UrbanTheater Company announces new home for ‘Beauty of the Father,’ but not without some choice words for CCPA


Got this press release in my box a few minutes ago, and I was immediately drawn to UrbanTheater Company’s frank response to their “nightmare” of a venue situation. Glad they got it all sorted out, but they’re certainly fired up about it. And dare I say: rightly so. (Speaking of nightmares, someone needs to proof UTC’s press releases. A punctuation headache!)

URBANTHEATER COMPANY SALVAGES FALL PRODUCTION AND NILO CRUZ MIDWEST PREMIERE AFTER THE CHICAGO CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS NIGHTMARE

CHICAGO, IL (September 8, 2011) Kicked to the curb for Jesus, by the owners of the building housing The Chicago Center for the Performing Arts (CCPA), UrbanTheater Company (UTC), one of Chicago’s leading Latino based companies has found a new home for it’s Fall Production and Midwest Premiere of Pulitzer Prize Winner, Nilo Cruz’s “Beauty of the Father”. As of this week, UTC has entered into partnership with The Wicker Park Art Center. Performances for the Cruz premiere will commence on October 14 – November 19, as originally planned with director Cecilie Keenan (Teatro Vista Producing Artistic Director), the cast and production team in tact.

“This is an outrage”, says UTC Artistic Director, Madrid St. Angelo. “In an effort to obtain accurate information I contacted the Pastors of City Church, but received an abundance of misinformation and finger pointing. No matter how one looks at this, all parties involved should have acted responsibly and respectfully, working to honor all our companies’ signed contracts and agreements. All parties involved, the owners of the building, the CCPA, the incoming City Church Pastors, have all acted reprehensibly, turning the proverbial cheek to art.” St. Angelo even asked the City Church Pastors, ‘What Would Jesus Do?”.

UTC, along with Bailiwick Chicago and Congo Square, had been offered permanent homes, as companies in residence at CCPA. Residency contracts had been signed, rental deposits paid, directors, casts, production teams had been hired, rehearsals had begun and hundreds and hundreds of dollars had been spent on marketing and promotional materials, when CCPA pulled the rug out from under the aforementioned parties.

“A similar incident happened in 2007, while a resident theater company at The Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center in Wicker Park. The building was sold and we had to scramble to find another venue. Six years later, I never imagined that this would happen again. But, we continue to overcome adversity,” says Ivan Vega, the theater’s Executive Director.

UTC turned to its fellow theatre makers and solicited assistance from over 30 theatre companies with actual housing facilities. Support was overwhelming, but due to the very late date, the majority of theatre houses had already been booked.

What seemed to be a promising partnership with the CCPA turned into a literal nightmare. Owners of the CCPA acting in true ‘Judas’ fashion traded in the Arts for their ‘Savior’, City Church and the Almighty Dollar. UrbanTheater Company’s Founders, Ensemble Members and the entire Production Team of its upcoming Midwest Premiere convey, ‘the show must go on’ and it will.

4 thoughts on “UrbanTheater Company announces new home for ‘Beauty of the Father,’ but not without some choice words for CCPA

  1. It’s refreshing to see someone publicly address the issues they are having with their rental space. While no business relationship is 100 percent smooth, every theatre company has horror stories for one place or another, and these are generally kept under the rug, for fear of damaging relationships within the community.

    It’s a shame to see a space completely disregard its obligations to contracts. Were I a member of UTC, I would be looking over that paperwork very closely. This may be an issue that should end with lawyers, not press releases.

  2. It’s clear they were treated terribly, and I hope that they get back the money they wasted, plus some extra. But that’s a terrible press release: in addition to grammatical and punctuation mistakes, it also claims that 2007 was six years ago (who won the 2012 election, by the way?) and misuses “literally” (if it were literally a nightmare, they could wake up and have their old space back). Sigh.

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