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The Newberry Library
The Newberry Library
Smith Gallery, 60 West Walton Street
Chicago
free
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Chicago’s heritage of live performance and popular amusement seems to be as old as the city itself. Vaudeville, burlesque, melodrama, musical comedy, and opera dominated the scene in the 19th century, but there was also a developing desire for more “authentic” productions that might address the social, cultural, and economic issues of the modern world.

With colorful posters, programs, scripts, letters, and photographs, Stagestruck City traces the evolution of Chicago's theater tradition. The exhibition documents how the demands for more and for better entertainment led to the birth of the "little theatre" movement and: The Goodman. By the turn of the 20th century, African American theater was prospering, shows first staged in Chicago were winning acclaim on Broadway, and little theatres were offering experimental works often performed by amateur actors. With the opening of the Goodman Theatre in 1925, the values of an insurgent collection of actors, writers, and directors were institutionalized more firmly in Chicago.

(Picture: The Newberry Library)