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Kickback Recommended Free Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater) Online

Through 8/31: available online anytime


About Face Theatre presents a streaming festival of new works, conceived and directed by associate artistic director Mikael Burke. The pieces all highlight "the intersection of queerness and Blackness in all its beauty and glory," and were created in association with Rebuild Foundation, drawing on Rebuild's collection of African American art and cultural artifacts. The lineup includes: Black Woman on Purpose by Michael Turrentine, in which a weekly Zoom call between three generations of Black women becomes a coming-out occasion: Frankie & Labi Saved Us by Robert Cornelius and Paul Oakley Stovall, about an artist suffering PTSD in the pandemic seeking help from a Black male therapist; an introduction to the upcoming feature-length documentary Do Black Lives Matter? by Ben F. Locke; john 11:35 [fo(r) all de lazurus(is)], by avrey r young, a 3-part "sermon of service addressing the erasure of varied blk bodies (specifically trans-bodies) in the age of #BLKLIVESMATTER"; Pangea by Dionne Addai, a piece utilizing poetry, music, and movement to examine the history and legacy of colonization; See Us as We Are by Vic Wynter, which uses the story Chicago house pioneer Frankie Knuckles to examine resistance to erasure of Black queer narratives; LITANY | PT. IV | EBONY by Jenn Freeman, which celebrates Ebony magazine; OM Mission by ShaZah (Shanta Nurullah and Zahra Baker), which explores Black lesbians from the Harlem Renaissance to present-day Chicago; and What We See by Kirsten Baity, Keyonna Jackson, and Cori Wash, "a series of short pieces exploring and exposing the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of growing up Black and queer in the USA."

Wally World Recommended The Short List (Theater) Online

12/16-8/31: available anytime with purchase of Steppenwolf NOW subscription

Buy Tickets$75 for entire Steppenwolf NOW subscription series; discounts available for essential workers, teachers, and students; all Classic, Black and Red Card Members receive Steppenwolf NOW for free

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Steppenwolf continues its subscription online series with Isaac Gómez's comedy, codirected by Gómez and Lili-Anne Brown and featuring ensemble members Cliff Chamberlain, Audrey Francis, Sandra Marquez, and Karen Rodriguez. Set in the titular store (which bears more than a passing resemblance to Walmart, where Gómez's mother has worked for many years), the two-act radio play follows a group of beleagured employees on Christmas Eve as they try to deal with the madness of the season without losing their own sense of purpose, worth, and holiday cheer.

Sexy Baby Recommended Free The Short List (Theater) Online

Available anytime on YouTube

Buy TicketsFree

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Hell in a Handbag offers up a free YouTube stream of their 2012 musical, a satire of child beauty queen pageants created by artistic director David Cerda and Scott Lamberty that former Reader critic Zac Thompson called "biting" and "hysterical." The show was chosen by the members of the company as one of their favorites and is presented free as a gift to the community during the COVID-19 shutdown, though donations to Hell in a Handbag are of course welcome.

Black and Blue Recommended The Short List (Theater) Online

Available anytime with purchase

Buy Tickets$15 for three-day pass


MPAACT's "Podcast Play" series offers an audio play by Shepsu Aakhu, directed by Andrea J. Dymond, originally produced by the company in 2018. Two Black Chicago cops deal with the aftermath of the release of the video of Laquan McDonald's shooting as they patrol a patch of South Shore dubbed "Terror Town." Reader critic Justin Hayford wrote of the original production, "the script's intellectual rigor and visceral impact are unmistakable."

The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral Recommended The Short List (Theater) Online

Available in streaming format through Patreon anytime.

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The Neo-Futurists take their signature show, featuring 30 plays in 60 minutes, online during the COVID-19 crisis. The Neos offer five membership levels ranging from $3 ("Elbow Bump"), which comes with a link to a website where you can set your own timer for 60 minutes and watch all 30 plays, to $100 ("An Extended, Almost Uncomfortable Hug"), which brings a full array of perks including a customized play on a subject of your choosing. The menu includes older archival plays as well as new ones that are being created in quarantine by the ensemble.

Yippee Ki-Yay Merry Christmas! A Die Hard Musical Parody Recommended Free The Short List (Theater) Online

Mondays-Sundays

Buy TicketsFree

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Yippee Productions LLC first presented their annual live musical parody of the 1988 Bruce Willis Christmastime action-adventure flick in 2014 at the now-defunct MCL Chicago comedy theater. Created by Michael Shepherd Jordan, who cowrote the book and score with Alex Garday and Stephanie McCullough, the show returns in an archived streaming presentation from the 2018-19 production at the Den. Tiffani Moore Swalley directed, with filming and editing by Sam Donald Bowers. Reader critic Albert Williams praised the cast of that production for their "improvisational spontaneity and seemingly endless energy."

