• Joan Marcus
  • Mayoral debate at the Oriental Theatre, where Wicked (above) is currently running

Taking shrewd advantage of a unique opportunity, the League of Chicago Theatres is cosponsoring a debate for candidates in the upcoming mayoral race. The hour-long, televised debate will take place Thursday, February 17, 7 PM—five days before voters decide who will replace five-term mayor Richard M. Daley. In his 21-year reign, Daley has acquired a reputation as a theater and arts supporter—he was a warmly received speaker at last summer’s Theatre Communications Group conference here—and the cultural community has a strong stake in the outcome of the election. The League’s decision to partner with a wide range of civic and political organizations on a high-profile debate is a master stroke.

Joining the League to present the debate are the Chicago Foundation for Women, the Chicago Loop Alliance, the Chicago Urban League, the League of Women Voters, the Metropolitan Planning Council, the Mikva Challenge, the National Council of La Raza, and Univision Chicago. The event will be aired commercial-free on Univision (WGBO-TV) as well as on ABC 7, which will also stream the debate on abc7chicago.com. ABC 7 anchor Ron Magers will moderate the debate, which will take place at the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph.