Thursday, December 11, 2014

BoHo Joins the League of Chicago Theatres

BoHo Theatre is thrilled to announce that we are now full members of the League of Chicago Theatres.

Over the past ten years, BoHo has grown from producing an intimate production of Art at the Bailiwick Studio (our first show) to, most recently, staging the musically and technically complex 15-person musical Parade at Theater Wit. Along the way, we have met and worked with hundreds of talented artists, all of whom we count as members of our extended BoHo family. By fostering an environment that supports and encourages our artists to explore and stretch their limits, we not only create inspiring work for our audience, but also influence the greater community of Chicago artists. We hope that every great experience an artist has with us moves them to help create a nurturing and caring experience with their next role at another company, paying forward the love and goodwill.

As we look around at the Chicago theatre scene today, we see more exciting work being produced than ever before. When we first began this journey, people thought it confounding that we produced both musicals and straight plays. Why couldn’t we settle on one form of theatre? But now, we see more and more theatre companies mixing styles and genres in their seasons, opening up our audience community to broader opportunities to be moved by performing art. Maybe we helped inspire this, maybe not, but at least we’re in excellent company, and our audiences rarely find our range of programming baffling anymore.

So as our tenth anniversary season came to a close, we knew now was the perfect time to finally join the League, an alliance of over 200 arts organizations that forms one of the most diverse theatre organizations in the country. We look forward to partnering with the League to bring our patrons a wider range of community-focused events, such as Chicago Theatre Week and Theatre Thursdays. We will also take advantage of the increased visibility the League offers to invite new patrons to join us in experiencing the next ten years of what BoHo can bring to this beautiful tapestry of Chicago performing arts. For us, a theatre that has spent a decade welcoming people into our large family, it feels pretty nice to be welcomed into an exciting new family ourselves.

BoHo's company at the Bohemian Birthday Bash

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Power of Giving

From the Desk of the Executive Director, Kaela Altman

As 2014 starts to wind down to a close I find myself feeling nostalgic and grateful. When BoHo closed Parade on November 16, our Company members gathered together to toast the season, and celebrate what an incredible 10th year we have had.

  • We produced four shows over the course of 16 months.
  • We received another record year of Jeff Nominations, which reminded us of our power to create incredibly thoughtful theater.
  • We saw over 1,000 people at general auditions throughout the year.
  • And we shared our artistry with well over 3600 patrons who came out to support Live Theatre in Chicago.

Last night, in Times Square, a "Bono-less U2" presented a surprise concert in honor of World AIDS Day. After an introduction from former President Bill Clinton, the stage was glittered with A-listers from Bruce Springsteen, Carrie Underwood, Kanye West, and many, many more in honor of those who have lost their battle with AIDS, and in celebration of those who have survived. President Clinton said that in 2013, more people received treatment than were diagnosed, an incredible feat given the state of this crisis some twenty years ago.

And that got me thinking about the Power of Giving. Whether it's $5 or $5,000, every single contribution makes an impact. Contributing doesn't just build a bottom line, or close a revenue gap.

Giving, in it's purest sense, unites a Community of people in support of a common cause.

Giving and Theater are similar in that regard and is representational of a Community of People, a Community of Artists, coming together to share their gifts, their hearts, and their passions which can collectively effect change.

BoHo is incredibly lucky to share this space with our fellow artists and we are incredibly grateful to everyone who gives to storefront. On this #GivingTuesday, I ask that you share your support for your cause today. Whether it is BoHo, your local food pantry or animal shelter, or perhaps another cause near and dear to your heart, celebrate the Power of Giving today and remember the spirit of the season.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Reflections from Artistic Director Peter Sullivan

Today, as we gather around a table with friends, with family, with loved ones, for a holiday on which we take stock of our lives and be thankful for what we have, I'm asked to consider: What am I thankful for? I’ll tell you, if you’ll allow me to drop my typical bohemian sentimentality for a moment.

I’m thankful we’re still here.

Peter Marston Sullivan directing the cast of Kiss of the Spider Woman

This may not come as “big news” to most, but it’s really hard to keep a Chicago storefront theatre company running. It’s hard to spend hours, days, weeks, months and even (really?!) years working to not only make it to the next show, but also ensure that the next show is as good as it can be. It’s hard to learn that just doing good theatre is not enough, or to ask company members and artists to give up so much of their time for little or no pay. It’s hard to get people to spend $20 and 2 hours to come see something you, your company and its artists are incredibly passionate about. It’s hard to not feel that some things - or all things - are your fault. It’s hard to wonder what shock or surprise will come next (though there is, at least, comfort in the knowledge that a shock or surprise will, in fact, be coming soon). For me, personally, sometimes it’s hard not to simply walk away, throw in the towel, or go grab one and get in some beach time... in Hawaii... with a drink. And yet...

I’m thankful we’re still here.

I know what you’re thinking: “So why do it?” I think many would share my answer: “We have to.” Whether it’s for self-fulfillment, or the hope that one individual life may be changed, be it an artist or audience: We have to. Because without these challenges, without these stories, without the process of putting something together as a cast - or a company - without those memories, those tears, that joy, the passion, what would be the point? We need to. I need to. And so...

I’m thankful we’re still here.

Peter Marston Sullivan talking with the cast of Pippin

And here we are, ending our 10th Season and celebrating our 10th year as a company. We’re planning a 10th Anniversary Bohemian Birthday Bash. It’s impossible not to look back on what my personal story is with BoHo. And I’ll tell you, it’s a complicated story, filled with a slew of twists and turns and chapters of sorrow and hilarity and joy. And you know what? I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The incredible memories I have of moments, of people, of shows. Of sitting in the audience, holding tight with a fellow traveler in hopes the lights and sound actually work. It’s been amazing. And because I wouldn’t mind a little more of it...

I’m thankful we’re still here.

So yes. Yes. I’m incredibly thankful to the myriad of astounding artists that have devoted their time and passion to this company. I am so grateful to the friends I have made these past years. I’m thankful to a company that continues to grow, change, adapt, learn and dream. I am thankful to our board, and those that have given donations and helped us make it to the next show. I’m so grateful to everyone that decided to spend that $20 and those 2 hours to see what our little storefront company can do. And you know what? I’m thankful it’s hard. Because those challenges have taught me more about myself than any simple journey could ever hope to.

I’m thankful we’re still here. And we're ready for what’s next.

-Peter Marston Sullivan
BoHo Theatre Artistic Director