WEST LOOP — With theater productions at a standstill because of coronavirus, Chicago Children’s Theatre is turning its fall production into a drive-in experience in the West Loop.
Starting next month, the theater at 100 S. Racine St. will convert its parking lot into a drive-in for families to see its production of “Beatrix Potter and Friends” on film.
Jacqueline Russell, co-founder and artistic director of the theater, said the production is bringing the puppet play to Chicagoans in a new way. The crew will project the video of the play in the parking lot, and there will be live music and interactive moments for families and their young children.
Russell said toddlers are “craving some type of shared family experience and interaction with the arts.”
“This is our way of responding to that need and bring that to our community,” Russell said.
The show will run at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 1-4, Oct. 8-11 and Oct. 15-18.
For $45, the showings will allow six people in a car or socially distanced family pod. The parking lot will allow for 17 cars and pods per show.
“Drive-In Theatre: Beatrix Potter and Friends” is directed by Will Bishop, and set design was completed by Grace Needlman. Veteran cast members Lara Carling, Kay Kron and Ray Rehberg will share four stories, including, “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” “The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher” and the “Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse.”
Cellist Sonia Goldberg will play live classical music as guests arrive. Show co-creator Kay Kron will lead kids in socially distanced interactive activities during the event.
Chicago Children’s Theatre began production of Beatrix Potter trunk-and-puppet show in 2015. Since then, the production has toured at parks across the Chicago Park District and in China, Russell said.
While the crew can’t wait to eventually welcome families back indoors, they plan to find more ways to be creative to provide theater and the arts to young children in the meantime, Russell said.
“We are going to do everything we can to rise to the occasion to serve the children and families of Chicago,” Russell said. “This is a time they really need us. We want to make sure we are creating experiences that will continue to excite them, and inspire them to love theater and the arts.
“We just need to work on putting smiles on each other’s faces. There is nothing like seeing a child smile during their first theater experience. We can’t let anyone miss out on that.”
Tickets go on sale Sept. 8 online.
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