On every floor of the Chicago Cultural Center sounds of performers echo in the halls; from cabaret style singing to quieter dialogue and everything in between. It’s Showtime Chicago is the launch event presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and the League of Chicago Theatres to kickoff the Year of Chicago Theatre.
Participants at the free event heard from several prominent individuals planning the initiative including DCASE Commissioner Mark Kelly and Executive Director of the League of Chicago Theatres Deb Clapp. The goal of the initiative is to shine a light on Chicago’s Theatre community in a variety of ways. There are hundreds of performances and special events in the works with a focus on bringing theatre to all communities throughout the city especially the underserved south and west sides. Also planned is an international marketing campaign to generate more interest in Chicago theatre and several financial grants to support local theatre projects.
After the opening remarks, audience members had their pick of a wide array of events including a Youth Showcase with Albany Park Theatre Project and Chicago Public Schools Youth TheatreFest which featured young performers showing an array of talents; from scenes to singing and spoken word. Walkabout Theater Company members showed off their stilt walking skills and offered lessons to anyone brave enough to don the stilts. The Cabaret Project and Fringe Factor presented several funny vivacious singers while Second City held a workshop. And that's not even all of it-Free Street Theater, Chicago Children’s Choir, Urban Gateways Teen Arts Pass and others also participated.
It’s Showtime Chicago was an excellent overview of what our cities theatre community has to offer and a great way to generate interest in the initiative. In this writer’s opinion The Year of Chicago Theatre seems to be off to a strong start.
For more information about the Year of Chicago Theatre, visit Chicago Plays website
Photos: Taryn Smith
About the Author
Taryn Smith, Chicago Communities Associate Editor, graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago's BFA Performance program in 2011. After graduating, she co-founded Realize Theatre Group and served as Executive Director for the company. She has filled numerous roles while with RTG both on and off stage including making her playwriting debut with her play America, Inc . She has worked as a stage manage, designer, director, and actor. Outside of the theatre world, Taryn is a licensed massage therapist.
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