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Our Town Sets Record

By Suzy Evans in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 21, 2009 8:15PM

2009_12_Town.jpg We know The Hypocrites Our Town is good, but now, it's officially the best. The acclaimed production, which moved to New York almost a year ago, is the longest running production of the play. Ever. Considering it's a very commonly produced play - more than 4,000 performances according to The New York Times - that's quite an accomplishment. This production, Off Broadway at the Barrow Street Theater, broke the record set by the original Broadway production from 1938.

Now, we're all for touting Chicago plays that make it to New York - and there have been quite a few this year - but Our Town is a special case. It's not succeeding on the Broadway behemoth but in a tiny, intimate theater in the West Village. Even in rough economic times, this production proves that small, celebrity-free theater can be just as successful as the big players. And since it's such a popular play, we can't help but attribute some of the success to director David Cromer's deft hand and Chicago's theatrical aesthetic.

With all of the theater closings and movie stars monopolizing the stage, it's nice to know that audiences still appreciate good theater. In our biased opinions, Chicago has the best theater in the world because there's no pretense. Anyone can come to theater in Chicago for a relatively low price. We take risks on new work and new interpretations, and we allow ourselves to fail because the biggest failures only lead to the greatest successes. (Just look at this year's New York line up.) We're not cowering in the shadow of Broadway or relying on Hollywood popularity. We make theater like it should be made. And other cities are starting to take note.