Chicago Sports

Fire blow lead in 91st minute, settle for draw with Red Bulls

HARRISON, N.J. — The Fire spent significant money on their 2022 squad but have yet to see that investment translate into results. Salary figures released Tuesday showed that forward Xherdan Shaqiri is MLS’ highest-paid player at $8.15 million.

But Wednesday night, the team couldn’t hang on for a needed win, conceding a late equalizer to draw 3-3 on the road against the New York Red Bulls.

Shaqiri did his part, giving the Fire a 3-2 lead in the 89th minute that looked like it would end the their six-game winless streak. But the lead lasted only two minutes as Red Bulls forward Patryk Klimala scored to keep the Fire in search of their first victory since March 19.

“In the blink of an eye, we let it slip away,” Fire coach Ezra Hendrickson said.

Klimala also scored both of the Red Bulls’ goals in their 2-1 win against the Fire at Soldier Field on April 30. The Fire have picked up only two points in their last seven MLS games.

“I’m disappointed because we came here to win the game,” Shaqiri said. “We have to learn from these mistakes. We have to manage the game better.”

Tuesday’s salary release from the MLS Players Association also ranked the Fire fifth-highest in the league with a total guaranteed payroll of $17.65 million.

A defensive downturn has been the biggest reason for the Fire’s recent struggles. After a bright start that saw the team allow only two total goals in its first seven league games, the Fire have allowed 14 in their last five. Two calamitous defensive mistakes led to a 2-1 loss against FC Cincinnati on Saturday, and things weren’t much better against the Red Bulls.

“This was definitely two points dropped,” Hendrickson said. “It feels like a loss.”

The Red Bulls opened the scoring in the 20th minute thanks to a penalty given away by defender Jhon Espinoza. Goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina dove in the right direction, but he wasn’t able to stop Lewis Morgan’s shot. Espinoza, making only his second league start of the season, was subbed off at halftime.

New York scored its second goal in a similarly charitable way. Slonina was well positioned to stop a speculative shot from Red Bulls midfielder Cameron Harper, but the youngster mishandled the ball, and it looped over his head and into the net.

Slonina also was at fault for FC Cincinnati’s decisive goal Saturday, but growing pains are to be expected, and he might have a lot on his mind. After celebrating his 18th birthday Sunday, Slonina was called up by Poland on Tuesday for next month’s UEFA Nations League games. He is eligible to play for Poland and the United States but has yet to decide which country he will represent.

“[Slonina is] a mentally tough kid,” Hendrickson said. “He’s still our No. 1.”

The offense was the bright spot for the Fire, whose three goals matched their season high. Several recent acquisitions in addition to Shaqiri made contributions, showing a return on the team’s spending.

Chris Mueller scored his first goal for the Fire in his third appearance since joining the team from Scottish team Hibernian FC two weeks ago. He lashed the ball into the roof of the net after a give-and-go with Brian Gutierrez in the 38th minute, tying the game at 1.

Shaqiri also was involved in the Fire’s second goal. His corner kick in the 49th minute found Jhon Duran at the near post, and he flicked the ball to Wyatt Omsberg for the defender’s first MLS goal.

“I’m hungry for more,” Shaqiri said.

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White Sox fall to Royals, drop to 6-12 in AL Central

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Central command?

How about Central outmanned.

With a 6-2 loss to the 14-22 Royals Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium, the White Sox fell to 6-12 in the AL Central, dropping below .500 with their second straight defeat that evened up a lengthy five-game series that concludes Thursday afternoon.

That’s hardly a path to a title the Sox were heavily favored to win.

In his first start after coming back from a bout with COVID-19, Lucas Giolito pitched five innings of two-run ball, striking out seven. After allowing a leadoff homer to Bobby Witt Jr. in the third, Giolito struck out six of seven batters, retired eight of the last 10 batters faced and left in a 2-2 tie.

Against Reynaldo Lopez in the sixth, the Royals got an RBI triple by Emmanuel Rivera past a diving Adam Engel right and a sacrifice fly by Kyle Isbel to make it 4-2. MJ Melendez hit his second homer of the series, a two-run shot against Ryan Burr, to make it 6-2.

