The Jeff Awards Committee is celebrating its own 40th anniversary with “Celebrating Four Decades of Chicago Theatre,” on display through 11/30 at the Chicago Tourism Center, 72 E. Randolph. The exhibit, curated by art dealer Natalie van Straaten, features photos, videos, posters, costume and set design sketches, and other artifacts representing a wide array of local theaters, including Second City, Steppenwolf, the Black Ensemble, Redmoon, and Lookingglass. It’s free and open to the public Tue-Sat 10 AM-6 PM, and Sun 11 AM-4 PM. A special reception will be held Mon, 11/10, 4-6 PM.
Now wouldn’t it be great if this temporary display served as the model for a permanent, easily accessible downtown showcase of the Chicago performing arts, like the one I blogged about here last summer? That posting stimulated considerable response from the theater community and led to the founding of a nonprofit Chicagoland Theater and Dance Foundation, designed to pursue the creation of a Chicago Museum of the Performing Arts. As reported by Reader staff writer Deanna Isaacs, the foundation held a community forum on August 8, attended by theater-community professionals and representatives from the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Chicago Public Library, and the Newberry Library. But despite early enthusiasm for the idea, things are stalled while the foundation tries to put together a board of directors. Maybe the Jeff Committee’s exhibit will jump-start the project.