|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2008)|
|Address||1543 W. Division St
Chicago, IL 60642
|Owner||Zygmunt Dyrkacz and Lela Headd|
|Capacity||226 Main; 175 Studio|
|Production||456 theatrical, literary and music presentations (2011)|
|Architect||M.F. Strunch Architects|
Founded in 1990, Chopin Theatre has grown into one of America’s most active arts centers, producing, co-producing or presenting over 500 theater, music, film, literary and social events each year. With approximately 1,800 unique events over its 25 year history, its mission is the promotion of enlightened civic discourse through a diverse range of artistic offerings. Chopin Theatre is privately held and operates without public funding.
Chopin Theatre has produced over 110 of its own productions, mostly Eastern European, and has hosted performers from each American state and from over 40 countries. Its many guests have included Pulitzer winners Gwendolyn Brooks, Yusef Komunyakaa and Studs Terkel; authors Stuart Dybek, Aleksandar Hemon, Haki Madhubuti, Sara Paretsky, Art Shay, Zadie Smith, Bronislaw Wildstein and Howard Zinn; poets Nikki Giovanni, Luis Rodriguez, Mark Smith, Michael Warr and Adam Zagajewski; actors John Cusack and Jeremy Piven; acclaimed musicians Edward Auer, Peter Brotzman, Chuck D., Kurt Elling, Von Freeman, Fareed Haque, Adam Makowicz, Rob Mazurek, Dominic Miller and Paul Wertico.
Chopin Theatre has also organized over 60 interviews or “Spotkania” with leading Polish and Polish American cultural and political figures including Wesley Adamczyk, Grazyna Auguscik, Urszula Dudziak, Andrzej Dudzinski, Stuart Dybek, Jan Englert, Slawomir Fabicki, Feliks Falk, Natasza Goerke, Ryszard Horowitz, Kazimierz Kalkowski, Tymoteusz Karpowicz, Tadeusz Konwicki, Krzysztof Krauze, Ireneusz Krosny, Ryszard Krynicki, Frank Kujawinski, Leszek Madzik, Bronislaw Maj, Michal Pawel Markowski, P. Marcinkiewicz, Andrzej Nowak, Marek Nowakowski, Jan Peszek, Maciej Płażyński, Piotr Sommer, Franciszek Starowiejski, Andrzej Stasiuk, Grzegorz Stec, Jozef Szajna, Joanna Trzeciak, Beata Tyszkiewicz, Bronislaw Wildstein, Bronislaw Wroclawski and Adam Zagajewski.
Chopin Theatre is also the producer of I-Fest, Ideas in Motion I-Fest, an international festival of solo performances which has brought to Chicago 17 international artists from 10 countries—Austria, England, Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Ukraine.
Originally constructed in 1918 by M.F. Strunch Architects as a 987 seat Nickelodeon, today it houses a Main Stage (200), Cabaret Studio (50-100) with its Pregnant Buffalo Lounge (renamed courtesy of Robbie Telfer) the Nelson Algren Café, East Wing Art Gallery and the office/residence of owners Zygmunt and Lela Dyrkacz, their sons and pets.
The building of the Chopin Theatre was designed in 1918 by M.F. Strunch Architects as a 987 seat theater at 1541-43 W. Division Street. Today it houses a Main Stage (200) and a Cabaret Studio (50-100) with tis Pregnant Buffalo Lounge. According to the Theatre Historical Society of America, the theatre's name has changed named several times over the years from Chopin Theatre to Harding Theatre, back to Chopin Theatre and then to Pix Theatre from 1940-1948. During the next 40 years it went through a number of alternate uses: Security Federal Savings and Loan; thrift shop; discothèque, etc. In 1990 the vacant building was purchased by the Dyrkacz Family and gradually restored.
- Edward Auer, International Chopin Piano Competition pianist
- Gwendolyn Brooks, Pulitzer Prize winning poet
- Peter Brötzmann, free jazz saxophonist and clarinetist
- Mircea Cărtărescu, poet
- David Cromer, MacArthur Fellows Program/"Genius Grant", director
- John Cusack, actor and film producer
- Chuck D, rapper and author
- Urszula Dudziak, jazz vocalist
- Stuart Dybek, MacArthur Fellows Program/"Genius Grant", author
- Michael Eric Dyson, academic, author and radio host
- Kurt Elling, jazz vocalist
- Kahil El'Zabar, jazz multi-instrumentalist
- Tony Fitzpatrick, visual artist
- Von Freeman, jazz tenor saxophonist
- Nikki Giovanni, award wining poet, "Living Legend"
- Fareed Haque, fusion guitar virtuoso
- Aleksander Hemon, MacArthur Fellows Program/"Genius Grant" ,author
- Ryszard Horowitz, photographer
- Steve James, filmmaker, "Hoop Dreams"
- Malalai Joya, activist, writer, former Afghan politician
- Yusef Komunyakaa, Pulitzer Prize winning poet
- Greg Kot, filmmaker, "Hoop Dreams"
- Krzysztof Krauze, film director, cinematographer
- Li-Young Lee, poet
- Philip Levine, Pulitzer Prize poet
- Haki Madhubuti, author
- Adam Makowicz, pianist and composer
- Rob Mazurek, cornetist and composer
- Aaron McGruder, author, cartoonist, creator "The Boondocks"
- Dominic Miller, guitarist (with Sting, Phil Collins)
- Sara Paretsky, author
- Ed Paschke, painter
- Jeremy Piven, actor and film producer
- Luis J. Rodriguez, poet
- Art Shay, photographer
- Charles Simic, Pulitzer Prize winning poet
- Marc Smith, founder Poetry Slam movement
- Zadie Smith, TIME Magazine novelist (100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005)
- Franciszek Starowieyski, visual artist
- Studs Terkel, Pulitzer Prize winning author
- Ken Vandermark, MacArthur Fellows Program/"Genius Grant", musician and composer
- Paul Wertico, Grammy Award winner ,drummer
- Bronisław Wildstein, journalist
- Adam Zagajewski, poet
- Howard Zinn, historian, author and activist