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redeyechicago.com

Former Theatre Building Chicago exec resurfaces at Athenaeum

Chris Jones

5:33 PM CDT, August 9, 2011

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Joan Mazzonelli, the former longtime executive director at the Theatre Building Chicago (now Stage 773) is now running things at Chicago's Athenaeum Theatre.

A multi-space arts venue located at 2936 N. Southport Ave., the Athenauem is part of the St. Alphonsus Church. Built as a recreation center in 1911, the building houses a 1,000-seat theater designed for German operetta, as well as several studio and office spaces used mostly by artistic tenents. The Athenaeum, long popular with dance groups and festivals, was run for many years by the late Fred Solari, who died in 2006 at the age of 55.

In recent years, his son, Daniel Solari, has been running the theater, which has been struggling of late for bookings.

In an interview Tuesday, Mazzonelli said that her new title was artistic and program director and that hoped to "get some buzz going and utilize this grand old building." Already, she said, new rehearsal spaces have opened in the building and further renovations are planned, albeit over a long timeline.