Members of Chicago's varied theatre community will take to the Windy City streets Dec. 10 and bang the drum loudly to remind the world — shoppers, tourists, businesspeople — that all Chicago's a stage, even in the face of a recession.
Representing 200 theatre troupes, actors will entertain thousands of downtown shoppers and tourists by transforming 26 Michigan Avenue street corners into live, outdoor stages to kick off the new "From The Streets To The Seats" marketing campaign from the League of Chicago Theaters.
"We're going right to the people on Dec. 10 to invite them to check out the most vital, most diverse, and most active theatre community in America, which is right here in Chicago," League executive director Marj Halperin said in a statement.
The League's new "From The Streets To The Seats" promotion is aimed at "attracting Chicagoans and Midwesterners to enjoy live theatre in Chicago this winter and all year long." Expected participants include Blue Man Group and dozens of costumed actors from Chicago's top plays and musicals. In all, a total of more than 100 actors, artistic directors, managers, playwrights and designers will represent the variety of Chicago's live theatre community. They'll be joined by local civic, tourism and government leaders supporting this effort. More details about "From The Streets To The Seats" events and promotions through next spring will be disclosed at an 11 AM conference. Following the press announcement, free performances by some 20 theatres ranging from About Face to Second City, Steppenwolf to Noble Fool, will be played out noon to 1 PM on 26 downtown Michigan Avenue street corners, starting at the historic Water Tower at Michigan and Pearson and stretching south to Randolph Street.
As part of the campaign, 10,000 "From The Streets To The Seats" brochures containing two-for-one discount coupons to Chicago-area theatres for December, January and February will be distributed to tourists, shoppers and the downtown lunch crowd. According to The League, Chicago has more live theatre than any other city in America, "offering everything from Broadway-style productions to cutting edge comedy, off-beat art house performances, and classic drama. It is a creative community, often edgy, always gutsy, with competitive advantages including convenience, ease and affordability."
Actors who cut their teeth in Chicago include Gary Sinise, William Petersen, Joe Mantegna, Dennis Franz, John Malkovich, Laurie Metcalf, David Schwimmer, John Mahoney, Aidan Quinn, Jeremy Piven, Joan and John Cusack and many others."
— By Kenneth Jones