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Performing Arts Events with Online

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45 Plays for America's First Ladies Recommended The Short List (Theater) Online

10/8-11/2: livestreamed performances with audience participation Thu-Fri 10/8 and 10/9, 7:30 PM CDT and Sun 10/11 2 PM CDT; available online anytime 10/13-11/2

Buy Tickets$15

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The Neo-Futurists present a digital companion piece to their hit 43 Plays for 43 Presidents, which premiered in 2004 and was remounted in 2012. In this look at the women who were FLOTUS (written by Neo-Futurists alumni Andy Bayiates, Bilal Dardai, Genevra Gallo-Bayiates, Sharon Greene, and Chloe Johnston and directed by Denise Yvette Serna), the focus is on using the office of First Lady "as a lens to examine the roles that women and other marginalized individuals have played in the development of America."

A War of the Worlds Recommended The Short List (Theater) Online

10/15-11/21: Tue-Sat 8 PM CST, Sun 7 PM CST

Buy TicketsPay what you can, but $20-$25 suggested donation

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Theatre in the Dark, which specializes in chilling drama presented without visuals (relying instead on recorded sound, live foley effects, and the actors' voices, a la classic radio dramas) returns with this adaptation of H.G. Wells's Martian invasion tale by company founders Corey Bradberry and Mack Gordon. It will be performed online live six shows a week.

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.

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.

Animal Farm Free Online

10/19-11/20: contact theater for reservation information

Buy TicketsFree to school groups


Steppenwolf for Young Adults offers a streaming radio play version of George Orwell's classic dystopic political allegory. Originally adapted by Althos Low for a stage version produced by SYA in 2014, it has been further adapted for this presentation by Steve Pickering, and is directed by Lili-Anne Brown. It's recommended for grades 8+.

Madmen & Prisoners: Two Tales by Poe Online

10/20-11/1: available streaming anytime with purchase

Buy Ticketspay what you can


First Folio Theatre offers a streaming adaptation of two stories by Edgar Allan Poe ("The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Pit and the Pendulum"), originally part of David Rice's perennial ambulatory hit, The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe. The pieces recorded here were part of the 2018 production, directed by Skyler Schrempp, set in various rooms of the atmospheric Peabody mansion in Oak Brook.

Dance Buffet Online

Through 10/26: see website for schedule and details of events

Buy Tickets


The Dance Center of Columbia College continues a virtual season in this series of classes and performances, which include topics such as financial management and lighting design as well as dance.

We Still Dream: The 5th Annual Peacebook and Utopian Ball Online

10/17-11/14: see website for complete schedule

Buy TicketsFree for festival; benefit tickets 11/14 $25-$250


Collaboraction presents its annual festival of short plays on seeking peaceful resolution to conflicts (personal and political) via streaming videos, created by 10 different Chicago artist-activists. These are broken into two programs. Program one, Essential Perspectives, features work self-taped and edited by Jasmin Cardenas, Mia Park, Teh’Ray Hale Jr. (aka PHENOM), Sami Ismat, and Willie Round. The focus for these pieces is on how their communities have shown resilience during the pandemic. Program two, Visions of Peace, selected from over 75 submissions, will premiere five new works by Ada Cheng, Darling Shear, Matthew LaChappelle, Luzzo, and Vernon B. Gooden. There is also related programming, including a screening from last winter's Encounter festival of Lift Every Voice by G. Riley Mills and Willie Round and Zoom discussions with the Peacebook creative teams. The festival concludes on Saturday, November 14, with the "Utopian Ball," a virtual benefit chaired by Chicago casting director Claire Simon.

Black Joy Online

10/16-10/31: premiere on Facebook free, available streaming for donation anytime afterward

Buy Ticketspay what you can


Clock Productions offers an online streaming version of this annual festival of songs, scenes, and spoken word, adapted and directed by Kayla V. White, that takes audiences on "a physical and emotional journey through the seasons, sharing stories about being Black in America."

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.

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."

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.

Run the Beast Down Recommended Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater) Online

10/2-11/1: a donation provides a Vimeo link for a one-time viewing. See website for details.

Buy TicketsPay what you can ($5 minimum)

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Strawdog Theatre opens its all-virtual 33rd season with the U.S. digital premiere of Titas Halder's solo play, directed by Elly Green. Gage Wallace stars as Charlie, a Londoner who, in the wake of an international economic meltdown, has lost his job and his girlfriend, and who believes he is being haunted by a fox. Halder's dystopic vigilante thriller has been filmed as a series of single shots, with Kamille Dawkins serving as director of photograhy, editing by Kyle Hamman, and sound designed by Daniel Etti-Williams. Fifty percent of the revenues will be donated by Strawdog to Lakeview Pantry.