Still/Here Recommended Free Agenda The Short List (Theater) Online

Available online anytime through Vimeo


Free Street offers a free streaming version of this 2019 show (subtitled Manifestos for Joy and Survival), in which survivors of an apocalyptic event in Chicago provide memories of the struggles that defined their lives before the catastrophe, including fighting gentrification and racism. The narrative is drawn from interviews conducted with over 400 Chicago community members.

Feral Recommended The Short List (Theater) Online

Available anytime with purchase

Buy Tickets$15 for three-day pass


MPAACT's "Podcast Play" series offers audio versions of some of their favorite past productions. In this piece, written and directed by Shepsu Aakhu, a young Black activist's politically motivated graffiti campaign sets him on a collision course with the police, leading to a controversy that engulfs his city and the country. In his review of the 2016 production, Reader critic Zac Thompson wrote, "Aakhu has political points to make, but the considerable power of the play stems from the anger and heartbreak of the characters."

New Faces Sing Broadway 1961 Online

4/16-5/16: available online with purchase anytime

Buy Tickets$25-$50


Porchlight Music Theatre presents a virtual revue, recorded live at the Studebaker Theatre in the Fine Arts Building and directed by Brianna Borger, with music direction and arrangements by Tom Vendafreddo. As the title suggests, the show focuses on shows that premiered in the 1961 Broadway season, with host Kelvin Roston Jr. providing the context for the material. Among the hits of that year are How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Subways Are for Sleeping, and Stop the World—I Want to Get Off. The cast includes Lexie Bailey, Nicole Barth, Marcus Canada, Chloe Howard, Izzie Jones, Clare Kennedy, Maurice Rex Randle, Abraham Shaw, and Tommy Thurston. 773-777-9884

Duchess! Duchess! Duchess! Online

3/10-3/31: available anytime with purchase of Steppenwolf NOW subscription

Buy Tickets$75 for entire Steppenwolf NOW subscription series; discounts available for essential workers, teachers, and students; all Classic, Black and Red Card Members receive Steppenwolf NOW for free


Steppenwolf continues its all-digital season, Steppenwolf NOW, with this piece by Vivian J.O. Barnes and directed by Weyni Mengesha, artistic director of Toronto's Soulpepper Theatre. "Loosely inspired" by the Meghan Markle story, a younger duchess-to-be (Celeste M. Cooper) meets with the current duchess (Sydney Charles) to talk about the stresses and traps lying in wait for "the luckiest girl in the world." The piece was filmed as a play and is the fourth of six productions in the Steppenwolf NOW series, all of which can be viewed with a subscription.

Where We Stand Online

6/16-8/31: available anytime with purchase of Steppenwolf NOW subscription

Buy Tickets$75 for entire Steppenwolf NOW subscription series; discounts available for essential workers, teachers, and students; all Classic, Black and Red Card Members receive Steppenwolf NOW for free www.steppenwolf.org


Steppenwolf NOW presents the final offering in its streaming season with this piece written, composed, and performed by 2021 Whiting Award winner Donnetta Lavinia Grays, and directed by Tamilla Woodard. The 70-minute filmed play follows a man who has been shunned by his town and who makes a deal on behalf of his town with a mysterious stranger. But first, he must stand before his community and ask forgiveness. This filmed play captures a performance originally presented at Baltimore Center Stage coproduced with WP Theater.

Red Folder Online

1/27-8/31: available anytime with Steppenwolf NOW subscription

Buy Tickets$75 for entire Steppenwolf NOW subscription series; discounts available for essential workers, teachers and students; all Classic, Black and Red Card Members receive Steppenwolf NOW for free


Steppenwolf NOW continues the theater's all-digital season with a piece by ensemble member Rajiv Joseph (Guards at the Taj, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo) about a first grader who stores all his woes inside a red folder, and years later seeks vengeance. The animated piece features Joseph's illustrations (animated by Christopher Huizar), with narration by Carrie Coon and original music by Chris P. Thompson.

