Theater on the Lake

  • 2401 N. Lake Shore Dr.   Chicago, Illinois 60614 [View Map]
  • Park Hours:
  • Notes: Summer: Wed. - Sat. 7:30pm & Sun 6:30pm.
  • Park Supervisor: Samantha Chavis
  • Phone: (312) 742-7994

Theater on the Lake News
11/19/13


Theater on the Lake is located at Fullerton Avenue and Lake Shore Drive, in a historic building that offers breathtaking views of Lake Michigan.  In 1996, the programming evolved into its current format, and the Chicago Park District began inviting professional theater companies to remount their best works from the previous season. Today, this full-blown theater festival, celebrates the work of one of the most vibrant and vital theater communities in the world.  Each summer, eight mainstage plays are showcased in eight weeks, bringing you the best of Chicago's off-Loop theater companies.  Come early and stay late for exciting pre and post-show programming surrounding our dynamic and diverse season.

For information about programs and events check out our Theater on the Lake page.

 

History

Designed in 1913 and constructed in 1920, the Theatre on the Lake was originally built as the Chicago Daily News Fresh Air Fund Sanitarium. It was preceded by two successive open-air "floating hospitals" in Lincoln Park that were built between the 1870s and the 1900s on piers on Lake Michigan. The breezes through these wooden shelters were believed to cure babies suffering from tuberculosis and other diseases. In 1914, the Chicago Daily News offered to fund a more permanent sanitarium building. Constructed in 1920 on a landfill area, the impressive Prairie style structure was one of several Lincoln Park buildings designed by Dwight H. Perkins of the firm Perkins, Fellows, and Hamilton. Perkins, an important Chicago social reformer and Prairie School architect designed several Lincoln Park buildings including Café Brauer, the Lion House in the Lincoln Park Zoo, and the North Pond Café. The impressive Chicago Daily News Fresh Air Sanitarium building was constructed in brick with a steel arched pavilion with 250 basket baby cribs, nurseries and rooms for older children. Free health services, milk and lunches were provided to more than 30,000 children each summer until 1939, when the sanitarium closed. Major reconstruction of Lake Shore Drive led to the demolition of the building's front entrance. During World War II, the structure became an official recreation center for the United Service Organization (USO). The Chicago Park District converted the building to Theatre on the Lake in 1953. Summer theater continues to thrive at this unique lakefront location.

Parking and Directions

Paid parking is available at the Lincoln Park Zoo located at Fullerton Avenue and Cannon Drive. CTA bus routes 151 or 156 both serve the area; for schedules, contact the RTA/CTA at (312) 836-7000. For patrons with special needs, please contact the box office at 312-742-7994 to arrange for valet parking services.

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Description

Theater on the Lake News
11/19/13


Theater on the Lake is located at Fullerton Avenue and Lake Shore Drive, in a historic building that offers breathtaking views of Lake Michigan.  In 1996, the programming evolved into its current format, and the Chicago Park District began inviting professional theater companies to remount their best works from the previous season. Today, this full-blown theater festival, celebrates the work of one of the most vibrant and vital theater communities in the world.  Each summer, eight mainstage plays are showcased in eight weeks, bringing you the best of Chicago's off-Loop theater companies.  Come early and stay late for exciting pre and post-show programming surrounding our dynamic and diverse season.

For information about programs and events check out our Theater on the Lake page.

 
 

FACILITIES

FACILITY TYPE ADDRESS DESCRIPTOR QTY NOTES
Designed in 1913 and constructed in 1920, the Theatre on the Lake was originally built as the Chicago Daily News Fresh Air Fund Sanitarium. It was preceded by two successive open-air "floating hospitals" in Lincoln Park that were built between the 1870s and the 1900s on piers on Lake Michigan. The breezes through these wooden shelters were believed to cure babies suffering from tuberculosis and other diseases. In 1914, the Chicago Daily News offered to fund a more permanent sanitarium building. Constructed in 1920 on a landfill area, the impressive Prairie style structure was one of several Lincoln Park buildings designed by Dwight H. Perkins of the firm Perkins, Fellows, and Hamilton. Perkins, an important Chicago social reformer and Prairie School architect designed several Lincoln Park buildings including Café Brauer, the Lion House in the Lincoln Park Zoo, and the North Pond Café. The impressive Chicago Daily News Fresh Air Sanitarium building was constructed in brick with a steel arched pavilion with 250 basket baby cribs, nurseries and rooms for older children. Free health services, milk and lunches were provided to more than 30,000 children each summer until 1939, when the sanitarium closed. Major reconstruction of Lake Shore Drive led to the demolition of the building's front entrance. During World War II, the structure became an official recreation center for the United Service Organization (USO). The Chicago Park District converted the building to Theatre on the Lake in 1953. Summer theater continues to thrive at this unique lakefront location.
Paid parking is available at the Lincoln Park Zoo located at Fullerton Avenue and Cannon Drive. CTA bus routes 151 or 156 both serve the area; for schedules, contact the RTA/CTA at (312) 836-7000. For patrons with special needs, please contact the box office at 312-742-7994 to arrange for valet parking services.