ML - Michigan Avenue

2013 - Issue 5 - September

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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Page 60 of 163

S uperlatives PEOPLE, CULTURE, TASTE, STYLE VIEW FROM THE TOP Lou Raizin AS THE CURTAIN RISES ON A NEW THEATER SEASON, THE PRESIDENT OF BROADWAY IN CHICAGO AIMS TO PUT THE WINDY CITY SQUARELY IN THE SPOTLIGHT. BY J.P. ANDERSON I t's all too easy to romanticize the world of theater—the lights, the applause, blessing would be you know there are people coming into your venue the laughter and tears—but for Broadway in Chicago President Lou every night; the curse is that you can't fulfill subscriptions or continue to Raizin, the thrill is about business. "I get excited when I think of sellouts," feed the community that becomes accustomed to you. So we sat down and says the compact, silver-maned Detroit native. "When a show sells out, it started to think about how to really have it all... to acquire the real estate we means there's something magical on stage that's drawing the audience, needed to move the shows around. To a large degree we keep shows much and then I start thinking about the economics tied to the performer and the like O'Hare keeps airplanes in a holding pattern waiting for arrival; we signal them down and bring them in. That's a wonderful place to be, and audience. It's all about maximizing the opportunity." As I sit across from Raizin at a conference table in the BIC offices, it's that's only happened in the last 10 years or so." Raizin is supremely confident about his product, arguing that no city comhard to argue. We're surrounded by evidence of the organization's stage triumphs, like framed posters of hits like Kinky Boots, the musical that pares to Chicago when it comes to live theater—not even New York or London. "The way I think about things, Chicago's made its world premiere in October 2012 at number one," he says. "One of the critics out of the the Bank of America Theatre before taking UK called Chicago 'ground zero for new work.' Broadway by storm and winning six Tony [Broadway in Chicago] makes a lot of noise and Awards in June. But the real proof is the botbrings in the major talent and big shows, but look at tom line: Since Raizin cofounded the the 250-plus theaters that make up this city, and venture in 2000, Broadway in Chicago's there's new work happening on those stages every five city stages have brought an annual econight. It's a theater festival in this city if you think nomic impact of $750 million to the City of about it that way. Every single night." Chicago and the State of Illinois. —LOU RAIZIN Raizin is passionate about the world of the stage— Raizin caught the entertainment bug he waxes nostalgic about seeing Les Misérables for early, immediately drawn to the business side of the industry even while working as an usher at Detroit's Pine Knob the first time "with tears in my eyes," and fondly remembers taking his kids Music Theater. The Michigan State graduate then joined the legendary to Cirque du Soleil, "which they described as a 'circus from another planet.'" Nederlander Organization to help open Poplar Creek Music Theater in And indeed, Raizin is an artist himself—a conceptual photographer who has Hoffman Estates in 1980 and build a number of additional amphitheaters shown in galleries around Chicago (his most recent exhibit, "Still of the around the country before starting Broadway in Chicago. "Up until that Night," depicted a series of abandoned construction projects and showed at point Chicago was what was referred to as a 'Boston truck town,'" explains Highwood's Spectrum Fine Art Gallery this summer). But spend any time with Raizin, and it's clear that he sees his role as Raizin. "It was a two-week run. That was the extent of theater in this city.... It would have been a blessing and a curse to have a long-run show. The continued on page 60 PHOTOGRAPHY BY KATRINA WITTKAMP "We keep shows much like O'Hare keeps airplanes waiting for arrival. We signal them down and bring them in." MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 058-060_MA_SP_VFT_Sept_13.indd 59 59 8/7/13 1:09 PM

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