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Best Chicago Plays Running in 2024

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Published on: Jul 12, 2023
Last Updated on: May 21, 2024
By: Kathryn Willingham
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Best Chicago Plays Running in 2024

Chicago audiences are spoiled for choice – the Windy City has some of the best theater and entertainment in the world. From local talent to Broadway tours, Shakespeare to experimental, auditoriums with thousands of seats to storefront theaters with dozens, there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking to see a musical, check out our article on the Best Broadway Musicals Playing in Chicago. But if you’re looking for a play, you’re in the right place: here’s what Chicago theatre plays are on right now and what’s coming soon!

Plays Currently Running in Chicago

Judgment Day at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Judgment Day

Judgment Day by Rob Ulin and directed by Moritz von Steulpnagel has its world premiere at The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare starring Jason Alexander. with eternal damnation by a terrifying angel after a near-death experience. In a desperate attempt to redeem himself, Sammy forms an unlikely bond with a Catholic priest who is having his own crisis of faith, and together they debate the timeless questions of Western philosophy—“morality,” “faith,” and “Are people any damn good?”

Running April 23 – June 2, 2024 at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.

The Thanksgiving Play at Steppenwolf

The Thanksgiving Play

The Thanksgiving Play, written by Larissa FastHorse, follows four (very) well-intentioned theatre people in an elementary school. The work at hand: a Thanksgiving pageant that won’t ruffle any feathers. What could possibly go wrong? In MacArthur Genius Larissa FastHorse’s skewering and satirical comedy, well, just about everything. Rambunctious, thorny and not altogether politically correct, The Thanksgiving Play serves up the hypocrisies of woke America on a big, family-style, platter. Come get ya some.

Running April 25 – June 2, 2024 at Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

English at the Goodman Theatre

English

English, written by Sanaz Toosi and directed by Hamid Dehghani, follows four adult students in Karaj, Iran who are studying for the Test of English as a Foreign Language – the key to their green card, medical school admission or family reunification. Chasing fluency through a maze of word games, listening exercises and show-and-tell sessions, they hope that one day, English will make them whole. But it might be splitting them each in half.

Running May 10 – June 9, 2024 at the Goodman Theatre.

Black Sunday at TimeLine Theatre

Black Sunday

Black Sunday, written by Delores Díaz and directed by Sandra Marquez, is set in April 1935 in the dust storm-riddled plains of Texas where a family farm is struggling to keep afloat amidst a mounting series of environmental disasters. Stubborn Pa refuses to believe that his land is no longer viable, young Sunny dreams of a new life in bountiful California, and Ma starts having mysterious visions of an even bleaker future. Developed through TimeLine’s Playwrights Collective, this world premiere by Dolores Díaz offers a startling look at the conflicts surrounding climate change, race, and gender in the days leading up to an infamous dust storm known as Black Sunday.

Running May 16 – June 30, 2024 at TimeLine Theatre.

The Drunk Shakespeare Society

Drunk Shakespeare

Drunk Shakespeare: "Drink sir, is a great provoker..." Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 3

The stage is set in a hidden venue. Five professional actors meet as members of The Drunk Shakespeare Society. One of them has 5 shots of whiskey and then attempts to perform a major role in a Shakespearean play. Hilarity and mayhem ensue while the four sober actors try and keep the script on track. Every show is different depending on who is drinking... and what they're drinking! Craft cocktails are available for purchase throughout the show.

The Second City Chicago

The Second City

The Second City is an improvisational theater In Chicago famous for how many actors and comedians got their start on its stages. Tina Fey, Chris Farley, Amy Poehler, Bill Murray, Aidy Bryant, Jordan Peele, Gilda Radner, and many, many more have all played at The Second City. There is comedy on every single night – check out the official website to see what’s playing today.

