Chicago, November 19, 2010. In six short weeks the Chicago Live! experiment by the Chicago Tribune and Second City has become one of the hottest tickets in town. Staged on the “downstairs stage”, actually the basement, of the Chicago Theatre, Chicago Live! is a 60- minute radio broadcast recorded live in front of an audience. Each weekly show features personalities selected from the who’s who of Chicago’s arts, entertainment, sports, politics and cultural scene followed by a 30-minute mix, mingle, take photographs, get autographs, get loaded, schmooze, drink and eat party. Both the show and party are included in the $25 price of a ticket.
The formula is brilliant–Second City’s Matt Hovde comes out on stage and warms up the audience as they relax in comfortable padded and movable armchairs–some sipping cocktails, others not. Then show host/MC, the Chicago Tribune and WGN radio’s, Rick Kogan talks with the audience and introduces the segments. The show continues at a lively pace with short energetic talk segments broken-up with song, dance and comedy segments. Each act is short–none lasting longer than seven or eight minutes.
Last night’s sold-out foodie-themed show featured Chicago Tribune food writer Kevin Pang hosting a segment with Chicago celebrity chefs The Girl and the Goat’s Stephanie Izard, Publican’s Paul Kahan and the outspoken and humorous Graham Elliot trading barbs with each other and with Michelin Guide Director Jean-Luc Naret. Next up, Chicago Tribune’s Food and Features Writer, Bill Daley refereed “The Great Hot Dog Debate” pitting Hot Doug’s Doug Sohn against George and Manolis Alpogianis of America’s Dog. The show continued with a lively dance segment, a Second City comedy sketch, a mix-off featuring Bristol’s Debbi Peek and the Drawing Room’s Charles Joly competing to see who could make the best seasonal cocktail. Kogan presented a multi-media “Almanac” segment recreating Chicago in 1934 along with some Billy Goat and Sally Rand trivia. Quentin Love of I Love Food Group talked to Kogan about his innovative restaurants that are bringing healthy food options to low income areas in the city and more–all this and more packed into 60-minutes.
Previous Chicago Live! shows featured performers from The Lion King, interviews with the Chicago Blackhawks, Scott Turow, and the Billy’s from Billy Elliot. Last night’s show was the final show in this series. We have to wait to see if Chicago Live! will continue in Spring 2011. If the reception from last night’s audience is any indicator, signs look good. Chicago Theatre. 175 N. State Street.
Go Behind the Scenes with Rick Kogan.
Chicago Live! Broadcasts.
The show will be broadcast on WGN-AM radio at 1a.m. Saturday morning, November 20. Or catch the podcast or recaps of this show and all the Chicago Live broadcasts at the Chicago Live! website.
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