Friday, December 23, 2011

Advocacy 201 Roundtable

Monday, January 23, 2012, 6 - 7:30 p.m.
League of Chicago Theatres offices, 228 S. Wabash, Suite 200

Chicago is about to create a cultural plan for the first time in 25 years. Decisions made today will impact you and your theatre for generations to come. Learn how to have a seat at the table and make your voice heard in Arts Advocacy 201. This advanced training covers:

* What is in-bounds and out-of-bounds when it comes to advocacy, lobbying, and elections
* How to design an advocacy strategy and select advocacy tactics that work
* Ways to engage in the Chicago Cultural Plan and the 2012 elections

You will leave with a plan to engage your elected officials that is tailored to your theatre as well as with specific steps you can take to participate in and impact the Chicago Cultural Plan.

Presented by Arts Alliance Illinois, this training is full of stories, role plays (made infamous at last year's Arts Advocacy 101 training), and lessons learned from the Alliance's own advocacy experiences.

This roundtable is free for League members, but space is limited. RSVP to to attend.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Playfest! Seeks Submissions for Fall 2012

PlayFest! The Harriett Lake Festival of New Plays (Fall 2012) is seeking new full-length plays or musicals based on or inspired by works of classic literature or historic events, famous persons, or advances in science. These events, persons, or advances can be from any age in history, including the present. We prefer (but are not limited to) plays that require six actors or less, and have an interest in one-person shows. However, even in the case of one-person shows, we are not looking for history lectures, or museum piece adaptations that are faithful to a fault, but rather dynamic new theatrical versions of classic stories that speak to the contemporary mindset.In musical submissions, we are interested in musicals based on or inspired by the same criteria as mentioned above.

Click here for a downloadable PDF of PlayFest 2012 submission guidelines.

Initial submission deadline for PlayFest 2012 is March 15, 2012.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

On Media

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a tribute to Roy Leonard. Roy is a very well known radio and tv personality but most of you probably haven’t heard of him because he went off the air back in the 90s. I didn’t move to Chicago until 2002 so I never got the pleasure of hearing his show, but man it seems like it was extremely popular. He loved theatre and talked a lot about it and even led theatre trips to London and New York. Roy was one of those folks who were instrumental in creating the extraordinary audiences we have for theatre today.

This morning I was at a meeting at a media outlet to essentially complain about the lack of coverage they are providing for theatre. I was joined by some folks who buy a lot of advertising for their theatres. The representatives of the media outlet genuinely care about theatre in this community, I see them regularly at shows. But they do not and simply cannot provide the kind of coverage and enthusiasm that Roy Leonard provided for the 31 years he was on WGN.

Then I read a lot about the dust up that Michael Kaiser created when he condemned the rise of the “citizen blogger,” as people who have no real knowledge and so are unqualified to give their opinion. Entitled, The Death of Criticism or Everyone Is a Critic. – kind of says it all.

So, this is not news, right? We don’t have one or two major newspapers or radio stations or tv stations with critics people listen to and trust, we have hundreds. So, in reality there is more coverage but it is a much more diverse group of people doing the talking and we can’t count on any one of them to say anything that will give us a boost in ticket sales and isn’t that what we all want?

We have done some surveys about where people go to get theatre information and some still get it from newspapers and more and more get it on line but when you ask them to define on line I think most people don’t actually know. A few years ago we did a survey and some people said they get their information from Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster provides only minimum information, they sell tickets.

As usual, I don’t have any solutions, but I’m thinking it can’t be that hard to point people who are looking for good information in the right direction, right? I wonder if the media outlets would do it – you know like they do for morning shows on the radio – but featuring the folks who are talking about theatre. Just an idea, I’m sure there are many more out there.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Industry Ticket Offers

The Secret Garden - Light Opera Works at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson in Evanston, is offering half-price industry tickets on December 26, 27, 28 and 31 at 2 p.m., and December 29 and 30 at 8 p.m. For tickets call 847-920-5360 or visit and use code "robin." Tickets must be purchased in advance. No door sales.

Rudolph the Red Hosed Reindeer - Hell in a Handbag Productions at Mary's Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. is offering $10 industry tickets with code word 'boozehag' at the door through December 30, 2011. Visit for show times and dates.

Assisted Living – Profiles Theatre at The Second Stage, 3408 N. Sheffield is offering $15 industry tickets for the following performances: Thursday 12/22, Thursday 12/29 and Friday 12/30 all at 8 pm. Please call the box office at 773-549-1815 and mention this offer.

Penelope - Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted, is offering 2 for 1 tickets to tonight's performance (December 15 at 7:30 p.m.) including FREE Explore event from 5 - 7 p.m. in the Steppenwolf Garage Theatre. Caffeine Theatre curates a cabaret of poetry, spoken word and drama surrounding the world of Penelope. To close out the event, hip-hop duo The Q-Brothers (creators of Funk it Up About Nothin’) will share a new original work, inspired by Penelope. Call Audience Services at 312-335-1650 to reserve your spot and use code 9429 when ordering for 2 for 1 show tickets. More Information.

All Childish Things - Hubris Productions at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln is offering a $10 industry performance on Thursday, December 15 at 8 p.m. Must present headshot, resume or business card at the box office. Call 773.404.7336 for reservations and mention this industry offer.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

For Real

So I don’t usually talk about shows I’ve seen but this week I saw Donny and Marie and Elizabeth Rex and hmmm-hmmm, that’s right…I’m a lucky, lucky person. How many people do you think saw both? I think not so many. I loved them both and it struck me once again how fortunate we are that we have such an amazing variety and depth of theatre in this town. Do you know how many places in this country there are where you maybe would have one or the other on any given night, but both? No. Or places where there isn’t anything.

