Chicago has a well-deserved reputation as a great theatre town and it’s not all adults-only! Chi-town has no shortage of world class, family friendly options. Here are our favorite places for children’s theatre.

(credit-Bonnie Kenaz-Mara)

Chicago Children’s Theatre

Performances are at various locations
773-227-0180
Hours and prices vary by production
www.chicagochildrenstheatre.org

Production values are first rate at Chicago Children’s Theatre, where they keep reinventing themselves with historic dramas, literature adaptations, and recently a toddler show that won rave reviews and didn’t condescend to the youngest theater-goer’s experiencing their first live show. This troupe holds multiple performances in various locations so check the website for times, dates and prices.

CBS Insider Tip: Order a Season flex pass – a subscription to three shows and get 20% off.

(credit-Bonnie Kenaz-Mara)

Chicago Shakespeare Theater

800 E. Grand Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611
(312) 595-5600
Hours and prices vary by production
www.chicagoshakes.com

Family offerings by this award winning theatre on Navy Pier are world class. We love the trivia filled, brain-building activities in the playbill and the fabulous sets and costumes. Check out their short Shakespeare series. They quicken the action to a kid appropriate run time, but stay true to the original dialogue, and key plot points.

(credit: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara)

Adventure Stage Theater

Vittum Theater
1012 N. Noble St.
Chicago, Illinois 60642
773-342-4141
Hours and prices vary by production
www.adventurestage.org

This award winning Bucktown staple features multicultural casts, world premier productions, and great post show Q & A sessions, where kids can speak directly with the cast. They specialize in dynamic, action theatre aimed at kids 9-14 and adults. So there’s something there for everyone!

(credit: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara)

Redmoon Theatre

1463 W. Hubbard
Chicago, Illinois 60622
(312) 850-8440
Hours and prices vary by production
http://redmoon.org

We do adore Redmoon, a true Chi-Town treasure. They specialize in giant outdoor spectacles, puppets, and quirky adaptations. What separates Redmoon from the others is its dedication to contemporary art and ancient theatrical art forms mixed with acrobatics.

Photo Credit: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

Lookingglass Theatre

821 N Michigan Ave.

Chicago, Illinois 60611
312.337.0665
Hours and prices vary by production
lookingglasstheatre.org

Do you love aerial arts, truly inspired acting, and impressive costumes and sets? There’s a reason Lookingglass won a Tony Award for best regional theater in 2011. Many of their offerings are family friendly and well worth the ticket price.

Photo Credit: Bonnie Kenaz - Mara

Lifeline Theatre

6912 N. Glenwood
Chicago, Illinois 60626
(773) 761-4477
Hours and prices vary by production
www.lifelinetheatre.com

Lifeline Theatre is one of our all time favorites. They specialize in adapting children’s literature and frequently showcase world premiers. They often fly in authors for book signings during the run of each show. Check out the funky sculpture garden next door, and snap a shot in the oversized armchair in the lobby. We have a whole armchair series as the kids have grown up over the past 10 years, and yet they haven’t outgrown the chair or Lifeline’s excellent family series.

(credit: Bonnie Kenaz)

Brain Surgeon Theater

5036 N Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60625
(773) 798-9915
Hours and prices vary by production
www.brainsurgeontheater.org

This quirky, cool troupe offers original, innovative, process-based children’s theatre and some of the best camps, classes and birthday parties around. Their mission is to create theater for the child in every adult and the adult in every child. Kids collaborate with professional artists on all aspects of production.

Emerald City

The Apollo Theatre

2540 N. Lincoln Ave

Chicago, IL 60614

Box Office: 773-935-61000
Hours and prices vary by production
www.emeraldcitytheatre.com

These guys skew young, with award winning book-based adaptations for pre-school and early elementary kids. And they know how the young ones can squirm. Emerald City offers pre-show lobby activities and photo ops with the cast after the performance. They also run a theater school for ages 3.5 through 12. Subscribe to a season pass for a discount. Emerald City is a Nickelodeon’s Parent Picks Award for 2010.

Photo Credit: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

Li’l Buds Theater

1210 W. Brny Mawr
Chicago, IL 60660
lilbudstheatre.org

Li’l Buds is a children’s theatre company that strives to educate kids of all ages and backgrounds through shows, camps, in school workshops, classes and residencies in a number of local schools. Sign your kids up to perform in one of the two family shows every year – or just go to watch. They hold a winter holiday musical series and a play in the spring.

2011 Best of Edgewater Award – “New Business of the Year”

Bonnie Kenaz-Mara explores adventures in urban-odd ball-off the wall-alternative-eco-punk parenting in Chi, IL. at ChiILMama.com.