Chicago Theatre week starts today. This year, like many other things, the event will be held virtually. Here’s what you need to know to enjoy special offerings from home.
Log on to ChicagoTheatreWeek.com starting February 25 where you’ll see offerings from more than 100 theatre and learn about individual theatres and how you can offer support and engage with each company.
How to engage: Engage with a digital production, audio play, or online class.
Many theatres are continuing to keep the spirit of Chicago theatre alive through connecting virtually with audiences through online performances, classes, and other programs. Browse the theatre listings on ChicagoTheatreWeek.com and plan to watch a virtual performance during or after CTW.
There are no set CTW ticket discounts like in the past. The featured content may be free or paid.
Streaming Productions during Theatre Week
An Illiad (Photo)
An Iliad showcases the power of classic theatre to speak to our current moment. Interrogate how rage and division reverberate throughout civilization in this streaming release of our limited-engagement, site-specific production of An Iliad at the Oriental Institute. This professionally-captured, multi-camera stream of the play allows you to experience this one-of-a-kind production at home, which Rick and Brenda McCain of Chicago Now hailed as “a superb collaboration of theater and history in a site-specific platform that is sure to bring chills to the historian that resides in all humanity.”
Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
February 25 – March 7 – Special Chicago Theatre Week revival
Metropolis Performing Arts Center
The play’s afoot! The award-winning comedic mastermind Ken Ludwig transforms Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic The Hound of the Baskervilles into a murderously funny adventure. Equal parts comedy and thriller, the world’s favorite detective, Sherlock Holmes, is on the case. The heirs of the Baskerville line are being eliminated one by one. To find their ingenious killer, Holmes and faithful companion Dr. Watson reluctantly travel to Devonshire where they are forced to brave its desolate moors. The duo must unravel a web of murky clues before this family curse dooms its newest heir. The investigators attempt to escape peril and deceit, as a small group of actors portrays over forty characters with wit, silly accents, and clever disguises. Join the fun and see how far from elementary the truth can be.
Friday, February 26 at 7:00 PM CST – One Night Only
Joffrey Artist Yoshihisa Arai takes audiences on a journey through time and space in this world premiere performance for the Joffrey. Featuring 15 dancers, this debut work takes inspiration from nature and the seminal score of the same name by composer Maurice Ravel.
February 25 – March 7 – Special Theatre Week encore
The New Colony
Originally presented in partnership with Chicago Votes as part of an extensive get-out-the-vote campaign, The New Colony is proud to bring back the virtual reading of Other Rockpools for an encore presentation in conjunction with Chicago Theatre Week.
Taking Up Serpents
February 27 – March 19
Chicago Opera Theater
Kayla’s father presides over an isolated community of snake handlers – a sect of Pentecostals who willingly take up venomous snakes to prove themselves before God. When ritual ends in tragedy, Kayla is compelled to return to the family she left behind, reckon with her past, and take control of her future.
The Delicate Tears Of The Waning Moon (Photos and Video)
February 26 – March 5
Water People Theater
A play about Human Rights violations suffered by those fighting for and communicating truth in the world. Two journalists immerse into a world of violence where cruelty is a habit, impunity is routine, freedom a utopia, and telling the truth is the greatest risk of all.
February 27, 7 PM CST – One Night Only
Berlin, 1944: four women in Aryan drag vie to be the Führer’s personal secretary as he heads into a bunker with his girlfriend. It’s a rough time to be a German, but this is a chance to search for greater importance in a national capacity. Omer Abbas Salem’s fearsome, absurd new work examines complicity and the lies we tell ourselves as we mistake self-interest and supremacy for patriotism.
Where Did We Sit on The Bus? (Photos and video)
Feb. 22- Mar 7
Victory Gardens Theater
Where Did We Sit on the Bus? is an electric one-man show pulsing with Latin rhythms, rap, hip-hop, spoken word, and live looping. During a third grade lesson on the Civil Rights movement and Rosa Parks, a Latino boy raises his hand to ask, “Where did we sit on the bus?” and his teacher can’t answer the question. This thrilling autobiographical production from Jeff Award-winner Brian Quijada examines what it means to be Latino through the eyes of a child, turned teenager, turned adult.
