Welcome back to the Chicago Theatre Tour! Each day, we’ll be sharing some of our adventures as we see plays, explore the city, and have conversations. We’re exploring the city and its theatre scene together, and we couldn’t be more excited.
Day One was a smooth start, followed by a terrific evening. Many of us flew together from Bradley to O’Hare Airport in Chicago, where we were met by a charter bus to our hotel. As we drove into the city, we had a marvelous view of the Loop and downtown. At the Hotel Monaco, our rooms were all ready for us, and we were welcomed graciously. Our hotel is located right in the Loop, with the Chicago River (& the newly extended Riverway) just behind us.
(Across the river from us, and visible from our meeting room, is a large tower with the name of a certain presidential candidate emblazoned across its face.) Everyone checked in, and tour goers enjoyed the afternoon in small groups.
A few of our travelers went off right away for a tour favorite, the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise. It was a sparkling day on the water, and everyone who went encouraged the rest of the tour-goers to find time for this remarkable experience. Some of our return travelers from last year are looking forward to taking the tour again.
Others explored Millennium Park, or began to sight see the astonishing architecture of Chicago–either on foot or by boat tour. Some began the process of visiting the Art Institute of Chicago. The Art Institute is one of those rare museums that will reward as much time as the visitor can give it, and we plan to give it much more this week.
At 6:30, we met back at the Hotel Monaco for drinks, followed by our Welcome Dinner. We had a wonderful chance to get to know each other at our tables, then we heard from Producing Artistic Director Daniel Elihu Kramer (that’s me, by the way, writing this entry), and our wonderful Board President, Gail Perlman. Before dessert, our 23 travelers introduced themselves. We headed back to our rooms, to get ready for our first full day in Chicago, which will include a talk from Steven Oxman–Chicago Theatre Critic for Variety–and a trip to Steppenwolf Theatre to see the premiere of David Hare’s Visiting Edna.