Theater on the Lake Summer Theater Festival season image, is black and white text on a red background, featuring a stylized drawing of the venue's lakeside patio and the Theater on the Lake logo.

Theater on the Lake: Chicago's Summer Theater Festival

Welcome to Theater on the Lake: The Chicago Summer Theater Festival, celebrating 67 years of Chicago’s rich storefront theater and emerging artist community.

Prime time performances are Tuesday-Friday at 7:00 pm and Thursday matinees at 2:00 pm (except where noted).

For the 2019 season, all tickets will be free. Reserve your tickets by contacting the box office at (312) 742-7994 or by emailing the following information to

  • Date, Time and name of production you would like to attend 
  • Your first and last name 
  • The number of tickets desired 
  • Phone Number
  • Email address 
  • Zip Code

We will also reserve a select number of tickets for pickup on the day of the show. These tickets will be available two hours before the performance time.

If there is anything we can do that allows you to fully participate in our programming, or if you have any questions or an accommodation request, please email or call the box office at (312) 742-7994.




2019 Schedule


June 26-28  

Theater on the Lake:  PROLOGUE

We're kicking off the season with three days to celebrate and shape the future of performance.

Theater on the Lake, 2401 N Lake Shore Drive

FREE.  Advanced RSVP strongly encouraged.

Learn More & RSVP Now




Keyanna Khatiblou

Monday, July 8 | 7pm


Theater on the Lake: In the Works Finalist Reading #1

Keyanna Khatiblou's 2020: A Going Away Party Play


Loyola Park, 1230 W. Greenleaf Ave


First generation Iranian-American Mina is throwing a party for her closest friends and for you, the audience. Using games, flashbacks, and storytelling, the ensemble reflects on the modern American identity and shares a retelling of Mina's parents falling in love and staying in love while fleeing the Iranian Revolution. 2020: A GOING AWAY PARTY PLAY is a celebration of multicultural identities and exploration of what it means to leave or lose your home country.




Manual Cinema

July 16-19


Manual Cinema’s The End of TV

Written by: Ben Kauffman and Kyle Vegter

Directed by: Julia VanArsdale Miller


Theater on the Lake, 2401 N Lake Shore Drive


Set in a post-industrial Rust Belt city in the 1990s and told through a collection of original 70’s R&B-inspired art pop songs, THE END OF TV explores the quest to find meaning amongst the increasingly constant barrage of commercial images and advertising white-noise. Two sides of the American Dream — its technicolor promise as delivered through TV ads, and its failure, witnessed in the dark reality of industrial decline — are staged in cinematic shadow puppetry and lo-fi live video feeds with flat paper renderings of commercial products. The show is driven by a sweeping chamber art pop song cycle performed live by a five-piece band.




July 23-26 | 7pm
​​​Note:  There is no matinee this week

2nd Story: Stories from 2nd Story
Directed by: Amanda Delheimer

Theater on the Lake, 2401 N Lake Shore Drive

STORIES FROM SECOND STORY: 2nd Story believes that the root of human connection is sharing stories.  Celebrating their 20th anniversary in 2019, 2nd Story draws on their core values of inclusion, craft, and courage to curate an evening of storytelling and live music that will spark conversation and connection. Each evening will feature seasoned storytellers from 2nd Story’s community of artists, as well as a handful of special guests, sharing stories from the history of Theater on the Lake.




July 23-26 | 9pm 

Note: There is no matinee this week

The Grelley DuVall Show
Written by: Alex Grelle with Jesse Morgan Young and Mary Williamson
Directed by: Mary Williamson

THE GRELLEY DUVALL SHOW is a flamboyant, hallucinatory revue incorporating live music, dance, sketch, ACTING, and multimedia gallivanting. Grelley's trove of cine-musical infatuations and forgotten zeitgeists create a new genre of obsessive homage and empowering spectacle.




Monday, July 29 | 7pm

Theater on the Lake: In the Works Finalist Reading #2
Tina Fakhrid-Deen’s Dandelions

Mandrake Park, 3858 S. Cottage Grove Ave

King Davis is a recovering addict, whose only legacy is the six-flat building in Bronzeville his mother owns and it is in immediate threat of being taken from his family due to mounting back taxes. King swoops in to save the day only to find out his mama has entrusted the building’s future to a new neighbor. How can King finally show who he is when the people around him only see him for who he was? This searing drama is about survival, loss, and redemption. DANDELIONS is about who gets to stay and who’s weeded out.




Nancy Garcia Loza

Monday, August 5 | 7pm

Theater on the Lake: In the Works Finalist Reading #3
Nancy Garcia Loza's Rasca Cielos

Eckhart Park, 1330 W. Chicago Ave

At five-foot tall, Lilia’s sheer will to build a home in Chicago stands higher than the Sears Tower. We zero in on the moments of her life, from leaving her native Veracruz, to setting her eyes on a red brick building with an emerald green door, to fighting against all odds to hold onto her life along Chicago Avenue. This story will weave jarocho music and zapateado as we journey into a world where the Sears Tower winks and a volcano speaks. Where is home?




August 13-16

The NeoFuturists’ Tangles and Plaques
Created by: Kirsten Riiber
Directed by: Jen Ellison

Theater on the Lake, 2401 N Lake Shore Drive

TANGLES & PLAQUES attempts to demystify the experience of dementia in the language of theatre—offering a vivid, poignant, participatory experience that is unique to each audience and different every performance. Based on her experience as the Memory Care Director at a retirement home, Neo-Futurist Kirsten Riiber conducts a symphony of impossible tasks and egregious forgery with the help of the audience and an ensemble of improvisers. Riiber and company interrogate the life and death of memories— how they persist, when they depart, and the ways they distort over time.




August 20-23

Pegasus Theater’s Eclipsed
Written by: Danai Gurira
Directed by: Ilesa Duncan

Theater on the Lake, 2401 N Lake Shore Drive

Set in the midst of the Second Liberian Civil War, ECLIPSED follows the “wives” of a rebel army’s commanding officer. The women band together to protect a newly arrived girl, who must ultimately choose whether to stay with the women who have cared for her or become a freedom fighter.




August 27-30

Steep Theatre’s Red Rex
Written by: Ike Holter
Directed by: Jonathan Berry

Theater on the Lake, 2401 N Lake Shore Drive                                                 

A small theater company moves into an abandoned Chicago storefront. Led by their adventurously thirsty artistic director, they embark on an explosive new play with the hope of finally breaking it big. When the ensemble realizes their source material might not be as original as once assumed, they are thrust into an intense confrontation with residents of their new community, who not only want them out, but will take their story back by any means necessary. RED REX is the sixth play in Ike Holter's seven-part "Rightlynd saga", which also includes Exit Strategy, Prowess, and The Wolf at the End of the Block.


Contact Us

Theater on the Lake Box Office (June - August)
(312) 742-7994

Angelique Grandone, Managing Director

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