Tribune Critic Discusses Book on Chicago Theater

Chris Jones, chief theater critic for the Chicago Tribune, discusses his book Bigger, Brighter, Louder: 150 Years of Chicago Theater as Seen by Chicago Tribune Critics at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 11 at the Harold Washington Library Center.

The first known Chicago Tribune theater review appeared March 25, 1853. An anonymous notice, it shared the page with two other announcements—one about a pair of thousand-pound hogs set to be slaughtered and another trumpeting the largest load of lumber ever to leave Chicago. "And thus Chicago's priorities were starkly laid out right there on that page," begins Jones in the introduction to this new collection. "Hog butcher for the world and windy self-promoter, specializing in commerce-driven superlatives. The arts came a poor third. Critics would rail against that perceived set of civic priorities for years."

The Chicago of today, on the other hand, is regarded as one of the world's premier cities for theater, and no one has had a more consistent front-row seat to its ascendance than Chicago Tribune theater critics. Bigger, Brighter, Louder weaves together more than 150 years of Tribune reviews into a compelling narrative, pairing full reviews with commentary and history. With a sharp eye for telling details and a keen sense of historical context, Jones takes readers through decades of highs and lows, successes and failures.

The authors will sign books after the program; books will be for sale.

Seating is limited and is first come, first served.