Creation Entertainment plans to take the Windy City by storm next weekend with a star-studded, activity-filled array of events celebrating both Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. Set to be held from May 31 to June 2 at the Westin O'Hare, the event will features appearances by:
No doubt, the highlight will be the Star Trek: The Next Generation Saturday Evening Reunion Event, a 90-minute separate-admission affair with Stewart, Frakes, Sirtis, Spiner, Burton, McFadden and Dorn together on stage.
Throughout the weekend, the actors will appear on stage, talking to fans and taking questions, and will also be available for photo ops. Fans can also expect Creation's popular array of auctions, a theatrical piece starring Auberjonois and Phillips, contests, a costume parade, seminars, a concert (by the Rat Pack), a karaoke party and more, not to mention a bustling dealer's room.
StarTrek.com caught up the other day with Creation co-founder and co-CEO, Gary Berman, who shed additional light on the upcoming Chicago convention. Here's what he had to say:
Traditionally, how is Chicago as a market for Creation?
BERMAN: Because of the way we scale our shows, where every attendee gets a seat no matter what ticket they buy, so no one has to miss any guests, it isn't really about the size of the market but the incredible support of the fandom there and those willing to travel in. Lately we have had huge success there with all our different themed events and the Star Trek Convention is particularly gratifying as we move into a sellout situation since it was one of the very first cities to hold Star Trek Conventions, back in the early days, before we did them. It also, I believe, was the very first city where we did have a big-name TOS guest.
What's your sense of how excited fans are for the TNG Cast Reunion event?
BERMAN: They’re very excited, judging by the emails and ticket sales. As you know, Sir Patrick is so busy, and his availability is somewhat key, as is the rest of the cast, who also have thriving careers and endeavors still going strong. Getting them together is such a rarity and a personal pleasure for our company since we did it first so many years ago. Gene and Majel were HUGE in getting the support of the TNG actors to come aboard into the convention scene, particularly Majel, though Gene did give an introductory speech about his "new" show to our audience. We still have his notes framed up. What a legacy he left.
Are you at all surprised this show is already just about sold out?
BERMAN: Because of the rarity of the full-cast reunion and the fact that Sir Patrick will soon be onto other ventures, including Broadway, plus the fact that we have an outstanding lineup of other casts, it doesn't really surprise us. There are only about 1,300 seats in the theater, I believe, and that gives everyone a chance to see these great stars up fairly close. We really do have the best area lineup ever with the great guests from DS9. That show has a huge following, as we just saw in New Jersey, where the highlighted day was sold out.
We think one of the highlights for fans attending will be the TNG cast photo op. Give us a sense of how much fun those are for the fans and the cast members.
BERMAN: We've only been able to do the full TNG cast once in a photo op so far, and we had studio executives asking to have it done. So many working in the industry today grew up watching the series, much the way the early folks did with classic Trek, which I remember very well watching back at college with dorm pals. Star Trek truly is singular in show business history, that is for sure. I see from the poses that the stars seem to really like being together and the time does seem to fly by, as we're only given about a 1/2 hour to do the full cast shots. For me, Sir Patrick and the others are genre superstars and always seem to know how to interact to make the audience of thousands or even one at a photo op happy.
What else during the weekend do you think will appeal to fans? The session with John Tenuto, for example, sounds intriguing...
BERMAN: I am most excited by the reunion, but I am also a big supporter of all the other theatrical things we try to do at our shows. For years, the shows were traditionally dry Q and A sessions, so we added in other stuff. And in Chicago we have two great performers, Rene and Ethan, doing an original play for us. The concept of getting these great performers, who most of us know generally from Star Trek, actually "working" on stage as part of the convention is the thing we are most proud of, I think. John Tenuto always puts on great panels, but I am most interested in hearing what our fellow fans thought about the new movie! Lots to talk out there, for sure, and everyone in the audience no doubt has their own opinions.
Anything else we should know about the Chicago event?
BERMAN: Just our thanks to the area for once again giving us their amazing support. Our website has the latest ticket info and there are a handful of tickets for Sunday, and a larger bunch for Friday, as well as some for the evening reunion. Personally, if there are TNG fans anywhere in the area, they should try to get to see the reunion because they are VERY hard to arrange with the talent so busy.
As Berman noted, the convention is nearly sold out, though some tickets are still available. Click HERE for additional details.