After more than a year with the curtains closed, Broadway in Chicago will reopen in the Loop, with “RENT” opening at the CIBC Theater on Tuesday evening.
It has the potential to reclaim millions of dollars lost during the coronavirus pandemic.
Michael Edwards, CEO of the Chicago Loop Alliance, said reopening the theaters could increase foot traffic in the Loop by 20%.
“Thirty-five thousand seats, seven nights a week, that’s a lot of people,” said Edwards. “Theater is a big part of what the loop is about.”
Edwards said the annual economic impact of theater and the arts in Chicago’s Loop is $ 2.5 billion.
It’s no surprise why Jason Williams, General Manager of the Grillroom Chop House and Wine Bar, has been eagerly awaiting the day.
“It means everything to us,” said Williams. “The theater is something we’ve definitely been waiting for and we’re really excited to have it again.”
Williams said up to 75% of the restaurant’s business could come from a show at the theater across the street.
On Tuesday evening, all available reservations in the restaurant were fully booked.
According to Lou Raizin, president of Broadway in Chicago, 50% of the audience for shows come from more than 100 miles away.
“It’s huge. Today it’s huge,” said Raizin. “As soon as we celebrate the New Year, the machine really starts to run at full speed again.”
Broadway in Chicago is already booking shows in its four theaters in the loop until 2023.
All 11 theaters in the loop are to be reopened in the coming months.