This year just so happens to be the Year of Chicago Theater, and what a year it is! Officially designated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the 12-month program presents a citywide focus on stage productions in all forms (improv, dance, opera, puppetry and more) and is the first of its kind initiative in the U.S. In celebration of the more than 250 theaters in the city and premieres happening this year, we take a look at our favorite productions this spring.
BROADWAY IN CHICAGO
Since 2000, the city has been the great benefactor of Broadway In Chicago, that presents premieres, first-runs and touring productions that eventually make it to the Great White Way. With programming at five theaters in the city, most of them active this month with classic and brand-new productions.
“A Bronx Tale” runs March 12-24 at the James M. Nederlander Theatre and tells the story of actor Chazz Palminteri’s upbringing in 1960s New York “where a young man is caught between the father he loves and the mob boss he’d love to be.” 24 W. Randolph St.
“The Choir Of Man” also takes over Broadway Playhouse March 12-17, as part of its very first U.S. tour. Described as half-party, half-concert, this spine-tingling musical is set in a working class pub with renditions of famous pub tunes, folk music, Broadway hits and classic rock, all accompanied by high harmonies and incredible choreography. Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St.
“Anastasia” is also another big production this month to the James M. Nederlander Theatre, March 26-April 7, based on the beloved film and from the producers of “Ragtime.” 24 W. Randolph St.
Chicago’s company theaters also offer marquee productions. Starting March 1, The Mercury Theatre presents a riveting production of the sci-fi cult classic “Little Shop of Horrors”, about a floral shop owner who discovers a breed of carnivorous plant that makes promises in exchange for blood. 3745 N. Southport Ave.
“The Abuelas,” on stage through March 17 at Victory Gardens, is a world premiere and the sequel to the acclaimed play, “The Madres.” It’s set in Chicago and is centered around the repercussions of Argentina’s military dictatorship from 1976-1983. 2433 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lookingglass Theatre, a company co-founded by actor David Schwimmer, presents a must-see production “Acts Of God” through April 7. The premise? “Three siblings, two parents, and one very unexpected dinner guest.” 821 N. Michigan Ave.
Some of the first words that come to mind when speaking of Chicago’s theater scene are Goodman and Steppenwolf. Both of these honorable production houses have won numerous Tonys and international awards and have had a who’s who of directors and actors behind decades’ worth of unique productions.
The Goodman, Chicago’s oldest and largest not-for-profit theater, presents “Sweat” starting March 9 and running through April 14. The 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner is “a collision of race, class and friendship at a pivotal moment in America.” 170 N. Dearborn St.
Steppenwolf Theatre also has a storied history: It started in a modest Highland Park, IL basement in he mid-’70s by three friends: Jeff Perry, Terry Kinney and Gary Sinise. Running through March 17, the theater presents “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” Lucas Hnath’s sequel to Henrik Ibsen’s masterpiece. 1650 N. Halsted St.