Zygmunt's Open Road
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Indie: Indie Roadtrips
biology, business, exchange program, Poland, real estate, science
Zygmunt Dyrkacz, the founder of Chopin Theatre in Chicago, Ill., bought the once dilapidated building after going through a rough divorce. He was crushed and unhappy, although living in one of the best buildings in Chicago. He was a businessman at the time, bought the theater for very little money, and renovated it from top to bottom. But Zygmunt wasn't always a theater buff. He came to the U.S. in from Poland in 1980 through a foreign exchange program to study biology and only expected to stay one year. But during that time, the Polish economy was unstable, and Zygmunt extended his stay longer in America to continue his studies. Soon after his divorce, Zygmunt wanted to turn things around, and that's when he bought the rundown building in Chicago's artist's neighborhood, Wicker Park. Since it's opening in 1990, the independent theater has had about 1,400 events and has produced 110 of its own productions, reeling in famous names such as actor John Cusack. In February 2010, the Chicago Tribune rated Chopin Theatre as one of the best Chicago venues.