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Good Theater Business News?!

By Suzy Evans in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 28, 2009 6:40PM

2009_09_Top_Small_Workplaces.jpg Folding theaters, plunging box office numbers and mass layoffs have dominated the theater headlines of late. And as journalism suffers along with the stage, reviews, profiles and upcoming show previews have become few and far between in some publications. So as we were flipping through our Wall Street Journal this morning (O.K., O.K., it was a press release), we were surprised and excited to hear that there is some hope out there for the business we call show. Our very own Steppenwolf Theatre Company has been named on of the top 15 places to work by the Wall Street Journal’s Top Small Workplaces 2009.

The WSJ partnered with Evanston-based Winning Workplaces (more Cook County!) for the third year to compile this list. We originally thought this would give Chicago an edge, but the Steppenwolf is one of two business named from the Windy City. (Radio Flyer, Inc. is the other.) The theater employs more than 400 people, both full-time and part-time, and has a 42-member artistic ensemble. Unlike many theaters, the theater provides all employees with 401(k) matching plans, and helps cover healthcare premiums. Another element that makes this theater stand out, according to the WSJ, is its focus on artistic apprentices and interns, who are given great responsibility and really incorporated into the theater’s team. However, theater is definitely a competitive industry, and we can imagine that even getting a job at the Steppenwolf can be tough. We’re happy they’re good to the workers, but way to up the competitive factor, WSJ.