Audio Plays and Podcasts
March 12 – May 2
Miss Sherlock Holmes, possessor of one of the greatest deductive minds of her generation, finds herself regularly incarcerated for behaviors deemed abnormal in a “respectable” lady. Miss Dorothy Watson struggles to make a difference at the only hospital in England that will hire female doctors. These unconventional women, trapped in an era that refuses to accept them, must forge a bond of trust and work together to uncover the secrets surrounding a corrupt police investigator whose wives have a habit of turning up dead. Join the original Lifeline cast in this thrilling murder mystery that re-introduces familiar characters from the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in an immersive, six-episode audio experience.
Opposing Ophelia (We Women Podcast)
Podcast Episode Released March 3
An audio performance of Opposing Ophelia, by Deneen Reynolds-Knott. Yvette, a former model and student at the Ophelia Devore School of Modeling & Charm, is confronted with new ideas about beauty, blackness and womanhood, when her daughter, Nina, joins the National Black Feminist Organization in 1973. Directed by Celeste Cooper and performed by Tiffany Cox, Abie Irabor, Martasia Jones, and Cajardo Lindsey.
Play Festivals or Series
BECHDEL FEST 8: REALIGN
Broken Nose Theatre
Now – March 26
As in past years, each of the brand-new short plays in BECHDEL FEST 8: REALIGN pass The Bechdel-Wallace Test, meaning that these stories feature an ensemble of femme, female-identifying, non-binary, trans and genderqueer actors talking about things other than men. Each play will stream for FREE thru March 26, 2021 on BNT’s YouTube channel, with a new play released each Friday for an entire week before it’s removed and a new play is broadcast.
Hit ‘Em on the Blackside (Part 1) Watch Party + Talkback
March 5 – One Night Only
Did you miss the first 6 episodes of Hit’ ‘Em on the Blackside? No worries! Come hang out with the Congo family for a live watch party catching up on all the previous episodes and a talkback with the HOTB cast and crew before the launch of the new episodes on March 19th.
KICKBACK: a world-premiere virtual performance festival (Photo)
About Face Theatre
KICKBACK is an online festival of original plays and performances that highlights the intersection of queerness and Blackness in all its beauty and glory. When just being alive and living your best life is an act of rebellion, it’s time to turn up the music and make some noise! About Face Theatre has commissioned a cohort of Black LGBTQ+ artists to create new works in conversation with Rebuild Foundation’s extensive collection of African-American art and cultural artifacts. This bold online performance series will be an unapologetic celebration of Black lives now and through the ages.
Orfeo Remote – Mini Opera Series (Photo)
Bienen School of Music, Northwestern University
Claudio Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo—based upon the story of Orpheus’s journey to the underworld to rescue his love Eurydice—is often considered the first great opera. Orfeo Remote presents it in the form of an opera mini-series, with a timely twist. During the challenging times of a pandemic, a young, unemployed musician—embodied in the character La Musica—reaches out to friends and colleagues to tell Orfeo’s story in the setting of 1960s America. Orfeo Remote juxtaposes the hippie movement’s ideals of free love and connection with the current reality of pandemic-induced isolation.
Honor Black History during #CTW21
February 24-25, 2021
Amplify, our new play commissioning program was developed to empower and uplift underrepresented theatre creatives. Filmed in accordance with COVID-19 safety guidelines, these eight scenes are snippets of the brilliant submissions we received. Over the course of two nights, we’ll get to know the eight semi-finalists playwrights and preview what’s to come from their plays in development.
Virtual Play Reading February 27, 7:30 PM CST – One Night Only
Beverly Arts Center
Being Sincere is a coming-of-age story about a middle-aged man named Sincere, ‘Junior’ who lives with his terminally ill grandmother. Sincere and his grandmother learn new lessons about love, change, and starting a new life when a mysterious homemaker comes to help.
