Chicago actor takes the stage in 'Bullets over Broadway'

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'Bullets over Broadway' opens Tuesday night at the Private Bank Theatre in Chicago. (WLS)

When "Bullets over Broadway" opens Tuesday night on the Chicago stage, it will feature an actor from a family with show business heritage in Chicago.

Splashy production numbers, dames and gangsters are the heart of the play based on the 1994 Woody Allen film. "Bullets over Broadway," which is on its first national tour, tells the story of a mob-backed 1920s show production in the 1920s.

Actor Rick Grossman, a Chicago legacy, plays the producer. In the early 1900s, his grandparents created the Reinhart-Grossman Repertory Company for Yiddish Theater.

"Even in the 1920s they had a large theater-going audience," Grossman said. "The Reinhart-Grossman Star Company existed for a good decade here. So, they did well."

Grossman-Reinhart performed at a theater on the site of the University of Illinois-Chicago Forum near Maxell Street Market.

"They had a theater, which I'm told was called the New Irving Theater," Grossman said.

Out of that repertory came a young Muni Weisenfreud, who became the Academy Award-winning actor Paul Muni - the original Scarface on film.
And the Reinhart in this theater equation just happened to be the family of comic icon Carl Reiner.

"There is a famous poster that has been circulating in Yiddish Theater archives that has my grandparents' picture on it and my cousin walks in and asks Carl Reiner, 'Why do you have that picture on your wall?' And he says, 'The Reinharts are cousins of mine in Chicago' and my cousin just flipped out," Grossman said.

"Bullets over Broadway" will play at the Private Bank Theatre through May 1.
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