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Chicago Loop Alliance celebrates the return of live performances with new Theatre in the Loop guide

The Loop is home to Chicago’s official Theatre District, and performing arts organizations throughout downtown have exciting 2021-22 seasons kicking off this fall

Chicago Loop Alliance has partnered with Loop cultural institutions to launch a new Theatre in the Loop guide that celebrates the return of live performances in the city’s official Theatre District this fall. Theatre in the Loop features listings on CTA kiosks along State Street in the Loop, as well as a robust digital component that allows performing arts lovers to find all they need to know about theatres reopening and the variety shows offered in the 2021-22 season. Theatre in the Loop encompasses musicals, plays, dance, classical music, acrobatics, film and more, featuring organizations large and small. Learn more at

“In 2019, we released our Arts in the Loop Economic Impact Study with information specific to theatres in the Loop,” said Chicago Loop Alliance President and CEO Michael Edwards. “In that report, we shared that the Loop is home to 11 major performing arts venues with about 35,000 seats total. Visitors spent about $90 million a year on tickets and admissions to these institutions prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. And the organizations themselves spent about $233 million a year on operations. Theatre in the Loop supports nearly 6,000 full-time-equivalent jobs, and it was one of the industries hit hardest and fastest by the pandemic, with one of the longest recoveries. Chicago Loop Alliance knows that theatre is paramount to a vibrant, thriving Loop, so we created this new initiative to support the industry and provide a resource for performing arts lovers.”

“The theatre industry in Chicago is a vital part of the fabric of our city,” said League of Chicago Theatres Executive Director Deb Clapp. “It is a thrill to have theatre back—and to experience this great, collective art form in Chicago again. We are so grateful that Chicago Loop Alliance is joining us in uplifting the industry and celebrating the art and artistry of world-renowned companies located in the loop and across Chicagoland.”

“The pandemic proved, among many things, that nothing can replicate the magic of live performance,” said Greg Cameron, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Joffrey Ballet. “It is a vital part of what it means to be a global citizen, to build community through a shared experience, one that never replicates itself quite the same way again. The Joffrey is so proud to be part of the historic downtown Theatre District of Chicago, and we cannot wait to get back to doing what we love alongside our peers and neighbors.”

“The Gene Siskel Film Center was thrilled to welcome audiences back to experience the power and joy of films on the big screen at the beginning of August,” said Jean de St. Aubin, Executive Director of the Gene Siskel Film Center. “We missed our loyal fans and have been delighted to see them along with many new patrons in the past few weeks. Movies are a social event meant to be seen and talked about as a community, and we are proud to be the Loop’s destination for all movie lovers.” 

“We are excited to welcome audiences back to the Loop at our National Historic Landmark this fall,” said Auditorium Theatre CEO Rich Regan. “As we reopen our doors, we’ll be creating a safe environment where live performance may thrive once again. The Auditorium Theatre has been a foundation in Chicago’s cultural landscape since 1889, and we look forward to our next 131 years.”

See below for a listing of Theatre in the Loop offerings this 2021-22 season.

A&A Ballet Center for Dance

A&A Ballet is devoted to training in strong, versatile dance technique, as well as the development of personality, independence and artistry in young dancers. A&A Ballet’s creative vision has been developed through the eyes of artists and reflects the international experience of Anna Reznik and Alexei Kremnev as artists, choreographers, directors and teachers. They have been studying, performing, educating, choreographing and directing for more than 35 years, boasting numerous accolades throughout their careers, including the personal and professional successes of countless students. Check back here for more information and announcements about performances.

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Auditorium Theatre

On Oct. 16, Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theatre incorporates a fiery fusion of flamenco, folkloric, traditional and contemporary dance in this one-night-only performance. Their 45th anniversary season is called “Zafiro Flamenco (Sapphire Flamenco): New Era, New Works, New Legacies,” featuring passionate dancers, live flamenco music and vivid costumes. Learn more and purchase tickets here.

