Victory Gardens Theater, Chicago's #1 producer of new plays, announced today it will name its new studio theater upstairs at the Victory Gardens Biograph the Richard Christiansen Theater, in honor of the Chicago Tribune chief critic emeritus and longtime champion of Chicago's live theater scene.
"Richard Christiansen, a dear friend and colleague, is a true advocate for Chicago's Off-Loop theater scene, from its advent in the mid-1970s, throughout his career, and still today," said Victory Gardens Artistic Director Dennis Zacek."In particular, Richard understands and respects the very fragile nature of Victory Gardens' singular devotion to developing new plays. Without his encouragement, advice, and yes, constructive criticism, I am certain Victory Gardens would not be the American Center for New Plays it is today. And I dare say we would not be ensconced in our beautiful new home, the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater. So it's fitting that our beautiful jewel box of a new studio theater be named in honor of Richard, the rare human being who still has the capacity to find wonder and amazement each time the curtain is drawn."
On Monday, March 1, Victory Gardens will host a special celebration to honor Christiansen, and officially name its new, 109-seat second floor studio theater the "Richard Christiansen Theater." The March 1 event also launches Victory Gardens Theater's new, $1 million dollar "Campaign for Growth."
Cocktails start at 5 pm at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, followed at 6 pm by a special salute to Christiansen in his new namesake theater. Invited guests represent a who's who from Chicago's theater scene, past and present. Contact the Victory Gardens development office, 773.549.5788 x 2146, for information on how to contribute in honor of Richard Christiansen, or visit victorygardens.org/campaignforgrowth for more details.
As part of the Campaign for Growth, a special Artists' Tribute Fund is being created specifically for artists to honor Christiansen's tireless support of Chicago theater. Participants in the Artists' Tribute Fund will be announced shortly, and are pledging to match fellow artists' donations dollar for dollar.
"We are thrilled and honored that Richard accepted this honor, and can't imagine a more fitting tribute than naming the new studio theater the Richard Christiansen Theater. Richard's role in the rise and success of the Chicago theater community is unparalleled. We are all indebted to him, and it gives us great pleasure to provide him with a ‘theater of his own'," said Jan Kallish, Executive Director, Victory Gardens Theater.
Kallish added, "The naming of the Richard Christiansen Theater is the centerpiece of our Campaign for Growth, enabling us to continue and expand our commitment to new work, diverse audiences, access, and education. Programmatic initiatives such as our hugely successful Ignition Festival and Fresh Squeezed will continue to flourish on both stages through the support of our patrons, donors and sponsors."
Margie Korshak, co-chair of the Richard Christiansen Theater tribute, added, "No one has done more for Chicago Theater and no one deserves to have a theater named after him than Richard Christiansen." Fellow co-chair Jane Nicholl Sahlins concurred, "Naming this theater for Richard is a recognition of his unique and enduring contribution to the most vibrant theatre scene on the planet."