Chicago LIVE! gathers performing artists at Navy Pier
“It was a whole different energy,” said Eric Bremer, who attended Chicago LIVE Again!
The pandemic has been particularly hard on the performing arts; While many other segments of society have been slowly returning to normal for months, live theatrical performances are only picking up. That’s why Navy Pier has brought together many of the city’s most renowned and talented companies, making vignettes on several stages around the pier.
“Our performing arts community was the first to be clouded by the pandemic and the last to recover from it, so we felt there was no better place than the People’s Pier to bring out these dark performances, “said Marilyn Gardner, president of Navy Pier.
“I think the whole idea of a celebration of live performances is coming back in earnest, I don’t know what that means, but I like the idea of coming back closer to normal,” said Edward Hunt, attendee .
It may sound like WWE, but it was actually the first day of rehearsal on stage for the Chicago Shakespeare Company’s avant-garde production of “As You Like It.” It was also the first day back on stage for the actors who dreamed of being there for a year and a half. They can’t wait to share it with a live audience.
“Thank God we can come back and be creative again,” said Kevin Gudahl, Shakespeare Theater. “It was tough not having that outlet other than entertaining your kids at home.”
Hubbard Street Dance is preparing to open a new show at the Harris Theater in a few weeks and will premiere at Navy Pier.
“I can’t remember another time you had such a concentration of Chicago’s best performing arts community all together,” said Dave McDermott, Hubbard Street Dance.
Months before the pandemic, Keanon Kyles quit his 9-year job as a caretaker at ABC7 to pursue his dream of becoming an opera singer. Now he’s back on stage, this time with an audience.
“This event at Navy Pier is definitely the starting point for this new form of live music, and now we’re coming back even stronger,” he said.
For many performers, actors, dancers and musicians who have thirsted for creativity for months, the chance to return to the stage is touching.
“I almost cried. It was very emotional. I was so excited. I feel really, really happy right now,” said Nancy Voigts, of the Shakespeare Theater.
Chicago LIVE! is held Friday and Saturday, and you can find more information on the Navy Pier website.
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