Downtown Theaters Over-FullImagine it's December 2007. Wicked is still playing to packed houses at the Oriental Theatre - with no closing date in sight. Buoyed by the support of Chicago's large African-American community and the constant sightings of producer Oprah Winfrey, the dedicated Chicago production of The Color Purple is selling tickets at the Cadillac Palace Theatre through 2009. And at the spiffy La Salle Bank Theatre - the most desirable venue in the Chicago theater district - the Chicago production of Jersey Boys is a standing-room-only hit with new "premium" seats going for $300 a pop. Now booking through 2010. But there's a problem. The Broadway in Chicago subscription series now has no place to go. Disney wants to bring back The Lion King, but someone locked the mouse out of its favorite house. Chicago's leading role as a center of pre-Broadway tryouts is under siege - for a lack of real estate. Just as it re-establishes itself as the Broadway of the Midwest and a major destination for showbiz tourism, Chicago is suddenly running out of theaters(from Chicago Tribune). Just some years ago, there were many worrying that the downtown theatre district, then largely dark, had been woofully over-built. Anyone have a spare room?
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