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Afternoon Shift

The state of off-loop theater

When discussing the Chicago theater scene, many think of the historic Chicago Theatre and the Oriental Theatre. But most of Chicago theater is done outside of traditional, Loop stages. The off-loop theater scene is well-respected nationally and contributes mightily to the city’s strong artistic identity. But how economically feasible is it to put on big elaborate plays? Many performing artists are shedding the stagecraft and the line-item budgets to take up shop on a backstage at a bar, with a string of lights and a microphone. But what do you lose doing shows in the back of the bar competing against the blaring TV in the front of said bar? Kelly Ristow, co-founder of the Backstage Shakespeare Project, Tyler Greene, co-host of the performing arts podcast "General Admission" and managing director for Corn Productions at the "Corn"servatory Theater, Sarah Ballema, join us. Photo credit: Flickr/Brule Laker

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