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