Death of a Salesman Free Online

Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Oct. 25

Buy TicketsFree but donations to the Actors Fund encouraged.


The Goodman's Tony Award-winning 1999 production of Arthur Miller's classic, starring the late Brian Dennehy as Willy Loman, returns in a free limited streaming engagement, with donations accepted for the Actors Fund. The Goodman also offers two related streaming events. On Friday, October 23, 5 PM, playwrights Eleanor Burgess (Wife of a Salesman) and Kimberly Belflower (John Proctor is the Villain) discuss "Remixing Miller" for the theater's Live@5 series. On Sunday, October 25, 2 PM, director Robert Falls and some members of the Broadway cast join host Steve Scott for a discussion about the production, 20 years afterward.

Rastus and Hattie Recommended Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater) Online

9/24-10/24: Thu-Fri 7 PM, Sat 4 PM (available other times by appointment)

Buy Ticketspay what you can

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Lisa Langford's comedy gets an audio play production with 16th Street Theater, paired with illustrations by artist Roy Thomas and directed by Lanise Antoine Shelley. Inspired by the story of "brown-skin robots" developed by Westinghouse in 1930, Langford's play examines the "post-racial" friendship of Needra and Marlene, interrupted by the appearance of the robots and "a glitch in the time-space continuum" that places them at opposite ends of the social ladder in a past timeline.

Plays for the People Recommended The Short List (Theater) Online

7/8-11/8: see website for complete schedule

Buy Tickets$22 approximately (£19.62)

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Black Lives, Black Words International Project produces an online season of seven plays celebrating African American and African experience. The pieces will be performed live over Zoom for a period of five days, with audiences limited to 50 people per performance. The second day of each run will also feature a Q&A chaired by BLBW cofounders Reginald Edmund and Simeilia Hodge-Dallaway. The schedule is as follows:

10/22-10/25: Call for the Wailing Women by Katrina D. RiChard, directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton. A modern-day Afrocentric retelling of Euripides's The Suppliants, about a group of grieving women in wartime desperate to bury their dead. 

11/2-11/8: The Emancipation of Yankee Oluwale by Wole Oguntokun, based on the story of David Oluwale, a British Nigerian whose body was found in the River Aire in Leeds in 1969, leading to an investigation of how the homeless and mentally ill man had been tormented by the police.

Black Magic Online

Through 11/30: available anytime through Vimeo with purchase

Buy Tickets$5-$45 suggested donation


Perceptions Theatre offers its first full-length digital play, written by Jerluane "Jay" Jenkins and directed by Myesha-Tiara. After the death of Tituba, the family matriarch and priestess, siblings Sasha, Hakeem, and Khadija wrestle to find their own place in the world while dealing with "feelings of love, grief, ignored realities and revenge" and still maintaining a spiritual connection to Tituba.

Accidental Death of a Black Motorist Free Online

Through 11/4: available anytime through website

Buy TicketsFree, but donations accepted


The Conspirators offer two archived streaming performances for the election season: Accidental Death of a Black Motorist and The Deckchairs, or Make the Titanic Great Again (see separate listing). In Accidental Death, adapted by Sid Feldman from Dario Fo's absurdist satire Accidental Death of an Anarchist, an actor infiltrates a police department where a Black suspect "accidentally" fell to his death from a fourth-floor window and turns the tables on the detectives in a high-octane interrogation. Wm. Bullion directs.

The Deckchairs, or Make the Titanic Great Again Free Online

Through 11/4: available anytime through website

Buy TicketsFree, but donations accepted


The Conspirators offer two streaming archived past productions for the election season: The Deckchairs, or Make the Titanic Great Again and Accidental Death of a Black Motorist (see separate listing). Sid Feldman's satire, directed by Wm. Bullion, places a man named "Drumpf" in charge of the titular doomed vessel, where his denialism manifests through throwing paper towels and unhinged press conferences.

A Tale of Two Free Online

Thu 10/22 and Sat 10/24, 6 PM; Sun 10/25, 2 PM

Buy TicketsFree, but reservation required


Hubbard Street Dance Chicago unveils this new 25-minute piece by choreographer and former company member Rena Butler, filmed by Talia Koylass. Butler takes on the subject of Chicago as "two cities," divided by racial disparity, segregation, and violence in this world premiere, which features music by composer Darryl Joseph, as well as songs by vocalists Shawnee Dez and Alencia Norris. It's performed by the full HSDC company (who were filmed at a social distance and masked outdoors or inside if they resided together). A live interactive discussions with Butler and the creative team following each presentation.