Wait, what? You went to Donny and Marie, and you liked it? Yup. They happen to be great old-school entertainers and they put on a great show. Sometimes I might not like a show, but the audience loves it and that makes me happy. This show I genuinely loved because Donny and Marie are for real. They understand who they are and how they got famous and why people come out to see them and they own it and respect it and you do too.

And you know what, that’s what makes theatre in this town so great. We got it all and we own it all and we respect it all. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to make a decision about what show to see. Tonight alone you could see: a magic show, the virgin queen, Ibsen, Blue Men, a country western parody, a crazy ass light opera, Tracy Letts in his underpants, cabaret, improv and on and on… and you can have your holiday show any way you want it – mean old Scrooge, radio plays, Nativity, Reindeers in drag and much much more. Oh holy night indeed.


2012 CAAP Grant Application and Workshop

The Community Arts Assistance Program (CAAP) is an annual grant opportunity open to new, emerging, and mid-career individual artists and not-for-profit arts organizations with annual operating budgets up to $150,000. Applicants can request a maximum of $1,000 for projects that address specific professional and artistic development needs. Applications are due on January 30, 2012, by 5 p.m. It is strongly encouraged that all applicants attend one of the following application workshops:

Dec. 10: 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Nightingale Theater
Dec. 15: 6–8 p.m. ThreeWalls
Jan. 4: 5:30–7:30 p.m. Hyde Park Art Center
Jan. 10: 5–7 p.m. Links Hall
Jan. 19: 4–6 p.m. Chicago Cultural Center

More information.

Arts and Education Exchange Summit

Need help expanding your arts education programming? Introducing a new event to connect you with Chicago's educators...

The Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture, in partnership with the Department of Culture and Special Events, Arts Alliance Illinois, Ingenuity Incorporated, and Chicago Public Schools Office of Arts Education invite you to participate as a vendor in the first annual Arts & Education Exchange Summit!

Saturday, February 4, 2012 at the Chicago Cultural Center from 10am-2pm!

The Arts & Education Exchange Summit is a unique opportunity for arts and cultural organizations that offer educational programming to share their services with Chicago's educators. Modeled after Chicago's longest running arts resource fair Spotlight on Chicago, the Summit is an expo-style event where organizations are given a booth to present information about their arts residencies, field trip opportunities, and professional development programs to local teachers, principals, and educational coordinators.

The Arts & Education Exchange Summit is not a booking conference, but rather an information resource expo and a great opportunity to increase visibility, develop contacts, and network with peer organizations. In addition to the expo portion of the event, the Summit also offers professional development workshops that are crafted to give educators the tools they need to effectively partner with you in bringing arts education to every child in Chicago.

To participate, click here to complete the online application by December 19, 2011.

For more information about the event, please visit:

Multicultural Social Hour Kick Off

The Spot, 4437 N. Broadway Avenue
Monday, December 19, 6-8pm


Brought to you by Steppenwolf’s 2012 Multicultural Fellows, the Multicultural Social Hour is networking group of young professionals who are dedicated to promoting diversity within the professional world of theatre.

All are welcome! So bring your friends.

The group will meet at least 3 times between December and April to casually discuss topics of diversity and how we can effect change within the theatre world. The season will then end with a panel discussion in May where we review what we have learned and pose questions to influential theatre professionals.

Topics and Locations will change with each event.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Industry Ticket Offers

Jennifer Holliday - Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph, is offering 2 for 1 tickets to spend the holidays with Broadway’s original “Dreamgirl” in a one-night-only performance Wednesday, December 7th at 7:30 p.m. Use code “FFHOLLIDAY” to receive 2-for-1 tickets at

A Bright New Boise - LiveWire Chicago Theatre at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln is offering $15 industry tickets to their seven remaining performances. Tickets can be reserved by calling 773-404-7336, or visiting the box office, and mention this offer. Visit for more information.

How CFT Stole Christmas - Chicago Fusion Theatre at The Silver Room, 1442 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, 60622, is offering $5 industry tickets to their one night only performance and benefit on December 9. Doors open at 8pm and show starts at 9pm. There will also be a silent auction, DJs and dancing, and cookies and spiked drinks. Use discount code LEAGUE at the door to get a discount. First 50 people will receive a $10 gift card to Native Foods Cafe. For more information visit

The Jackie Wilson Story - Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 4450 N. Clark St., is collecting toys for the Chicago Toys for Tots program, and offering half-price tickets ($27.50) to any Wednesday or Thursday performance if you bring in a toy to donate. Call the box office at 773-769-4451 for reservations and remember that to receive the discount you must bring in a toy when you pick up your tickets.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

We Will Miss Her

I will miss Maggie Daley. I never knew her personally but her stamp was everywhere in this City. She truly understood the importance of beauty in our lives. I remember when I first moved to Chicago – it was the holidays and I commented to someone on how it seemed like everything that wasn’t in motion had a light on it. Maggie’s work I was told. Along with the flowers that are everywhere in the summer and Gallery 37 and After School Matters and all kinds of other projects.

She took her job as Chicago’s first lady seriously and left an imprint that will be seen for generations to come. Even throughout her long illness, she never faltered in her dedication to the arts and to the people, especially the children, of Chicago.

We were lucky to have her and I will be forever inspired by her work.