Chicago is a great town! From wonderful accommodations to fabulous restaurants, fun family attractions and great shopping, Chicago is all that and a bag of chips!
Another great aspect to a visit to Chicago is the theater, offering everything from smash Broadway hits to intimate venues and award-winning regional theatre companies. The City of Chicago is currently promoting the city’s theatrical offerings. Here’s the scoop:
From storefront theaters in the neighborhoods and Tony-award winning regional companies to major Broadway shows, Chicago is known throughout the world for its extensive selection of critically acclaimed theater. On any given day, visitors can venture out into Chicago’s diverse communities for a production at one of the city’s many off-Loop theater companies or see a musical in the bustling historic downtown theater district.
With more than 250 theater companies, 115 performance venues with 5 million tickets sold annually, and 800 productions a year, Chicago’s reputation for quality, innovation and a broad range of theatrical offerings make it a premier destination for theater lovers of all ages and tastes. In recognition of its prominent position in the theater community, Chicago was selected as the first stop on the national tour of Billy Elliot the Musical, beginning March 18 at the Ford Center/Oriental Theatre.
Four Chicago theaters have received the prestigious Regional Tony Award, more than any other city in the nation:
-Chicago Shakespeare Theater
-The Goodman Theatre
-Steppenwolf Theatre Company
-Victory Gardens Theater
Theater in the neighborhoods
A thriving resident theater community is at the heart of Chicago theater. Located throughout the city’s many eclectic neighborhoods, some companies have their own venues while others perform in nontraditional spaces. Many are ensemble-based. They offer a wide variety of theatrical experiences from new plays and original musicals to adaptations and revivals.
Professional theater companies that produce their own seasons include:
-A Red Orchid Theatre (Old Town)
-Black Ensemble Theater (Uptown)
-Court Theatre (Hyde Park)
-Redmoon Theater (West Loop)
Itinerant theater companies that perform in various spaces throughout the city include:
-BackStage Theatre Company
-Congo Square Theater Company
-Infamous Commonwealth Theatre
-Shattered Globe Theatre
-TUTA Theatre Chicago
The Second City & Comedy In Chicago
Chicago’s tradition of improv-based sketch comedy is legendary due in large part to The Second City, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. A Chicago landmark and a national treasure, it offers the best in Chicago comedy showcasing the city’s brightest talent every night of the week. The Second City has launched the careers of such comic greats as John Belushi, Mike Myers, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner and many others. Other comedy clubs, venues and companies include I.O. (Improv Olympics), Chemically Imbalanced Comedy, Neo-Futurists, Annoyance Theatre, Lakeshore Theater, and ComedySportz.
Chicago theater district and downtown theaters
Brightly lit marquees in the Loop along Dearborn and Randolph Streets mark an area spanning four city blocks where magnificently restored theaters comprise the city’s famed downtown Theater District. See the best of Broadway hit productions at a variety of commercial theaters:
– Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theatre
– Cadillac Palace Theater
– Bank of America Theatre (formerly the Shubert Theatre)
– Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University
– Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place.
For more information about Chicago theater in neighborhoods throughout the city, visit www.explorechicago.org.