Hi there. Wait, wait—it's okay, we don't want you to feel ambushed. We're sorry for telling that little white lie about speed-dating with generous corporate grantors, but we had to find a way to get you here.
We aren't angry; we want to tell you this to help you, because we love you. But the thing is, Chicago theater community, you have a problem. You have an addiction to the same damn shows, and it's hurting us and it's hurting you.
We've tried taking you aside gently to explain how difficult it is to see you treating yourself this way—City Lit opening Old Times one week, Remy Bumppo opening Old Times three weeks later? Multiple Macbeths and multiple Twelfth Nights within weeks of one another? Forget about your "concepts"! It's like one hand isn't talking to the other!
But what really hurts us are the signs that you've no intention of changing your ways. Mere months after the Triple Dracula incident, you announce a Hypocrites Frankenstein even while BoHo's Frankenstein is in the room? That's just hurtful. Not to mention the indignity heaped upon Quest's just-closed Into the Woods by Porchlight's announcement of Into the Woods. And Porchlight's forthcoming revival of The Fantasticks, to be followed a few months later by Promethean's forthcoming revival of The Fantasticks. (Poor Promethean, who opened Tony Kushner's The Illusion in a weird holiday slot that cost them a lot of reviews, only to be eclipsed by Court's announcement of Tony Kushner's The Illusion for next season. As if Promethean's production hadn't happened at all.)
A couple of weeks ago the Guardian's Elisa Solomon put out a plea for productions of critics' best-loved neglected plays. We're not asking for that. (And for the record, we're pretty sure that Fatboy is the only version of Ubu Roi anyone outside of academia has ever enjoyed.) (Then again, our reading tastes run toward the pedestrian; if we were requesting productions of our own favorite plays we haven't seen, there would be far too much Richard Greenberg going on, and we wouldn't have discovered neglected plays we didn't know well, like Marlowe's Edward II.) Nor are we asking for all new works and Chicago premieres (though they are greatly appreciated). All we want is an acknowledgment that, despite the boulders you hang from the flyloft and your intentions to go to Broadway, your production of Desire Under the Elms is still the third we've seen in as many years.
We'll support everything you do as well as we can, Chicago theater community. But please, help us help you. And that means, among other things, a moratorium on Proof.