Theater in Chicago can slow down a bit in the summer, amid all the music fests, street fairs, ballgames and beach time—and after a winter that seems unwilling to let go (is it warm yet?!), outdoor time—and outdoor drinking—are very necessary. But with more than 200 producing companies in and around the city, there are still plenty of good reasons to spend a few hours in a dark theater—or to see a show under the stars. Here you'll find our guide to 24 promising plays, musicals and theater festivals to keep your eye on this summer.
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24 summer theater picks
This Broadway-aimed musical draws from the same source material as the 1988 film starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey. The new adaptation has a book by Iris Rainer Dart, the author of the novel on which the film was based, and Thom Thomas, with music by David Austin and lyrics by Dart. It was previously staged in 2014 at Arlington, Virginia's Signature Theatre, in a production directed by Signature's artistic director, Eric Schaeffer, who also helms the Drury Lane production.Read more
A volatile young volunteer (Brittany Uomoleale) threatens to upend the careful routine of a nun (Mariann Mayberry) who manages a Bronx soup kitchen in Heidi Schreck's 2014 play. Yasen Peyankov directs the Chicago premiere, which also features Francis Guinan, Tim Hopper and Victor Almanzar.Read more
Sideshow Theatre Company's hit 2014 production of Aaron Posner's Chekhov riff was one of our favorites of the year. Now it returns for a commercially-backed run, moving downstairs from the Richard Christiansen Theater to Victory Gardens's main stage, with director Jonathan L. Green and the complete original cast intact.Read more
The Tony-winning revival of the Stephen Schwartz musical, directed by Tony winner Diane Paulus with circus elements created by Gypsy Snider of Montreal's 7 Fingers, comes to the Cadillac Palace for a scant two weeks. The national touring cast includes Sasha Allen as the Leading Player, Kyle Selig in the title role and Tony winner John Rubinstein, the original Pippin of 1972, as Charles.Read more