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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 Tempest Recommended The Short List (Theater)

Through 8/21: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 7 PM
Austin Gardens 167 Forest Ave., Oak Park Oak Park/River Forest

Buy Tickets$35, $25 seniors, $15 students, 12 and under free


Oak Park Festival Theatre returns to live outdoor performance with this production of William Shakespeare's late romance, directed by Barbara Zahora and starring Kevin Theis as Prospero, Deanalis Resto as Miranda, Bernell Lasai as Ariel, and Austin Williamson as Ferdinand. General admission seating in Austin Gardens begins one hour prior to showtime. Patrons may bring their own chairs and blankets, or rent lawn chairs for $5. Unvaccinated audience members are requested to wear masks when moving about or in proximity to those outside their seating pod. Refreshments may also be brought in. 708-300-9396, ext. 101

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."

Home/Land Recommended Free The Short List (Theater)

Available anytime through Vimeo

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Albany Park Theater Project offers a streaming version of their critically lauded 2012 production about undocumented immigrants, written and performed by the teen ensemble and directed by APTP producing artistic director David Feiner.

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.

Bisa Butler: Portraits Recommended Member Picks Agenda

through 9/6
Art Institute of Chicago 111 S. Michigan, Chicago Loop

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Note: extended through 9/6.

Bisa Butler's portrait quilts capture personal and historical narratives of Black life. This is the first solo museum exhibition of the Howard University alum's work.

Chicago Hip-Hop Heritage Month Exhibition Recommended Free All Ages Agenda Early Warnings (Music) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

Through 7/31: Sat-Sun 11 AM-7 PM, Mon-Fri by appointment
4505 S. Indiana 4505 S. Indiana, Chicago Bronzeville

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A pop-up exhibition of local hip-hop ephemera, vinyl records, vintage publications, and more, organized by Chi-ROCK Nation’s Darrell “Artistic” Roberts and collaborators Brian Gorman and Kingdom Rock, with donations from a variety of Chicago hip-hop veterans.

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.

Parched Recommended Free The Short List (Theater)

Available anytime through Vimeo

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Free Street Theater offers a free streaming version of their 2019 show about the politics of water, pollution, and corporate theft of resources. Reader critic KT Hawbaker wrote of that production "Devised over the course of ten months by Free Street's youth ensemble, students aged 14-19, Parched is driven by vignettes drawn from interviews with researchers, activists, and community members. In that respect, it's a combo of journalism and performance, resulting in passionate storytelling that feels informed and brave."

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."

Feast Recommended Free The Short List (Theater)

Available anytime on Vimeo

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As a gift to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, Albany Park Theater Project offers a free streaming Vimeo version of this show, first created in 2010 and revived in 2015 at the Goodman about immigrant communities, food, and the politics surrounding those topics. Feast was created by the APTP youth ensemble and directed by artistic director David Feiner.

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."

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.

There Is a Happiness That Morning Is Recommended Free The Short List (Theater)

Available any time through YouTube

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Houston's Catastrophic Theatre has had a long relationship with Chicago playwright and Theater Oobleck cofounder Mickle Maher. During the COVID-19 shutdown, they are sharing some past productions of his work through their YouTube channel. They kicked off with The Hunchback Variations, and now add their 2013 production of this play, originally staged by Oobleck in Chicago in 2011. Two William Blake scholars and longtime lovers, Ellen and Bernard, deliver lectures on the poet's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience and struggle with the demand by their dean that they apologize for having public sex on the quad.

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.

Medusa Undone Recommended Free The Short List (Theater)

Available anytime through company website or YouTube channel

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Otherworld Theatre offers a free streaming version of last spring's production of a play by Bella Poynton, directed by Tiffany Keane Schaefer, that retells the story of the legendary gorgon as a critique of rape culture, with Medusa caught in a love triangle between Athena and Poseidon. Reader critic Josh Flanders wrote "The god-human relationship here is a metaphor for celebrity idolatry and the lack of consequence so many with power have maintained, as well as the dangers of living for others versus ourselves."

Seth Weaver Jazz Duo Free Early Warnings (Music)

Thu., July 29, 4 p.m.
The Point 1565 N. Milwaukee, Chicago Wicker Park/Bucktown

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Reilly Downes Free Early Warnings (Music)

Thu., July 29, 6 p.m.
Montrose Saloon 2933 W. Montrose, Chicago Albany Park


773-463-7663

Raul Malo All Ages Early Warnings (Music)

Thu., July 29, 7 p.m.
City Winery 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago Near West Side

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312-733-9463

Sunshine Boys, Bobbleheads All Ages Early Warnings (Music)

Thu., July 29, 7 p.m.
SPACE 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston Evanston

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847-492-8860

Anne & Mark Burnell Early Warnings (Music)

Thu., July 29, 7:30 p.m.
Epiphany Center for the Arts 201 S. Ashland, Chicago Greektown

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An in-person concert with a ticketed livestream viewable through Epiphany's website. 312-421-4600

Marques Carroll Quintet All Ages Early Warnings (Music)

Thu., July 29, 8 p.m.
Fulton Street Collective 1821 W. Hubbard, Suite 307, Chicago West Town/Noble Square

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773-852-2481

Jeff Gibbs Quartet with Cherise Coaches, Denzel Lavell Early Warnings (Music)

Thu., July 29, 8 p.m.
The Promontory 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West, Chicago Hyde Park

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312-801-2100

Greasy Gravy Early Warnings (Music) Outdoors

Thu., July 29, 8:30 p.m.
Hideout 1354 W. Wabansia Ave., Chicago West Town/Noble Square

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773-227-4433

Cole DeGenova Free Early Warnings (Music)

Thu., July 29, 9 p.m.
Tack Room 1227 W. 18th St., Chicago Pilsen/Little Village


312-526-3851

Journey 17+ Early Warnings (Music)

Thu., July 29, 9 p.m.
Aragon Ballroom 1106 W. Lawrence, Chicago Uptown

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773-561-9500