My Kind of Town: Chicago Theater Week, Part I
I headed to the Windy City last week for Passport Magazine. Stay tuned for a “creative getaway” feature article that will appear in our print publication this fall. What exactly does that mean? Without giving too much away, I’ll say that it involved three days of improvisational belly laughs with (among others) a cigar salesman, a venture capitalist and a guy living in his mother’s basement who could crank out a spot-on Beyoncé imitation.
While chewing my way through non-existent scenery by day, I caught up on Chicago’s theater scene and what to keep your eyes out for this spring season. One of the most exciting projects happening as of late is the Garage Rep at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. This curated collection gives opportunity to storefront theaters to perform their works in repertory under the guidance of this well-established ensemble company.
Associate Producer Jacob Padrón says, “I like to think that great work comes out of company — a collective of artists with shared history, shared values and a real sense of ownership around the work they invest in making together.”
Don’t be confused, though. These are not Steppenworlf productions and they’re damn proud of it. No ensemble members are involved in any aspect. What the company does do is foster an environment for dialogue. Steppenwolf itself began in a church basement in Highland Park and feels a responsibility to these companies which typically rely on whatever venue or rehearsal space that they can afford.
Take the jump for this year’s line-up and an inside look at the shows in rehearsal…
Since its inception Garage Rep has nurtured 12 emerging companies through mentorship and production support in the areas of artistic producing, dramaturgy, marketing, media relations and fundraising. This year’s shows all use the same space in repertory and have shared similar resources. By combining forces, the repertory season will run 10 weeks, allowing momentum to grow and foster their audiences. Here is this year’s line-up:
Theatre Seven of Chicago
Black Top Sky
by Christina Anderson
directed by Cassy Sanders
Mission: “We tell Chicago stories.”
She Kills Monsters
by Qui Nguyen
directed by Scott Weinstein
Mission: “Buzz22 Chicago stages stories to explore the constant coming of age: the ever-occurring moments that challenge who we are and who we want to be.”
See What I Wanna See
words and music by Michael John LaChiusa
directed by Lili-Anne Brown
music direction by James Morehead
Mission: “To produce contemporary musicals and plays, reinvent classic musicals and develop new work, while sharing a powerful and authentic theatrical experience.
Garage Rep runs through April 21.