Photo Credit: Tom McGrath

Emerald City Theatre Company’s “Rapunzel.” Photo credit: Tom McGrath

When it comes to theatre, Chicago is second city to none, with 250 theatres in the Chicago region from small storefront community theatres to established Tony award-winners like Steppenwolf, to dazzling downtown Broadway productions.

Throw into this mix a handful of fantastic children’s theatre companies as well!

Here are a few of my favorite productions open between now and the holidays.

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Photo Credit: Tom McGrath


Llama Llama

Younger children will get a laugh from seeing the beloved llama from their children’s stories come to life in Llama, Llama. This play is being put on by the budget-friendly Emerald City Theatre Company, well known for their charming and silly adaptations of well known fairy tales. The performance is at the Apollo Theatre in the heart of Lincoln Park on Southport Avenue.  The show, intended for kids ages 3-6, runs through January 4.

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Photo Credit: Tom McGrath




Another character letting her hair down at Emerald City Theatre Company is “Rapunzel”. This is a fun production that the youngest kids up to about 10 years old will get a kick out of. Adults will be smiling as well at the slapstick humored sprinkled throughout the play. Rapunzel plays through January 4th at the Apollo Theater in Lincoln Park

A Year with Frog and Toad

If you’re hoping to catch some world class kid’s theatre in downtown Chicago, the Chicago Children’s Theatre is your best bet. I’ve seen a number of their productions over the years, and they never disappoint. Now through November 24, their putting on an absolutely delightful production of “A Year with Frog and Toad” at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn, just a few steps from the Magnificent Mile shopping district.


Photo Credit: Charles Osgood


Bravo to the Chicago Children’s Theatre directors and equity actors for always putting on a show that both kids and their accompanying adults can find entertaining. You should have seen the smiles as the live jazz band accompanied the turtle in his vaudevillian burlesque number, “I’m Coming Out of My Shell”. Kids will be laughing and adults will get a kick out of this sweet and humorous production about the joys of friendship.

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Photo Credit: Peter Coombs

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins flies into the Marriott Theatre in LIncolnshire from October 23-January 5. The Marriott Theater is set up in the round, so it’s a circular stage surrounded by the audience. With only nine rows, there is literally no bad seat in the house. The theatre in the round design sets the stage for a highly interactive performance. Since there is no backstage, actors and sets enter the stage through the audience and occasionally interact on the way.

Chicago’s children’s theaters offer families plenty of ways to enjoy play time, even when the weather’s turned cold in the Windy City.

Disclosure: The author was provided complimentary tickets to these productions for review purposes.