Theater at the Theatre

The 'Colander Chandelier' in the Theatre Building lobby.Now, when we were young and uneasy under the apple boughs, and green as the grass is happy, we lived on the north side of Chicago in the as-of-yet untamed and lawless neighborhood of Lakeview where easily half our neighbors were… theater people!

It toughened us. Yesterday we paid a rainy-day visit to our old stomping ground as part of our Farewell Tour 2008, and were pleased to discover our old predictions about Lakeview’s future had come true: now 100% of the inhabitants are theater people.

An overview of Chicago street-front theater, from the humble — not to say shabby — digs of Organic Theater on Lincoln Avenue, to the august majesty of Steppenwolf on Halsted, would require a writer with energy, ambition, knowledge, skill and a a grant from the NEA. Having none of these, we must be content to offer only a couple of amateur photos of our favorite example of the species: The Theatre Building Chicago .

Partly favorite, we blush to admit, because of its appeal to our chronic laziness: years ago we lived almost next door on Belmont Avenue: we could roll out of our lilting house and catch a play on any one of the Theatre Building’s three stages as easily as seeing a film — more easily, really: twenty steps and there we sat, all agog, waiting for whatever sly trick the director had come up with to transition us from dull care to…

What have we seen there? Noises Off (that Michael Frayn farce), Cold, Cold Feet (another farce; we like farce). A musical: A New World… what else? Oh! Macaberet! Another musical. That were a good ‘un. Um. Let’s see. A production of Richard II last year that set us off on a summer-long Shakespeare kick, reading his history cycle beginning to end… Then there was Envoy, and…

Well, you get the idea: more shows than we can recall offhand. Even now, living some thirty miles away, we still find it easy to drop in. No, we can’t just stroll over as before, but knowing the lay of the land we always find parking both free and legal.

1225 Belmont. The Theatre Building as seen from our driver's seat.

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One response to “Theater at the Theatre

  1. The picture is too blurry. I can’t see anything. All those water drops. Is it raining? Why can’t you show a clear picture? This one gives me a headache. I don’t want to go to the theater. I don’t live in Chicago. Even if I did I would not go. I only like movies. And the only movies I like are action movies. Why can’t you talk about action movies instead of all this gobbledy-gook? Bruce Willis rocks!

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