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Best Broadway Musicals Playing in Chicago

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Published on: Apr 14, 2023
Last Updated on: May 19, 2024
By: Kathryn Willingham
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Best Musicals in Chicago

Chicago is filled with theater – from touring Broadway shows, to world premieres, to local theatre productions of classic musicals, you could see a different show every night. It is also a popular city to premiere musicals before they make their way to Broadway. Shows like Kinky Boots, On Your Feet!, The SpongeBob Musical, Tootsie, Pretty Woman, War Paint and more all played to Chicago audiences before making their way to New York City. Many Chicago theaters are conveniently located near downtown Chicago, Millennium Park, and the Magnificent Mile, and in this article, we’ll let you know what’s playing right now and what will be on stage soon!

Touring Broadway Shows Playing Now in Chicago

Beetlejuice on tour

Beetlejuice

Beetlejuice plays at the Nederlander Theatre after a hit run on Broadway. Broadway's “SCREAMINGLY GOOD FUN!” (Variety) musical comedy is now haunting houses all across the country! Based on Tim Burton’s dearly beloved film, BEETLEJUICE tells the story of Lydia Deetz, a strange and unusual teenager whose whole life changes when she meets a recently deceased couple and a demon with a thing for stripes. With an irreverent book, an astonishing set, and a score that’s out of this Netherworld, BEETLEJUICE is “A FEAST FOR THE EYES AND SOUL!” (Entertainment Weekly). And under its uproarious surface (six feet under, to be exact), it’s a remarkably touching show about family, love, and making the most of every Day-O!

Beetlejuice plays at the James M. Nederlander Theatre from May 21, 2024 – May 26, 2024.

Chicago Musicals Playing Now

The Music Man

The Music Man

The Music Man plays at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Illinois. Meredith Willson’s six-time, Tony Award-winning musical comedy is a family-friendly story to be shared with every generation. Follow fast-talking traveling salesman, Harold Hill, as he cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a band that he vows to organize – despite the fact that he doesn’t know a trombone from a treble clef. His plans to skip town with the cash are foiled when he falls for Marian, the librarian. By turns wicked, funny, warm, romantic and touching, THE MUSIC MAN is family entertainment at its best.

The Music Man plays at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Illinois through June 2, 2024.

Guys and Dolls

Guys and Dolls

Guys and Dolls, the perfect Broadway musical comedy, is coming to Drury Lane Theatre! Praised by TIME Magazine as “the greatest of all American musicals!” and hailed by The New York Times as “the show that defines Broadway dazzle,” this musical fable of Broadway promises an unforgettable evening at the theatre. Directed and Choreographed by Tony Award nominee Dan Knechtges, known for his phenomenal work on Drury Lane’s Saturday Night Fever. Featuring iconic songs including “Luck Be a Lady” and “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat,” this story is brimming with wit, charm, and plenty of heart. 

Guys and Dolls plays at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace, IL through June 9, 2024.

Touring Broadway Shows Coming Soon to Chicago

Six

Six, by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, has had hit productions around the world and comes to Chicago’s James M. Nederlander Theatre in June 2024. Remixing history, this musical follows the six wives of Henry VIII as they take center stage and take back their own story. The Guardian called it “explosively joyous…the kind of show that makes you want to be a teenager again.”

Six plays at the James M. Nederlander Theatre from June 4, 2024 to July 14, 2024.

Back to the Future the Musical

Back to the Future

Back to the Future, based on the movie of the same name, comes to Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre. When Marty McFly finds himself transported back to 1955 in a time machine built by the eccentric scientist Doc Brown, he accidentally changes the course of history. Now he’s in a race against time to fix the present, escape the past, and send himself… back to the future. When Back to the Future hits 88mph, it’ll change musical theatre history forever. Come for the flying car, stay for the great performances and music!

Back to the Future plays at the Cadillac Palace Theatre from August 13 to September 1, 2024.

Broadway Bound Musicals

Death Becomes Her, Musical Comedy Revitalized

Death Becomes Her

Death Becomes Her will play at the Cadillac Palace Theatre before heading to Broadway. Madeline Ashton is the most beautiful actress (just ask her) ever to grace the stage and screen. Helen Sharp is the long-suffering author (just ask her) who lives in her shadow. They have always been the best of frenemies…until Madeline steals Helen’s fiancé away. As Helen plots revenge and Madeline clings to her rapidly fading star, their world is suddenly turned upside down by Viola Van Horn, a mysterious woman with a secret that’s to die for. After one sip of Viola’s magical potion, Madeline and Helen begin a new era of life (and death) with their youth and beauty restored…and a grudge to last eternity. Starring Tony Award nominees Megan Hilty (Wicked, Smash) and Jennifer Simard (Company, Disaster!), Death Becomes Her, based on the classic 1992 film, is a drop-dead hilarious new musical comedy about friendship, love, and burying the hatchet…again, and again, and again. Life’s a bitch and then you die. Or not!

