The best of this year in Chicago theater was defined by great characters. Some were fictional but richly drawn, like the recently deceased Canadian teenagers of the unexpected favorite Ride the Cyclone. Some were historical figures seen through a redefining lens: See Marie Antoinette as runway queen, or Abraham Lincoln as gay icon. Still others were based on actual residents of our city, neighbors whose stories were given compelling theatrical voice.
Omitting two top-notch remounts from 2014 (thanks for the second rounds of All Our Tragic and Stupid Fucking Bird) and the most tickling touring shows (shoutout to A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder), read on for the best new productions Chicago's thriving theater scene offered up in 2015—then check out our current critics' picks.
RECOMMENDED: The best of 2015