‘Saturday Night Live’ exhibit bringing fans by the thousands to River North
Loop North News

Museum of Broadcast Communications 360 N State St - MAP

(Above) Saturday Night Live main stage, recreated in Chicago at Museum of Broadcast Communications. (Click on images to view larger versions.)

9-Feb-18 – One thousand people every week, on average, are seeing the new Saturday Night Live exhibit at Museum of Broadcast Communications.

“We are seeing a huge uptick from last year,” says Justin Kulovsek, SNL Project Lead for the museum.

The exhibit, which opened on October 21, 2017, arguably will help the museum make payment on a $2.5 million mortgage held by Pepper Construction. The Chicago-based company, builders of MBC’s current location on North State Street, granted the museum a one-year extension last July.

Photo by Steven Dahlman (Left) Desk and chair once used by Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels, now the first of ten galleries of Saturday Night Live: The Experience.

The day after Thanksgiving and the day after Christmas were especially busy, according to Kulovsek, with nearly 600 visitors both days.

(Right) Set for Saturday Night Live’s Wayne’s World skits.

Photo by Steven Dahlman

A collection of 500 artifacts in 12,000 square feet of exhibition space, Saturday Night Live: The Experience chronicles the 40-plus years of the late-night show. It was produced in partnership with Saturday Night Live, its executive producer, Lorne Michaels, Premier Exhibitions – a company based in Atlanta that organizes traveling exhibitions – and Universal Brand Development, a part of NBCUniversal.

Photo by Steven Dahlman (Left) Gallery that includes a set for Black Jeopardy and costume for Dana Carvey’s Church Lady.

Starting in New York, the exhibit ran for one and a half years until mid-2016. At the same time it was looking for its next stop, the museum was looking for a large-scale exhibit.

(Right) Costumes from more than 40 years of Saturday Night Live performances. Photo by Steven Dahlman

Photo by Steven Dahlman “Chicago is a natural with so many cast members getting their start in the Windy City,” says Kulovsek.

(Left) Weekend Update set.

Among recent visitors to the Chicago museum are current and former SNL cast members, including Nora Dunn, Tim Kazurinsky, Gary Kroeger, Tim Meadows, Luke Null, Chris Redd, and Julia Sweeney.

It took at least a year to plan and about 35 days to build the exhibit. It is organized by days of the week leading up to the live performance in NBC’s Studio 8H – Monday, meet with the guest host and pitch ideas. Tuesday, writing. Wednesday, a “table read,” where material is read aloud to cast, writers, and executives. Thursday and Friday, set design and makeup.

Saturday Night Live: The Experience will be at Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 North State Street, through December 30. Tickets are $25 for adults.

(Right) Model of Studio 8H with stage, sets, cameras, lighting, and audience seating.

Photo by Steven Dahlman

By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News | sdahlman@loopnorth.com

Published 9-Feb-18 4:10 AM

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