Theater on the Lake Chicago 2012: Summer Schedule and Highlights.

Theater on the Lake Chicago 2012: Summer Schedule and Highlights.

Chicago, Wednesday, June 20, 2012. Chicago's Theater on the Lake is a true Chicago original. Every summer since 1952,Theater on the Lake has offered live staged productions in their historic semi-outdoor lakefront venue at Fullerton and Lake Shore Drive.  This year eight different shows will be performed Wednesdays through Sundays, with a new production each week through August 5, 2012.

In 1996, the programming evolved into its current format, and the Chicago Park District began inviting professional theater companies to remount their best works from the previous season.

The building itself has been around even longer than the Theater on the Lake's summer festival of staged productions.  Constructed in 1920, the Theater on the Lake building was originally a recuperation ward for babies suffering from tuberculosis and other diseases.  During World War II, the structure was used as a USO Center.  After the war, the Chicago Park District used the venue for the then-popular barn dances.

The 2012 Theater on the Lake season kicked off last Wednesday with the SiNNERMAN Ensemble (June 13-17) and continues with seven more popular productions. This week Caffeine Theatre (June 20-24); followed by next week's eta Creative Arts Foundation (June 27-July 1); then Redtwist Theatre (July 4-8); TJ & Dave (July 11-15); Stage Left (July 18-22); The Inconvenience (July 25 – 29); and concluding with The Building Stage (Aug. 1-5).  With the exception of Caffeine Theatre, all of the companies are new to Theater on the Lake.

This season also marks the debut of co-artistic curators: Michael Patrick Thornton, artistic director and co-founder of The Gift Theatre Company and actor on ABC’s Private Practice; and Meghan Beals McCarthy, associate artistic director at Chicago Dramatists.

The 2012 Theater on the Lake season schedule:

Caffeine Theatre
OR, by Liz Duffy Adams.

Directed by Catherine Weidner.  (
June 20 – 24)
This raucous, bodice-ripping comedy, Aphra Behn has a few hours to finish her breakthrough play when her ex-lover and fellow spy delivers the news that there’s a plot to kill her current lover, King Charles II.  The orange girl-turned-actress is also on hand as a seductive distraction.  Can Aphra finish her play and save the king?

eta Creative Arts Foundation.

BROKE-OLOGY by Nathan Louis Jackson.
Directed by Runako Jahi
. (June 27 – July 1).
Two brothers with very different takes on life find themselves inevitably at odds when the question of who will take care of their ailing father is raised.  Sibling rivalry underscores this provocative drama that speaks to the rich love a family has for one another in spite of their actions.

Redtwist Theatre.

Opus by Michael Hollinger, 
Directed by Jason W. Gerace
 (July 4 – 8).

A world-class string quartet is in the midst of a clash of wills between the two leaders of the group: the artistic genius and the business guru.  One stays and the other is ousted and replaced by a young woman, fresh out of school, and the evolution of the ensemble takes several unexpected turns en route to a riveting conclusion.

TJ & Dave.
July 11 – 15.

TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi walk out on stage without characters, dialog or plot.  An hour later they leave an audience with one of the funniest nights of their lives.  Described by The New York Times as “Second City-seasoned masters of long form improv,” TJ and Dave only ask that you trust them that this is all made up.

Stage Left

Farragut North by Beau Willimon. 
Directed by Vance Smith
 (July 18 – 22


Stephen Bellamy is a wunderkind press secretary who has built a career that men twice his age envy.  During a tight presidential primary race, his meteoric rise falls prey to backroom politics.  A fast-paced drama about the lust for power and the costs one endures to achieve it, Farragut North was a hit on the coasts before its Chicago premiere.  The script was also the basis for the recent film The Ides of March.

The Inconvenience.

Hit the Wall by Ike Holter 
Directed by Eric Hoff
. (July 25 – 29).

Tempers and temperatures start to rise in the summer of ’69 when a routine police raid on an underground Greenwich Village hotspot erupts in to a full-scale riot, the impetus of the modern gay rights movement.  Follow ten unlikely revolutionaries as they take to the streets and assert their rights.  A live rock band provides the screaming soundtrack to this retelling of the epic night at The Stonewall Inn.

The Building Stage.

, Adapted from Herman Melville, Directed by Blake Montgomery (August 1 – 5).
This stunning adaptation mixes Melville’s prose with movement and miniature ships as a chorus of Ishmaels captures not only the shifting currents of the novel itself, but also the contagious nature of obsession.  They are joined by a trio of percussionists whose driving rhythms underscore the action and propel Ahab’s obsession to its fateful conclusion.


Theater on the Lake will celebrate its 60th season featuring related pre- and post-show entertainment, including a weekly Theater Thursday in partnership with the League of Chicago Theatres.  Each Thursday, audience members can watch the performance and enjoy pre-show refreshments as well as the chance to mingle with the artists.


Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. The Box Office is open for single ticket sales.  
(312) 742 7994.

Subscription: $110; 
Single tickets:  $17.50.
Weekend Diamond Flex Pass - purchase a single ticket for three different shows for $35, available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances only.  Best seats available and subject to availability.


CTA bus routes 151 or 156 both serve the area; for schedules, contact the RTA/CTA at (312) 836-7000.  Paid parking is available at the Lincoln Park Zoo located at Fullerton Avenue and Cannon Drive.  For patrons with special needs, please contact the box office at (312) 742-7994 to arrange for valet parking services.  For more information visit the Chicago Park District or call (312) 742-PLAY.

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