Promise to see a show today!

Theatre is happening in every Chicago neighborhood this year, from downtown stages to world-renowned regional theatres to behind the storefronts to free plays in the parks. Chicago’s diverse collection of 250 theatres provides exhilarating experiences that will make YOU come alive. When you Promise To Play, you will be entered to win a special prize package! Plus, share your next theatre experience on Instagram with the hashtag #PromiseToPlay, and you could win the Grand Prize – a show a month in 2020. Click the button below for details.

Promise To Play

Photo: Six Corners, American Blues Theater


It’s real, elevated to an intensity you cannot turn away from. Even on your first visit, you can feel it. From joy to heartache and every feeling in between, Chicago’s exceptional ensemble of talent provides exhilarating experiences that make audiences come alive.

Rising from a city of innovators, risk-takers, and big hearts, Chicago theatre is a hotbed for exciting new work and hundreds of world premieres every year. From Broadway musicals to storefront plays and improv, the spirit of the city can be found in our 200+ theatres.

To truly fall in love with Chicago, you must experience our theatre. This is where the city bares its fearless soul.

View the 2019 Fall Theatre Guide

OR Search by Date, Genre, Neighborhood, and More!

The City of Chicago and the League of Chicago Theatres have designated 2019 as the Year of Chicago Theatre. This citywide, year-long focus on theatre is the first of its kind in the U.S. and features performances and special events throughout the city – including theatre-themed events in all 77 community areas, as part of the Chicago Park District’s ‘Night Out in the Parks’ series. There will be increased marketing support for Chicago theatres; additional financial grants for theatre projects; more dialog around inclusion and equity; and a call for civic, philanthropic, arts, and business leaders to support the theatre community.

See What’s On Stage Now

The spirit of Chicago theatre is found in all of our neighborhoods, from downtown theatres to behind the storefronts, in a diverse collection of over 200 dynamic theatres. From musicals to plays to comedy, theatre is for everyone in Chicago.

Five Presidents
Runs Sep 06 - Oct 19, 2019
Be Here Now
Runs Sep 05 - Oct 19, 2019
Tiny Beautiful Things
Runs Sep 06 - Oct 20, 2019
Southern Gothic
Comedy/Drama, New Work
Runs Jan 02 - Oct 27, 2019
She The People: The Resistance Continues
Runs Jul 26 - Nov 16, 2019
Monty Python's Spamalot
Runs Aug 30 - Dec 29, 2019
The Infinite Wrench
Runs Dec 28, 2018 - Dec 29, 2019
Blue Man Group
Performance Art
Runs Nov 20, 2018 - Dec 29, 2019

or browse all upcoming shows

Share Your Theatre Experiences:

To truly fall in love with Chicago, you must experience our theatre. This is where the city bares its fearless soul. 2019 is the Year of Chicago Theatre. Shows and tickets: Click to Tweet

WTTW Stage Players Series

In honor of the Year of Chicago Theatre, WTTW is creating short video profiles of people who make the Chicago theatre scene come to life. With more than 200 companies presenting plays in the Chicago region, many people contribute to the power, engagement, humor, pathos, joy, and fun of Chicago theatre. Whether they are writing a play produced in a storefront house, lighting a production for a Tony Award-winning downtown stage, or seeing hundreds of shows a year, the people involved in Chicago theatre bring talents and passions as varied as the shows of which they’re a part. Watch and learn more about Chicago’s awe-inspiring theatre community!

Theatre Adventures on VAMONDE

This new series of mobile self-guided theatre adventures are available on your smartphone. The Year of Chicago Theatre Channel provides an inside look into the DNA of several Chicago area theatres. Take a trip through Chicago’s vibrant theatre community via this immersive on-demand guide by downloading the VAMONDE mobile app (App Store | Google Play) and searching “Year of Chicago Theatre”, or view the stories in your web browser here!

More Year of Chicago Theatre Happenings

In addition to all of the incredible theatre to see during 2019, we also encourage you to check out these YOCT-related programs and initiatives.

Art on theMART

The current program for Art on theMART is a commission in alignment with the Year of Chicago Theatre featuring a work by renowned lighting designer John Boesche. The second commission (coming soon!) in alignment with the Year of Chicago Theatre will be a result of a collaboration between scenic designer John Musial and Lucky Plush Artistic Director Julia Rhoads. Projections begin 15 minutes after sunset every day of the week and are best viewed on the Chicago Riverwalk between Wells and Lake St.

Chicago Cubs “Theatre Night”

Tuesday, September 3 at 7:05PM
Chicago Cubs vs. Seattle Mariners

In celebration of the Year of Chicago Theatre and the talented actors, producers, and directors working in Chicago’s vibrant theatre scene, the Cubs are offering fans a Special Ticket Offer for the Cubs-Mariners game Tuesday, September 3, at Wrigley Field. Fans who purchase a ticket to the game through this offer will receive a Cubs picture frame. In addition, a portion of net proceeds from the Chicago Theatre ticket offer will be donated to the League of Chicago Theatres Foundation. BUY NOW! To purchase tickets for groups of 15 or more, please contact Breanna Robinson at 773-404-4693 or

Hot Tix Pop-Ups at McCormick Place

In addition to offering half-price theatre tickets online and at Loop locations, Hot Tix is partnering with McCormick Place during the Year of Chicago Theatre to offer half-price theatre tickets for select events and conventions. Visit the Hot Tix Locations page to see what’s next!

