Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-06-24
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



SUMMER THEATER FEATURE Destination theater: Light up the skies!
by Jonathan Abarbanel, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Summer is when theater moves outdoors to mate with picnics, wine, sun and stars. Indeed, dozens of Midwest theaters operate only in the summer, and several are destinations all by themselves.

Theaters highlighted below all are within an easy day's drive of Chicago and near outstanding vacation attractions. The theater experience can be part of a getaway that comes with a Victorian B&B, river rafting or hiking. Theaters are listed by state: Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. Prices quoted are adult single tickets ( less booking fees ). All theaters offer various discounts, passes and subscriptions. Theater websites are chock-full of info about dining options, accommodations and things to do. Please remember: outdoor venues may require bug spray, sunblock for matinees and something warm against the chilly night air.


—Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Bloomington, June 27-Aug. 10—For its 42nd season, Illinois Shakespeare Festival ( ISF ) presents As You Like It, a media-saturated modern version of Julius Caesar ( called simply Caesar ) and an adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Performances are outdoors at Tudoresque Ewing Manor, with lovely gardens, picnics and roving pre-show musicians. Stay two days, see three plays and enjoy Bloomington's Victorian architecture, freshly-sourced restaurants, friendly B&Bs, country antiquing and tour the Beer Nuts factory. Tickets: $20-$55; .

—Little Theatre-on-the-Square, Sullivan, June 5-Aug. 25—Founded in 1957 by the son of a farming family, the Little Theatre is the only Equity troupe between the ISF ( see above ) and St. Louis. Now a non-profit company, it offers musicals in classic summer stock two-week runs, among them Million Dollar Quartet, The Little Mermaid, Newsies and The Full Monty. There also are daytime shows for kids. The 420-seat indoor, air-conditioned Little Theatre fronts a real Victorian town square in Illinois Amish Country, close to Lake Shelbyville recreations and the Lincoln shrines. Tickets: $37.50; the .

—Timber Lake Playhouse, Mt. Carroll, May 30-Sept. 22—Close to historic Mississippi river towns ( Savannah, Galena ), Mississippi Palisades State Park and Apple River Canyon State Park, Timber Lake Playhouse has offered summer stock musicals and plays since 1962 in a casual indoor pavilion with a Broadway-sized stage. The 2019 line-up features two-week runs of Man of LaMancha, Into the Woods, Steel Magnolias and Newsies among six shows in all. Tickets $30; .


—American Players Theatre, Spring Green, Wisconsin, June 8-Nov. 17—40th season! American Players Theatre ( APT ) is one of America's leading destination theaters, close to Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin, the Wisconsin River ( canoeing, fishing, swimming ), Tower Hill State Park and Spring Green's country charm and fine restaurants. APT's beautiful grounds offer free parking, picnic tables and gas-fired grills. Plays are in an 1100-seat outdoor amphitheater and a 200-seat indoor air conditioned space. Among the nine works for 2019 are Twelfth Night, She Stoops to Conquer, Macbeth and plays by August Wilson, Ibsen, Shaw and Tennessee Williams. Tickets: $52-$88 ( discounted 20% through June 7 ); .

—Door Shakespeare, Bjorklunden Estate, Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin, June 19-Aug. 24—Since 1995, Door Shakespeare has offered outdoor classics on the wooded grounds of a 400-acre former private estate on the so-called "quiet side" of Wisconsin's Door County peninsula, due north of Chicago on Lake Michigan. The grounds offer walking trails, a garden and picnicking. This season's rotating repertory is Henry V and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Tickets: $32; .

—Northern Sky Theater, Peninsula State Park, Fish Creek, Wisconsin, June 12-Aug. 24—Also in Door Country, Northern Sky has offered family-friendly, 90-minute musicals since 1990. For 2019: We Like It Where? ( about a town left off the Wisconsin state map ), Dairy Heirs ( "family farming moo-sical" ) and Windjammers ( 1876 setting inspired by Great Lakes sailing stories ). Peninsula State Park on Green Bay has camping, hiking, biking, golf, swimming and a 1880s lighthouse. There's an entrance fee for day-trippers/campers, but it's free to enter just for the evening show. Tickets: $22-$30; . A Sept.-Oct. indoor season continues in nearby Ephraim, WI.

—Peninsula Players, Fish Creek, Wisconsin, June 18-Sept. 20—Even more Door. Since 1935, Peninsula Players ( PP ) has presented classic summer stock with a resident company. For 2019: A Trick of Light ( world premiere comedy ), A Murder Is Announced ( Agatha Christie whodunit ), Ghost the Musical, Silent Sky ( drama ) and George Washington's Teeth ( comedy ). PP is summer home for many familiar Chicago stars such as artistic director Greg Vinkler. Directly on Green Bay, PP has plenty of free parking, gardens, picnic grounds, a bar, perfect sunset views and a nightly post-show bonfire. Tickets: $39-$48 ( 2018 prices ); .


