Theater On The Lake

Each summer, the Chicago Park District's Theater on the Lake remounts eight shows from the previous off-Loop theatre season.† Eight weeks, eight shows, eight chances to sample some of the best of what Chicago's flourishing off-Loop theatre scene has to offer; it's a kind of Taste of Chicago for theatre-goers.†

The venerable open-air building, located on the lakefront at Fullerton, was once a sanatorium for children suffering from TB.† Converted into a theatre a couple of decades ago, the building still offers stunning views and plenty of fresh air - too much, sometimes, when cold lake breezes leave audience members shivering in their seats.† The surrounding noise and energy from Lake Shore Drive traffic, runners and bikers on the bike path, and beachgoers on their way to and from Fullerton Beach, can be both exhilarating and distracting.†

But the noise and energy that really matters comes from the off-Loop companies who bring their shows to the site.† The year's season kicked off with The Misanthrope presented by Greasy Joan & Company and was followed by Pegasus Players' Jitney. The remaining season includes:

Schadenfreude: June 25 - 29
Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind: July 2 - 6
Cadillac: July 9 - 13
Songs for a New Wolrd: July 16 - 20
The Attempters: July 23 - 27
Suddenly Last Summer: July 30 - Aug 3

It's quite a challenge to put together an eclectic season that fairly represents the rich and varied off-Loop theatre scene.† And it's a challenge for the companies who reassemble actors, director and designers to reinvent their shows for the idiosyncratic space. †This week on the Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast, Artistic Director Hallie Gordon talks about how she chooses the shows, the quirks of producing theatre on the Chicago Park Districtís nickel, and her hopes for the venue.† She is joined by Elizabeth Margolius, who will be remounting Bohemian Theatre Ensemble's Songs for a New World this summer at Theater on the Lake.

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