Sunday, February 29, 2004

Happy Leap Year day! It's been four years since the last one (2000 had a February 29). Read more on leap years at

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Chicago Community Cinema, a networking event for independent film in Chicago, meets Tuesday, March 2nd, at 6:00 PM at Excalibur, 632 N. Dearborn St. (Yahoo map).

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Chicago Shakespeare won an Olivier Award:
The Chicago Shakespeare Theatre's production of "Pacific Overtures," which transferred last June to the Donmar Warehouse in London, won the Laurence Olivier Award for outstanding musical of the season, beating out such competitors as "Ragtime" and "Thoroughly Modern Millie"
(from ReelChicago).

Friday, February 20, 2004


Tuesday, February 17, 2004

AICP survey says:
Chicago is the second largest advertising market in North America with an estimated $17.5 million in billings. Local agencies spend an estimated $450-500 million on spot production
(from ReelChicago).

Monday, February 16, 2004

Insider tips to Chicago theater:
Chicago theater is famous for its tiny youthful companies whose marketing savvy extends no farther than an answering machine in someone's apartment. Buying a ticket can be wearisome - especially if you're leery about leaving your credit card number for someone's landlord to overhear - but this is where the most rewarding shows are to be found.
Parking can spoil your night. The cost of leaving a car near many venues can easily break the bank. If drive you must, consider the following: You can park for free at Steppenwolf if you leave your car on Halsted Street south of North Avenue; you can park for free at Second City if you park on North Avenue, about 500 yards west of the theater and beyond; free nighttime parking in the Loop is easier than you think - if you hit it right at 6 p.m., when daytime parking restrictions end (park and then go for dinner). Best bet is Monroe Street, between Wacker Drive and Dearborn Street.
Previews are a better deal. Many of the larger Chicago theaters reduce their prices for performances before reviews come out. These performances are often the ones where the stakes are highest and the performers the most engaged. Here's the best bet of all: Look for the final low-price preview. That may well be the press opening, when (in theory, at least) things should be firing on all cylinders
(from The Chicago Tribune, via Metromix).

Canucks light up Windy City stages:
That's currently what's happening with three Stratford veterans, who are bringing lustre to a pair of hit productions here in the Windy City.
Brian Bedford and Graham Abbey are scoring a hilarious success with The Molière Comedies for the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, while Roger Honeywell is earning kudos for his leading performance in The Pirates Of Penzance at the Lyric Opera of Chicago
(from Toronto Star).

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Chicago live theatre's total economic impact is $347 million annually (as of 2002):
Figures recently released by the League approximate $347 million in annual economic activity for the State of Illinois for 2002, up from $164 million in 1996. This impressive statistic is highlighted in "Live Theatre is Big Business in Chicago," a compilation of industry statistics, presented in an easy-to-read brochure, supporting the League's belief that Chicago's live theatre industry is a major asset to the growth of the Chicago economy
(from PerformInk). A summary of League theatres is here.
The whole study can be downloaded as:

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Radio Ridge, a Chicago production company, is expanding:
Radio Ridge expanded from its base of corporate clients with the addition of a film and TV production unit. Staff producers Patty West and Louis Provost brought freelance writer/director Phillip Crippen's "WB-style" TV pilot "The Roaring Twenties" to NAPTE [sic, probably NATPE], where Gulbransen said the show generated interest from a few cable networks
(from ReelChicago).

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Large budget make-a-movie-into-a-stage-musical, in Chicago:
Backed by the John Belushi estate, a new stage musical trading on the familiarity of the 1980 movie "The Blues Brothers" will premiere April 20 at the Chicago Center for the Performing Arts
(from Chicago Tribune). Buy the movie on DVD or VHS from

Today in Theatre History: In 1907 Ray Middleton is born in Chicago, Illinois today. In 1946 he will star opposite Ethel Merman in Annie Get Your Gun, and be featured in Man of La Mancha (from

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

"Barbershop 2" producers may be back this summer:
The loyal Windy City filmmakers [Robert Teitel and George Tillman Jr.] are planning to return [to Chicago] this summer to produce "Rollbouts," a movie about roller skating competitions during the 1970s
(from Sun-Times).

Roadworks is taking a break:
Roadworks Productions, one of Chicago's leading theatre companies for the past decade, has announced it will suspend operations while it attempts to rid itself of $20,000 in debt

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

$15,000 bounty has been put up for the killer/s of Barry Cunnane by Barry was a Chicago actor shot to death in May (read my May post).

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Today in Theatre History: In 2002 a settlement was announced between producer Scott Rudin and composer Stephen Sondheim over ownership of his musical Wise Guys, since retitled Bounce, that allows its 2003 premiere to go forward (from