The Edgewater Theatre District Passport

Explore Edgewater’s incredible theatre with the Theatre District Passport. Just like a coffee shop punch card, the Theatre District Passport can be stamped each time you see a play, and after 5 stamps the 6th play will be free! The Theatre District Passport program is only valid with participating locations. Also, take the pledge to watch (at least) one play or performance in the Edgewater Theatre District this year.

Lincoln Park Night Out

To celebrate the Year of Chicago Theatre, this monthly series from the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce showcases theatres in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Each month, Lincoln Park neighbors and visitors are invited to explore one of the neighborhood’s amazing theatre companies.

ACTIVATE 2019: Backstage

Peek behind the curtain in the Loop’s most unexpected places with ACTIVATE: Backstage. In celebration of the City of Chicago’s Year of Chicago Theatre, join Chicago Loop Alliance for a series of 4 summer nights inspired by the art of performance. Experience interactive art, live music, and immersive audience participation in unusual urban spaces around the Loop. Find the dates and RSVP here.

Millennium Park Theatre Residencies

This free series is NEW in 2019 and will feature 9 local theatre companies performing throughout Millennium Park on select dates from July to October. The participating companies include: Aguijón Theater Company, Barrel of Monkeys, CircEsteem, Chicago Dance Crash, Chicago Full Moon Jam Productions, Collaboraction Theatre Company, Emerald City Theatre, eta Creative Arts, and Free Street Theater. The companies have been commissioned for one-week residencies and will present site-specific theatre performances that engage the park’s unique architecture, design, and public art – with Wrigley Square, the Great Lawn, and Cloud Gate Plaza serving as the stage. This series is made possible by the generosity of the Bayless Family Foundation.

Millennium Park Summer Film Series

To celebrate 2019 as the Year of Chicago Theatre, this year’s series, which takes place on Tuesdays through August 20, will co-present each film with a select Chicago theatre company, providing a season-long sampling of themes, ethnicities, and genres to reflect the city’s rich passion for the arts in all its variety. DCASE has partnered with 13 local theatre companies to co-produce this summer’s film series. Companies include About Face Theatre, Aguijón Theater, Black Ensemble Theater, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Court Theatre, eta Creative Arts Foundation, Free Street Theater, Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Teatro Vista and Victory Gardens Theater.

Theatre Thursdays

Take pride in the unique, risky, bold, and incredible new work happening on Chicago stages year-round. Each monthly Theatre Thursday event features an inside look at the creative process behind a never-before-seen production. See a world premiere each month!

Setting the Stage

This FREE exhibition by the Design Museum of Chicago is now open at Expo 72 (in the same space as Hot Tix!). Design in theatre can take many forms, including costumes, lights, sound, props, and sets, among countless other examples. Setting the Stage celebrates the myriad ways design is employed in stage productions. It will emphasize the diversity, depth, and breadth of theatres in the city and explore how words are translated by designers into a production. See the process behind the final products and learn more about how and why design decisions in theatres are made.

Arts in the Dark

From Riverwalk Lantern Processions this summer to the Halloween Parade on October 19, these special events featuring theatre groups and artists are designed to highlight Chicago’s diverse cultural landscape.

Night Out In The Parks

In 2019, the Chicago Park District and Night Out in the Parks will join with more than 40 theatre partners to present over 200 FREE performances in 125 Chicago parks. This initiative will bring live theatre to every community area and ward in Chicago. For a detailed listing of performances, please see the Chicago Park District’s website or use their app, MyChiParks. 

Razzle Dazzle: Loop Theater District Tour

In celebration of the Year of Chicago Theatre, the Chicago Architecture Center is offering the “Razzle Dazzle” tour to give visitors a unique opportunity to see the exteriors and interiors of several of the city’s most architecturally significant theaters in the Loop. This tour is offered for select dates Jun 9 – Oct 6.

Know Your Chicago “Behind the Curtain” Tours

Know Your Chicago, a program associated with the University of Chicago’s Graham School, offers two daylong tours taking you to the other side of the curtain, revealing the craft involved in creating what you see on stage. Each tour explores a different part of the theatrical world: ACT ONE (Thursday, October 10 or Friday October 11) focuses on Inspiration and Transformation. ACT TWO (Monday, October 28 or Tuesday, October 29) focuses on Setting the Stage. Each tour runs from 8:30 am to 3:15 pm, including transportation and lunch. The cost is $95. Sign up before they sell out!


#2019isYOCT  |  #ChiTheatre

To truly fall in love with Chicago, you must go to our theatres. This is where the city bares its fearless soul.
From Broadway musicals to storefront plays and improv, there’s always a seat waiting for you at one of our 200+ theatres.

You’re in the right place. Book your next show today!

The Year of Chicago Theatre is an initiative of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) with the support of the League of Chicago Theatres and several other civic and arts partners.

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