Giolito landed on the COVID related injured list on May 13, three days after allowing one run on six hits in a season-high seven innings against the Guardians. He threw 92 pitches, 55 strikes against the Royals and left with a 2.84 ERA.

Tim Anderson’s RBI single against Royals starter Zack Greinke tied the game in the fifth. The Sox have scored three or fewer runs in five of their last six games.

Abreu searching for a groove

With four hits, three walks and no strikeouts in the series, Jose Abreu hoped to get his season jumpstarted after a supbar month and a half.

“I wasn’t planning on having that slow start, but those things happen,” Abreu said through a translator. “I’ve been working hard. I never put my head down. I’m just trying to get results. Hopefully sooner rather than later, I’ll start producing again.”

Abreu doubled and scored on Leury Garcia’s two-out single against Zack Greinke in the second for the Sox’ first run. But he was retired his next three times up, leaving Anderson stranded at second with an inning-ending groundout against Josh Staumont in the seventh.

After driving in two runs with a double in a 3-2 win in Game 1 Tuesday, Abreu got an unwanted rest from La Russa in the second game of a split doubleheader Tuesday.

“He’s the one who knows,” Abreu said. “I mean, how many wins does he have? 2,000-something. He knows how to take care of the guys.”

Eloy still building

More than three weeks removed from surgery to repair a torn hamstring tendon, Eloy Jimenez (hamstring) might be about two weeks away from a rehab stint.

“The biggest issue is the strength of that hamstring,” La Russa said. “They’re not convinced that it’s built up enough for everyday play.”

This and that

Michael Kopech (paternity list) will pitch Saturday in New York if his new baby is born in time, La Russa said, and Johnny Cueto will pitch Sunday with Dylan Cease getting extra rest. If not, Cueto will pitch Saturday and Cease Sunday.

*Lance Lynn, who went through fielding drills Wednesday, was transferred to the 60-day injured list. Lynn, who has been on the injured list since April 4 following surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right knee suffered during spring training, is eligible to be reinstated from the injured list on June 6.

*After pitching five innings of one-run ball in a spot start Tuesday, right-hander Davis Martin was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte.

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New music venue at former Morton Salt site clears key hurdle

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to create an “outdoor entertainment venue liquor license” in time for live music this summer at the Morton Salt Shed cleared a key hurdle Wednesday, amid concern that it would pave the way for more of the same at Lincoln Yards and the River West site of a Chicago casino.

The City Council’s License Committee advanced the mayor’s plan 13-2, over strenuous objections from neighboring Ald. Michele Smith (43rd), downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), and Friends of the Chicago River.

Smith’s motion to postpone the vote for at least a month to work out the kinks failed by a closer vote, 8 to 5.

Smith is the mayoral ally who chairs the City Council’s Committee on Ethics and Government Oversight.

During a surprisingly lengthy debate on an outdoor music venue project years in the making, Smith argued the planned development of the Morton Salt facility, 1357 N. Elston Ave., never contemplated an outdoor music venue, let alone an arena with 3,000 seats located just 125 feet from residential buildings.

Of even greater concern to Smith is that the mayor’s ordinance would open the door to similarly large outdoor riverfront music venues at two nearby sites: the proposed Bally’s casino at Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street in River West, and the massive mixed-use development known as Lincoln Yards.

“This is a dramatic U-turn. Even if this is a great project — I mean, it’s a beautiful project. But this ordinance allows large-scale venues in ways that will dramatically impact the entire area. We are not trumpeting the Chicago River as a new entertainment corridor,” Smith said.

Smith branded the ordinance a “new turn against” Chicago’s plan to “spread entertainment into the neighborhoods.” She noted the city has made “substantial investments” in the Uptown Theater, the Congress Theater and “many venues” on the South Side.

“I am very concerned that this will bring a level of, once again, downtown-centered, white-people-oriented kinds of entertainment that will really hurt smaller venues and other large venues that intend to compete,” she said.

Prior to the final vote, Smith read directly from a letter from Friends of the Chicago River strongly opposing the Morton Salt music venue the potential for a similar concert space at a Bally’s Chicago casino.

Those guidelines are “incompatible” with the city’s own river design guidelines, which called for a “connected greenway along the river that overlooks public parks and natural habitats” thereby offering a “peaceful, natural contrast to the urban environment,” the letter states.

