By Caroline Tanner
CHICAGO – “Every woman is a pioneer,” rang loudly through the Chicago Theatre on October 24, during a night of honest talk between eight women on a couch, designed to portray a conversation you’d have with your friends in your living room. Aimed at uniting public figures with fellow women, the traveling Together Live Tour brought together 3,000 people, almost exclusively women, mostly white and young. A few men accompanied their dates, appearing to be fathers, husbands and boyfriends.
The audience was first subjected to a live reading of love letters and text messages between a former professional athlete and a New York Times bestselling author. It was reminiscent of a scene from a bad Lifetime holiday movie, but audience members didn’t seem to care, soaking up the real-life love story.
Chicago marked the second-to-last stop of the national 10-city tour, in which influential women shared their personal stories of challenging times and struggles marked by growth. Speakers included authors, Olympians, actresses, social justice activists and entrepreneurs.
During a nearly four-hour conversation with each other and the audience, the panelists talked honestly and informally about various issues they’ve all faced at one point in their lives and careers, including racism, sexual harassment, failure and the decision to speak up.
Lincoln Park resident Alyssa Hannah, 16, attended the speech with her mom and said the idea of letting go of fear resonated with her.
“I stay in fear a lot,” said Hannah, a University of Chicago Lab School student. “The idea of just doing it is really important.”
The tour was co-founded by Jennifer Randolph Walsh, who runs the literary division of the talent agency WME.
“The Together Tour is the evolution of a collective dream — a fierce, intersectional, multi-generational gathering where you will hear from badass, earth-shaking, hilarious, authentic storytellers from across the globe,” Walsh said.