Broadway in Chicago has announced big plans for the fall and for next year. Meanwhile, the actual Broadway reopened this week, with a reboot of “Springsteen on Broadway.”
Longtime Chicago Tribune theater critic Chris Jones was there and he tells us about that, what’s in store for Chicago theater, plus transitioning into his new role at the Tribune.
“I was interested in writing editorials. I’ve long been interested in that. I didn’t anticipate this development or go after this development … but I did not expect to emerge from all of this in this position,” Jones said when asked if he wanted the job.
“The paper has obviously gone through a difficult three weeks, and those of us who are still there are very aware of the people who are not there, and readers who are losing names that they’re familiar with,” he said.
“But I think I’d like to make the editorial board a place of healing, not just for the paper and its relationship with the city but to the city itself, and I’d like to focus in the near-term on the recovery from the pandemic and make the editorial board not necessarily a place of division but a place where we can elevate the civic discourse a bit,” Jones said.
While Jones said he plans to uphold the traditions of the Tribune editorial board, there may be room for new voices and conversations.
“The Tribune has a longstanding commitment to, for example, freedom of speech and individual liberty and I believe in that very strongly. It has a strong commitment to business and economic recovery, and I’m very interested in continuing that, and it has historically also kept a check on government and spoken up when it feels that the government is doing something that’s not right. All of that would continue,” he said.
“I’d hope there’s more focus on equity and on bringing everybody along and focusing on things that unify the city and it being a place where the city can air its disagreements,” Jones said.
“A lot of people coming out of the pandemic have decided they don’t want to do certain things. They want to make a change, or they want to give something up or they want to re-align in some way about something. I think it would be an interesting project for the board to think about that for Chicago in general. How are we going to come together as a city and re-establish our identity? I’d like to see the board be kind of a cheerleader for Chicago as it gets back its identity and it fights wrong perceptions from outside.”