Family theater plays at museum
Tuesday, July 01, 2003
Emerald City delivers performance at Historical Society
Emerald City Theatre is trying out a new home this month. For two weeks in July, the children's theater group will take its act to the Chicago Historical Society.
It's an experiment that, if successful, could become an ongoing partnership that would give Emerald City the ability to produce bigger shows and give the Historical Society exposure to a younger audience.
"I think we're all excited to see if families think it's beneficial to them to have under one roof a family theater and a tremendous museum," says Karen Cardarelli, executive director of Emerald City and one of its founding members.
"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," Emerald City's spring production, will run at the Historical Society July 11--25. If the July run is successful, the Historical Society will host Emerald City's biggest production every year.
The theater company's regular home is Apollo Theater, also the permanent home of the hit production "The Vagina Monologues." Despite the controversy of "The Vagina Monolgues," Cardarelli says Apollo has been a great home and the hugely successful "Monologues" has been "a wonderful partnership, oddly enough."
On show days, Emerald City hides the "Monologues'" explicit lobby advertising with its own signs. It allows the children's theater to declare its presence while it covers up the potentially offensive posters. Sharing space with "Monologues" has been easy, Cardarelli says, because the set consists of only a rug and three chairs.
"It doesn't take up much space and it's a very quick thing to do to make them go away so we can take over the space," Cardarelli says.
Emerald City will have to work harder to change sets at Historical Society's auditorium because so many other groups use that stage. But it's worth the effort because the bigger production space will allow Emerald City to produce bigger shows.
Apollo allows the family theater group to do small shows where younger children can sit close to the stage and be involved. The Historical Society's 440--seat auditorium, on the other hand, provides space for more visual and special effects for older kids. "Peter Pan" is on tap for the space next year.
The Historical Society sees the experiment as potentially beneficial to it as well.
"We're always looking for visibility and exposure, and to forward our mission of educating children and supporting our mission of servicing the community and exposing the kids to history and education," says Kathy Horky, director of corporate events at Chicago Historical Society.
"It's a great opportunity to partner with a community organization," Horky says.
For more information about Emerald City Theatre, visit www.emeraldcitytheatre.com. For tickets to the show at the Historical Society, call the Apollo Box Office at (773) 935--6100.
-- Kathryn Monroe