This is the time of year when we want to get out, but cannot always count on the weather to cooperate for outdoor activities. Lucky for us there are a lot of good family theater programs going on that give us a destination with a mix of indoor and outdoor activities.
The Wizard of Oz follows the Eisenhower Expressway to the Drury Lane Theater for Saturday shows from April 25 through June 16. This is a great way to introduce kids to the show without the really scary flying monkeys you see in the movie. If you’re looking for something to do with the older children, the Drury Lane currently has a fun production of Hairspray, which has gotten good reviews. When you’re done with the show you can head to the local forest preserves for a hike or to Oak Brook Center depending upon the weather and your mood.
DePaul University’s Theatre School presents Barrio Grrrl! A Musical until May 12 at the Merle Reskin Theater. Don’t downplay the idea of a performance by college students. We’ve seen several shows there and it’s always a good time. Tickets are very reasonable. When you walk out the door you are steps away from South Michigan Avenue. You know those odd sculptures of human torsos you keep seeing on TV? You can walk to them from the Merle Reskin and see them yourself.
The Chicago Shakespeare Theatre brings Disney’s Beauty and the Beast to the stage June 28 – August 26. Besides the opportunity to see a good show, the views from the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre lobby are spectacular. A bonus is you get a nice discount on parking at Navy Pier, so you might as well plan to spend some time there after the show.
The Chicago Kids Company offers The Three Little Pigs at two different locations — Stahl Family Theater (formerly St. Patrick’s Theatre) and Wright College — July 10-August 10. They are also performaing Rapunzel at the Beverly Arts Center. The Chicago Kids Company is great for younger kids. We’ve been to several shows and each one is an interactive treat. This group understands that little kids have short attention spans and they use it to their advantage. There are so many things to do in each location that you’ll just have to do a little exploring yourself.
Disclosure: We’ve been to all the theaters mentioned. I have received free tickets in the past for some shows at different theaters. Since this isn’t a review, it might not matter, but I want to be upfront about it.
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