What Is Left, Burns Online

11/11/20-8/31/21: Available streaming anytime through Steppenwolf NOW subscription

Buy Tickets$75 for entire Steppenwolf NOW subscription series; $50 for essential workers, teachers, and students; all Classic, Black, and Red Card members receive Steppenwolf NOW for free


In response to COVID-19 and the ongoing shutdown, Steppenwolf unveils a new digital subscription series, Steppenwolf NOW, kicking it off with this 20-minute play by James Ijames (Kill Move Paradise). Directed by Whitney White and starring Steppenwolf ensemble members K. Todd Freeman and Jon Michael Hill, the story follows a video reunion between two poets and former lovers after a 15-year estrangement.

A Portrait of My Mother Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater) Online

through 7/31: available anytime on demand with purchase

Buy from TicketWeb$5 early bird, $10 after 5/9


Jarrott Productions of Austin, Texas presents the digital world premiere of a solo show by Carlo Lorenzo Garcia, a former longtime Chicago actor who spent a dozen years as a member of the now-defunct Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company. Garcia's piece, which he also performs under David R. Jarrott's direction, traces the story of his mother's childhood in Texas, which included abuse at the hands of the family members who took her from her birth mother and essentially made her a servant, until she escaped to Chicago. It premieres on Mother's Day and is then available on demand in an open run.

Why Dogs Don't Talk Online

7/27-8/8: available with purchase online anytime

Buy Ticketspay what you can ($1-$100)


First Folio presents a digital play based on a short story by Dean Monti and adapted by David Rice. The comedy explores the relationship between hound dog Hubert and his human, Mel. Morgan Manasa directs, with original music and sound design by Christopher Kriz and video editing and production by Mike Alongi. The cast includes Landree Fleming as Hubert the dog and August Forman as the bewildered dog owner Mel.

Joffrey Ballet Free Online

Available through the company website or YouTube channel anytime


During the COVID-19 shutdown, the Joffrey highlights a different production from its history every week with production footage and behind-the-scenes interviews with artists involved in the show. Every Thursday at 2 PM, the Joffrey also features "On Cue," a weekly check in (via Instagram) with a Joffrey company artist about "how they’re staying fit, what they’re doing to stay sane and even share some of their favorite quarantine recipes."

Every Waiting Heart Free Online

Mondays-Sundays

Buy TicketsFree, but donations accepted


Artemisia presents an audio play by Lauren Ferebee, winner of the company's 2018 Fall Festival of new feminist plays. Originally scheduled for a full live production, Ferebee's story of an overworked single mother and her rebellious teen daughter has been reconfigured as a radio drama, directed by Artemisia founding artistic director Julie Proudfoot.

Pasión Latina Free Online

Streaming anytime

Buy TicketsFree

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Lyric Opera's Ryan Opera Center presents a free streaming virtual concert, hosted by soprano Ana María Martínez and featuring songs from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala, Argentina, and Spain. The lineup includes Ryan alums René Barbera, David Portillo, Mario Rojas, and Richard Ollarsaba and two current Ryan ensemble members—Denis Vélez and Puerto Ricardo José Rivera. It's available through the Lyric YouTube and Facebook pages.

The Approximately Five-Minute Shelter in Place Show Free Online

Available anytime through website


Small Fish Radio Theatre and Thespinarium, which specializes in short radio plays, presents an ongoing series of radio pieces created in quarantine during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Until the Flood Free Online

Premieres Sun 11/17, 7 PM CST; available through All ARTS until fall of 2023

Buy TicketsFree


Dael Orlandersmith's solo documentary play follows the aftermath of the 2014 police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Originally commissioned by Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Orlandersmith's show (directed by Neel Keller) played at several regionals around the country, including a production at the Goodman in the spring of 2018. This archival recording will stream free for three years through All ARTS app from WNET in New York. Reader critic Dan Jakes wrote of the Goodman presentation, "Derived on dozens of interviews with Ferguson and Saint Louis residents, Orlandersmith has crafted eight composite characters with layered, thorny takes on the anger, fear, privilege, injustice, assumptions, and institutional breakdowns that factor into the cycle of violence committed against people of color by American law enforcement."

Mother of the Dark Water Online

Available anytime with purchase

Buy Tickets$15 for three-day pass


MPAACT's "Podcast Plays" series provides an audio play version of a piece devised and directed by Lauren Wells-Mann, featuring vocal arrangements by Lynsey Moxie and original music by Danjuma Gaskin. Inspired by original images of the Black Madonna, five Black women "decide to reclaim their truth and voices in the normative feminist movement." The piece draws upon personal history and original poetry.

Moony Free Online

Open run: available online anytime

Buy TicketsFree


Steep Theatre presents a free new radio play by Ike Holter, directed by Joanie Schultz.

