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6 Chicago Theater Companies We’re Thankful for This Year

November 16, 2016 by CJ Schwartz
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As absolutely cheesy as it sounds, we’re thankful for Chicago theater every day. We love its deep sense of community, as well as its diversity of offerings, from intimate dramas to glamorous spectacles.

Another thing we love about Chicago theater: the city is a hotbed for new companies who – inspired by the diverse landscape – strike out on their own. This Thanksgiving, we want to acknowledge 6 young and daring theater companies we are especially thankful for:

Refuge Theatre Project


Refuge produces contemporary musicals in found spaces, creating unique, affordable theatrical experiences. Chris Jones hailed Refuge’s recent production of Bare as “One of those cool, exciting, affordable, only-in-Chicago theatrical experiences.” Since their first production in 2015, Refuge has only gotten progressively bolder. We, for one, can’t wait to see what they do next.

Underscore Theatre Company


Underscore’s mission is to foster the development of new musicals. Beyond producing exciting new musicals year round, they also put run the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival. Up next for Underscore is Tonya and Nancy the Rock Opera. It’s gonna be epic.

Windy City Playhouse

Windy City

We’re so excited about Windy City Playhouse’s inclusive vibes; whether you see theater every week or this is your first show, you’ll feel right at home in their modern theater space. Favorite amenities include comfy seats with drink holders for whatever delicious concoction you snagged at the bar ! The next show in Windy City Playhouse’s second season is the Chicago Premiere of Booty Candy, and we can’t wait!



While these folks aren’t technically a theater company, this performance art and drag collective creates immersive experiences that blur gender lines. SADHAUS features Wanda Screw (Alex Benjamin), Lucky Stiff (Gina Marie Hayes), Samantha Piscine (Quinn Hegarty), & Yolo Ono (Toni Villasenor-Marchal). They have a monthly show at Berlin nightclub and their full length piece Thirteen Candles is playing Nov 17 – 19.

The Comrades


Founded in January 2016, The Comrades vow to produce work that is fun, vibrant, and engaging. Period. Their most recent show, a Reader Recommended production of Christopher Shin’s Dying City, was well received by audiences and critics alike. For their third production ever, they’ve undertaken Craig Lucas’ Prelude to a Kiss. This classic romantic comedy will be directed by The Comrades’ talented Artistic Director Derek Bertelsen and will play the Greenhouse Theater Center.

Chicago Theatre Workshop

Wicked City

Brand new this year, Chicago Theatre Workshop is an incubator for new works. After a first production of the film-noir musical Wicked City, CTW’s next show is Creatives – a darkly comic pop opera. We love musicals – and we especially love *new* musicals – so we can’t wait to see what exciting works CTW nurtures.

Tell us what Chicago theater companies you’re thankful for on Facebook or Twitter.