On Oct. 23, Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre combines modern, classical, American and African American traditions, bringing a unique blend of contemporary dance to the Auditorium Theatre stage. This 25th anniversary performance features nationally ranked choreography, with a passionate intensity that “sets the stage on fire.” Learn more and purchase tickets here.

Later in the year, Bert Kreischer: The Berty Boy Relapse Tour hits the stage on Nov. 12. Bert Kreischer is a comedian, podcast host and author with an offbeat brand of comedy, combining party-boy jokes with hilarious anecdotes about family and fatherhood. Learn more and purchase tickets here.

Broadway In Chicago

Broadway In Chicago presents musicals and plays on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago’s downtown; the Cadillac Palace Theatre, CIBC Theatre, James M. Nederlander Theatre, Auditorium Theatre and Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place. This fall season, catch “Rent” for its 25th anniversary from Oct. 5-10.

Also showing is “Paradise Square” Nov. 2-Dec. 5, “Disney’s Frozen” from Nov. 19-Jan. 22, “The Play That Goes Wrong” Dec. 7-Jan. 30, “Mystery Science Theatre 3000 LIVE” Dec. 11, “Pretty Woman” Dec. 14-19, “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical” Dec. 21-Jan. 2, “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!” January 11-23, “Hairspray” Feb. 1-13, “Hadestown” March 2-13, “The Prom” April 19-24, “Jersey Boys” May 3-8, “Fiddler on the Roof” May 17-22, “Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird” May 17-29, “Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations” May 24-June 5 and more. Check for more shows and tickets here.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Go out for a musical experience at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, acclaimed as one of the greatest orchestras in the world. Upcoming concerts for the fall season include Lang Lang, “the hottest artist on the classical music planet” according to The New York Times, on Oct. 8. From Nov. 26-28, “Home Alone in Concert” features John Williams’ hilarious and heartwarming, Academy Award-nominated score for the whole family. The closing concert on Jan. 6 features “Rhapsody in Blue” and “Boléro,” classical music inspired by 20th-century jazz. Learn more and buy tickets here.

The Chicago Theatre

The Chicago Theatre presents stage plays, magic shows, comedy, popular music concerts and more. Kathleen Madigan brings her comedy, “Do you Have any Ranch? Tour” on Oct. 9. During the holiday season, “Twas the Night Before by Cirque du Soleil” is on stage from Nov. 26-Dec. 5. Find more shows and tickets here.

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO) has provided music education through orchestral programs and performance opportunities of the highest caliber since 1946. It currently serves more than 600 students ages 6-18 in on-site ensembles, including four full orchestras, three string orchestras, jazz orchestra, multiple steel orchestras and enrichment opportunities including chamber music, master classes and music composition. CYSO musicians learn from Chicago’s must respected professional musicians, perform in the world’s greatest concert halls and gain the self-confidence and discipline necessary for a successful future. Check back here for more information and announcements about performances.

Drunk Shakespeare

Drunk Shakespeare is a limited run theatre company with a twisted take on William Shakespeare’s classics. Slate calls it “the best thing to ever happen to the theatre,” and performances take place various nights starting now. Learn more and purchase tickets here.

Gene Siskel Film Center

The Gene Siskel Film Center presents cutting edge cinema, including annual film festivals with diverse voices and international stories, innovative work by current independent filmmakers, restorations of films from cinema history and provocative discussions with filmmakers and media artists. Find upcoming showings, festivals and tickets here.

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Goodman Theatre

Goodman Theatre is Chicago’s biggest not-for-profit theatre. The Goodman has been internationally renowned for its quality of shows, diversity of artistic leadership and the excellence of its many community and educational programs. The Homecoming Season of 2021-2022 presents the “American Mariachi,” a performance that “reveals how music and love can make just about anything possible,” now through Oct. 24. From Jan. 22-Feb. 27, Wilson’s “Gem of the Ocean” unearths a journey of spiritual awakening wh

en a suspicious traveler pursues a new life. Find more upcoming shows and tickets here.

