Thursday, May 17, 2007

My Kind of Town…Chicago Is.

Helloooo, Off-Off-Broadway! My name is Hillary, and I am the development manager for the New York Innovative Theatre Awards. To give you an introductory idea what I do at the It Awards, when the Founding Directors say, "Ask for money!" I say, "How much?"

(Fair warning: I've never blogged before. My parents were always very cautionary about posting "private business in a public forum". This time, I agreed to give it a go because that's the kind of typical Team Player-Theatre Kid I am.)

I've recently returned from a brief vacation to Chicago. It was my first visit to the Windy City and I was determined to make it a whirlwind introduction to all the regional theatre they had to offer. I had an amazing time! I had the best hosts, who gave me a real survey of the city…for a theatre geek.

We started with the incomparable Theatro Vista theatre company. I was really impressed by their show. Coming from a community with such wonderfully diverse troupes, I was surprised - and saddened - to hear that they have become the only Latino Equity company in the
Midwest. Keep celebrating quality drama and your unique cultural perspective, "mis primos"!

We dodged the Kissing Booth at Rivendel Theatre
company's very sexy annual Red Hot Ball fundraiser. I can unreservedly say this crowd knows how perfectly Girl Power fits in the arts. If you can't get to Illinois this summer, they come to us with their co-production at Stageworks Hudson.

Finally, the rowdy artists over at Strawdog deserve a "shout out". They tolerated my weak heckling during their spectacular midnight Direct-Off. The competition was amongst six local directors collaborating on three-minute performances from twice as many unrehearsed local actors. The results were by turns raucously funny and disarmingly poignant. The proceedings definitely highlighted, for this foreigner at least, how much grassroots talent the scene is boasting these days.

Oh, yeah, we were also lucky enough to enjoy the always professional performances at the Goodman and Second City, but maybe they're too establishment for us Off-Off types.

So, in summary, visiting Chicago was a tremendous experience. Of course, I'm still proud of our phenomenal New York community. Stop surfing My Space! Go out their and keep showing the world how to make great theatre!

Break legs,
Hillary Cohen
Development Manager

New York Innovative Theatre Awards

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