Chicago’s New Performing Arts Center – Will It Be Used? (Will It Be Paid For?)

Chicago’s new $53-million, 1,500-seat Music and Dance Theater Chicago is under construction despite a shortfall of $13 million. The theatre is designed to be a home to many of the city’s mid-size arts groups, but there’s some debate about how many of them will really use it. “Many of the groups lack the financial resources to make a go of it in this new space without a lot of new financial help. Some of them have struggled to pay their bills at the Athenaeum, which charges about as much per week as the new theater will charge per day.” Says one critic: “I don’t think we need that theater. But it’s not about need. It’s about being downtown and building a monument. So what can you do?”