Magazine article American Theatre

Un-Reality TV. (Trends & Events)

Magazine article American Theatre

Un-Reality TV. (Trends & Events)

Article excerpt

Chicago: Out of the shadows of a rain-drenched alley, an Irish-American police officer emerges. His face is veiled by darkness, his outline looms large and imposing, but his voice sounds oddly familiar. "I've seen a lot of crimes in this city," the cop muses. "One man was cleaved in two with a broadsword. Another guy was mauled to death by a crazed panda bear." Is it an episode of that grimy reality-TV show "Cops"?

Hardly. It's just Chicago theatre veteran George Wendt ticking off the Loop's most dramatic moments in the latest 30-second spot that has been airing on Chicago TV stations since February. In another ad, Chicago-based actor Meschach Taylor, of "Designing Women" fame, plays a cab driver who regales unseen passengers with absurdist tales from the mean streets of the Loop: "I've seen love and hate, four-foot cockroaches, even a guy in love with a goat." At the end of both TV spots, Wendt and Taylor reveal their famous mugs to viewers and exclaim, "Now that's what I call great theatre! …

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