere in the world are there better stories told on stage than right here. Plus, we are happiest when local Chicago talent is cast in shows like “Wicked,” “The Lion King” and “Jersey Boys,” not to mention all the Chicago musicians, stage hands, wardrobe, make-up, etc., who benefit from Chicago long-runs.
We consult many theater companies on what it takes to move a show from Chicago to New York or from a small store front to a commercial production in a larger house in Chicago but always in a way that will work for them and will fulfill on their own goals. We have worked in partnership or simply as a cheerleader for many theatre companies including the Court Theatre, Chicago Shakes, Steppenwolf, The House Theatre of Chicago, Silk Road, Timeline, Chicago Dramatists as well as many others. Our staff members teach at DePaul and Northwestern University and serve on civic, theatre and tourism boards across Chicago. Broadway In Chicago sponsors the League of Chicago Theatres Emerging Theatre Award to provide a vehicle that can recognize those theaters that are growing and distinguishing themselves inside of their own peer community.
Last but not least we are committed to trumpeting to everyone who will listen how important theater is for our culture, entertainment, and education. As such we do everything we can to drive home to media outlets how important it is to cover theater. Where we can, we also lend our support through sponsorship to ensure theatre coverage across Chicago including 190 North with Janet Davies who has been such a support to live theatre for many years, CBS’s Chris Jones theatre segment on the Friday morning news and just recently Chicago Now’s Off Broadway In Chicago blog all to make sure theatre coverage continues to expand.
There is so much more….but this should give you an idea – to us nothing is more important than Chicago and the Chicago theater community.