“All the world’s a stage” takes on new meaning with Chicago’s Theater Wit’s announcement today that it will begin selling remote viewing tickets to online, streamed video performances of its Chicago premiere of Teenage Dick.
Here’s how this new way of ‘attending’ theater works:
Patrons buy a ticket for their desired date and time, same as always.
Ten minutes before the show begins, all ticket buyers will receive an email with a private URL and password to watch the performance on Vimeo. The performance will be shot on two cameras, using mixed video to provide close-ups and full coverage of the staging. At the end of every performance, the video stream will conclude and no longer be accessible.
Alternately, ticket buyers can confirm they would like to attend their performance in person. To allow for social distancing while keeping the performers safe, physical seating will be capped at 40 per performance in what is normally a 98-seat house. Theater Wit has revamped its box office and house management procedures to allow for contactless entry as well as nightly cleanings of the space in response to concerns about COVID-19.
Press opening remains Wednesday, March 18 at 7 p.m. This performance will be captured live on video.
Starting Friday, March 20, performance/streaming video show times will adhere to the original schedule through April 19: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Whether viewed online (recommended) or on-site, Teenage Dick runs 100 minutes, no intermission. Tickets are $28 for remote viewing; $30-$42 in person. For tickets and information, visit TheaterWit.org or call
(773) 975-8150. Theater Wit is located at 1229 N. Belmont Ave.,
in the Belmont Theatre District in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.
In a statement posted on Theater Wit's website, Artistic Director Jeremy Wechsler wrote:
“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary ingenuity. Theater audiences and artists are collateral damage in this global catastrophe. The unfolding disaster robs us of the simple joy of coming together for a shared story. So we asked ourselves—how can we safely bring everyone together?”
“Even before large gatherings were restricted in Chicago, we were thinking through issues of accessibility. Teenage Dick gives the disabled community its first true anti-hero. We wanted everyone, regardless of their health status or physical limitations, to see MacGregor Arney’s fantastic portrayal of the title role.”
“Mounting concern about coronavirus spurred our decision to make this option available to every audience member. The playwright, publisher, cast, and crew all got on board right away. We worked through the details with Actors’ Equity and now, here we go. We strongly encourage anyone who loves live theater, no matter where they are located, to join us and 97 other members of our community online or in person to experience Mike Lew’s devastatingly funny, sharply written new play.”
Playwright Mike Lew added, “Amidst a health catastrophe that's brought Broadway itself to a standstill, I'm thrilled Theater Wit has found a safe way to keep our show running and keep honoring the hard work and immense talent of our artists. I urge Chicagoans to witness Teenage Dick as much for the experience of the play as for joining this experiment in social connecting despite social distancing.”
The cast features MacGregor Arney as Richard, Liz Cloud as Elizabeth, Ty Fanning as Eddie, Courtney Rikki Green as Anne, Sarah Price as Clarissa and Tamara Rozofsky as Buck.
Wit’s production team is Jake Ganzer (choreographer), Sotirios Livaditis (scenic designer), Izumi Inaba (costume designer), Michelle Benda (lighting designer), Eric Backus (sound designer), Almanya Narula (intimacy/fight choreographer), Jonathan Berg-Einhorn (props designer), Clare Cooney (casting director) and Sean McStravick (stage manager).
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