Chicago, IL — Theatre venues in Chicago and across the world remain closed due to the COVID 19 pandemic while the industry in Chicago has developed creative ways to connect with audiences. Chicago theatre artists and leaders are proving that the creative spirit remains bright and optimistic. This Fall has unleashed a remarkable range of live virtual performances and outdoor live theatre.
"As Chicagoans gather on the park greens or around their computers, we celebrate the resiliency of Chicago theatre and the resolve of the industry to continue the work using new media and new ways of working. Theatre is an important part of all of our lives and theatres are striving to make sure we can all stay connected," comments League of Chicago Theatres Executive Director Deb Clapp.
A comprehensive list of performances and events can be found at ChicagoPlays.com and HotTix.org. The following is a selection of notable work happening in Chicago throughout the Fall:
Music Theater Works will perform Richard Rodgers' Greatest Hits in the parking lot of the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts live in Skokie on September 29. The performance will be available online from October 2-11.
Goodman Theatre in collaboration with the Chicago Park District brings Fannie Lou Hamer, Speak on It! to parks across Chicago, playing now through October 3. The production featuring E. Faye Butler, directed by Henry Godinez, is inspired by the life of famed civil and voting rights activist Fannie Lou Hamerand uses storytelling and music to remind us there's courage in the face of fire, hope in tomorrow and that we all have a stake in our country.
Oil Lamp Theater presents ICONIC: A Broadway Hits Cabaret in Glenview in a parking lot adjacent to the theatre on September 25 and 27.
Theater Wit offers the Park n' Play Cabaret, a traveling cabaret act performed on the back of a customized 26' flatbed truck. A live accompanist and Chicago stage performers will perform a private, socially distanced 35-40 minute Broadway cabaret at a host's location.
The Second City's Happy Hour is a live weekly show with a hilarious cocktail of interactive games, special guests, music, sketch comedy and suggestion-driven improv, now through November 5.
The Neo-Futurists performs 45 Plays for America's First Ladies, a companion piece to the past Neo-Futurist production 43 Plays for 43 Presidents The play follows an identical format as its predecessor, with a chronological series of 1-5 minute plays that — in typical Neo style — adopt a variety of shapes, tones, and theatrical conventions. October 8 — November 2
Congo Square Theatre's Hit 'Em on the Blackside is a new, online sketch comedy series with Congo Square's award-winning African American acting ensemble on the company's Instagram and Facebook pages. October 9 — December 18
International Voices Project presents a virtual staged reading festival of international playwrights, including 2 readings in collaboration with Silk Road Rising on October 14 and 21.
Theatre in the Dark presents an adaptation of H.G. Wells' A War of the Worlds performed live on Zoom, October 15 — November 15.
Strawdog Theatre offers a dark fairytale about one man's obsession in Run the Beast Down. Filmed as a series of single shots, this production runs October 2-25.
Collaboraction's Peacebook 2020 is a free program of Chicago artists/activists premiering short new works about peace in Chicago, on Zoom October 17 — November 14.
Porchlight Music Theatre's Broadway by the Decade is a tour of Broadway musical history from the late 1800s to present day with performances by Chicago musical theatre performers, September 25 — October 25.
Families can experience Chicago Children's Theatre's Beatrix Potter and Friends, an outdoor drive-in movie theatre and puppet show experience. The made-for-film puppet performances will be projected on a giant screen in the theatre's parking lot, October 1-18.
PlayMakers Laboratory is producing its signature revue online. That's Weird, Grandma: House Par-Tay, written by elementary school students and performed by professional actors, plays through October 5.
Northwestern University theater students, faculty and alumni will share 15-minute stories for young audience through its online weekly ImagineU Storytime program from The Wirtz Center.
16th Street Theater's Rastus and Hattie is an audio play by Lisa Langford, adapted and directed by Lanise Antoine Shelley with illustrations by Roy Thomas. The provocative comedy runs now through October 24.
Northlight Theatre is one of a select group of nonprofit arts organizations across the nation participating in a free livestream theatrical event, an adaptation of Sinclair Lewis' novel It Can't Happen Here. The radio play, produced by Berkeley Rep and featuring David Strathairn ( Good Night, and Good Luck ), will broadcast live via YouTube on October 13.
About Chicago theatre
Chicago theatre is the leader in the U.S. with more than 250 theatres throughout Chicagoland, comprising a rich and varied community ranging from storefront, non-union theatres to the most renowned resident theatres in the country, including 5 which have been honored with Regional Tony Awards, and the largest touring Broadway organization in the nation. Chicago's theatres serve 5 million audience members annually and have a combined budget of more than $250 million. Chicago produces and/or presents more world premieres annually than any other city in the nation. Last year alone Chicago theatre companies produced more than 100 world premiere productions and adaptations. Each year Chicago theatres send new work to resident theatres across the country, to Broadway, and around the world.
The League of Chicago Theatres' Mission Statement
Theatre is essential to the life of a great city and to its citizens. The League of Chicago Theatres is an alliance of theatres, which leverages its collective strength to support, promote and advocate for Chicago's theatre industry. Through our work, we ensure that theatre continues to thrive in our city.
For a comprehensive list of Chicago productions, visit the League of Chicago Theatres websites, ChicagoPlays.com and HotTix.org .