My Step Into Time speech

On Friday night I had the honor of speaking to guests at our Step Into Time benefit. Here’s what I said:

Most of you have been to our intimate space on Wellington Ave. and know that we normally can accommodate an audience of about 85 people a night.

This season that changed. The success of “The History Boys” meant that we produced “All My Sons” at the Greenhouse Theater Center, where we regularly played to audiences of 195 a night. And tonight we welcome more than 230 guests!

One year ago, I stood here and talked about scary times for not-for-profits in this country. But it is my pleasure to say that the support of donors, subscribers and artists like all of you defied the headlines and propelled TimeLine to our most successful year ever. And we continue to break our own records this season.

All of us at TimeLine are humbled by this success. But I have also come to realize that there is much about this organization that has made a record-breaking year during an economic downturn not so surprising after all.

When I came to TimeLine 2 1/2 years ago one of the things that excited me most about the company was its dedication to strategic planning.  I had met PJ about 6 months before and I was fascinated to hear about the operation of TimeLine — the fiscal management as well as the artistic growth and success. It became obvious to me that the folks at TimeLine cared deeply about building an organization that would last. In every area, they appeared to be operating beyond expectations for an organization their size.

More than 3 years after that first meeting and two seasons in this job, I understand that these last 12 months are the direct result of the long-standing planning process that TimeLine has always taken very seriously. That planning created a strong foundation that has enabled us to continue to grow while many organizations needed to scale back.

I feel honored and privileged to work with a staff, Company and Board who are dedicated to building a healthy Chicago arts institution and to know that our supporters are as committed to the mission and ambitious programming of this organization as we are.

For that reason, I could not be more excited that next month we will open the Chicago premiere of Aaron Sorkin’s “The Farnsworth Invention.” You know Mr. Nick Bowling and his small-scale shows — “Fiorello” … “The History Boys … and you’ll hear about a future one from PJ later tonight — But with his vision as a director, I’m confident that his newest production will once again take us all into a world we wouldn’t normally believe could be achieved in that 85-seat house.

Everyday that I walk into TimeLine I feel I am the most fortunate person in the world because I get work with PJ and the TimeLine Company members, who everyday inspire and challenge me in ways I never dreamed 7 individuals could.

I thank you for making that possible for me and my co-workers.

Stay tuned for more recap from Step Into Time, including PJ’s remarks and details about our 2010-11 season … !

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