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Chicago: Theater, Major Theaters

Intro | Major Theaters | Small Equity Companies | Specialized Theaters

Chicago Theater: Major Theater Companies Around Chicago

The nine Chicago Theater companies listed below (along with a major Broadway show tour producer) are considered the among the best theater companies in the world – between them, they’ve sent several productions to Broadway and earned a host of Tonys. Each listing features information on location, ticket prices, transportation/parking, theater history and other points of interest.


Broadway In Chicago

Broadway In Chicago

Broadway in Chicago is a series of touring shows presented by the Nederlander organization at several theaters in Chicago’s Downtown Theater District, including the Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theater, the Cadillac Palace Theatre, the Bank of America Theatre, the Auditorium Theatre, and the Broadway Playhouse. Offerings include such crowd pleasers as Billy Elliot, The Lion King, Wicked, and White Christmas. Created in July 2000, Broadway in Chicago has grown to become one …more…

Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (Chicago Shakes)

Holding the 2008 regional-theater Tony Award and a fast-growing reputation for its handsome productions of Shakespeare and modern classics, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater has become one of the city’s favorite institutions. Inside, the theater has been given a decidedly British touch with a mainstage modeled after the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Swan Theatre. The Bookstall, open before the show and at intermission, is a drama-lover’s dream, selling playscripts and books on …more…

Court Theatre

Court Theatre

The Court Theatre was founded in 1955 when a small group of like-minded theater artists at the University of Chicago got together to do a few Moliere plays. Twenty years later the Court became a professional theater, but it grew quickly and soon had its home at the Abelson Auditorium in Hyde Park… The Court Theatre has a unique relationship with the University of Chicago: It’s basically a department of the university. ...more...

Goodman Theatre

Goodman Theatre

The Goodman is almost as well-known to theater-going audiences outside of Chicago as it is to those in its own hometown, where it was established in 1922. One of the reasons for its notoriety is that the Goodman has been unusually successful in transferring its productions to New York. Recent productions of Long Day’s Journey Into Night and Death of a Salesman, both starring Brian Dennehy and directed by Goodman artistic director …more…

Light Opera Works

Light Opera Works

Celebrating its 30th season in 2010, Light Opera Works promises “great music, great stories, great shows.” A resident, professional, not-for-profit company, LOW has offered more than 100 productions in the 1,000-seat Cahn Auditorium and the company’s 250-seat Second Stage venue. Shows have ranged from European and American operettas to classic and contemporary American musicals such as South Pacific, My Fair Lady, A Little Night Music, and Ragtime, along with popular revues (Side by Side …more…

Lookingglass Theatre

Lookingglass Theatre

Lookingglass was founded in 1988 by a group of college graduates who wished to create a process-driven theatre company and a unique theatrical experience for the public. The troupe’s signature approach to theater involves long-term dedication to the play development process and the presentation of work in a theatre with a stage and seating that can be reconfigured according to the needs of each production. To date, Lookingglass has offered …more…

Marriott Theatre

Marriott Theatre

The Marriott-Lincolnshire is one of the largest, best known, and most well established theatres in the Chicago area. Founded in 1975, it sells more than 400,000 tickets per year and boasts the largest subscription base of any musical theatre in the world. Over the decades, well over 100 shows have been enjoyed here by an estimated 7,000,000 people. In addition to its home grown productions, the theatre has long been …more…

Northlight Theatre

Northlight Theatre

Each season, the multiple Joseph Jefferson award-winning Northlight Theatre produces an interesting selection of smart plays, intimate musicals, and world premieres. Some of these new works are now being developed in-house with Northlight’s reading series, Interplay. Northlight also has an overwhelming array of educational programs. Some, like the Student Theatre Arts Resource (STAR), ...more...

Steppenwolf Theatre Company

Steppenwolf Theatre Company

This is the most famous and revered theater in Chicago. Since its founding in a church basement in Highland Park in 1976, Steppenwolf Theatre Company (the name comes from the Hermann Hesse novel) has been committed to creating groundbreaking new productions through strong ensemble work and collaboration. Steppenwolf shows, many of which went to Broadway and beyond, include True West with Gary Sinise and John Malkovich, ...more...

Victory Gardens

Victory Gardens

Victory Gardens Theater is dedicated to the playwright and half of every VGT season consists of world premieres written by members of its Playwrights Ensemble. This group of more than a dozen writers includes Pulitzer-winner Nilo Cruz (Anna in the Tropics), Jeffrey Sweet (Flyovers), and Lonnie Carter (The Romance of Magno Rubio). The rest of the season is dedicated to newer works from other worthy writers, not just the same …more…

Writers’ Theatre

Writers’ Theatre

Writers’ Theatre was founded in 1992. As per its name, the company values text — both classic and contemporary — as the fundamental source of inspiration, creating intimate performances during which audiences come face to face with powerful stories. Writer’s Theatre is noted for its award-winning repertoire as well as for its innovative educational programming and strong ties to the community. Recent productions have included Tennessee Williams A Streetcar Named Desire, …more…