Watch CBS News

Best Large Theatre Companies In Chicago

Looking for a fancy night out at one of Chicago's 300-plus theatre companies? You won't go wrong selecting a show from one of the six top-tier groups below. Not only are these companies well-established in Chicago for producing consistently great work, most of these are winners of the Regional Theatre Tony Award, which recognizes only the very best companies across the U.S. - Bob Bullen



1650 North Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 335-1650

Founded in 1974 by Gary Sinise, Terry Kinney and Jeff Perry, Steppenwolf has grown into the premiere ensemble theatre company, of not just Chicago, but the United States. The recent success of August: Osage County, which won virtually every major theatre award when it transferred to Broadway in 2007, including the Pulitzer Prize, has solidified this group's already stellar reputation. This is what Chicago theatre is all about.


Goodman Theatre

170 North Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 443-3800

A staple of Chicago for more than 80 years, Goodman is known for its diverse programming and epic productions of classics and new works. They also are one of the few major theatre companies in Chicago that do full-scale musicals. As an added bonus, it's right next to Petterino's, a Chicago icon for pre-show dinner and post-show cocktails.

(credit: Court Theatre/Facebook)

Court Theatre

5535 S. Ellis Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 753-4472

Located on campus at the University of Chicago in Hyde Park, Court Theatre excels at innovative interpretations of classic works. Recently, they've ramped up their commitment to producing plays by African American artists, and following a landmark production of Caroline, or Change, have started introducing musicals into their lineup.


Chicago Shakespeare Theatre

800 East Grand Avenue on Navy Pier
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 595-5656

Navy Pier has more than just candied almond stands and Ferris wheels: it's also the home of Chicago Shakespeare Theatre – or ChiShakes – a top-tier group that produces not only the plays of William Shakespeare, but also other classics, newer works and musicals. You must see a show in their 500-seat Jentes Family Auditorium – one of the most beautiful spaces in the city.


Victory Gardens Theatre

2433 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 871-3000

This professional theatre company is dedicated to producing only new works – more than any other company in Chicago – and promoting the development of up-and-coming playwrights. In addition, the company is located in the recently renovated Biograph Theatre – where prolific bank robber John Herbert Dillinger was shot in 1934. Fun facts!


Lookingglass Theatre

821 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 337-0665

If you want something different, check out Lookingglass, known for its highly theatrical productions that typically involve flying and/or gymnastics of some sort. Not only are their shows spectacular and magical, but their location is, too: the group is nestled within the renovated Water Tower Water Works on Chicago's Magnificent Mile. It's like stepping inside a sand castle in the middle of the city.

Bob Bullen is a writer and long-time fan of Chicago's vibrant theatre scene, which he captures on his blog, Chicago Theatre Addict.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.