Riverdance visits Chicago, Illinois for 2 weeks
Marcus Maloney, Dancer, Boyne Company
Chicago commenced with a bang as we descended upon the Windy City with excitement and anticipation. Everyone was thrilled at the prospect of being in such a metropolis, full of brilliant sightseeing, shopping, cuisine, and nightlife. In addition to all of its attractions, we would be there for a full two weeks, another exciting enticement.
Chicago boasts many beautiful theatres, architectural grandeur, cultural indulgences, and miles upon miles of shopping. The first of our adventures took place at the Aragon Ballroom, where many company members rocked out to the Belfast-born rock group, Snow Patrol. The three and a half hour show included Silversun Pickups and the group OK GO, whose treadmill jogging performance you may recall from the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards. Snow Patrol’s energetic act showcased intricate lighting and incredible stage presence. The evening was made extremely special when a group of cast members ran into the band later that evening.
Our hotel for Chicago was the world renowned Palmer House Hilton. The hotel was located close to the Art Institute of Chicago, Grant Park, Millennium Park and Navy Pier. State Street and Michigan Avenue shopping was just outside the hotel doors also. Ideally located in the heart of the Chicago Loop, it was the perfect base to explore the city.
One of Chicago’s top attractions, Millennium Park is a 24 acre park that features an ice-skating rink, outdoor theatres, and attractive tree-lined promenades. Two of the highlights of the park for me were the Crown Fountain and “The Bean”. The Crown Fountain is made up of two towering glass structures that feature changing videos and lights dramatically bathed by cascading water. The fountain is hugely popular with kids in the summer & extremely entertaining to watch. Cloudgate, more commonly known to locals as “The Bean” is another amazing site to see. The way the sculpture reflects the city, sky & passers-by kept everyone entertained.
The John Hancock Centre is a 100-story, multi-use building, recognised around the world for its distinctive architecture, prestigious location and presence on Chicago’s skyline. I made a trip to the tower one evening at sunset and the view from the top is incredible. On a clear day views can stretch for 80 miles and 4 different states!
Other tourist activities we took part in during our Chicago stay were trips to the Planetarium and Astronomy Museum. This eye-catching, twelve-sided building includes two sky theatres, one of which was the first planetarium in the western hemisphere. The theatres depict the night sky and allow visitors an up-close look at distant planets, moons, and galaxies. The complex also features a Star Rider theatre that offers amazing, interactive, virtual reality shows. In it, you use controls in your seats armrests to participate in a 3-D simulation of space travel.
Our venue for the week was the beautiful Auditorium Theatre, a jewel in American history. In architectural grandeur and in the merit of the artists who have performed there, the Auditorium Theatre you might say has no equal.
Being such a major city and also the fact that Easter fell while we were in Chicago provided the perfect opportunity for friends and family from abroad to come visit us. Chicago-based Brian Mullane’s family treated a group of us to a very special Easter Sunday dinner at their house. The delicious meal was like a little taste of home! Speaking of home, Chicago had many many Irish bars. Fado and The Kerryman were favourable establishments during our stay.
The weather was absolutely freezing for our 2 weeks in Chicago, we even had a couple of days of snow; a far cry from the sunshine earlier on tour in Florida. During our two weeks we welcomed deps Kevin Horton, Michael Belvitch and Dearbhla Fay to the Boyne and we also said goodbye to Melissa Convery who left to get married in Ireland. All the best to Melissa and Declan! We had a fabulous time in Chi-Town, now we are starting to look forward to the summer weather and our continuing tour. Until next time from Wausau and Buffalo, Adios!