Welles announcement

On May 6, 2015, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Orson Welles—actor, writer, director, and producer in theatre, radio, and film—who appeared at Orchestra Hall on one occasion on January 9, 1939. He gave a special lecture entitled “As I See the Stage,” presented under the auspices of a Northwestern University lecture series.

At the time of his appearance in Chicago, Welles was known primarily as the director and narrator of the radio dramatization of The War of the Worlds, an adaptation of H.G. Wells‘s novel. The show had been broadcast on October 30, 1938 (local coverage of the aftermath of the event is here and here), just a few short months before his Chicago appearance.

“As I see the stage,” Welles told the audience at Orchestra Hall, according to an account in the Chicago Herald & Examiner, “it has been supplanted by the movies and the radio. There is no place for it in American life.”