Behind the Scenes with Managing Director Evelyn Jacoby

 

Windy City Playhouse is about to enter our third season – and we have clearly already come so far! With BOOTYCANDY getting ready for previews, we thought it might be fun to look at the past two years, starting with an interview with Windy City’s own Managing Director, Evelyn Jacoby (second from the left)!

We are lucky to have such a supportive theater community here in Chicago, and Evelyn feels that this is part of why our small company has met such success:

“It’s been a truly incredible two years (three since we started planning for our premiere season). When we were first announced our opening, I was amazed by how warm everyone was to us. So many artists and administrators reached out to offer help, and that has been invaluable. Opening a new company (and space) is a great challenge. We could not have done it without this community’s support.”

But of course, Windy City has come a long way. The staff has learned through each challenge, and Evelyn feels this has been a change for the better:

“I think the biggest change in the company is confidence. I see it in myself, our staff, and the artists we work with. Two years ago we were hesitant — we were scared to make mistakes, to offend, to go “too far”… I don’t think we have that anxiety anymore. Our vision for the theater is clearer than ever and we’re unapologetically realizing it.”

One aspect that has not changed is Windy City’s mission – to create accessible, relatable art for a range of audiences. This goal plays into season selection in a big way, and Evelyn was happy to explain further, using their most recent play, Apartment 3a, as an example:

“With Apartment 3A, we were excited both by who it might attract to the theater and what they would experience while there. Many people know the name “Jeff Daniels,” and it was fun to share with people that this well-known tv & film actor is also a playwright. We were excited that this name might bring new people into the theater, and that when it did, they would experience what was in fact a very touching story about faith — they would be presented with the most essential questions about human existence, all in the context of a fun “night out.” That push-and-pull, that felt very exciting to our team.”

Windy City wants to create an all-around positive (and fun!) experience for their audiences. The 2017 season is certainly that – even if a little daring:

“The 2017 season is, undoubtedly, our edgiest yet and we hope audiences notice that. With BOOTYCANDY in particular, we’re looking for those people who want to get a little dangerous with us — who want to have a great time, but also be challenged, pushed, surprised.”

Windy City invites audiences to grow and feel with them, creating a community for anyone who enters the door. In a city with so many different theaters, this certainly seems to be an element that sets this new company apart! Their leadership seems to agree:

“Without a doubt, the experience. It’s the energy at the Playhouse that distinguishes us– allowing people to exist in a space where they can be themselves, comfortable, excited, challenged, and delighted all at once. What’s that Maya Angelou quote? ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” To me, that’s what the Playhouse is all about.’”

But don’t take our word for it – come see for yourself! BOOTYCANDY kicks off Season Three at the Playhouse starting on January 25. Get your tickets before it’s too late!