Chicago has always been a city with an exceptionally vibrant theater scene - arguably as exciting, if not as commercially successful, as New York's. Malkovich's return is a reminder of the many talented actors and writers - Gary Sinise, David Mamet, John C. Reilly - who got their start here.
But it's also been a city of ensembles, rather than stars - a town known for collaboration, rather than cutthroat competition (among theater companies, at least). And its audiences are still unusually quick to embrace edgy, untested fare.
With no real television or film presence, Chicago is still a town where actors can often find work, but not grow rich. And it lacks the prestige of New York or Los Angeles. That's one reason actors such as Joe Mantegna, Joan Allen, and William H. Macy eventually move on. But they don't shy away from their roots. It's sort of a badge of courage that you were a Chicago actor, says Mr. Evans