Upcoming Touring Broadway Plays

The Kite Runner play on tour

The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner, based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini and adapted by Matthew Spangler, runs at the CIBC Theatre and is directed by Giles Croft. Afghanistan is a divided country, and two childhood friends are about to be torn apart. It’s a beautiful afternoon in Kabul and the skies are full of the excitement and joy of a kite flying tournament. But neither of the boys can foresee the incident which will change their lives forever. Told across two decades and two continents, THE KITE RUNNER is an unforgettable journey of forgiveness, and shows us all that we can be good again.

Running June 11 – June 23, 2024 at the CIBC Theatre.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on tour

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, written by Jack Thorne and directed by John Tiffany, begins its National tour in Chicago in September 2024. It’s time to believe in magic again. When Harry Potter’s head-strong son Albus befriends the son of his fiercest rival, Draco Malfoy, it sparks an unbelievable new journey for them all—with the power to change the past and future forever. Prepare for a mind-blowing race through time, spectacular spells, and an epic battle, all brought to life with the most astonishing theatrical magic ever seen on stage.

Running September 10, 2024 – February 25, 2025 at the James M. Nederlander Theatre.

Upcoming Dramas

Stokely: The Unfinished Revolution at the Court Theatre

Stokely: The Unfinished Revolution

Stokely: The Unfinished Revolution, written by Nambi E. Kelley and directed by Tasia A. Jones, has its world premiere at the Court Theatre. Civil rights activist Kwame Ture, born Stokely Carmichael, was a towering icon; a man of immense domestic and international importance. But he was also just that: a man. Blending the historical and the personal, Stokely: The Unfinished Revolution asks: how can you trust someone with a movement when you can’t trust them with your heart?

Running May 24 – June 16, 2024 at the Court Theatre.

The Enigmatist at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater

The Enigmatist

The Enigmatist, written and performed by David Kwong, plays Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare. Can you crack the code? Following wildly successful runs in New York City and Los Angeles, renowned magician and The New York Times crossword constructor David Kwong brings his immersive experience of puzzles and cryptology to Chicago. Come early to solve the pre-show puzzles in the lobby, and experience the magic for yourself!

Running May 29 – June 30, 2024 at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre

Little Bear Ridge Road at Steppenwolf Theatre

Little Bear Ridge Road

Little Bear Ridge Road, written by Samuel D. Hunter and directed by Joe Mantello, will star ensemble member Laurie Metcalf in a comic, cosmic and intimate world premiere. In the outer limits of rural Idaho, the last two members of the Fernsby family tree, an estranged aunt and nephew, reunite to sort the mess left behind after a troubled father's passing. They now face an uncomfortable and universal question: how do we deal with other people? And is connection more trouble than it’s worth? As their relationship begins anew, the two reluctant Fernsby's—separated by age and experience—​start to understand the joys and perils of letting someone else into your own story, even if only for a moment.

Running June 13 – July 21, 2024 at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.

Leroy and Lucy at Steppenwolf Theatre Company

Leroy and Lucy

Leroy and Lucy, written by Ngozi Anyanwu and directed by Awoye Timpo, runs at Steppenwolf’s Ensemble Theater and features ensemble member Jon Michael Hill. Two lost souls meet at a crossroads, in the dead of night, deep in the Mississippi of it all. With a yearning guitar between them, they tell secrets and conjure a sound once forgotten—a tune pitched with Leroy’s longing and the sweet purr of Lucy’s desires. In this sultry world premiere, a play with music from Ngozi Anyanwu, the Delta Blues fills the air, the future lies just down the road, and we are everywhere and nowhere all at once.

Running October 24 – December 15, 2024 at Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

Fool For Love at Steppenwolf Theatre Company

Fool For Love

Fool For Love, written by Sam Shepard and directed by Jeremy Herrin, runs at Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre. In a sweltering motel room in the Mojave Desert, May and Eddie lick their wounds and get ready for another relentless round. This brawl is eternal and infernal. And the Old Man is always watching. Perhaps the sexiest, most haunting play of the 20th century, Fool for Love is a twisted and tequila-soaked love letter from Sam Shepard, one of the greatest American playwrights, indulging the need to get inside someone just to tear them apart. 

