Theater

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

9 Chicago theater shows to see in July
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9 Chicago theater shows to see in July

Here are all the shows you can't miss in July

Musical theater in Chicago
Theater

Musical theater in Chicago

From tours to local tuners, see what's playing now and in coming weeks

Cheap Chicago theater tickets and seven ways to get them
Theater

Cheap Chicago theater tickets and seven ways to get them

There’s no shortage of great Chicago plays and musicals to see any day of the year—but sometimes there might be a shortage in your wallet. Traditionally, most theaters in Chicago (including Broadway in Chicago) have offered incentives for full-season subscriptions. But anecdotally at least, subscription bases are on the wane, as younger audiences want more flexibility and less commitment. And seasonal subscriptions do no good for visitors to the city. So what to do if you want a deal? Here are seven excellent avenues to seeing Chicago theater on the cheap. RECOMMENDED: Where to see Chicago theater in the Loop

The Chicago Magic Lounge provides a new home for old tricks
Things to do

The Chicago Magic Lounge provides a new home for old tricks

The new theater in Andersonville hopes to be a hub for the city’s revitalized sleight-of-hand scene.

Broadway in Chicago’s complete 2018 slate
Theater

Broadway in Chicago’s complete 2018 slate

Check out the full schedule of touring shows coming to BIC’s downtown theaters

Latest theater reviews

Victims of Duty

Victims of Duty

Let us consider, for a moment, the elusive Michael Shannon in his natural habitat: the cramped storefront stage of a A Red Orchid Theatre, the company that he helped found and to which he frequently returns. Shannon has made a thriving career in Hollywood as a thinking man’s villain, with his looming frame and bug-eyed intensity injecting eldritch weirdness into many a stock character. But to see him flopping joyfully about in this remount of Eugene Ionesco’s Victims of Duty is to see a man truly at home. Too often, the movies keep Shannon pent up in a cage performing tricks. A Red Orchid lets him roam free. When Hollywood celebrities do plays, there’s usually too much ego on display for anything genuine to get through. The star has to be presented as a star, and the rest of the work suffers. Though Shannon has maintained a reputation as an actor’s actor, it’s inspiring to watch him blend into this stellar ensemble. Actors Karen Aldridge and Guy Van Swearingen, who starred alongside Shannon in the original 1996 production, get just as much shine. Van Swearingen is a former Red Orchid artistic director, and Aldridge is an accomplished stage and screen actress in her own right—in many other shows, she’d be the headliner. The script for Victims of Duty is the kind that makes a critic stare blankly at their computer screen, flummoxed by the task of writing actual English sentences to describe it. Ionesco was one of the 20th century’s leading absurdist writers, and this early pl

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
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Waitress

Waitress

The Cadillac Palace Theatre is turning into Chicago’s premier destination for musicals that once featured local actress-turned-Broadway superstar Jessie Mueller. Last December, the venue hosted a national tour of Beautiful—The Carole King Musical, and it’s currently showing Waitress, an adaptation of the late Adrienne Shelly’s beloved 2007 indie film. Mueller headlined both musicals on Broadway, but each production—Waitress especially—still has much to offer in her absence. And the kickass songbooks help: Beautiful had Carole King and Waitress has Sara Bareilles. As channeled through a live onstage band, Bareilles’s rowdy, casually frank ballads are the perfect match for musical theatre. When listening to her melodies, it’s hard not to feel like Bareilles is your best friend—the kind who will tell you to your face that the guy you’re dating is an asshole. Not one song into Waitress and you start to wonder: Why has it taken Bareilles this long to write a musical? And when is she penning another? As far as adaptations go, Waitress remains faithful to its cinematic source material, which is slightly ironic considering that the story is rife with infidelity. The plot follows Jenna (Desi Oakley), a small-town woman whose only escape from her loveless, abusive marriage is her passion for baking pies. Jenna works at a local diner with her two friends, fellow waitresses Becky (Charity Angél Dawson) and Dawn (Lenne Klingaman), where her baking talents are put to delicious use. The

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
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Buddy—The Buddy Holly Story

Buddy—The Buddy Holly Story

This surface-level bio is more interested in musical fan service than actual insights, but the music, and its star, are top of the line

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
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Time Out loves

Hamilton

Hamilton

Nobody’s throwing away their shot in this top-shelf Chicago staging of the most talked-about new musical in years

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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Buddy—The Buddy Holly Story

Buddy—The Buddy Holly Story

This surface-level bio is more interested in musical fan service than actual insights, but the music, and its star, are top of the line

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
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Steppenwolf Theatre Company

Steppenwolf Theatre Company

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5 out of 5 stars
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Goodman Theatre

Goodman Theatre

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Victory Gardens Biograph Theater
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Victory Gardens Biograph Theater

The Den Theatre

The Den Theatre

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5 out of 5 stars
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Greenhouse Theater Center

Greenhouse Theater Center

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4 out of 5 stars
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Theater Wit

Theater Wit

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5 out of 5 stars
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