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THEATERS IN CHICAGO

See the next big thing during your visit to Chicago with the city's best theatres — mix and match your itinerary with the selections below.

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From Tina Fey to John Malkovich, Chicago's theater scene has long been a seedbed for the entertainment industry's most talented people. But if the glittering marquees of its flourishing Theater District are any indication, Chicago is far from a stepping stone. With more than 200 theaters, five Tony Award-winning theater companies and the country's greatest comedy scene, Chicago is a standing ovation for theater lovers. 

 

THE CHICAGO THEATRE DISTRICT

Downtown Chicago offers more than incredible architecture and shopping. The Loop vaunts an impressive collection of playhouses, including Broadway in Chicago's assembly of world-class institutions. Between its glimmering lights and pre-Broadway productions, The Loop is a guidepost for the industry's biggest names and most anticipated stage shows.

 

INDEPENDENT THEATERS

When you draw the curtain on Chicago's North Side, it reveals a powerful ensemble of independent theaters. Lincoln Park's Steppenwolf Theatre, which is widely considered one of the best venues for new works in the country, launched the careers of successful actors like Gary Sinise, Joan Allen and Nick Offerman. Amongst the company's many accolades is a Tony Award for Regional Theatre Excellence and critical acclaim for the world premiere of Grapes of Wrath, which went on to win a Tony for Best Play in 1990. 

The Goodman Theatre, Chicago's oldest and largest not-for-profit theater, produces both classic and contemporary works, giving voice to a wide range of artists and visions. 

Enjoy the works of William Shakespeare and other powerful performances from the past and present that resonate with Shakespeare's timeless insights into the human condition at the Tony award-winning Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier.

Founded in 1974, Victory Gardens has been entertaining crowds for generations in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. In 2006, Victory Gardens moved into Chicago's famed Biograph Theater after an $11.8 million renovation. Notable for the FBI scene that ended bank robber John Dillinger's life, the Biograph was a popular movie theater for 90 years. From a Victorian age comedy about female sexuality to a modern Latino take on Oedipus, you will find shows that celebrate, reflect and challenge the attitudes of our dynamic and diverse society through passionate new American voices. 

In Andersonville, you will find experimental brilliance at the Annoyance Theatre and with the Neo-Futurist's. These fabled theatre companies are famous for bringing unfiltered honesty and imaginative surrealism to the stage.   

Mind-blowing theatrics ignite at Chicago's Tony award-winning Lookingglass Theatre. Co-founded by David Schwimmer, this intimate theater found a home in the landmark Water Tower Water Works building on Michigan Avenue.  

 

STOREFRONT THEATER

Known for its edgy storefront theater scene, you'll find unconventional and underground shows all over Chicago. To get you started on the hunt for the next big thing, check out offbeat premieres at the Red Orchid Theatre, an immersive experience at the RedTwist Theatre in Edgewater, or take a trip to Lakeview for a truly provocative show at the Strawdog Theatre Company.

Looking for more options? Here are 10 top storefront theaters in Chicago.

 

COMEDY & SKETCH THEATRE

For more than 50 years The Second City has been a launching pad for some comedy's biggest stars. Bill Murray, Chris Farley, Stephen Colbert and Tina Fey all polished their punch lines at this legendary Chicago institution. With five stages, nightly shows and the in-house UP Comedy Club, a visit to the Old Town neighborhood's Second City Theater is a must for comedy lovers.

Down the street from The Second City is Zanies, one of the country's most fabled stand-up clubs. For fans of unrehearsed hilarity, Chicago boasts improv havens like Lakeview's iO Chicago Theater and The ComedySportz Theatre.

 

BLUE MAN GROUP

Experience a multi-sensory mashup of theatrical spectacle. Blue Man Group fuses original music with comedy, art, vaudeville and science. The three blue performers — they are not only bright blue, but bald! — bang drums, slosh paint and interact with the audience throughout their wild and offbeat evolving productions. Filling the Briar Street Theater in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhoods since the show started over 15 years ago, the phenomenon keeps crowds of all ages and backgrounds coming back for more with their larger-than-life props, mesmorizing rhythms and splash-filled antics.

 

LEAGUE OF CHICAGO THEATRES

The League of Chicago Theatres is your source for the largest variety of Chicago theatre company listings and performances. They serve a membership of more than 200 theaters, ranging from storefront, non-union theaters to major cultural centers. Visit chicagoplays.com for a full calendar of what's on stage now, and what is coming up next.

League of Chicago Theatres also offers half-price tickets with Hot Tix. Visit the two downtown Chicago locations to get recommendations from their experts and find the perfect show, or purchase online any day of the week.

  • 72 E. Randolph (near Millennium Park)
  • 108 N. State Street (inside Block 37, Guest Services 1st Floor)

Blue Man Group
3133 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 348-4000
Broadway In Chicago
17 N. State St.
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 977-1701
Hot Tix
72 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 977-9483
Goodman Theatre
170 N. Dearborn St.
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 443-3800
League of Chicago Theatres
17 N. Wabash St.
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 554-9800
Steppenwolf Theatre Company
1650 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 335-1650
Lookingglass Theatre Company
821 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 337-0665
CSz Theater Chicago
929 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 549-8080
Victory Gardens Theater
2433 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 871-3000
Annoyance Theatre & Bar
851 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 697-9693
A Red Orchid Theatre
1531 N. Wells St.
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 943-8722
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