Review: ‘Auditorium Hunting for Topper in Chi’

Citing personal reasons, Dulcie Gilmore, the theater's executive director since 1987, has submitted her resignation to the Auditorium's governing council.

Citing personal reasons, Dulcie Gilmore, the theater’s executive director since 1987, has submitted her resignation to the Auditorium’s governing council.

Jan Kallish, most recently exec director of the theater’s fundraising group , will serve as acting exec director while the council conducts a search for a permanent successor.

Highly visible on the local theater scene in the early 1990s, Gilmore has been less of a presence in recent years. As a long run of “Les Miserables” in the late 1980s gave way to equally long runs of “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Miss Saigon,” Gilmore reaped much of the credit for revitalizing the Auditorium. She also oversaw a nearly $ 10 million renovation.

But with the departure of Livent’s “Show Boat” in the spring, the Auditorium’s stability seemed to deteriorate. No more megahits loomed on the horizon, and producer Cameron Mackintosh, who for many years had brought hit shows to the Auditorium, suddenly appeared interested in other venues, most notably the Civic Opera House, where “Phantom” will return next spring.

David Smerling, the Auditorium’s council chairman, concedes the theater is facing serious competition from several theaters being rehabbed in the North Loop, an area Mayor Richard Daley hopes to transform into a bustling theater district. Gilmore’s successor faces the challenge of securing productions that can generate significant rental revenue and replenish the Auditorium’s reserve fund.

Auditorium Hunting for Topper in Chi


CHICAGO The landmark Auditorium Theater is seeking a new executive director at a time when its future is at its most uncertain in nearly a decade.
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