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Events with Tickets Available

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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.

The Line Recommended Free The Short List (Theater)

Through 6/21: available anytime on demand

Buy TicketsFree, but donations accepted

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The Public Theater presents an original documentary play, produced entirely online, about frontline health-care workers in New York during the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring of 2020. Created by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen (The Exonerated) and directed by Blank, the play, shot using a cast of seven filmed in their homes, is derived from interviews conducted with EMTs, nurses, doctors, and others. It is available with American Sign Language interpretation here; with audio description here; and with Spanish and Chinese subtitles. For information about accessible digital content, contact accessibility@publictheater.org.

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.

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."

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."

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."

Max & Olivia O’Brien, Sebastian Paul All Ages Early Warnings (Music)

Wed., July 28, 7 p.m.
Park West 322 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago Lincoln Park

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773-929-5959

Dayglow, Renforshort All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Sold Out (Music)

Wed., July 28, 7:30 p.m.
Lincoln Hall 2424 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago Lincoln Park

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sold out 773-525-2501

Kim Richey All Ages Early Warnings (Music)

Wed., July 28, 7:30 p.m.
SPACE 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston Evanston

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847-492-8860

Dominic Fike, Kenny Mason All Ages Early Warnings (Music)

Wed., July 28, 7:30 p.m.
House of Blues 329 N. Dearborn, Chicago River North

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312-923-2000

Fine by Me, Ur Mom 17+ Early Warnings (Music)

Wed., July 28, 8 p.m.
Beat Kitchen 2100 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago Roscoe Village

Buy from TicketWeb


773-281-4444

Ed Maverick 18+ Early Warnings (Music)

Wed., July 28, 8 p.m.
Schubas 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago Lakeview

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773-525-2508

LP, Lauren Sanderson 18+ Early Warnings (Music)

Wed., July 28, 9 p.m.
Metro 3730 N. Clark St., Chicago Wrigleyville

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773-549-0203

Black Pistol Fire, Waltzer Early Warnings (Music) Sold Out (Music)

Wed., July 28, 9 p.m.
Empty Bottle 1035 N. Western Ave., Chicago Ukrainian Village/East Village

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sold out 773-276-3600

Orville Peck 17+ Early Warnings (Music) Sold Out (Music)

Wed., July 28, 9 p.m.
Thalia Hall 1807 S. Allport Ave., Chicago Pilsen/Little Village

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sold out 312-526-3851

Super Human

7/28-9/22: Wed 9:30 PM
Annoyance Theatre 851 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago Lakeview

Buy Tickets$10


The all-female improv team of Super Human describe themselves as "a splash zone of women," offering a show with "diverse personalities and playing styles, with an unmistakable focus on creating inclusive learning and performance spaces." Proof of vaccination is required to enter the theater. 773-697-9693

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.

Rhythm World 30 at Navy Pier Free Outdoors

Wed 7/28, 7 PM

Buy TicketsFree


Chicago Human Rhythm Project presents a free outdoor showcase as part of their annual celebration of the art of tap. The Eric Hochberg Trio accompanies Karissa Royster, Robyn Watson, Jumaane Taylor, and Jason Janas. Bring your own blanket and a picnic basket. Other ticketed performances in the festival take place at the Jazz Showcase, the DuSable Museum of African American History, and the Museum of Contemporary Art (see separate listings).

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.

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

Trigger Happy

7/28-9/1: Wed 8 PM
Annoyance Theatre 851 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago Lakeview

Buy Tickets$12


This improv show creates a series of unrelated scenes from a single audience suggestion. Along the way, the cast shares an invisible language that will "trigger" certain events. Proof of vaccination is required to enter the theater. 773-697-9693

Intimate Apparel Canceled

3/12-4/19: Wed 1 and 7:30 PM, Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 2:30 and 8 PM, Sun 2:30 PM; also Tue 3/17 and 4/17, 7:30 PM; Sun 3/15 and 3/29, 7 PM; Wed 4/8, 7:30 PM only; Sat 3/14, 8 PM only; no performance Sun 4/12
Northlight Theatre North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie Skokie

Buy TicketsPreviews 3/12-3/19, $30-$61; regular run 3/20-4/19, $30-$89, $15 students all performances (pending availability)


UPDATE Friday, March 13: this event has been postponed until further notice. Contact the box office for information about exchanges or refunds.

Esther, a Black seamstress in 1905 Manhattan falls in love through an epistolary relationship with a Caribbean man working on the Panama Canal, but their marriage turns out differently than she hoped for. Lynn Nottage's 2003 drama, directed for Northlight by Tasia A. Jones, provides a portrait of the way Esther's life intersects with other women, including a wealthy socialite, her landlady, and a prostitute who also plays ragtime in a brothel. Mildred Marie Langford stars as Esther. There will be an open captioning performance on Sat 4/11, 2:30 PM. 847-673-6300

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.

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.

A Summer of Grief, Relief, & Joy Free Closing (Theater and Galleries) Outdoors

7/27-7/30: Tue-Fri 6 PM
Sherman Park 1301 W. 52nd St., Chicago Other South

Buy TicketsFree


Free Street Theater offers a free show for the city's "Night Out in the Parks" program, touring four parks on the south and west sides. The curated showcases feature a lineup of storytellers, poets, Free Street ensemble actors, and audio creatives to "explore how grief and transformation go together, asking what the past year has offered in terms of imagining new and joyful ways of being in community with each other." On Tuesday, July 27, they are at Sherman Park, 1301 W. 52nd. On Wednesday, July 28, they are at Ogden Park, 6500 S. Racine. On Thursday, July 29, they are at Cornell Square Park, 1809 W. 50th. And on Friday, July 30, they are at Clark Park, 3400 N. Rockwell. The series, curated by Free Street operations manager Donna Gary, also offers "a space to engage in meaningful and joyful performances and activities that invite audiences to engage in spiritual reflection, verbal affirmations, and rest guided by the MC, Syd Shaw." 312-747-6672

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.

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.