On Dec. 28, 2010, my daughter Christina and I went to see Wicked at the Cadillac Palace. Following the show, after buying her purple Oz T, we went to hang out by the alley stage door under the Wells Street ‘L’ tracks (doesn’t everyone?), hoping to get a few autographs.
Upon rounding the Randolph/Wells corner, the Wonderful Wizard, Gene Weygandt, walked toward us–on his cell phone. Upon seeing my daughter, Gene did what every adoring fan hopes their idolized celebrity would. He spoke one short phrase into the phone; snapped it shut; engaged us with kindness, humor and appreciation; signed Christina’s shirt; posed for a photo; and left saying he looked forward to the next time our paths crossed.
Those two extra minutes Gene took for my daughter and me that night planted the seed that blooms today with the introduction of ChicagolandMusicalTheatre.com. The watering of the seed came just a couple months later, when then-makeitbetter associate editor Liz Logan asked me, “Would you ever want to write reviews?”
I replied enthusiastically, taking as many opportunities as were offered and writing a number of reviews pro bono to focus on the Chicagoland theatre beat and develop my own reviewing philosophy. (All my writing for makeitbetter may be seen here).
This focus brought with it two gifts.
The first is the honest privilege of being a fly on the stage door. That’s to say I love crossing paths with the many people who devote their lives to professional theatre (specifically, musical theatre) in Chicago and its suburbs.
I was acutely aware of this last October when I attended my first Equity Jeff Awards ceremony. Looking at the list of nominees, I realized I had met each of the actresses nominated for “Lead Performance in a Musical” and honestly thought, “They are all such nice people.”
The second gift of my writing focus is time with Christina Reszel. My lovely 17-year-old daughter is my frequent companion at shows I attend to review. And while our entire family loves musical theatre, writing for the genre gives this father/daughter connection a special bond during a time in our lives when we need it.
In fact, Christina is on for the social media aspect of this site. So all Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram suggestions will be going directly to her. 🙂
Together, these two gifts combine to create ChicagolandMusicalTheatre.com. My simple goal is to gather the community of participants and patrons of Chicagoland musical theatre (why “just” musicals is a topic for another day) to share information, insight, commentary and friendship. So…welcome. Visit often and make yourself at home.