“I really enjoy the city of Chicago. And I really love what the city has to offer both in terms of acting for stage and also acting for film. The city offers a lot of variation in both of those areas, which I think is great. So instead of just moving to L.A. or just moving to New York to do either film or theater, I get a little mix of both, here in Chicago.”

“I had an opportunity where they were looking for somebody to kill off on ‘Chicago Med.’ I submitted for the role and the director liked my look. We had a discussion, and I ended up on the show.”

“There are some incredible opportunities to work with some really good directors in the Chicago area.”

“Going into 2020, I started booking a couple of gigs for the 2020 year. The first one I did was ‘The Great Gatsby,’ which ended up going through and actually closed right before the COVID pandemic.”

“It was a shock for us because I had a lot of friends that were opening shows the weekend after me that had to close, or they weren’t able to do their full performance run.”

“I also had about four other theater gigs lined up for the 2020 year which was wonderful. All of those got either moved or pushed back for the 2021 season. But we’re still kind of up in the air as to whether or not those shows will actually happen this year.”

“The pandemic just closed everything.”

“I’m lucky enough that I have a 9-to-5 job. I work early mornings until early afternoon, which is great for me, because then I have the opportunity to do theater at night.”

“With my theater degree, I would love for that to be the full-time job. It isn’t right now, so my 9-to-5 job pays the bills so I can continue to do what I love.”

“So, when the pandemic hit, not only did my friends lose theater, but they lost their full income and their benefits. They lost that side job of waiting tables and the tips that help them pay for their apartment in Chicago.”

“I have friends that now aren’t getting a paycheck, and they’re still getting hit with car payments or student loans or for rent because they’re living in Chicago.”

“It was very disheartening to see that happen to so many people that I know personally or have worked with or wish to support when I would go see a show.”

“We’re losing a lot of great entertainment and a great aspect of Chicago is slowly closing, yet people don’t even realize it.”

“Theater is a form of storytelling, and we tell stories that reflect you and that reflect us – the human condition.”

“So, in keeping the theater alive, you’re keeping your stories alive.”

“Donate when you can go see a show, even if it’s on Zoom. Download the link and take an hour and a half of your day and just do something different. Sit down with your family and enjoy some live theater.”

“Go save our theaters.”

R.J. Cecott
Actor
Hickory Hills, Illinois