Reilly focused on the door that has now been flung wide open for even more outdoor music venues close to residential buildings.

“If it only applied to Morton Salt, I wouldn’t have an issue with it. But, as Ald. Smith mentioned, this keeps the door open for lots of other open-air venues, possibly along the river and certainly, the Chicago casino site would also fit the criteria,” Reilly said.

“I’m also concerned about that 125 feet [buffer from nearby residences]. When you look at the proposed casino venue, conveniently that leaves out about 7,000 residents of River North from that notice area. That’s of considerable concern to me.”

Reilly cited his notorious struggles with what he called “bad liquor license owners” downtown.

“Say we have a venue that opens. They’ve invested these millions and millions of dollars in it. And they become a chronic source of nuisance complaints. Imagine families with young children, babies. … And multiple nights a week, their windows are shaking because, unfortunately for them, they have speakers facing across a river at them,” Reilly said.

“Say we get 100 complaints a month. What remedy would exist? The venue — whether at the casino site or another part of the river — would argue, ‘We’ve invested all this money. You’re not shutting us down. We’re gonna fight you in court.'”

Noting that he struggled with abuses at Bottled Blonde for years before shutting that bar down, Reilly said: “This is a venue on steroids.”

Local Liquor Control Commissioner Shannon Trotter said the new venue will have a liquor license as well as a public place of amusement license.

“All of those are subject to all of the regular disciplinary or public nuisance processes that we have,” Trotter said.

“But we’re really trying to design the ordinance so that any outdoor music does not create a nuisance. That’s why you see … all special events and/or concerts at any concert venue or sports stadium — they all end at 10 [p.m.]. Amplified sound throughout the city ends at 10. And this ordinance is consistent with that. It’s also consistent with patio hours.”

Ald. Walter Burnett (27th), whose ward includes both the Morton Salt and Bally’s casino sites, took umbrage at the claim that the planned development never contemplated an outdoor music venue.

“What we’re doing over here is no secret. This stuff actually started under the past administration,” Burnett said.

“We changed the PMD [planned manufacturing district] to allow for all of these things to happen and everybody was on board. Now we’re at the ninth hour and it’s like a big deal.”

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Cubs’ Marcus Stroman to start Thursday, David Robertson activated

Cubs reliever David Robertson bounced in and out of the line of Cubs relievers playing catch in left field, getting his arm loose before the series finale against the Pirates on Wednesday.

After over a week on the COVID-19 related injured list, a week that Robertson described as “pretty boring,” he was finally back with the team and activated on Wednesday. He was available to pitch the same day.

Cubs starter Marcus Stroman, who was also on the IL with no injury designation, is scheduled to start Thursday, opening a four-game series against the Diamondbacks. He was cleared to rejoin the team and throw a bullpen Tuesday, but the Cubs will have to reinstate him front he IL and make a corresponding move before his start Thursday.

“This is a version of our rotation that we [envisioned] coming out of spring training,” Ross said. “It’s just now finally all coming together on [May 18]. So, that’s exciting from my seat.”

To make room for Robertson on the active roster, the Cubs optioned right-hander Mark Leiter Jr. to Triple-A on Wednesday. To clear a space on the 40-man roster, the Cubs transferred outfielder Michael Hermosillo from the 10-day IL (left quad strain) to the IL with no injury designation, which generally indicates a COVID-19 related move. Hermosillo was on the last road trip with the Cubs.

Robertson described his symptoms as “typical.”

“I definitely needed five days off,” he added. “And then after that, it’s just a matter of getting my energy levels back up to join the team.”

He stayed in Chicago and played catch with Stroman when they had the opportunity. Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy left nets for them to throw to.

“I’m glad I’m vaccinated and boosted and all that,” Robertson said. “I think it helped.”

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Former Bears RB Tarik Cohen is much more than the sum of his pain

Tarik Cohen recently wrote a painful, touching and unsparing article about his life for The Players’ Tribune. It’s a letter to his 17-year-old self, and the raw honesty of it is remarkable. It’s a hard read, but you’ll be better for taking it on. I’m sure he’s better for writing it.

