These days, Chicago Cubs fans are well-acquainted with miracles. After going down three games to one against the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series, it felt like the Curse of the Billy Goat would never be lifted. And then… well, the rest is history. The curse was broken, the drought ended, the heroes—Bryant, Rizzo, Lester, Baez—would go down in the annals of baseball history for accomplishing a feat that had grown to seem nearly impossible after 108 years. The 2016 season seemed like a year of destiny—Cubs fans couldn’t have scripted it any better if they’d tried.
The new musical “Miracle”—debuting at the Royal George Theatre on Wednesday, May 8—follows the fateful 2016 Cubs season through the eyes of one hard-working Chicago family. For alumnus Bill Marovitz (JD ’69)—“Miracle’s” creator and producer—the 2016 season was even more fateful than most.
“I’d been working on another idea for a show about Chicago, one following the Daley years (from Richard J. to Richard M.), but by the time we got organized, we’d missed our window of opportunity,” said Marovitz. “I got my group together, and every time I repeated that phrase—‘window of opportunity’—I thought to myself that there must be something else we can do.
“This was February of 2016. I went to my group and said, ‘I’ve got another idea. We’re going to do a show about the 2016 Chicago Cubs. I have no idea how they’re going to do this season, but I think they’re the best team in baseball, so let’s follow them this year.’”
In hindsight, Marovitz’s decision looks almost prescient. “We came up with the idea during Spring Training. We wanted to follow the ups and downs, the highs and the lows. We wanted to watch the team overcoming adversity, losing faith and regaining faith. We wanted to tell a true story,” he said. “In the end, the Cubs are the way in, but this is a family show, about a family, for families.”
A former Illinois state senator turned real estate developer and restaurateur, Marovitz has long been drawn to creative endeavors. “I love creating something,” he said. “Making something out of nothing. Something that wasn’t there before.” As a state senator, Marovitz’s district encompassed the Wrigleyville neighborhood, and he played an instrumental role in creating a different era of Cubs baseball—putting up the lights and bringing night games to Wrigley Field.
For many years after his career in the senate, Marovitz satisfied his creative itch through projects like constructing new high-rise buildings in River North or developing innovative new restaurant concepts. But delving into theatre production has been a different animal altogether.
“This is brand new for me. I’ve been an investor in Broadway plays, but this is different. Putting together a whole creative team and making the seed of an idea blossom was a huge undertaking. I worked with a fellow from the very beginning named Julian Frazin—we worked together on different ideas and songs for the show during the 2016 season. And then this past September, we put the entire creative team together.”
That creative team consists of Jason Brett, writer, Damon Kiely, director (and chair of the Performance, Directing and Acting Department at DePaul University’s Theatre School), Michael Mahler, composer and lyricist, Frazin, and co-producer Arny Granat.
As you might guess, the story of the 2016 Chicago Cubs and the story of “Miracle” share a lot in common. “There are so many moving parts,” said Marovitz. “Bringing a production like this to the stage, there are things you never even anticipate. You have to bring people together and help them work cohesively as a team.”
“Miracle” will premier with a preview show on Wednesday, May 8 at Royal George Theatre. It will enjoy an open run, with performances Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m., Thursdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m. Purchase tickets at ticketmaster.com or by calling the Royal George Theatre box office at (312) 988-9000.