Looking for theatre that leaves you scratching your head – in a good way? While all good theatre should (hopefully) make you think, these companies excel at producing uniquely challenging works that keep the conversation going well past the final bows. – Bob Bullen
927 Noyes Street
Evanston, IL 60201
Provocative and intelligent theatre is the name of the game at Next. The group has recently undergone an artistic leadership change, and their upcoming season (the group’s 30th season) promises some very intriguing choices.
1463 West Hubbard Street
Chicago, IL 60622
Looking for the unexpected? Redmoon’s non-traditional productions, usually in public spaces such as the plaza of the Museum of Contemporary Art or in Belmont Harbor, blends an ancient theatrical approach with contemporary flair.
615 West Wellington Avenue
Chicago, IL 60657
Are you a history and/or political buff? TimeLine theatre’s mission is to “present stories inspired by history that connect to today’s social and political issues.” To meeting this ambitious mission, TimeLine presents some of the best and most compelling theatre in the city – including their current production of Frost/Nixon (which closes Oct. 10).
6912 North Glenwood Avenue
Chicago, IL 60626
Are you a book nerd? Lifeline (not to be confused with TimeLine) is for you. This group specializes in original literary adaptations, which means you can see classics such as H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau or Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray presented in an inventive, and often beautiful, way. Their recent production of Wuthering Heights, for example, is both classy and smart.
1650 North Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60614
Bold acting paired with inspired direction and world-class design elements makes Steppenwolf one of the most consistently satisfying theatrical experiences in the city. If you leave a Steppenwolf production and don’t engage in a spirited discussion with your theatre companion, you just weren’t paying attention.
Bob Bullen is a writer and long-time fan of Chicago’s vibrant theatre scene, which he captures on his blog, Chicago Theatre Addict.