This summer, the Chicago theatre scene has a full roster of scorching-hot shows. You’ll find a little bit of everything in our 200+ theatres, from revamped classic to unbelievable acrobatics to Broadway sensations. Check out a roundup of just a few of this summer’s must-see theatre shows in Chicago.
Cirque du Soleil: Volta Under the Big Top at Soldier Field
1410 Museum Campus Drive in the South Loop
May 18 – June 23, 2019
VOLTA is a captivating voyage of discovery that showcases never-before-seen acrobatics in a visually striking world under the Big Top. Driven by a stirring melodic score and inspired in part by the adventurous spirit that fuels the culture of street sports, VOLTA is about finding yourself and unveiling your personal powers. A spellbinding story about the freedom to choose and the thrill of blazing your own trail. Get tickets.
Too Heavy for Your Pocket
Photo by Kenny Nakai
615 W. Wellington in Lakeview
April 24 – June 30, 2019
Bowzie Brandon and his wife, Evelyn, see happiness on the horizon when Bowzie gets a scholarship to attend college and improve his family’s life. However, when the opportunity to become a Freedom Rider arises, Bowzie leaves his obligations as a husband and friend behind to join the fight against racism in the Deep South. Too Heavy for Your Pocket is a powerful look at the tenuous balance between security and risk, the bonds of love and friendship, and the personal cost of progress. Get tickets.
Ms. Blakk for President
Steppenwolf Theatre Company
1650 N. Halsted St. in Lincoln Park
May 23 – July 14
Don’t miss ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney’s return to the stage as Joan Jett Blakk, America’s first black drag queen presidential candidate. Joan’s story begins in Chicago; it’s 1992 and, with the AIDS crisis at its height, Joan and the newly formed Queer Nation Chicago have big goals in mind. Joan sets off on an exhilarating and dangerous journey to bring queer politics out of the closet and into a future where everyone has a place at the table. Part campaign rally, part nightclub performance, part confessional, and all party, Ms. Blakk for President takes us into the heart and mind of one of Chicago’s most radical and influential trailblazers. Get tickets.
Lookingglass Theatre Company
821 N. Michigan Ave. along the Magnificent Mile
May 8 – August 4, 2019
Within every man there is a monster; every monster, a man. But which is which? Mary Shelley’s unsettling story crackles to life as Victor Frankenstein must contend with his unholy creation. From the brain of Lookingglass ensemble member David Catlin (Moby Dick, Lookingglass Alice) comes a new, visceral adaptation of Frankenstein. Get tickets.
La Havana Madrid
Collaboraction & Teatro Vista at The Den Theatre
1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park
May 11 – June 22, 2019
Back by popular demand, La Havana Madrid is Teatro Vista/Collaboraction company member Sandra Delgado’s immersive documentary theatre experience, based on the real 1960s Chicago nightclub. Inspired by true stories of Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Colombian immigrants who found refuge there, La Havana Madrid recreates a special time and place in Chicago history by immersing audiences in the lively music of that decade, from mambo to salsa. Get tickets.
Photo by Jeff Sciortino
Chicago Shakespeare Theater
800 E. Grand Ave. on Navy Pier
May 14 – June 30, 2019
On the heels of its UK debut and wildly popular West End run, Chicago Shakespeare stages the North American premiere of SIX — currently nominated for five Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical. The ex-wives of Henry VIII join forces for an electrifying pop-concert spectacle — shining a spotlight on these six women as never before. The queens take the mic to reclaim their identities out of the shadow of their infamous spouse, remixing five hundred years of historical heartbreak into an exuberant celebration of twenty-first-century female empowerment. Backed by a band known as the “Ladies in Waiting,” the all-women ensemble traverses the spectrum of modern-day pop with a soundtrack that has stormed to the top of the UK charts. Get tickets.
Queen of the Mist
Firebrand Theatre at The Den Theatre
1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park
May 25 – July 6
Queen of the Mist is based on the astounding and outrageous true story of Anna Edson Taylor, who in 1901 set out to be the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel of her own design. Navigating both the treacherous Falls and a fickle public with a ravenous appetite for sensationalism, this unconventional heroine vies for her legacy in a world clamoring with swindling managers, assassins, revolutionaries, moralizing family, anarchists, and activists. With a soaring score that incorporates turn-of-the-century themes with Michael John LaChiusa’s signature complexity and insight, Queen of the Mist is the story of a single great fall, and how one woman risked death so that she could live. Get tickets.
If I Forget
Photo by Todd Rosenberg
Victory Gardens Theater
2433 N. Lincoln Ave. in Lincoln Park
June 7 – July 7, 2019
In the final months before Sept. 11, 2011, liberal Jewish studies professor Michael Fischer has reunited with his two sisters to celebrate their father’s 75th birthday. Each deeply invested in their own version of family history, the siblings clash over everything from Michael’s controversial scholarly work to the mounting pressures of caring for an ailing parent. As destructive secrets and long-held resentments bubble to the surface, the three negotiate — with biting humor and razor-sharp insight — how much of the past they’re willing to sacrifice for a chance at a new beginning. If I Forget tells a powerful tale of a family and a culture at odds with itself. Get tickets.
You Can’t Fake the Funk (From James Brown to Parliament)
Black Ensemble Theater
4450 N. Clark St. in Uptown
July 20 – Sept. 8, 2019
This patchwork musical will take you on a journey back to when afros were big, bell bottoms were tight, and the music was out of sight. You Can’t Fake the Funk (From James Brown to Parliament) will guide you through a musical genre that’s sure to have you grooving in your seats! Get tickets.
Come From Away
Photo by Matthew Murphy
Broadway In Chicago at Cadillac Palace Theatre
151 W. Randolph St. in the Loop
Playing July 30 – Aug. 18, 2019
The true story of the small town that welcomed the world. Broadway’s Come From Away has won Best Musical all across North America! The New York Times Critics’ Pick takes you into the heart of the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. Cultures clashed and nerves ran high, but uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night, and gratitude grew into enduring friendships. Don’t miss this breathtaking new musical written by Tony nominees Irene Sankoff and David Hein, and helmed by Tony-winning Best Director, Christopher Ashley. Get tickets.