The Players: The Fifty People Who Really Perform in Chicago
1/19/12, New City, by Zach Freeman, Brian Hieggelke, Sharon Hoyer and Dennis Polkow
With our criteria shifted back to artistic accomplishment in theater, dance, comedy and opera this year, our task got infinitely tougher. Because while the number of performing venues grows at a steady rate, the increase in the number of noteworthy artists seems to grow exponentially. For everyone we name on the list below, we had to leave off five, an embarrassment of riches for Chicago. We made a conscious effort to introduce a meaningful number of new faces to the list this year; the necessary absences should not be construed as a loss of worthiness as a consequence. We often find trends when we do the research these lists require; this year we’re starting to see a more meaningful effort to redefine performance itself in the internet age, from the runaway success of StarKids, to the more calculated endeavors of Silk Road. So what defines a “player”? Consider it some complex stew of career achievement, recent “heat” and, in some cases, rising stardom.
#41 – Steve Gadlin, Actor
Steve Gadlin and his Blewt! cohorts create some of the funniest, most imaginative projects anywhere, from the “Impress These Apes” show that first brought them to our attention, to his more recent “Nairobi Project” wherein he commissioned an email spammer to create plays for him which he produced. But he’s on the verge of going big-time now: his “Don’t Spit the Water” game show pilot recently aired on television and, later this month on January 27, he’s really breaking out when he appears on ABC Television’s “Shark Tank” to pitch rich investors on his project “I Want to Draw A Cat for You.” Sounds Trump-worthy to us.