CHICAGO - For one year and eight months, CIBC Theatre sat silent and dark — crippled by the coronavirus.
Pre-pandemic, the theatre employed 1,000 people. But that number went down to 14 amid the lockdowns.
Now, October 5, 2021 marks the day that Broadway in Chicago is back. On the first night, over 1,900 tickets were purchased — the theatre sold out.
"It’s been a long year and a half we are so grateful to be back here," said Lianna Zimmerman, theater-goer who traveled to the Loop from McHenry County.
Lianna brought her friend Patricia Huen to see "Rent" for her birthday. Theater-goers had to be vaccinated and the staff had to have their shots too.
Other mitigations were taken on the inside to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"We spent millions of dollars to improve our facilities ventilation systems," said Lou Raizin, Broadway in Chicago President.
It is the 25th anniversary of "Rent" — with a final farewell tour.
The Galloway couple has been together longer than that, since the blizzard of 1979.
Rent’s storyline is all about choosing love over fear and living without regret. The Galloway's know all about that as they celebrate 30 years of marriage.
"We’ve never been before. This is our first time. We said this would be a perfect night out," said David and Pamela Galloway.
For those with a medical or religious exception for not getting the vaccine, they had to show a negative COVID test to get in.