While it’s great that Chicago theatre is represented as a “passion and interest” of Chicago, the title of this new blog concerns and irritates me, for this simple reason: why compare Chicago theatre to Broadway?
It makes absolutely no sense. Especially considering ChicagoNow is part of The Chicago Tribune. They should know better.
Chicago has one of the most diverse theatre scenes in the nation, with world-class groups like Steppenwolf, Goodman, Victory Gardens, Writer’s Theatre and Court Theatre producing Pulitzer-winning new works and inventively re-imagined stagings of classics. Chicago theatre is a major force in evolving theatre around the nation and the world. In fact, if you want to compare Chicago theatre to Broadway, our city’s productions are actually becoming the “it thing” on Broadway, with five shows transferring to Broadway this season. Chris Jones recently discussed this observation here.
Not to mention the talent that our city produces, with directors such as Gary Griffin, Mary Zimmerman, Anna D. Shapiro, and Frank Galati; and a list of actors and theatre-related artists too numerous and varied to even highlight properly.
Why represent Chicago by comparing it to Broadway? Why? It’s in its own league, its own class. Doing so seems to support the frequently misinformed idea that Chicago theatre only exists within a mile radius from the intersection of Randolph and LaSalle.
Which is highly unfortunate.
EDIT (9/23/2009): Follow-up posts and discussions inspired by this topic by fellow Chicago theatre bloggers: