Like almost every long-running Chicago theater company, American Blues Theater has been through its share of ups and downs. Founded in 1985, ABT has long carried the banner for the classic Chicago-style ensemble, and they went Equity in 1988. They lost some money on a production of Keith Reddin’s Peacekeeper in 1990, but by 1993, […]
Free Street Theater was founded in 1969 by Patrick Henry, an alum of the Goodman School of Drama whose vision was to create a multiracial ensemble that could tour neighborhoods and break down “the artificial barriers that divide us.” That mission has remained intact through many changes of leadership over the past 53 years and […]
When I was first doing theater in Chicago back in the Pleistocene era (that is, the late 1980s), the League of Chicago Theatres (formed in 1979 as the Off Loop Producers Association) seemed most notable for running the Hot Tix discount ticket booth and offering co-op advertising rates to member theaters in publications like the […]
In summer of 2020, Steep Theatre announced that they were losing their longtime Berwyn Avenue home (just next to the Red Line stop). The landlord was selling the building, which contained both the flexible-seating 60-seat black box theater and the adjoining Boxcar bar and performance lounge that Steep opened in 2018. At the time, Steep […]
Two years ago, right before COVID-19 threw the theater world (and everything else) into a state of uncertainty, four Chicago costume designers—Theresa Ham, Elsa Hiltner, Bob Kuhn, and Christine Pascual—came together to address pay inequity and other employment issues by creating the advocacy group On Our Team. Growing in part out of the Theatrical Designer […]
As a year filled with many losses in Chicago’s theater community wound down, word came in late December that Gustavo Mellado, a founding ensemble member of Teatro Vista, had died at age 69. A December 29 tribute on the company’s Facebook page noted that Mellado was “a wonderful actor with a beautiful singing voice,” and […]
In July of 2020, Prop Thtr, one of the oldest off-Loop companies in the city, announced that they were giving up their longtime two-venue home on Elston in the Avondale neighborhood. At the time, current Prop artistic director Olivia Lilley told the Reader, “I am very sad. I am mourning. Absolutely. But I’m also excited […]
Oak Park Festival Theatre was one of the first companies back to live performance this year after the COVID-19 shutdown with their production of The Tempest, staged in their longtime outdoor home at Austin Gardens. They weathered that storm, only to suffer a fire on November 23 at their offices in downtown Oak Park, located […]
Harry Teinowitz is an affable guy. When I call him up to talk about his first play, When Harry Met Rehab (opening in previews next Wednesday at the Greenhouse), we easily slip into a conversation that runs over 30 minutes, which Teinowitz peppers with sly one-liners—reminders of his background in stand-up comedy and as a […]
Steppenwolf finally cut the ribbon on their new theater and education center on Tuesday after two and a half years of construction, and everybody from Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot (whose wife, Amy Eshleman, is on the theater’s board of trustees) to many current members of the ensemble showed up to mark the occasion, which […]
The word “icon” gets tossed around pretty liberally, with every eye-catching ensemble on the red carpet at awards shows declared an “iconic” look. But if anyone deserves that designation, it’s Chita Rivera. The 88-year-old theater legend is in town tomorrow night for Porchlight Music Theatre’s annual fundraising gala, where she’ll receive the company’s ICON Award […]
With so many theaters opening their doors again for live performances (we have at least a half-dozen new reviews coming up next week, which is the most we’ve run since March 2020), it might be easy to overlook the ongoing digital drama produced by local companies. But there are still plenty of online shows to […]
Goodman, Congo Square, and Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights all announce major changes at the top.
Two Humboldt Park theaters take steps to secure new venues.
A pandemic hasn’t stopped Chicago theater artists from starting new companies and producing shows. Last year, Perceptions Theatre on the south side began producing digital work by BIPOC writers as well as offering online readings and training programs. Possibilities Theatre produced their inaugural offering (Noah Haidle’s Smokefall) outside in summer of 2020, moved to online […]