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
Is the rhythm, indeed, gonna get us? We'll find out when Chicago gets the first look at this new Broadway-bound musical "based on the life and music of" pop star Gloria Estefan and her producer husband, Emilio Estefan. Featuring hits drawn from Estefan's pop catalog and a book by Alexander Dinelaris, On Your Feet! is directed by Jerry Mitchell with choreography by Sergio Trujillo.Read more
Lifeline Theatre premieres a musical adaptation of the 2007 superhero novel by Austin Grossman that earned comparisons to Jonathan Lethem and Michael Chabon. Christopher M. Walsh adapts the book, with music and lyrics by Christopher Kriz; Paul S. Holmquist directs.Read more
A gay teen sets out to prove that the 16th president shared his orientation in this time-jumping comedy by Bixby Elliot (Girl You Know It's True). About Face Theatre artistic director Andrew Volkoff helms the Chicago premiere, with a cast that includes Matt Farabee, Dana Black, Jessie Fisher, Lane Flores, Nathan Hosner and Derrick Trumbly.Read more
Irish playwright Conor McPherson's 2009 work is inspired by the same Daphne DuMaurier story of winged attackers as Alfred Hitchcock's film, though like Hitchcock, McPherson uses DuMaurier as a jumping off point for a tale that departs from the original, with three strangers coming together to hide from the birds in an abandoned seaside house. Kevin Kingston directs the Chicago premiere for Griffin Theatre, featuring actors Jodi Kingsley, David Krajecki, Keith Neagle and Emily Nichelson.Read more
Ron OJ Parson returns to Victory Gardens for the first time in over a decade, to direct the Midwest premiere of a new play by Ayad Akhtar (Disgraced) focusing on the strain between tradition and progress in an Atlanta Pakistani-American family when daughter Zarina writes a novel about women and Islam.Read more