Wonderland, Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure at Chicago Children’s Theater (Photo Courtesy Chicago Children’s Theater)
As the home of Second City Theater and dozens of other theater groups that are always tapped for national tours, Chicago is a theater lover’s dream. But if you’re leery about dragging young ones to late evening performances, no worries. Chi-town offers a solid line-up of stage offerings just for tiny thespians in the making. Check out these four Chicago theater gems for kids:
- Chicago Playworks. One of the oldest children’s theaters in the country and affiliated with the prestigious DePaul University Theatre School, Chicago Playworks serves up high quality theater for the whole family. Its highlight — original, multi-ethnic plays that feature loads of audience participation. Don’t miss opening days, when kids get to interact with the actors and snag autographs. The details: Tickets are $10 and shows start at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and at 2 p.m. on weekends.
- Barrel of Monkeys. An innovative company of actor-educators that adapts plays from stories written by students, its weekly showcase from kids’ perspectives is a must see. Barrel of Monkeys’ variety show,“That’s Weird, Grandma” spotlights the troupe’s favorite stories for the week and overflows with humor and imagination. The details: Tickets are $6 for kids, $12 for adults and shows are at 2 p.m. on Sundays and Monday evenings. The show changes every week so multiple visits never disappoint.
- Emerald City Theatre. Focused on teaching life skills through theater, the company creates performances for all ages, including babies and toddlers. Each show incorporates music, dance and lots of fun. Learning themes and age suggestions are posted for all performances and all shows include a lobby activity so arrive early. Details: Tickets are $15, $8 for children under 1 and shows start at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday-Friday and 9 a.m, 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on weekends, depending on the show. The company performs several different shows during a season so there’s a variety to choose from according to age range.
- Chicago Children’s Theatre. Inspiring audiences with imaginative stories that reflect the kid in everyone,Chicago Children’s Theatre hosts plays that often include music and DIY props. Watch for exciting collaborations with local musicians and puppeteers. The company also provides plays for children with alternate needs. Details: Tickets range from $10-$38, depending on the show. Times are 10 a.m. Wednesdays-Fridays and 11 a.m. on weekends.