Suburban, commercial, nonprofit and touring theatres in Chicago are all getting into the act Feb. 26 to promote theatre to young and family audiences for the free, annual Sears Theater Fever "Free Sampler Day."
This third annual showcase, 11 AM-3 PM, includes 50 companies or organizations offering performances, workshops, activities that will give audiences new perspective on theatre. Sears Theater Fever is an ongoing Chicago theatre promotion continuing to March 5.
Participating are varied presenters, among them, "the crown jewels of Chicago's downtown theatre district, the city's internationally-acclaimed professional Equity theatres, and its rough-and-ready Off Loop storefront troupes," according to the event notes.
Some of the Free Sampler Day activities include:
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 East Washington, Chicago 11 AM Move to the African beat with the cast of Duncan YMCA's Amistad Voices
12 PM Duel with Cyrano de Bergerac in Rivendell Theatre's stage combat workshop
1 PM Get lassoed into a wild west melodrama by Wing and Groove Theatre
2 PM Use ordinary objects to create extraordinary theatre in Plasticene's Object Encounters
Chicago Shakespeare Theatre on Navy Pier, 800 East Grand, Chicago
11 AM Join the cast of American Girl as they bring you on stage for an interactive show
12 PM Explore the creative world of Chicago poetry with the artists from Steppenwolf Theatre
1 PM Be a back-up singer, a tall tale teller, or an inanimate prop in Mystery Shop's interactive show
2 PM Play a part in Rip Van Winkle's Y2K Adventure by the Theatre School at DePaul University
Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire
11 AM Put on a happy face in a mask-making workshop from Fourth Wall Productions
12 PM Hear Chicago radio legend Roy Leonard discuss the "dumbing down" of American theatre
1 PM Match wits with the improv masters at Second City
2 PM Stretch out and warm up with the Hubbard Street dancers
The Second City, 1616 North Wells, Chicago
11 AM "Go blue" with the men from Blue Man Group
12 PM Stump the Sister from Late Night Catechism in an improvisational Q&A game
1 PM Test your Shakespeare trivia in Timeline Theatre's interactive game show
2 PM Write a play in less than three minutes with help from Victory Gardens' playwrights
Special Hot Tix "On the Road" booths will be set up in each host location lobby, selling half-price tickets to dozens of shows up to one week in advance (full price tickets also available.) A trio of Chicago's newly-refurbished downtown theatrical palaces are inviting the public to start their day on February 26 with a behind-the scenes back stage tour:
9:30 AM Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, 24 West Randolph, Chicago
10:00 AM Auditorium Theatre, 50 East Congress Parkway, Chicago
10:15 AM Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 West Randolph, Chicago
For a complete schedule of Sears Theater Fever Free Sampler Day activities, call the League of Chicago Theatres at (312) 922-7201, or visit the web site at http://www.theaterchicago.org.
-- By Kenneth Jones