The former Bears running back has been through so much — is going through so much — but there’s something good out there waiting for him. There has to be. He’s known death after death and injury after injury, but how he has reckoned with his sorrow and addressed his challenges tells me there’s a happy ending on the horizon. I’m rooting like hell for it.

In his letter, we learn of the massive guilt he lugged around after Dante, his younger brother, became involved in drug dealing and eventually got shot in the head, leaving him paralyzed. And more guilt and pain came his way when Tyrell, his twin brother, died after fleeing the scene of a one-car accident. What if Cohen had been around more for them while he was chasing his dream of being an NFL player? What if he had kept them on the straight and narrow? Would that have been enough to save them?

Chicago had known some of the details of what had happened to his brothers while he was playing for the Bears, but we had no way of knowing the agony that was his fellow traveler. If we could have consoled him, if we could have let him know that we were there for him, as flimsy as that sounds, perhaps that might have helped ease his pain. Might have let him know he wasn’t so alone. The cheers and the gasps over his ability to change directions seem shallow now, as if we were all missing the bigger point, the point being that here was a suffering man.

The oohs and aahs went away when he injured his right knee during a punt return against the Falcons in 2020. He had torn the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments, and fractured the tibial plateau. He hasn’t played football since. The Bears waived him in March. In April, Dante, the brother who had been paralyzed in a shooting, died in a car accident.

Jesus.

And now, a little more than a week after his article ran in The Players’ Tribune, more bad news: Cohen reportedly ruptured his right Achilles tendon Tuesday during a workout that was being livestreamed on Instagram.

It sounds like way too much Biblical smiting, like Job getting through four quarters of affliction only to find out there’s an overtime of more abuse coming. But here’s where it gets better. Here’s where I hope Cohen goes back and re-reads that letter he wrote to his younger self. I hope he focuses on the last two paragraphs and embraces them for all their worth, which is everything:

“You will never be fully clear of the pain. And that’s OK. You wouldn’t want to forget the past anyway. Your past … it’s all just part of who you are now.

“But who you are can be so much more than just hurt.”

He’s so much more than the hurt he’s feeling right now over being hurt again. There’s pain, yes, but there’s also a resilience and a perspective to him that will have the final say in the story of his life. If he can make his way back from two terrible injuries and play again, it will be an incredible achievement. But judging by the letter and how he has responded to the suffering and challenges of his 26 years on the planet, he’s so much more than a football player.

He’s still the 5-foot-6 ball of muscle who went from North Carolina A&T to the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft to first-team All-Pro as a return specialist in 2018. But he’s also the uncle to his twin brother’s two young children, the one who vowed in his public letter to take care of their needs:

“First off, buy them a house. All cash. In their names. Free and clear. Theirs to use and own. Give them that security. Next: Make sure college and any other school expenses are fully paid for both of them. Put that money away. Have it all set up. Do this stuff now. Immediately. Because you love them and you want them to feel good, and to know that they’re loved. But also do it as a tribute to Tyrell. In his name. Honor him in that way.

“And then just keep being there for them in a way that shows the world how proud you were to call Tyrell your brother.”

That’s Tarik Cohen. And he’s going to be OK.

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Ozzie Guillen on White Sox’ Tim Anderson: ‘I don’t really care how he feels, I have a job to do’

Tim Anderson fired off a tweet directed at Ozzie Guillen after the White Sox’ 2-1 loss to the Royals Tuesday.

It wasn’t nice. But Ozzie’s not mad about it.

Guillen, the former White Sox shortstop and manager and current TV analyst for NBC Sports Chicago, has been known to speak his mind, especially when he’s told off.

To say the least.

And he’s still doing so in his current capacity. After Guillen said Anderson, the Sox’ All-Star shortstop, should have played both ends of a split doubleheader against the Royals Tuesday, Anderson tweeted, “Ozzie need to stfu at times … talk too much!”

Anderson, the team’s leading hitter, and Jose Abreu, who doubled in two runs in Game 1, both sat out Game 2.

“Tim is one of the best players in the league and he’s fun to watch,” Guillen told the Sun-Times Wednesday. “I respect him and I respect his opinion, but I don’t really care how he feels, I have a job to do.

“I am glad he’s watching the pre- and postgame.”

