Tonight is Opening Night of the first production of our 15th Anniversary season and my 16th show at TimeLine. My first opening night at TimeLine was a little less than four years ago — the opening of Tesla’s Letters. Back then we had 1,140 subscribers and 3 full-time staff members; I certainly didn’t imagine that 15 productions later we would have more than 2,700 subscribers, 6 full-time staff members and countless part-time employees.
Tonight marks the opening of TimeLine’s most ambitious season yet, as we produce one show away from our home on Wellington, enabling us to schedule 107 more performances than last season. It is a little overwhelming to think that our next show, The Pitmen Painters, opens in just 19 days and that between the first preview of A Walk In The Woods and December 4 we will present 161 performances of the two shows. It can be very easy to want to panic. But we knew this would be a HUGE challenge for us, and I’m confident we will rise to the occasion.
We would not be able to do any of this if it weren’t for the support of TimeLine’s audience, Board of Directors, donors, Company Members and employees. As PJ says to the actors at each first rehearsal, “All these people in the room have your back.” So all we can do during a crazy time like this is have each others’ backs and focus on our common goal of putting exciting work on the stage.
And, as if opening two shows in two weeks isn’t enough, we will also be doing a free reading of The Guys by Anne Nelson on 9/11 and 9/12. Based on a true story, The Guys tells the stories of the heroes who risked and lost their lives to save victims trapped when the World Trade Center in New York City collapsed on September 11, 2001. While this event is free, donations will be accepted, with all proceeds to directly benefit Ignite the Spirit, a non-profit organization founded in 2003 that provides assistance to Chicago’s emergency responders in times of hardship. You can read more about The Guys here.
As you can see, it is an exciting time at TimeLine and I want to thank you for making it a place I’m proud to come to work every day. I’m thrilled to celebrate tonight with many friends — many of whom were strangers to me four years ago.