I moved to Chicago in 1999 after graduating with my theater performance degree, and kinda sorta tried to become an actor. It didn’t happen, which is the best thing for all of us. Now, over 10 years later, I have an MBA, experience in finance & accounting, and a job in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra administration. It’s nice to work in a building with a stage again. I’m also on the Board of Directors of BackStage Theatre Company here in Chicago.

My wife and I just completed a budget for the whole year, instead of just for the next weeks or month. In so doing, we put aside $40 per week for theater: $20 each. And since we don’t have another budget line for concerts, lectures, and whatnot, all live performance tickets count against this $20. If we want to go to more expensive stuff, then we’ll save up our theater allowance so that we don’t go over budget. And I’m going to write here about what we see. And I’m going to spell theater with an “er” unless it’s spelled the other way in the proper name of a company or facility. I think that’s part of growing up.

Any views I express on this blog are my own, and not those of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, nor BackStage Theatre Company, nor any other organization with which I am affiliated.

NOTE REGARDING DISCOUNTS… As a person with a career in performing arts finance, and as the Treasurer and Marketing Committee Chair for a Chicago storefront theatre, I’m often frustrated when theater lovers go to Goldstar or Hottix first, even if they can afford to pay full price. A large share of what we pay on these sites goes to the ticket vendor, not the theater company. Being a patron means more than being a customer, and I would prefer to be a patron whenever possible. That said, our budget constraint is not arbitrary. When tickets cost $20 or less, we will pay full price. When they cost more, we will look for discounts. When discounted tickets are not within $20, then we’ll either choose a different show or save up for a couple weeks.

I think there will be two benefits to this constraint. First, we will see more storefront theater than anything else. Storefront theater is one of the great underutilized resources available to any resident of Chicago and the surrounding communities. I want to see more of it. Second, we will see a lot more theater this way. I believe that will be good for the theater companies, and good for me and my wife.

I also have another blog, which focuses on getting past the chatter and ignorance so common in public discourse. You can find it here: http://phrasemongers.wordpress.com.