Chicago Theater & Performing Arts

When you want to see the next big thing, see it in Chicago. The city boasts five Tony award-winning regional theater companies — more than any other city in the nation. And with more than 200 theater companies delivering everything from blockbuster hits to edgy improv shows, your entertainment options are endless.


Step out into the bright lights of Broadway In Chicago’s bustling downtown Theater District, which features world-premieres and unforgettable, award-winning musicals. 
Broadway In Chicago operates five venues in the district including The PrivateBank Theatre, Oriental Theatre, Cadillac Palace Theatre, the Auditorium Theatre and the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place. These large theaters often host pre-Broadway productions and the industry's most anticipated stage shows.


Experience a multi-sensory show that fuses theatrical spectacle and original music with comedy, art, vaudeville and science. The three performers — they are of course, blue! — bang drums, slosh paint and interact with the audience throughout their wild, offbeat, ever-changing show. The Blue Man Group phenomenon has been filling the Briar Street Theater in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhoods since the show started over 15 years ago.


Be moved at the Tony award-winning Steppenwolf Theatre, well known for its thought-provoking plays and trailblazing ensemble of fierce artists. You will probably recognize the actors on stage, many of whom appear on television and in movies. In fact, legendary actor Gary Sinise founded the theater with his high school pal, Jeff Perry, and Perry’s college buddy, Terry Kinney. 
Now in its fourth decade as a professional theater company, Steppenwolf has received unprecedented national and international recognition from media, theater critics, and audiences alike.


Find compelling drama and sophisticated comedy at the Tony award-winning Goodman Theatre. Goodman has been a part of life in Chicago for more than 80 years and is committed to producing both classic and contemporary works.
The Goodman is also known for its annual holiday production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, which is a yuletide tradition for thousands of Chicago families.


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.
Known for its dynamic and intellectual stage shows, Lookingglass has won dozens of Joseph Jefferson Awards, which are given to recognize theater excellence. Lookingglass also received the Regional Theatre Tony Award in 2011.


Enjoy the works of William Shakespeare and other powerful performances from the past and present. This Navy Pier stage presents works that resonate with Shakespeare’s timeless insights into the human condition. As a Tony Award-winning theater, you can expect creative takes and modern interpretations of literary classics.


Watch in amazement as the skilled improv troupe from The Second City takes the audience on a hilarious adventure. This improv-based sketch comedy was made famous in Chicago and it will have you roaring with laughter. Premiere comics like Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Bill Murray and John Belushi trained here, so don't be surprised to find a future superstar during your visit to this Chicago institution.


Savor the beauty of the Biograph Theater while you take in the enchanting performances from the Victory Gardens troupe. From a Victorian age comedy about female sexuality to a modern Latino take on Oedipus, you will find a wide range of shows that celebrate, reflect and challenge the attitudes of our dynamic and diverse society through passionate new American voices. 
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.


You’ll never be short on theater options in Chicago. Well-known for its risk-taking storefront theater scene, you’ll find shows setting up shop in all sorts of untraditional venues. To get you started on the hunt for the next big thing, check out upcoming performances from companies like A Red Orchid Theatre and NewLeaf Theatre.