A Twist of Water

Thank you and Congratulations to our Mayor-Elect…

Posted by Erica Weiss on March 1, 2011

On Saturday morning, the front page of The Chicago Tribune featured Chris Jones’ Four-Star review of A Twist of Water. In his write-up, Jones made a point of encouraging our recently elected Mayor to attend.

“Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel and those jockeying to share his power to put down the reports, resumes and briefing books this Saturday night and head, not to party with the Bulls, but over to Belmont Avenue where they might ponder the living soul of the paradoxical town they will soon be leading, and to whose citizens they will need to articulate a vision that goes deeper than parking meters.”

He added:

“Since Parrish’s starting point is as much Abraham Lincoln as Sandburg, they could pick up the governor on the way. They would witness one of Chicago’s greatest assets: artistic self-examination moving from generation to generation. Performed intimately, affordably, to whoever cares to show up.”

That afternoon, Mr Emanuel called the box office and made reservations for the evening performance. You can read the scoop on The Chicago Tribune HERE, and The Wall Street Journal’s pickup of the story HERE.

Our first impulse, after the immediate giddiness in hearing the news of his ticket purchase, was to make sure not to tell the cast. Why put them under added pressure when they’re already delivering such solid shows night after night? Also, it gave me a chance to practice my acting skills – for I am nothing if not a terrible liar, and had to come up with a reason I was so dressed up when I visited backstage. I think it was something like, “I’m giving the curtain speech tonight!” It never hurts to tell the truth when you’re trying to conceal part of it.

We were stunned and honored to have Mr Emanuel there, and very impressed that Mr Jones sent such a resounding message. The Mayor-Elect showed up in the Theater Wit lobby with two friends, in an untucked shirt, jeans, and a bomber jacket, to many “congratulations!” from folks in the lobby, and some photo requests. There were three shows running at Theater Wit that night – in addition to Twist, Stage Left’s Enemy of the People and Wit’s This were in previews. His presence excited everyone. I do not report the details this way to be sycophantic or fawning (though, let’s be honest – he was President Obama’s right-hand man. I might have been a little fawn-y), but because I believe that his showing up at this Chicago storefront theatre sends a signal that all theatre artists in this city should be looking forward to his term – that we may see in Daley’s successor an Arts Mayor who puts his (fingers crossed) money where his mouth is.

Mayor-Elect Emanuel was a fantastic audience member. He was engaged, responsive, and quite friendly. After curtain call, before we brought up the house lights and opened the doors, I got up onstage (which is not my natural habitat) to acknowledge our special guest. The cast’s reaction, having no idea, was so priceless I wish I could have bottled it. Falashay Pearson, who plays Jira, and is also amongst the world’s most entertaining human beings, actually jumped in the air and made a sound which is probably not reproducible. It was a really wonderful shared experience between artists and audience. A commenter on The Chicago Tribune’s story, Jason R, who was at the show that night, says:

“Absolutely one of the most magical nights of my theater going life in Chicago. The play, probably the best new script to hit this town since August Osage, and Rahm being present in this intimate audience made for live theater experience that was not only enjoyable…but important. It said that the man who is going to run this city feels as though what is being done on that stage is vital. Astounding.”

We should, all of us in the Chicago arts community, be excited by this story. It shows us that he cares, and acknowledges the value of the small theatres as well as the larger institutions. I am very much looking forward to seeing what the Emanuel Era brings for The Windy City.

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3 Responses to “Thank you and Congratulations to our Mayor-Elect…”

  1. […] begins. Our new Mayor Rahm Emanuel was interviewed by Time Out Chicago and talked about all the great performances he’s seen in Chicago since the election ended, including A Twist of Water when it was still playing at Theater Wit! […]

  2. Farhan said

    . KIRSTIN wants a live-out Nanny job to start between now and May-05 for 12 mohnts in New Zealand.Come on down Keer! You’ll love it here. Yes Weathertop Mama the scenery is to die for. I’m 5 minutes from the beach myself.

  3. jidszrcd said

    zgOFOR dcqyeerqwmbx

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