Guillen’s work on those shows has played to strong reviews because of his knowledge of the team and his candid takes. He is a staunch supporter of La Russa, his first manager in the majors, but doesn’t hesitate to criticize a managerial decision he disagrees with.

La Russa’s resting of players and reluctance to play Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert and others on both ends of doubleheaders or on day games following night games for the purpose of preserving their legs over the course of a long season has been questioned by fans. Anderson and Moncada both dealt with tight hamstrings last season, and Robert missed six games with a groin issue in late April.

When Anderson and Abreu were rested in the nightcap of a split doubleheader against the 13-22 Royals on Tuesday, the Sox lineup without them managed one run against Brady Singer and the Royals bullpen. Anderson, 28, is batting .328 with an .847 OPS in 31 games.

“TA is what, 27 years old?” Guillen said on the postgame show. “Built like a rock. And we hear Gordon Beckham [filling in for analyst Steve Stone on the broadcast] say it, when you’re a kid, go play. When you’re a veteran, sit down.”

That’s what probably prompted Anderson’s tweet, which was later deleted.

“If I hurt his feelings, that wasn’t the idea,” Guillen said. “I have nothing against him, never will. I hope he brings a championship to this organization.”

The Sox (18-18) play the Royals Wednesday night in the fourth game of a five game series. The Sox have won two of three.

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White Sox’ Lucas Giolito returns from COVID IL, will face Royals tonight

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito was reinstated from the COVID-19 related injured list, paving the way for him to start against the Royals Wednesday night.

Right-hander Davis Martin was returned to Triple-A Charlotte after he pitched five innings of one-run ball in a spot start Tuesday in a 2-1 loss to the Royals.

Right-hander Lance Lynn, who is recovering from knee surgery, was transferred to the 60-day injured list. Lynn landed on the IL April 4 following surgery to repair a torn tendon suffered during spring training. Lynn, who is eligible to be reinstated June 6, is slated to pitch to live hitters when the team is in New York Friday.

Giolito (2-1, 2.70) went on the IL May 13. His last start was May 10 against the Cleveland Guardians, when he gave up one run on six hits over seven innings.

“Excited to be back,” Giolito said Tuesday. “It was not fun, not fun being away from the team and having to watch all the games on TV.”

Giolito said he was able to throw while he was away from the team.

“Yep, I’ve been staying in shape as best as I can,” he said. “Routine was thrown off a little bit. But I was able to do some good work and I had some equipment at home, quarantined style stuff. Feeling good.”

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U.S. Soccer agrees to equal pay plan for men’s and women’s teams

The U.S. Soccer Federation reached milestone agreements to pay its men’s and women’s teams equally, making the American national governing body the first in the sport to promise both sexes matching money.

The federation announced separate collective bargaining agreements through December 2028 with the unions for both national teams on Wednesday, ending years of often acrimonious negotiations.

The men have been playing under the terms of a CBA that expired in December 2018. The women’s CBA expired at the end of March, but talks continued after the federation and the players agreed to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit brought by some of the players in 2019. The settlement was contingent on the federation reaching labor contracts that equalized pay and bonuses between the two teams.

Led by Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, American women long have pressed for gender equity.

“I feel a lot of pride for the girls who are going to see this growing up, and recognize their value rather than having to fight for it. However, my dad always told me that you don’t get rewarded for doing what you’re supposed to do — and paying men and women equally is what you’re supposed to do,” U.S. forward Margaret Purce said. “So I’m not giving out any gold stars, but I’m grateful for this accomplishment and for all the people who came together to make it so.”

Perhaps the biggest sticking point was World Cup prize money, which is based on how far a team advances in the tournament. While the U.S. women have been successful on the international stage with back-to-back World Cup titles, differences in FIFA prize money meant they took home far less than the men’s winners. American women received a $110,000 bonus for winning the 2019 World Cup; the U.S. men would have received $407,000 had they won in 2018.

The unions agreed to pool FIFA’s payments for the men’s World Cup later this year and next year’s Women’s World Cup, as well as for the 2026 and 2027 tournaments.

Each player will get matching game appearance fees in what the USSF said makes it the first federation to pool FIFA prize money in this manner.