—Barn Theatre, Augusta, Michigan, June 4-Sept. 1—Classic summer stock for 73 years! The Barn—it really IS an old dairy barn—is a non-profit organization where youthful apprentices work alongside veteran Equity guest artists. For 2019: Sweeney Todd, Big, Steel Magnolias, Mamma Mia and Evil Dead the Musical among eight shows in all. Also, the Barn's bar hosts a nightly post-show cabaret. Tiny Augusta is half-way between Kalamazoo ( home of Gibson guitars ) and Battlecreek ( home of Kellogg's ), which have the nearest decent amenities. Tickets: $39-$48; .

—Lakeside Shakespeare Company, Frankfort, Michigan, July 23-Aug. 2—Popular Chicago actor Elizabeth Laidlaw founded this company in 2003, offering FREE summertime Shakespeare. For its 16th season, Lakeside Shakes presents a gender-switch Two Gentlewomen of Verona and The Rover ( 17th century swashbuckler by Aphra Benn ). Performances are at Tank Hill ( picnics encouraged ) in Frankfort, which isn't far from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore and Traverse City. Free ( donations are accepted ); .

—Mason Street Warehouse, Saugatuck, Michigan, June 21-Sept. 1—For 2019, the Mason Street Warehouse ( within Saugatuck Center for the Arts ) presents three-week runs of In the Heights, Unnecessary Farce and A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. Twin beach towns Saugatuck and Douglas are popular holiday spots with Chicago's LGBTQ communities, boasting numerous galleries, excellent restaurants and B&Bs. Town traffic is heavy and parking is limited, so plan carefully. Tickets: $41.50-$57.50; .


—Round Barn Theatre at Amish Acres, Nappanee, Indiana, May 24-Oct. 13—This beautiful, unusual 1911 round barn is part of the much-larger Amish Acres Historic Farm & Heritage Resort ( restaurants with hearty meals, lodging, shops, buggy rides, historic buildings, Amish lifestyle demonstrations ). You can do the whole shot, a dinner/show combo or just see the professional production. Summer shows include Freaky Friday ( musical ), Big River, Anne of Green Gables ( musical ) and Plain & Fancy. Two more shows extend the season to Dec. 31. Tickets ( show only ): $32.95;

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Broadway suspends shows through 2020 2020-06-30 - The Broadway League announced June 29 that Broadway performances in New York City will be suspended through the remainder of 2020 due to ...

Gay News

'Magic Parlour at Home' during July 2020-06-28 - Magician Dennis Watkins is taking his experience The Magic Parlour online for a completely new virtual offering dubbed "The Magic Parlour at Home." ...

Gay News

CHF talk to feature Abby McEnany and Samantha Irby 2020-06-24 - Actor Abby McEnany and writer Samantha Irby will have a conversation in a Chicago Humanities Festival digital program that will take place Thursday, ...

Gay News

THEATER Despite everything, there are shows for Pride Week 2020-06-24 - It's almost impossible to write about the indelible events of 2020 ( which is still not quite half over ) without diminishing them. ...

Gay News

Raven Theatre names new managing director 2020-06-24 - Following a nationwide search, Raven Theatre's board of directors announced Markie Gray as the company's new managing director, effective July 1. Originally from ...

Gay News

47th Non-Equity Jeff Awards announces honorees 2020-06-22 - June 22, 2020 — Chicago — As part of the annual recognition of theater excellence, the 47th Non-Equity Jeff Awards has announced honorees ...

Gay News

'That's Queer, Grandma' June 22-July 6 2020-06-17 - PlayMakers Laboratory ( PML ) celebrates Pride Month virtually with a free presentation of That's Queer, Grandma—a romp through student-written stories that at ...

Gay News

COVID-19 Mercury Theater permanently closing 2020-06-17 - Executive Director L. Walter Stearns and partner, business manager Eugene Dizon, announced the permanent closure of Mercury Theater Chicago after 10 years and ...

Gay News

The Last Sunday in June online live reading June 28 2020-06-16 - Chicago, IL - Jonathan Tolins' look at gay life in the 1990s - THE LAST SUNDAY IN JUNE — will be performed via ...

Gay News

'Christmas Bingo: Summer Edition' online through July 2020-06-16 - Christmas Bingo: Summer Edition—written by Vicki Quade, one of the creators of the hit comedy Late Nite Catechism—is streaming through Friday, July 31. ...


Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.