Theater

The best theater in Chicago, including play and musical critical reviews

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The best plays of 2015, so far

From Abraham to Vanya, these theater pieces have stayed with us

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All Our Tragic

The all-day epic returns, still triumphant

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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"The List" highlights a slow Chicago season for women playwrights

As the Kilroys point out 53 worthy new plays by women, the upcoming seasons at Chicago's top theaters are 80% or 100% male

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Shakespeare in the parks and other outdoor theater in Chicago

See a show under the stars

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Non-Equity Jeff Awards winners

Bailiwick's The Wild Party, Griffin's Men Should Weep take top honors

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Latest theater reviews

All Our Tragic

Sean Graney's monster mash-up of every extant Greek tragedy remains more than worth half your weekend

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Christopher Durang's Chekhovian comedy gets a Chicago production and cast that were worth the wait

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Good People

David Lindsay-Abaire's play gets a second Chicago production quick on the heels of its first

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Time Out loves

Goldfish

Great acting and sharp dialogue keep heavy subject matter afloat in John Kolvenbach's portrait of children and parents

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Bad Jews

Joshua Harmon's abrasive comedy raises solid questions about cultural heritage alongside lots of nervous laughter

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Stick Fly

Lydia R. Diamond's 2006 play about race, class and privilege is ideal viewing for audiences in 2015

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Christopher Durang's Chekhovian comedy gets a Chicago production and cast that were worth the wait

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Read more

All Our Tragic

Sean Graney's monster mash-up of every extant Greek tragedy remains more than worth half your weekend

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Read more

Moby Dick

A powerful, thrilling and acrobatic new adaptation that, like Ahab, just can’t quite capture the whale

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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More theater critics' picks

Theater news

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Northlight Theatre announces casting for fall shows

Here's who you'll see in You Can't Take It With You and Funnyman

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Abby Mueller to play Carole King in Beautiful tour

The Chicago native takes the role that won a Tony for her sister Jessie

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Blog

Gloria Estefan puts her story onstage in On Your Feet!

Pop star Gloria Estefan, the performer for whom the term "Latin crossover star" might as well have been invented, wants you On Your Feet! That's the title of the new Broadway-bound musical that tells the story of the Miami Sound Machine singer turned solo artist and her husband, Grammy-winning music producer Emilio Estefan, using music from Gloria's catalog of hits like "Conga," "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You," "Don't Wanna Lose You" and, of course, "Get On Your Feet." The show, with a book by Birdman Oscar winner Alexander Dinelaris and directed by Tony winner Jerry Mitchell, has a five-week tryout at Chicago's Oriental Theatre beginning next week before opening on Broadway in the fall. At a press conference last week, Gloria and Emilio introduced the actors who will be playing them onstage, Ana Villafañe and Josh Segarra. Earlier today, I spoke with Gloria about how the show came to life and how, exactly, the rhythm is going to get us. When you and Emilio started to think about telling your story, what made you think of a stage musical, as opposed to film or another medium? Well, I think as performers, especially live performers that have spent our lives touring the world, we're great lovers of the musical. They had invited us to do something for Vegas, for a place they were opening, and they wanted a unique and original musical. We kind of got the opportunity to synthesize the story we wanted to tell in that time, but things kept getting in the way, and I am very much a liste

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Blog

American Theater Company's PJ Paparelli killed in car accident

PJ Paparelli, the artistic director of Chicago's American Theater Company, died this morning from injuries sustained in a car accident this week in Scotland, where he was on vacation, a spokesperson for the theater says. ATC issued the following brief statement: "American Theater Company mourns the loss of its leader and artistic director PJ Paparelli, 40, who passed away this morning from injuries due to a car accident in Scotland. The Theater sends its deepest condolences to his family, and requests all respect their privacy at this difficult time. Details on a Chicago memorial service are forthcoming." Paparelli could be a divisive figure in Chicago—the bulk of ATC's former ensemble defected not long after his 2007 arrival, citing artistic differences, to reform as American Blues Theater, and ATC has sometimes struggled financially during his tenure. But the work onstage has been ambitious and largely strong, and Paparelli's commitment to diversifying the ensemble he rebuilt and the voices his company represented was passionate; the current show at ATC, the moving, documentary-style The Project(s), was spearheaded, co-written and directed by Paparelli. Paparelli is the latest in a string of untimely deaths besetting the Chicago theater community this year, including the passings earlier this month of longtime Chicago Dramatists head Russ Tutterow and actress Erin Myers, both after battles with cancer.

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Blog

Theater on the Lake lineup announced

As part of this week's rollout of the summer Night Out in the Parks schedule, the Chicago Park District quietly revealed the lineup of remounted productions for Theater on the Lake. The actual Theater on the Lake facility at Fullerton Avenue and Lake Shore Drive remains closed for renovations, so for the second year in a row, Theater on the Lake programming will be shunted to other CPD facilities, mainly the Berger Park Cultural Center. The schedule there includes two-week runs of four shows from the past season: Bailiwick Chicago's Murder Ballad, June 17–28 Theater Oobleck's Song About Himself, July 8–19 Jackalope Theatre's Four, July 22–August 2 Definition Theatre Company's A Doll's House, August 5–16 Additionally, Oracle Productions will stage its This House Believes the American Dream Is at the Expense of the American Negro at Washington Park Refectory (August 5–9) and Austin Town Hall (August 12–16) before an extended run at its own Lakeview home, August 21–September 20. The Theater on the Lake series is among more than 200 theater performances in park district facilities this summer, which also include Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Shakespeare's Greatest Hits, Barrel of Monkeys' That's Weird, Grandma and Collaboraction's Crime Scene Chicago: The Next Chapter. A complete schedule is on the Chicago Park District's website.

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What's playing at…

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Steppenwolf Theatre Company

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Goodman Theatre

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Victory Gardens Biograph Theater

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The Den Theatre

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Greenhouse Theater Center

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Theater Wit

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Chicago Shakespeare Theater

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Things to do

Stage 773

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Chopin Theatre

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Athenaeum Theatre

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2015–16 season announcements

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American Theater Company

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Steep Theatre

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Profiles Theatre

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Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre

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The House Theatre of Chicago

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Sideshow Theatre Company

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More 2015–16 theater season announcements