“We saw it as an opportunity, an opportunity to be leaders in this front and join in with the women’s side and U.S. Soccer. So we’re just excited that this is how we were able to get the deal done,” said Walker Zimmerman, a defender who is part of the U.S. National Team Players Association leadership group.

Women’s union projections have compensation for a player who has been under contract to increase 34% from 2018 to this year, from $245,000 to $327,000. The 2023-28 average annual pay would be $450,000 for a player making all rosters, with the possibility of doubling the figure in World Cup years depending on results.

The federation previously based bonuses on payments from FIFA, which earmarked $400 million for the 2018 men’s tournament, including $38 million to champion France, and $30 million for the 2019 women’s tournament, including $4 million to the champion United States.

FIFA has increased the total to $440 million for the 2022 men’s World Cup, and its president, Gianni Infantino, has proposed that FIFA double the women’s prize money to $60 million for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, in which FIFA has increased the teams to 32.

For the current World Cup cycles, the USSF will pool the FIFA funds, taking 10% off the top and then splitting the rest equally among 46 players — 23 players on the roster of each team. For the 2026-27 cycle, the USSF cut increases to 20% before the split.

After missing the 2018 World Cup, the men qualified for this year’s World Cup in Qatar starting in November. The women’s team will seek to qualify this year for the 2023 World Cup, cohosted by Australia and New Zealand.

Among the details:

— For lesser tournaments, such as those run by the governing body of North America, players will earn identical game bonuses.

— For exhibition games, players will receive matching appearance fees and performance payments based on the match result and opponent rank. Players who don’t dress will earn a fee that is the equivalent of participating in a national team training camp.

— Women gave up guaranteed base salaries that had been part of their CBA since 2005. Some players had been guaranteed annual salaries of $100,000.

“I think we’ve outgrown some of the conditions that may look like we have lost something, but now our (professional) league is actually strong enough where now we don’t need as many guaranteed contracts, you know, we can be on more of a pay-to-play model,” Purce said.

— Child care, covered for women for more than 25 years, will be extended to men during national team training camps and matches.

— The women and men also will receive a portion of commercial revenue from tickets for matches controlled by the USSF, with bonuses for sellouts, and each team will get a portion of broadcast, partner and sponsor revenue.

— Players will get a 401(k) plan and the USSF will match up to 5% of a player’s compensation, subject to IRS limits. That money will be deducted from the shares of commercial revenue.

“There were moments when I thought it was all going to fall apart and then it came back together and it’s a real credit to all the different groups coming together, negotiating at one table,” said federation President Cindy Parlow Cone, a former national team player who became head of the governing body in 2020. “I think that’s where the turning point really happened. Before, trying to negotiate a CBA with the women and then turn around and negotiate CBA terms with the men and vice versa was really challenging. I think the real turning point was when we finally were all in the same room sitting at the same table, working together and collaborating to reach this goal.”

Women ended six years of litigation over equal pay in February in a deal calling for the USSF to pay $24 million, a deal contingent on reaching new collective bargaining agreements.

As part of the settlement, players will split $22 million, about one-third of what they had sought in damages. The USSF also agreed to establish a fund with $2 million to benefit the players in their post-soccer careers and charitable efforts aimed at growing the sport for women.

Mark Levinstein, counsel for the men’s union, said the agreement ended “more than 20 years of federation discrimination against the USWNT players.”

“Together with the USWNTPA, the USMNT players achieved what everyone said was impossible — an agreement that provides fair compensation to the USMNT players and equal pay and equal working conditions to the USWNT players,” he said. “The new federation leadership should get tremendous credit for working with the players to achieve these agreements.”

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Court Theatre to receive 2022 regional Tony Award

Court Theatre, the professional theater of the University of Chicago, and one of the most critically acclaimed theater companies in the country, can add a most coveted accolade to its trove of awards: the 2022 Regional Theatre Tony Award. The news was announced early Wednesday.

The honor comes with a $25,000 grant for the Hyde Park theater company currently in the midst of its 67th season.

The special Tony Award, which each year honors one non-profit professional regional theater from across the country for fostering “a continuous level of artistic achievement contributing to the growth of theater nationally,” is awarded by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, based on the recommendation the American Theatre Critics Association.

