Theater in Lincoln Park
Victory Gardens Biograph Theater Taking over after Dennis Zacek’s 30-plus years at the helm, new artistic director Chay Yew is implementing major changes in the theater’s sometimes staid programming, embracing developing playwrights, rising directors and new forms. Upcoming work includes Oedipus el Rey, in which Luis Alfaro recasts the Greek tragedy amid the gangs of Southern California (Jun 29–Jul 29), and Bill Cain’s Equivocation, a comic political thriller involving Shakespeare and Guy Fawkes, directed by Sean Graney (Sept 14–Oct 14). VG also plays host to other companies in its upstairs studio spaces, such as the current The Whole World Is Watching, Dog & Pony Theatre Company’s promenade exploration of the protests around the 1968 Democratic National Convention (through Jun 9). 2433 N Lincoln Ave (773-871-3000).
Steppenwolf Theatre Company While a planned expansion of its Halsted Street facility is still some years away, the company’s programming slate always feels expansive. Currently onstage is Tony-winning ensemble member Frank Galati’s 26-actor adaptation of The March, E.L. Doctorow’s historical novel about Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s Savannah Campaign (through Jun 10). Up next is Pulitzer-winning ensemble member Tracy Letts’s new version of Chekhov’s Three Sisters (Jun 28–Aug 26). Steppenwolf has also established three yearly repertory programs in its Garage theater (1624 N Halsted St); next up is, ahem, NEXT UP, the second annual showcase for Northwestern University’s graduating M.F.A. directors and designers working with professional actors (Jun 5–24). 1650 N Halsted St (312-335-1650).
The Greenhouse Theater Center This house has showcased great Off Loop theater since its days as home to the Body Politic and Organic Theater Company in the 1970s and ’80s. The tradition continues with the Greenhouse playing host to such resident companies as the European-minded Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, African-American–centered MPAACT and up-and-coming ensembles like Theatre Seven of Chicago and Hubris Productions. Onstage fare this summer includes Exit, Pursued by a Bear, Theatre Seven’s Chicago premiere of Lauren Gunderson’s revenge comedy (Jun 7–Jul 14) and Bodies, MPAACT ensemble member Carla Stillwell’s new drama about the family at the head of a black Baptist church (through Jun 24). 2257 N Lincoln Ave (773-404-7336).
The Royal George Theatre This theater hosts commercial entertainment large and small, such as recent hits The Doyle and Debbie Show and Motherhood the Musical. Last year, John Leguizamo chose the Royal George’s mainstage to try out material for his latest Broadway-bound solo show. Also perennially on tap here are the many iterations of Late Night Catechism, Vicki Quade’s interactive, Catholic-flavored comedies. 1641 N Halsted St (312-988-9000).
The Apollo Theater This venue plays home to the rock & roll jukebox musical Million Dollar Quartet, now well into its fourth year in Chicago. (Elvis, Johnny, Jerry Lee and Carl are currently booked through September 2, but look for them to stick around.) The Apollo also hosts the kid-friendly fare of Emerald City Theatre and the improvised musical troupe Baby Wants Candy. 2540 N Lincoln Ave (773-935-6100).
Chicago Park District’s Theater on the Lake This space, nestled on the lakefront, will again host encore runs of recent local productions over the summer; new this year are cocurators Michael Patrick Thornton of the Gift Theatre and Meghan Beals McCarthy of Chicago Dramatists. 2401 N Lake Shore Dr (312-742-7994).