TV and film actors often take to the stage to get back to their roots, re-establish cred, or to avoid having to act in lowly commercials in between jobs, and Broadway productions have increasingly looked to Hollywood for ticket-selling star power. The recent crop of shows coming to Chicago echo that trend, with recent stage appearances by Colin Quinn, F. Murray Abraham, and John O’Hurley. In the coming months there will be several more opportunities to see TV and film actors & actresses in person at local theaters. Here’s a selection upcoming productions with notable names and familiar faces.


Nora Dunn, Loretta Swit and others in Love, Loss and What I Wore

Broadway Playhouse
Through December 4

This play, based on the bestselling book by Nora & Delia Ephron, will feature a rotating cast in Chicago. Nora Dunn is best known for her work in the mid-80s as an SNL cast member, Loretta Swit will forever be known as “Hot Lips” Houlihan from M*A*S*H, and other cast members may be recognizable for small roles in TV and film.

Holland Taylor in Ann: An Affectionate Portrait of Ann Richards

Bank of America Theatre
November 13 – December 4

Emmy® Award-winning actress Holland Taylor takes a break from mothering Charlie Sheen on “Two and a Half Men” to portray beloved former Texas governor Ann Richards in this one-woman show.

John Mahoney


John Mahoney in Penelope

Steppenwolf Theatre
December 1, 2011 — February 5, 2012

John Mahoney has been an ensemble member at Steppenwolf since 1979, well before he became recognizable as Frasier’s curmudgeonly father/roommate. He is currently set to star in Edna Walsh’s new play about a group of men on a Grecian island vying for the affections of Penelope.

George Hamilton in La Cage Aux Folles

Bank of America Theatre
December 20, 2011 – January 1, 2012

This revival won three 2010 Tony Awards®, but even better, it stars the perpetually-bronzed camp master George Hamilton. Hamilton’s TV career dates back to the 1950s, and memorable films include “Love at First Bite” and “Zorro.” Co-star Christopher Sieber was a regular on the TV series “Two of a Kind” and “It’s All Relative,” and appeared most recently on “The Good Wife.”



Rick Bayless in Cascabel

Lookingglass Theatre
March 21 – April 22, 2012

Yes, we know him as the energetic local celebrity chef with the restaurants that are (still) really hard to get into, but most others know him through his PBS show, “Mexico: One Plate at a Time,” now in its fifth season. The play is a love story set in La Cascabel, a boarding house in 1940s Mexico. Television experience aside, the scripted stage is a new step for Bayless, but he likely has enough personality to serve up a hot show.



Brian Dennehy & Nathan Lane in The Iceman Cometh

Goodman Theatre
April 21 – June 10, 2012

Nathan Lane, who was recently in town playing Gomez Addams in “The Addams Family,” plays “Hickey” Hickman, a newly-sober, charismatic salesman who returns to Harry Hope’s Saloon in Eugene O’Neill’s classic drama. Brian Dennehy, now a Goodman regular, takes on the role of Larry Slade. Though they’ve been friends for 30 years, this is the first time Dennehy and Lane will have worked together. Needless to say, this is a hot ticket.

Greg Wahl is a Chicagoan, a freelancer, a grad student, and a seeker of all things awesome & interesting throughout the city and beyond.