Airport 1970Something Online

10/16-11/14: Fri-Sat 6 PM-midnight

Buy Tickets$15 for 1 patron, $25 for 2 patrons, $45 for groups


Hell in a Handbag offers this spoof of the 1970s Airport disaster films, adapted by David Cerda and edited by Peter Neville. Recently presented as part of Handbag's Drive-In Festival, the project entails a cast of Handbag regulars providing new voice-over dialogue to the original film. Ticketed patrons can access the Vimeo stream from 6 PM-midnight on the evening (Friday or Saturday) of their choice.

CML (Virtual) Cocktail Hour Online

Fri 6:30 PM; Thu-Sat 10/29-10/31, all shows 7 PM

Buy TicketsPay what you can ($15 minimum)


Chicago Magic Lounge offers a Zoom series featuring performances by four "close-up" magicians filmed onstage at CML, as well as a cocktail demonstration. Tickets are available noon the Wednesday before the performance, which is recommended for ages 16 and up.

Ghost Light Soiree Online

Fri 10/23, 8 PM CDT

Buy Tickets$30


Shattered Globe Theatre presents a Halloween-themed benefit, hosted by ensemble member David Dastmalchian (star of Ant-Man and writer of the Count Crowley series, featuring "Dr. Fearless," for Dark Horse). The entertainment includes music and an appearance by Tom Savini, Hollywood's "godfather of gore."

Hit 'Em on the Blackside Free Online

Through 12/18: new episodes every other Friday

Buy TicketsFree, but donations accepted

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Congo Square Theatre unveils a new digital sketch comedy show, inspired by George C. Wolfe's The Colored Museum and originally presented as a live show called Tales from the Blackside, conceived and directed by company member Anthony Irons. The online version drops new episodes every Friday via the company's Instagram and Facebook pages. In December, the complete collection of episodes will be available, with a new series beginning in March of 2021.

Twisted Tales of Poe Free Online

10/26-10/31: available streaming anytime through website

Buy TicketsFree, but donations accepted


AstonRep Theatre Company presents a streaming radio play version of four works by Edgar Allan Poe: “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Black Cat,” and “The Raven," adapted by Philip Grecian and directed by Aaron Mays.

The Spin Online

10/30-11/22: available streaming anytime with purchase

Buy Tickets$15


Interrobang Theatre Project opens its 11th season with this virtual play written and directed by Spenser Davis. The political satire concerns a public works director of a major city who confesses to a horrible crime and the crew of "spin doctors" who try to distance City Hall from the crime while working remotely during the pandemic. There is a special "watch-along" party at 8 PM CDT for the premiere on Friday 10/30, and also on Friday 11/6.

The Balancing Arab Free Agenda Online

Available streaming anytime through website


A politically active Arab American and her Irish American personal fitness trainer share their impressions of an event at the Arab American Cultural Center, leading to tensions during the workout session. Silk Road Rising cofounder Jamil Khoury wrote this short video play, directed by Anne Jacques.

I Elect: Power Every Four Years Free Online

Premieres Sat 10/17, 6 PM CDT; then free anytime online afterward.

Buy TicketsFree


Bill Spring's play about Bella, a Miami woman in 2020 trying to come to grips with what was unleashed by the 2016 election results, stars DePaul University grad Carey Brianna Hart under Ricky J. Martinez's direction.

Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre Fall Concert Series Online

11/5-11/7: Thu-Fri 7 PM, Sat 2 and 7 PM

Buy Tickets$30-$50


Cerqua Rivera takes its fall season online with this livestream concert, recorded earlier live at Evanston's Studio5. The performance will include excerpts from earlier pieces in the CRDT repertoire, American Catracho (directed by Wilfredo Rivera, with choreography by Christian Denice and Noelle Kayser) and Root (created by Monique Haley and Joe Cerqua). The evening also includes new work, Identity City, directed and curated by Rivera, featuring choreography by Shannon Alvis, Katlin Bourgeois, and A. Raheim White and music by Cerqua. The piece is the first in a four-year project examining concepts of gender identity. Finally, in Mood Swing, Rivera will lead three choreographers (Alvis, Bourgeois, and Haley) and composer Cerqua in developing duets between musicians and dancers that respond to the current pandemic crisis and social justice movement.