Chicago Muse

The Chicago Muse has put out a search for new musicals and so I have sent off the libretto and a CD of POSSESSED.

The Chicago Muse, used to be called The Theatre Building Chicago and I first heard about it when John Sparks, who was the Artistic Director, came over to London and did some masterclasses at the Old Vic.  I submitted Possessed in its embryonic form and John was really helpful.  I remember one very specific change I made to the lyrics of a song - it was called "Bitter Sea" and John told me that bitter was both a difficult word to sing and also not a very good emotion to be putting over in a song.  I spent a lot of time thinking about this and the song is now called "Hungry Sea" which fitted perfectly with the imagery that was already inherent in the lyrics.

Chicago Muse have completely changed the structure of the Theatre organisation and opened with a new show called THE STORY OF MY LIFE, a musical by Neil Bartram (music & lyrics) and Brian Hill (book).

John Sparks was not at all happy with the sale of the Theatre to a private investment company and wrote an article about it in the Chicago Time Out earlier in the year.  Here is a link to his piece about it.

But it looks as if the theatre has re-invented itself and I wish them all the best of luck with it, especially as they are now firmly concentrating on musicals.

The interesting aspect of the decision making process for shows at the theatre now is that once the board have narrowed down the list of scripts that interest them they then give them to the members of the Reading Committee, which is a paid membership program intended to foster the shared involvement of both theatre professionals and patrons. All Chicago Muse members have a voice and are not just subscribers. While subscribers buy, members belong and are able to be a part of the decision making process at the theatre. 

I wonder whether the subscription idea would be a good way to go with regional theatre in the UK, now that the Arts Council are no longer going to be playing much of a part in funding in the future.


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