Diamond's Dream Free Online

Opens Mon 1/18, 10 AM CST, available streaming on demand anytime

Buy TicketsFree


Chicago Children's Theatre presents the world premiere of a new puppet film by Chicago artists Jerrell L. Henderson and Caitlin McLeod as part of their new "Springboard" play development program. (Henderson also directs, while McLeod is the designer.) Diamond, a preteen Black boy in Chicago, falls asleep on a south-bound Red Line train on his way to visit his dying grandmother. When he wakes up, he finds that he has been joined by the spirit of a young Black girl who died exactly 100 years earlier in the 1918 flu pandemic. The two face "paranormal puppets" representing the forces of ignorance, poverty, and racism. The piece will be available streaming anytime after its January 18 premiere with CCT's YouTube channel. The Storyboard program aims to foster new works for young audiences by commissioning 14 BIPOC artists with Chicago roots.

Never the Milk & Honey Online

Available anytime with purchase

Buy Tickets$15 for three-day pass


MPAACT's "Podcast Plays" series presents an audio play version of Shepsu Aakhu's 2017 drama about a "doomdsday preacher" who wakes up to find that the world hasn't ended, and cedes responsibility to his wife. Carla Stillwell directs. Reader critic Dan Jakes praised Aakhu's "sympathetic, compassionate gaze" in his review of the original production.

Starting Over Online

Available anytime with purchase

Buy Tickets$15 for three-day pass


MPAACT's "Podcast Plays" series offers an audio play version of Shepsu Aakhu's romantic drama about a pair of small-town lovers (a Black boy and a white girl) finding new challenges when they reconnect in the city in the aftermath of the latter's coming out as a trans male. Lauren "LL" Lundy directs.

Chicago Architecture Center Online Exhibits Free Agenda Online

Ongoing


The CAC offers three online exhibitions, viewable for free on its website: "Between States: 50 Designers Transform Chicago's Neighborhoods" (a showcase of community-based design solutions to transform underappreciated and underperforming spaces in Chicago), "50 Designers, 50 Ideas, 50 Wards" (design proposals for rebuilding Chicago from 50 local architecture and design firms), and "Chidesign: Designing a Center for Architecture, Design, and Education" (an international competition to imagine a new Center for Architecture, Design, and Education in Chicago).

Play(s) at Home Free Online

Available via YouTube anytime


Connective Theatre Company's response to the COVID-19 shutdown, this festival of short plays solicited works from artists tackling various aspects of the pandemic. The company selected eight pieces and rehearsed and performed them via Zoom within 72 hours. The program is broken into three acts around the themes of "Navigating Solitude and Quarantine," "Anxiety, Fear, and Hysteria in the age of COVID-19," and "Navigating Relationships in Quarantine." There are interludes between each act with artistic director Chase Hauser and licensed clinical social worker Erich Heintzen discussing the issues raised by the plays.

Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration Free All Ages Online

Available any time on YouTube

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In honor of Stephen Sondheim's 90th birthday and the 50th anniversary of the Broadway opening of Company, Raúl Esparza, who won a Tony as Bobby in the 2006 revival of the latter, produced this all-star virtual concert of Sondheim's work. The lineup includes performances and tributes from Patti LuPone, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Nathan Lane, Bernadette Peters, Kelli Peters, and many others. Mary-Mitchell Campbell served as music director and Paul Wontorek as director. Available free, but donations accepted for ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty), a nonprofit founded by Campbell and Juilliard students to help youth in underserved communities receive access to arts training.

Henchpeople Recommended Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater) Online

Previews 7/8-7/9, Thu-Fri 8 PM, opens Sat 7/10 8 PM; through 8/1, Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM; also Mon 7/19, 7:30 PM. Streaming version available 7/23-8/1, Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM

Buy TicketsPreviews 7/8-7/9, $15; regular run 7/10-8/1 $23 (industry, student, and senior $20); streaming version $20


Theatre Above the Law returns to live performance with the world premiere of Ross Compton's comedic play about the henchpersons of a supervillain who find themselves facing down "an army of blood-thirsty foot soldiers, a formidable superhero, and their own feelings of distrust, self-worth, and burgeoning friendship." Tony Lawry directs. There is a streaming version available in addition to the live production. Audience members 12 and older must be vaccinated and show their vaccination card at the box office, and are also required to wear masks in the theater.

Morning Yoga Online with Latipha Rivers Recommended Free Agenda Online

Fridays, Saturdays, 9:30 a.m.

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Yoga instructor Latipha Rivers of Blue Rivers Studio offers free online yoga, broadcast by the University of Chicago's Arts and Public Life Initiative. RSVP at Facebook, where you can find the Zoom access link.