The Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department‘s newly formed Theatre Advisory Board is sponsoring a free Columbia College Theatre Alumni and Friends performance of On the Town, the opening production of the Theatre Department’s 2023-24 Mainstage Season, on Saturday, November 11. The performance and pre-show reception take place at the Getz Theatre Center of Columbia College, located at 72 E. 11th St. in Chicago’s South Loop.
The Advisory Board’s co-chairs – Columbia College alums Victor Holstein ’04, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Acting, and Alex Rhyan ’15, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Theatre with a concentration in Stage Management – along with Theatre Department faculty will host a pre-show reception in the lobby starting at 6:30 PM prior to the 7:30 PM performance in the Courtyard Theatre. A limited supply of tickets are available for this offer. Click here to register now for your ticket.
We invite you to support the Theatre Department to continue special events and alumni opportunities like this one. With a $35 donation to the Theatre Department Gift Fund you’ll receive a limited edition t-shirt, a book of your choice from former Columbia College Theatre Department chair Sheldon Patinkin’s library, and a year’s membership to the Columbia College Alumni Network as an Innovator. Click here to make your donation. And for more information on Theatre Alumni activities, click here.
As previously reported in this blog, the 1944-45 Broadway hit On the Town marked the Broadway debuts of composer Leonard Bernstein, lyricists Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and choreographer Jerome Robbins. The comical script by Comden and Green (who also starred in the show) focused on three sailors in the U.S. Navy during World War II; on a 24-hour shore leave in New York City before shipping overseas to fight and perhaps die in the war, the trio seek adventure and romance – hoping to cram as much living as possible into what little time they have. Bernstein’s jazz-based score and Robbins’ use of dance to further the story were major innovations that helped shape the direction of American musical theatre for generations to come. As Sheldon Patinkin wrote in his textbook “No Legs, No Jokes, No Chance”: A History of the American Musical Theater (Northwestern University Press, 2008): “Although it wasn’t the first show to use swing, On the Town showed clearly that the newest pop music could be translated into musical theater terms if the setting was sufficiently contemporary and ‘hep’ – and if the show had a lot of dancing.” This production will also investigate diversity within the branches of the military, dispelling the notion of an all-white fighting force during the World Wars of the 20th century. For more information – including a complete cast and production team list for this LIVE, IN-PERSON production – click here.