Court Theatre is the sixth Chicago theater to receive the regional Tony, joining Steppenwolf Theatre (1985), the Goodman Theatre (1992), Victory Gardens Theater (2001), Chicago Shakespeare Theater (2008) and Lookingglass Theatre (2011).

“[Court Theatre’s] dedication to fostering local talent, artistry and theatre within their community and their impact on a national scale, makes it a true honor to highlight their work,” said Heather Hitchens, president and CEO of the American Theatre Wing and Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, in the official announcement.

Court Theatre was founded in 1955 as an amateur summertime theater company at the University of Chicago, pivoting to a professional Equity company in 1975. It moved to its current location — the 251-seat Abelson Auditorium at 5535 S. Ellis — in 1981, and two years later incorporated as an independent nonprofit organization under the leadership of artistic director Charles Newell since 1994, and executive director Angel Ysaguirre since 2018. The theater company has been nominated for more than 250 Joseph Jefferson Awards, winning more than 50 of the honors that each year recognize the best stage productions in the greater Chicago area.

“It has been my life’s joy to be a member of this vibrant, fertile community. This award belongs to them. It belongs to the Court community, the South Side community, and the University of Chicago community. It belongs to everyone who has fought to see themselves onstage and to everyone who has been moved by the power of storytelling. … My feelings of gratitude mirror Cymbeline’s Imogen, ‘for mine’s beyond beyond,'” Newell said via statement.

The Tony Awards, hosted by Oscar-winner Ariana DeBose, will be presented on June 12 in a live telecast starting at 7 p.m. on CBS.

E. Faye Butler (right) with Harriet Nzinga Plumpp and Byron Glenn Willis in “Caroline, or Change” at Court Theatre in 2008.|

Michael Brosilow

Some highlights of Court Theatre’s groundbreaking and critically acclaimed productions over the years:

— Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard (1998, directed by Charles Newell)

— Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s “Caroline, or Change” (2008 and 2018, directed by Charles Newell)

— August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (2009, directed by Ron OJ Parson)

— Ira and George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” (2011, directed by Charles Newell)

— Adapted from Homer by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare, “An Iliad,” (2011, directed by Charles Newell)

–Nambi Kelley’s “Native Son” (2014, directed by Seret Scott)

— August Wilson’s “Gem of the Ocean” (2015, directed by Court Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson)

–Clarke Peters’ “Five Guys Named Moe” (2017, directed by Ron OJ Parson)

— Anna Ziegler’s “Photograph 51” (2019, directed by Vanessal Stalling)

— Ntozake Shange’s “For colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf” (2019, directed by Seret Scott)

— Owen McCafferty’s “Titanic: Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry, 1912” (2021, a streamed presentation, directed by Vanessa Stalling)

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5 people wounded by gunfire in Chicago Tuesday — one in a grade school, two near another grade school

Five people were wounded by gunfire in Chicago Tuesday, including a 7-year-old boy grazed in a classroom at Disney Magnet School on the North Side and two people shot near Finkl Academy in Little Village.

The boy was injured when a gun in a classmate’s backpack went off in a classroom around 10 a.m., at Walt Disney Magnet School, wounding a 7-year-old boy Tuesday morning. The bullet struck the ground, ricochetted and grazed the abdomen of the boy. He was taken to Lurie’s Children’s Hospital in good condition, officials said.Two people were wounded across the street from Finkl Academy in the 2300 block of South Western Avenue where classes had just gotten out around 3 p.m. No students were injured. A 17-year-old boy suffered a gunshot wound to the hand and was in fair condition at Mount Sinai Hospital, police said. A second victim, a 23-year-old man, went to the same hospital in fair condition with a gunshot wound to the leg.A 17-year-old boy was critically wounded in a South Austin shooting on the Northwest Side around 5:35 p.m. The teen was standing on the sidewalk in the 5200 block of West Ferdinand Street when he was shot in the chest, police said. He went to Mount Sinai Hospital and was listed in critical condition.A man was found critically wounded in an Austin home around 5:50 a.m. The 36-year-old was found with multiple gunshot wounds inside a home in the 5300 block of West Van Buren Street, police said. He was taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition.

Eleven people were shot, two fatally, in Chicago Monday.

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