I’ve a sad story to tell.
As a proud member of Corporate America, I work with some talented, cultured, educated people — many of whom haven’t a clue as to what’s happening in the this city’s theatre scene. Beyond Goodman, Steppenwolf and Broadway in Chicago? Forgedaboudit. Ok, maybe Victory Gardens and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, but even that’s stretching it.
People at my office know I see a good deal of theatre, so they come to me for suggestions or to discuss what they’ve recently seen. (Usually? Steppenwolf.) And many times, when I tell them about shows like The Pillowman at Redtwist, for example, or companies like House Theatre, Remy Bumppo or Stage Left, they stare back at me with blank expressions. Even more mainstream fare like Drury Lane isn’t immune — nearly everyone I talked to so far this week about DL’s amazing production of Ragtime seemed to think Drury Lane is a dinner theatre, and scoff at the idea. As in: would you like some “Crime of the Century Salad” with your “New Music Mac and Cheese?”
I’m not sure what the solution is, but it seems like something is broken. I mean, when smart, educated people who attend the theatre on a semi-regular occasion — like the ones I work with — are completely unaware of a group that’s been producing shows in the area for 15-plus years, something’s wrong. It’s sad. On everyone’s part.
How do we fix it?