Top Chicago Outdoor Events: Theatre, Movies, Arts Summer 2014

Top Chicago Outdoor Events: Theatre, Movies, Arts Summer 2014
Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks (Loyola Park 2013). Photo by Julie Stanton

Chicago packs a boatload of outdoor events into its summer calendar from the Millennium Park film series, to Chicago Shakespeare Festival in the parks and more. Here are some events that you may want to add to your summer calendar from downtown Chicago to Aurora.

Millennium Park Film Series

The 2nd annual Millennium Park summer film series kicks off its season at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park on Tuesday, June 24th with Ghostbusters. Take a seat at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion or enjoy the show from the Great Lawn.  The free series is shown on a sophisticated 40-foot LED screen with sound projected from the Pavilion’s state-of-the-art sound system. This year’s lineup includes blockbusters, award-winning documentaries, family classics and more. Click here for the full line-up. Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m., June 24 through August 26.

Chicago Shakespeare Theatre in the Parks

This summer, 26 performances of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” adapted and directed by David H. Bell, will travel to 18 neighborhood parks in Chicago.  The free Shakespeare in the Parks series is in its third year and is becoming a Chicago summer tradition for many. Click here for times and locations. July 18–August 17, 2014.

Movies in the Park

The 14th annual Movies in the Parks series features more than 250 outdoor screenings of current and classic movies in parks throughout the city. Bring a chair, blanket and picnic and spend an evening under the stars with your friends, significant other or family. All movies begin at dusk, weather permitting. Click here for times and locations. Call (312) 742-1134 for daily listings and weather-related cancellations.

The Living Loop

The Living Loop is a new free weekly festival featuring outdoor performances to be staged throughout the Loop in various public spaces. The Living Loop performances will be presented during the lunch hour every Friday with the exception of July 4, and a special Saturday performance on Aug. 2 instead of Aug. 1. Click here for times and locations. Through August 29.

Grant Park Music Festival

The 80th Anniversary season of the Grant Park Music Festival, the nation’s only free, summer-long outdoor classical music series of its kind kicks off tomorrow, Wednesday, June 11 in Millennium Park at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and continues through August 16.

In addition to the Millennium Park concerts, the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks program offers GPMF concerts at venues throughout the city.

Another great way to experience the Orchestra and Chorus is at free open lunchtime rehearsals in the Pavilion. The rehearsals that kick off today, June 10, typically take place Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.  Festival docents will be on site to talk about the week’s concerts during rehearsal breaks. For a complete listing of summer programming, click here or call 312 742 7638.

Millennium Park Presents

Millennium Park Presents, is a series of one-night-only performances curated by DCASE to showcase symphonic music, dance, opera, Broadway hits and more—performed by some of Chicago’s best-loved cultural institutions.

This summer’s lineup includes a special Madame Butterfly Videocast on Sunday, July 6 at 6 p.m.; The Audience Videocast on Sunday, July 27 at 6 p.m.; and a Chicago Dancing Festival Simulcast from the Harris Theater on Wednesday, August 20 at 7 p.m. Select dates now through September 19. Click here for more information.

Suburban Events

The Wilmette Park District

The Wilmette Park District’s Starlight Theatre offers a series of outdoor events and concerts for the summer of 2014. The season kicks off June 12 with a new “Thursday Night Out!” series at the Wallace Bowl in Gillson Park. The summer theater series runs Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, July 10-26 with “Annie Get Your Gun” (1999 revival).  For a complete line-up of summer events, click here.

The Oak Park Festival Theatre

The Shakespearean classic, ‘Hamlet,” will be presented by the Oak Park Festival Theatre at Austin Gardens with an early 30’s jazz twist from June 14 to July 19, followed later in the summer by “The Importance of Being Earnest.”  Click here for dates and tickets. Through August 23.

RiverEdge Park Movies Under the Stars

A Sing-A-Long-Grease comes to RiverEdge Park in Aurora on June 20. The park opens at 6:30 p.m. for Sing-A-Long-A Grease with pre-show contests, fun and games starting at 7:15 p.m and the movie begining at 8:30 p.m

The Rocky Horror Picture Show comes to the park on June 21. The park opens at 7:30 p.m. for the Rocky Horror Picture Show–the movies begins at 8:30 p.m. Both movies are $5 general admission. Some bench seating will be available, but patrons are encouraged to bring bag chairs and/or blankets. Click here for tickets and information. 630 896-6666.

First Folio Theatre

The First Folio Theatre at the Mayslake Peabody Estate Forest Preserve presents “Merry Wives of Windsor” for their 2014 summer theater series. Click here for times and dates. Previews July 9, 10, 11, regular run July 12 – August 10. 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook,  630 986-8067

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