Black Teen Lives Matter
Silk Road Rising
February 27 & March 1, 7PM CST
Black Teens Lives Matter is a virtual project in four acts that draws on monologues and short plays written by Black teens in Silk Road Rising’s EPIC (Empathic Playwriting Intensive Course) program from 2017-2020. Black Teen Lives Matter: Act Two is curated by Brianna Buckley, Elena Feliz, Jabari Khaliq, Jarrett King, and Londen Shannon. Silk Road Rising will host two screenings followed by talkbacks with creators. Saturday, February 27 at 2:00PM CST and Monday, March 1 at 7:00PM CST. After that, the video will become available to watch at any time for free.
Family-Friendly Streaming Productions
Diamond’s Dream (Photo)
Chicago Children’s Theatre
Diamond’s Dream is a virtual puppet production that takes place on a CTA Red Line train traveling south through pandemic-era Chicago. Diamond, a pre-teen African-American boy, has fallen asleep on the train while on his way to visit his dying grandmother. When he awakes, time and reality have shifted, and he meets the ghost of a young African-American girl, a shape-shifting elder spirit who died of Spanish Flu 100 years ago to the date.
Hot Chocolate Sunday Reading of “The Adventures of Cleaver And Whizjam. On The Isle of Oogle”
March 7, 3PM CST – One Day Only
Her Story Theater
Join us on Zoom for our first Hot Chocolate Sunday Readings for Family and Youth. A book launch party perfect for family and friends. A great cast of professional actors (see names below) reading the opening chapters of “The Adventures of Cleaver of Whizjam On The Isle of Oogle” written by Mary Bonnett and illustrated by Emily Thomsen.
Mountain Goat Mountain (Photo)
February 20 – March 21
Using just a bedsheet, a phone or computer, pencils and a piece of paper, Mountain Goat Mountain immerses families in a 45 minute theatrical experience. Children and families are carried along by a narrative soundscape, and invited to bring their own creativity and imagination to the performance. Got Hungry Hikers? Local adventurers can add fresh baked treats from our friends at Fannie’s Cafe to your pass! Look for the option at check-out.
That’s Weird, Grandma: House Par-Tay
Streams Weekly on Mondays (March 1 during Theatre Week)
PlayMakers Laboratory is pleased to announce the March 2021 line-up for its popular online revue That’s Weird, Grandma: House Par-Tay, celebrating Women’s History Month, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter, plus a special Poetry Slam edition. The creative series of stories written by elementary school students, adapted and performed by PML’s professional actors streams Mondays at 8 pm CST from March 1 – 29, 2021 via Patreon. Tickets ($2 – $4 subscriptions) are currently available at playmakerslab.org .
Actors Gymnasium (Photo)
Our online classes are a great way for people of all ages to stay active from home and learn new skills. Choose Circus Fitness, Flexibility, Puppetry, and more!
20% discount for Spring online classes
Fired Up February – Cooking Class
February 25, 2021
Oil Lamp Theater
Fire up your stove and learn how to make dishes like the pros! Cook alongside local business and Oil Lamp neighbor, Forza Meats and their famed Chef Juan, to make mouth-watering Carne Asada Fajitas, Mexican Rice, and Refried Beans from scratch! The class will be presented in a mixture of Spanish and English.
Going Beyond “I Like It” – Online Class/Discussion
Wednesdays and Fridays, March 3, 5, 10 & 12, 6:30 – 8:00pm
Remy Bumppo Theatre Company
Remy Bumppo Core Ensemble Member Greg Matthew Anderson will lead a cross-disciplinary discussion on the philosophy of art and aesthetics with selected readings, anecdotes and insights from Chicago theatre productions–and the occasional special guest. Tools in hand, we’ll dive into the group’s collective experiences with the visual arts, museum exhibits, music, food, architecture, dance–and, of course, theatre!–to learn from one another how to both sharpen our critical eye and become even better fans of this great art form and all art wherever we find it.
Subscribe to Show Me Chicago by email
If you would like to keep in touch with what’s happening in Chicago, like us on Facebook or subscribe to Show Me Chicago by email. To subscribe, type your email address in the box below and click the “create subscription” button. Our list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.