Thursday, July 09, 2009

Paving The Way For Fresh Theatre In Chicago

Paving The Way For Fresh Theatre In Chicago

Unless you're a new Steve On Broadway (SOB) reader, you already know how much I absolutely adore Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company, along with all the incredible individuals behind the scenes who make it all come together.

As with many maturing theatre organizations, Steppenwolf takes enormous pride in championing tomorrow's creative stage visionaries today. Each year, Steppenwolf provides a select group of talented young men and women with the opportunity to intern and learn the ropes, often quite literally.

During my visits through the last several years, one highlight for me has been getting to know many of these incredibly gifted individuals. When one of them, a remarkably self-assured David Perez, happened to tell me that he was starting a theatre company with two of his peers from the Steppenwolf Theatre Apprentice Program (Brittany Barnes and Julia Dossett), I was intrigued. Being regaled by Perez's fearless determination and sheer grit, I just knew that this was someone to watch -- no matter that he may have been serving me a drink as part of his apprenticeship duties.

Perez, Barnes and Dossett, along with Tim Schoen, formed Pavement Group "with the endeavor to provide bold artistic opportunities for emerging playwrights, designers, directors, and arts managers." I love the fact that the vision of these Steppenwolf graduates is to serve as a test-kitchen for new plays and playwrights alike.

To date, I've had the good fortune of seeing two incredibly well-acted and directed plays, fracture/mechanics and Lipstick Traces - A Secret History Of The 20th Century. Mind you, since I'm a generation older than these brilliant twenty-somethings, I know I'm not exactly their target audience. But no matter. They are striking a powerful chord by providing riveting entertainment geared toward weaning a whole new generation on the joys of live theatre.

Pavement Group has taken a very important step forward in their evolution. In addition to producing many plays, they have jumped through the necessary hoops to become a bona fide 501(c)(3) organization. And with that, they're able to accept your tax-deductible donations. I hope you'll consider giving to this fledgling and immensely exciting theatre company.

Who knows? Pavement Group could very well be the Steppenwolf of tomorrow. But you can get those early bragging rights by supporting it today.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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