Hot Tix

Hot Tix locations are reopening, and half-price tickets are back. Tickets are available online and in person. The Hot Tix location at 72 E. Randolph St., across from the Chicago Cultural Center, reopened on Aug. 11, and the location at Block 37 at 108 N. State St. reopens this Friday, Oct. 1. Don’t miss out on half-price theatre tickets available online here.

The Joffrey Ballet

Tickets for The Joffrey Ballet’s 2021-2022 season are on sale now. The season opens at Lyric Opera of Chicago, beginning with the exultant mixed repertoire, “Home: a Celebration” from Oct. 13–24. This performance includes original choreography by Chanel DaSilva, Joffrey Rehearsal Director Nicolas Blanc, Joffrey Artist Yoshihisa Arai and a beloved ballet classic choreographed by Joffrey co-founder Gerald Arpino. From Dec. 4–26 is the return of Christopher Wheeldon’s magical and enchanting production of “The Nutcracker.” The next production is Yuri Possokhov’s family-oriented and humorous version of “Don Quixote” from Feb. 16-27. The season will close with the astonishing world premiere of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” by choreographer Cathy Marston (featuring an original composition by Academy Award-nominated composer Thomas Newman), and the premiere of “Serenade” by dance pioneer George Balanchine from April 27–May 8. Purchase tickets here.

Lyric Opera of Chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago has always been well-known for performances featuring world-class international singers, conductors, directors and designers in classic and contemporary repertoire. The season begins with Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy, Verdi’s “Macbeth,” now through Oct. 9. Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” combines human and supernatural with romance and comedy, showing from Nov. 3-27. Another performance, Blanchard and Lemmon’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” a moving story of traumatic youth in an American Jazz context, takes place from March 24-April 8. Find more operas and buy tickets here.

Porchlight Music Theatre

Porchlight Music Theatre is known for its bold, edgy and intimate music theatre, offering audiences the drama, song and dance “up close” with Chicago and Broadway’s brightest music theatre talent. Porchlight Music Theatre returns live and in-person to the stage this fall. From a memorable visit to a homespun diner and its neighboring gas station to a moving tribute of the Blues and concluding with a rocking musical from a story more than 100 years old, the Mainstage offers audiences unforgettable experiences that celebrate this unique American art form in the award-winning style that Porchlight has become known for. Learn more and purchase tickets here.

See Chicago Dance

See Chicago Dance is a non-profit service organization whose mission is to build and engage dance audiences in Chicago and advocate for Chicago dance. For dance auditions, performances, classes, workshops and more throughout Chicagoland, visit here.

Silk Road Rising

Silk Road Rising is the only facility in the country solely dedicated to presenting Asian American and Middle Eastern American stories. Founded in 2002, Silk Road Rising is an award-winning, professional, Equity theatre company. In using live theatre and online videos that represent communities that intersect and overlap, Silk Road Rising advances a polycultural worldview. The theatre has played an instrumental role for a number of Silk Road playwrights and artists to first break out onto the Chicago theatre scene and has won multiple awards for its work. This season, support Silk Road Rising by enjoying a variety of digital cultural offerings on their website, here.

Teatro ZinZanni

A brand new Teatro ZinZanni show opened on July 8. Leave your troubles at the door and wander through the exquisite lobby for a drink, find a tiara or fedora and take a photo or talk with friends. You will be seated at your reserved table inside the magical Spiegeltent ZaZou. Who will sing? Who will fly? Who will dance? Are you ready to laugh? Learn more and purchase tickets here.

Windy City Playhouse

Windy City Playhouse is a blossoming non-profit theatre that produces exceptional contemporary, relevant and approachable art. “A Recipe for Disaster” tells of the comical misfortune of a restaurant—the Contumacious Pig. Amidst the chaos, they try to keep their reputation from going under. This show takes place from Oct. 6-Dec. 26. Learn more and purchase tickets here

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About Chicago Loop Alliance

Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA)’s mission is to create, manage and promote positive and inclusive programs that attract people to the Loop and accelerate economic recovery. CLA is a membership organization as well as the sole service provider for Special Service Area#1-2015, and the Chicago Loop Alliance Foundation produces public art projects and events. For more information, please visit


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