Great Lakes and Upper South in the News: "How Chicago became world premiere capital" from Crain's
Never mind the coasts: When it comes to new works, playwrights are flocking here.
Between now and Christmas, Chicago will host more than 30 world premiere plays. From major multimillion-dollar powerhouses to the postage-stamp off-off-off-Loop stages, the city is basically one big theatrical petri dish.
This year is an especially robust one, but every year hundreds of artists take to Chicago's stages in hopes of launching the next “Spamalot” or “August: Osage County.” The million-dollar question: What makes Chicago a magnet for unknown plays? The short answer is that money goes further here, audiences are more welcoming, critics are less powerful and the talent bench is deep.
Among the larger launches this season was Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cristofer's gritty “Man in the Ring,” which closes Oct. 16 at Court Theatre. Cristofer, who won a 1977 Pulitzer for his drama “The Shadow Box” and has a starring role on the Emmy-winning “Mr. Robot,” could have taken “Man in the Ring” anywhere. So why did the New York-based playwright bring the explosive drama about dementia and boxing to Chicago?
“New plays are very difficult to do in New York,” Cristofer says. “Chicago is less risk-averse. The audiences are adventurous. The talent pool seems vast. In New York, everybody—even the not-for-profits—has to produce shows that make money. When money is always forefront, there's not a lot of room for risk or real experimentation.”
Continued on website.