A Chicagoan’s Love Letter to Another Year of Chicago Theater
Photo Credit: Andrea Klohn
Last year we saw a pretty major uptick in theater advertising around the city thanks to the Year of Chicago Theatre (YOCT) initiatives. It was lovely to see the city lauding the theater scene that I love so well to visitors far and wide as well as Chicagoans who might not otherwise know the swath of performance opportunities around The Windy City.
But now we’re in 2020. The Year of Chicago Theatre is over.
Hopefully, that doesn’t mean the city completely forgets about the focus they put on theater. When it’s Cubs or Bears season or when the river is dyed green, will the community at large still be talking about more than just the biggest theaters in the city? Did YOCT make a big enough impact to matter beyond its 12-month lifespan?
I truly hope so.
NYC and Los Angeles are far from the only places in the country worth their theatrical weight in gold. Chicago is a bright beacon in the arts and, as I Fight Dragons says in their song dedicated to the Windy City, “Oh Chicago knows how small we are/How bright she shines in the dark.” This is where the theater gets gritty. It sinks its teeth into topical content and spits out the best and worst humanity has to offer.
And we take it. We take it lovingly and with the tenderest care.
As we head into another decade it’s important for us to take care of our cities that give us art and the folks that make it. It’s vital to take a step back to acknowledge all the arts have done for us and all we can do for it. More importantly, we need theater to remind us what is worth living for. In tumultuous times there is little else we can ask of the theater than to ask “but why?”
So while we won’t necessarily be seeing as much promotion of our theater community out in the city this year, we can’t forget to give it (and its creators) a little TLC. 2020 could be the year that a show changes someone’s heart or mind. If we don’t talk about it or promote it how will folks know it’s there? Let’s spend this year artfully. In celebrating all that is and all that could be in the arts we celebrate ourselves as well.
What lives on the stage lives too in the hearts of those that see it.