Theater in Chicago 2012: SMC Previews the Best of 2012.

Theater in Chicago 2012: SMC Previews the Best of 2012.
Sumptuous food mixed with world-class circus acts comes to Lookingglass Theatre in 2012 with Rick Bayless in Cascabel. (Hernandez, Stillman).

Chicago, Monday, January 9, 2012. Last week, Show Me Chicago, looked back on Chicago’s world-class theater offerings for 2011, which may seem hard to beat until you start looking ahead.  The year 2012 promises to be a blockbuster right out of the starting box all the way to the finish line.

Highlights–and there are many–include a look inside Enron, directed by the talented Rachel Rockwell, coming January to Chicago’s TimeLine Theatre. Lookingglass Theatre is hosting a theatrical extravaganza featuring dinner, world-class circus acts and super-star chef Rick Bayless with Rick Bayless in Cascabel starting March 21. Then, just in time for spring, The Iceman Cometh to Chicago’s Goodman Theatre with Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy along for the icy ride starting April 22.  Come December 2012, the long anticipated Book of Mormon opens at The Bank of America Theatre.

In addition, Broadway in Chicago is offering a smorgasbord of full-out blockbusters including: In the Heights; Come Fly Away; Mamma Mia; South Pacific; Riverdance; Jersey Boys; Cats–and that’s just a few choices on their January to June calender.

Below are some of the highlights of Chicago’s Upcoming Year in Theater.

The Winter Circus.

Dubbed “Windy City Circus,” the all-new show will be staged in the Grand Ballroom.  A Pier spokesman said that the show will be themed around Chicago, and feature “guest appearances” by notables in the city’s history, ranging from Mrs. O’Leary to Frank Lloyd Wright. (Feb. 17-26).

A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Shakespeare’s most popular comedy, in which a quartet of mismatched lovers and a gaggle of hapless actors cross paths with the king and queen of the fairies, entangled in their own domestic dispute comes to Chicago Shakespeare Theater. (February 7 – April 8).

Camino Real.

Tennessee Williams’ hauntingly poetic allegory comes to the Goodman Theatre 
taking us to a surreal netherworld populated by a colorful collection of lost souls anxious to escape but terrified of the unknown wasteland lurking beyond the city’s walls.  (March 3 – April 8, 2012).

The Iceman Cometh.

Harry Hope’s saloon, a home to a ragtag band of drunks and dreamers, comes to life on the Goodman Theatre Stage in Eugene O’Neills masterpiece, The Iceman Cometh.  (Apr 22 – Jun 10, 2012).

Rick Bayless in Cascabel.

This new theatrical adventure combines a sumptuous dinner, world-class circus acts, and a charming love story featuring celebrity chef Rick Bayless. Audiences will dine on Mexican-inspired cuisine prepared by Bayless while they watch him play a boarding house chef in love with a woman with no appetite. (March 21 – April 22).

Three Sisters.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s 
Tony® Award winning ensemble members Tracy Letts and Anna D. Shapiro continue their celebrated collaboration, bringing fresh insight to this classic Chekhov’s Three Sisters–the tale of a privileged family’s changing fortunes. (June 28 – August 26).

Oedipus El Rey.

With new Artistic Director Chay Yew at the helm at Victory Gardens Theater
, this modern Latino take on a classic tragedy by Luis Alfaro involves a juvenile delinquent from South Central Los Angeles who sets off on a journey to become king of the gangland. Set amid the sizzling rhythms and explosive violence of a Californian barrio, the gripping story follows his family of ex-cons through the vicious cycle of fate and violence in which they find themselves trapped. (June 29 – July 29).

Invisible Man.

Court Theatre’s World Premiere of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man promises to be an epic journey for this American classic that tells the story of a young African American’s search for his identity. (Jan. 12 – Feb. 19, 2012).


One of the most infamous scandals in financial history is put under the magnifying glass at TimeLine Theatre. (Jan. 17-April 15, 2012).


Gypsy, the triumphant story of the complex bond between a mother and daughter, based on the 1957 memoirs of burlesque legend Gypsy Rose Lee opens January 19 at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace. (Through  April 1, 2012).

In the Heights.

In the Heights tells the universal story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood – a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music.  It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind. (Jan. 10 – 15, 2012).

Come Fly Away.

The sizzling musical that brings together the legendary music of Frank Sinatra and the creative vision of Tony Award®-winner TWYLA THARP (Movin’ Out) is played out on the Bank of America stage. (Jan. 10 – 22, 2012).

Mamma Mia.

The enchanting tale of love, laughter and friendship set on a Greek island paradise, features ABBA’s timeless songs. Oriental Theatre, (January 24 – 29, 2012).

American Idiot.

American Idiot, the story of three boyhood friends, each searching for meaning in a post 9-11 world comes to the Oriental Theatre (24 W. Randolph St.) for two weeks only, Feb. 7 – 19, 2012.

South Pacific.

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific based on James Michener’s Pulitzer Prize winning book warms up the Cadillac Palace Theatre, come February.  (February 14 – 26, 2012).

Bring It On: The Musical.

This explosive new musical comedy raises the stakes on over-the-top team rivalries.  Set against the world of competitive cheerleading, this new show sets out to prove that winning isn’t everything when it means losing something – or someone – you really care about. (March 6-25, 2012).


The internationally acclaimed celebration of Irish music, son and dance returns to Chicago at the Oriental Theatre. (March 13-18, 2012).

Jersey Boys.

The story of how four blue-collar kids became one of the greatest successes in pop music history, features hit songs “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Rag Doll,” “Oh What a Night” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” at th Bank of America Theatre. (April 5 – June 2, 2012).


Five continents, 26 countries, over eight and a half million audience members and almost 30 years later, Cats is still prowling.  Cadillac Palace Theatre, (May 1 –  6, 2012).

The Book of Mormon.

Although The Book of Mormon is still almost a year off, tickets are on sale now and you may want to think about buying early as this promises to be a very hot ticket.  The musical that lampoons organized religion and traditional musical theater from Trey Parker and Matt Stone,( best known for creating the animated comedy South Park), opens December 11 at Bank of America Theatre.

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