Death Becomes Her plays at the Cadillac Palace Theatre from April 30 to June 2, 2024.

Chicago Musicals Coming Soon

Beehive the 60s Musical

Beehive: The 60’s Musical

Beehive: The 60’s Musical plays at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Illinois. The ultimate celebration of 1960’s female empowerment! Featuring such timeless classics as “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “Be My Baby,” “Son of a Preacher Man” and “Me and Bobby McGee,” BEEHIVE: THE 60’S MUSICAL nostalgically recalls the days of miniskirts, transistor radios and flower power. This summer audiences adored Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story, now the women take the spotlight!

Beehive: The 60’s Musical plays at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Illinois from June 19, 2024 to August 11, 2024.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil the Musical

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, based on the novel of the same name by John Berendt, has its world premiere at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. Southern charm is bountiful in Savannah, Georgia. But behind polite smiles, the eccentric residents are filled with secrets and motives. When wealthy antiques dealer Jim Williams is accused of murder, the sensational trial uncovers hidden truths and exposes the fine line between good and evil – which sparks Lady Chablis and other Savannahians to change the city forever. MacArthur “Genius” grantee Taylor Mac, Tony Award winners Jason Robert Brown and Rob Ashford, and choreographer Tanya Birl bring the true-crime blockbuster book and its beloved characters to life in a new musical adaptation.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil plays at the Goodman Theatre’s Albert Theatre from June 25 to August 4, 2024.

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Musical

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! The Musical!

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! The Musical! plays at the Marriott Theatre’s Children’s Theatre in Lincolnshire, Illinois. Whatever you do, don't let the Pigeon star in his own musical production! Written by best-selling children’s author Mo Willems, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! The Musical! is even more fun than staying up late and having a hot dog party! It's not easy being the Pigeon - you never get to do ANYTHING! But when the Bus Driver has a crisis that threatens to make her passengers late, maybe that wily bird CAN do something. Featuring an innovative mix of songs, and feathers, Pigeon will have everyone's wings flapping. Great for kids!

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! The Musical! plays at the Marriott Theatre’s Children’s Theatre in Lincolnshire, Illinois from July 12 to August 11, 2024.

1776 Musical

1776

1776 plays at the Marriott Theater in Lincolnshire, Illinois. Summer, 1776 - The nation is ready to declare independence...if only our founding fathers can agree to do it! Witness the birth of the nation as the likes of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson struggle, through courage and conviction, to craft the Declaration of Independence. 1776 puts a human face on the pages of history as we see the people behind the national icons: proud, frightened, uncertain, charming, and often petty, determined to do the right thing for a fledgling nation. Winner of five Tony Awards, including Best Book and Best Musical, this funny, the seminal events in American history blazes to vivid life in this funny, insightful and compelling drama.

1776 plays at the Marriott Theater in Lincolnshire, Illinois from August 21 to October 13, 2024.

Irving Berlin's White Christmas

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas plays at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Illinois. One of America’s most cherished silver screen classics comes to the stage in this holiday favorite, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas! Packed with dazzling hits like “Blue Skies,” “Count Your Blessings,” “I Love a Piano” and the title song “White Christmas,” your entire family will celebrate this magical time of year with this uplifting classic.

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas plays at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Illinois from October 30 to December 29, 2024.

Cinderella

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella plays at the Marriott Theatre’s Children’s Theatre. Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella celebrates the timeless enchantment of this magical fairy tale. Follow the classic story of Cinderella and her quest to attend the Prince’s Ball with a twist of originality, charm and elegance. Transport a new generation to the miraculous kingdom of dreams-come-true. With great warmth and more than a touch of hilarity, this enthralling fairy tale still warms the hearts of children and adults alike. Great for kids!

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella plays at the Marriott Theatre’s Children’s Theatre from November 15, 2024 to January 5, 2025.

Chicago Theater District

Check out our article on the Chicago Theatre District to find out more about venues, theaters, attractions, and hotels in the downtown Chicago area. Or check out our article on Best Chicago Plays to see other shows running now or coming soon!

Kathryn Willingham

Head of Creative Development at Jean Doumanian Productions

Kathryn Willingham has worked in entertainment for over ten years, and recent credits include: Co-producer of SHRINK currently streaming on Peacock, Associate Producer of the independent film UNA, and Creative Executive on multiple theatrical productions including HANGMEN by Martin McDonagh on Broadway, NASSIM by Nassim Soleimanpour Off-broadway and Associate on productions EVERY BRILLIANT THING by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe and THE EFFECT by Lucy Prebble. She was Producer of Todd Almond’s musical travelogue “Wyoming and Parts of Kansas” and Production Coordinator for Karen O and KK Barrett's “Stop the Virgens.”

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Education: B.A. in English, Literature & Creative Writing from Rhodes College
Knowledge: Theatrical Production

Published

Apr 14, 2023

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