Anyone who has ever been to downtown Park Ridge, that quaint suburb, just northwest of the city, is familiar with The Pickwick Theatre located at 5 South Prospect Avenue- the downtown of Park Ridge. Known for movies luxury and style over the years, due to the cinemaplexes. this glorious landmark has been converted to several movie theater screens/venues, but the larger, main auditorium is still perfect for doing more than movies. In fact, it is in this auditorium, that on February 21st, for one night only, audiences can delight to the world’s most popular romantic opera, “La Boheme” by Giacomo Puccini. For those of you who are not opera buffs, this is the opera that was the inspiration for the musical saga “Rent” which has developed cult status since its Broadway opening.
In this, the original, it is 1830 and the two heroes are a painter, Marcello and a poet, Rodolfo who are trying to keep warm by burning pages from Rodolfo’s latest drama. Their friends, who are also in need of warmth are artists as well. One of their friends, Schaunard, a musician, who has landed a job brings food and some funds. While they celebrate, Benoit, the landlord comes to collect the rent ( noy, those of you who enjoy “Rent” can see where the story is going). Yes, there is a Mimi and yes there is romance and love and of great importance dealing with the struggles that life presents to us.
In the original opera, of course the music is far different, but the story unfolds in a similar way (without the AIDS and homosexual content or the drugs). Alcohol is around as they do drink and celebrate and little victory that comes their way. These are poor artists, facing hardship each day, so in reality, although the story is about love and romance, it is also about poverty; they cannot pay their rent, they have little to eat, they are cold and have to pawn their possessions to pay for medicine for Mimi. Love, however, the other main theme is a source of joy and pain. Puccini lived most of what he write and had the experience of losing his friends to death at early ages. This is in reality his story and one that has lived on in both this version, and of course the modern-day Musical version.
Seeing the original and hearing the beautiful music that Puccini created as performed by Teatro Lirico D’Europa in a historical venue such as The Pickwick, will produce a memory that one will keep in their heart for many years (or perhaps a lifetime). This is a very special event as this multi-ethnic troupe of performers comes to Park Ridge one week after Valentine’s Day to bring the audience yet another day of romance with “La Boheme”.
Tickets are available by calling 1-844-344-6397 Showing is 7 p.m. , Saturday ,February 21st or by visiting
They range in price from $30 and there are some specials available through Chicago News who is sponsoring this production in conjunction with Korean American Sports Association of Chicago and The Korea Daily