Running January 30 – March 16, 2025 at Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

The Book of Grace at Steppenwolf Theatre Company

The Book of Grace

The Book of Grace, written by Suzan-Lori Parks and directed by Steve H. Broadnax III, runs at Steppenwolf’s Ensemble Theatre and features ensemble member Glenn Davis.  Grace looks for the good in everything: in her husband’s rules, in the border he patrols, in the return of his estranged son. But a want for goodness cannot unwind the past, as this taut family reunion explodes in all directions. The Chicago premiere of Suzan Lori-Parks’ The Book of Grace is an incendiary family portrait from the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of Topdog/Underdog. Witness this startling reminder that the search for common ground can be bloody and brutal, leaving casualties on every side of the divide.

Running March 27 – May 18, 2025 at Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

Upcoming Comedies

Hot Wing King at Writers Theatre

The Hot Wing King

The Hot Wing King by Katori Hall and directed by Lil-Anne Brown, this Pulitzer Prize winning play runs at the Writers Theatre in 2024. When it comes to wings, Cordell is king! Supported by his beau Dwayne and the best friends who serve as his fry crew, the group embarks on a fun night of pre-competition prep for Memphis’s Annual “Hot Wang Festival.” But when Dwayne’s troubled nephew unexpectedly needs a place to stay, it quickly becomes a recipe for disaster. TheaterMania called it a “charming new dramedy” and “a sensitive portrait of black masculinity.”

Running June 19 – July 21, 2024 at the Writers Theatre.

Noises Off at Steppenwolf Theatre Company

Noises Off

Noises Off, written by Michael Frayn and directed by Anna D. Shapiro, runs at Steppenwolf in a co-production with Geffen Playhouse. The cast and crew of Nothing On are scrambling to prepare for opening night, but despite their earnest efforts, the production is an absolute mess. Line flubs and lost props and missed cues, oh my! Can this beleaguered ensemble overcome egos and jealousies to pull the show together in time? Onstage antics collide with offstage foibles in Steppenwolf’s production of Noises Off, the classic comedy that writes an ingenious, slapstick and zany tribute to “theatre-people” everywhere. By the end of this dizzying play-within-a-play, you won’t know stage right from left.

Running September 12 – October 27, 2024 at Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theater.

You Will Get Sick play at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company

You Will Get Sick

You Will Get Sick, written by Noah Diaz and directed by Audrey Francis, runs at Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theater and features ensemble members Cliff Chamberlain, Amy Morton, and Namir Smallwood. A young man with a secret. An older woman who will listen. A predatory flock of birds. An upcoming audition for The Wizard of Oz. Welcome to You Will Get Sick, a wildly imaginative new play that traces the touching, hilarious, heartbreaking saga of one man’s illness and his unlikely caretaker’s pursuit of her dreams. Admired as “lively, surreal and surprising” by The New York Times, Noah Diaz’s Chicago debut is equal parts comedy, form-bending experiment and sober meditation on mortality. Renowned ensemble member Amy Morton (a Tony nominee for August: Osage County and Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) returns to the Steppenwolf stage for the first time in over a decade, making this season finale a must-see experience!

Running June 5 – July 13, 2025 at Steppenwolf Theatre’s Downstairs Theater.

Nearby Downtown Attractions

If you’re seeing theater in downtown Chicago, why not pair it with a trip to Millennium Park, shop on the Magnificent Mile, or take a stroll by the Chicago River? Here are a few popular audience favorites.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1891, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra puts on over 150 concerts each year and tours both nationally and internationally. Check the Chicago Symphony Orchestra website for information about what’s on stage this season.

Art Institute of Chicago

Check out the lauded Art Institute of Chicago and see work from artists like Monet, Degas, and van Gogh.

Millennium Park

See “the bean” in Millennium Park, take a ride on the Ferris Wheel, see an outdoor concert, or have a picnic in the middle of the city.

Best Chicago Musicals

Looking to see even more Chicago theater? Check out our article about the Best Broadway Musicals Playing in Chicago for information about what shows are on sale now and what’s coming soon to the Chicago area!

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

May 24, 2024

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