Why Chicago Theatre

Why we choose to support Chicago theatre

Michael and Mona reading Richard Christiansen's book A Theater of Our Own

Theatre has affected us in extraordinarily deep and meaningful ways, thanks to its ability to tell stories that are both personal and universal, set in a particular time and place and yet embodying eternal truths, and engaging every emotion from grief to elation. We find the best theatre experiences to be both educational and emotional: an intensive workout for both right and left brain.

Theatre is a phenomenal vehicle for developing empathy and understanding, in a safe environment conducive to contemplating the human condition. For example, theatre has given us glimpses into what the AIDS epidemic has meant on a very personal level, to those afflicted and to their families and loved ones (Angels in America by Tony Kushner; The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer); what it’s like to be a woman in war-torn Africa (Ruined by Lynn Nottage; In Darfur by Winter Miller); the challenges of working in the Chicago Public School system (Principal Principle by Joe Zarrow; Exit Strategy by Ike Holter); and the realities of life and death for many young Black men (Pass Over by Antoinette Nwandu).

At the other end of the theatrical spectrum are shows that may lack universal import but are just plain fun. While we love shows that provide deep insight into human experience, we also love comedies, from wry to zany, from satirical to absurdist. We especially enjoy plays that combine elements of both human insight and comic relief. The range of possibilities when you enter a theatre is exhilarating!

The majority of our most meaningful theatre experiences have taken place in Chicago, usually in a storefront space, often with our toes touching the stage. Because of what those experiences have meant to us, and as a way of saying thanks to unbelievably talented and dedicated Chicago theatre artists, we have chosen to support Chicago theatre. The strong sense of community among Chicago theatre artists (as well as Saints and audience members) is another factor that makes us eager to contribute to this mutually supportive ecosystem.

To celebrate Chicago theatre, and to enjoy reliving some of our most memorable experiences, we’ve created lists of our favorite productions. Since many different factors can make a theatrical experience special (the play, subject matter, performances, direction, design, movement, audience reaction, personal resonance, and so on), the lists cover a number of categories.

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