Our Past Productions

We produced our inaugural production in 2005. Since then, Chicago Children’s Theatre has produced full seasons of world-class theatre for young audiences, including 20 World Premiers, and many collaborations with performing arts companies in Chicago, the United States, and around the world.

“The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” – Charles Osgood Photography

“Last Stop On Market Street” – Charles Osgood Photography

“Jackie & Me” – Charles Osgood Photography

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show

A Chicago Premiere
Based on the books by Eric Carle
Created by Jonathan Rockefeller
Directed by Jerrell L. Henderson

Based on the beautifully crafted work of Eric Carle comes a bold new spectacle featuring 75 larger-than-life puppets. Featuring the tales of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, The Very Lonely Firefly, Ten Little Rubber Ducks, and of course, The Very Hungry Caterpillar – this new show captures the magic of Carle’s world.

Program Book for The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party

Based on the Beatrix Potter Stories
Devised by Will Bishop, Lara Carling, Kay Kron, Grace Needlman & Ray Rehberg
Directed by Will Bishop

The perfect way to kick off your family’s holiday festivities! The latest Chicago holiday tradition returns with two new stories after a smash success last year. Children of all ages are once again cordially invited to dress up and enjoy a spot of hot cocoa with CCT’s friends from the English Lake District at The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party. Spend the day with beloved literary characters as they delight audiences in this interactive trunk and puppet show. Children and parents are invited to the stage following the performance to pull levers and turn cranks, revealing images that surprise and delight.

Wake Up, Brother Bear!

A Chicago Premiere
Written by Janet Stanford & Kathryn Chase Bryer
Music by Katie Chambers
Directed by Jamie Abelson

Wake Up, Brother Bear! is a highly interactive show that will take you and your cubs on a fun-filled journey through the four seasons with a playful pair of bears. Full of music and physical activity, this intimate theatrical experience is the perfect way to see out the waning months of your family’s winter hibernation.

The remainder of our 2019-2020 season was cancelled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Leo Lionni’s Frederick
Adapted for stage by Suzanne Miller
Songs by Sarah Durkee and Paul Jacobs
Directed by Tommy Rapley
Music Direction by Matthew Muniz

Opening the 2018-2019 season is Leo Lionni’s Frederick, the smash hit family musical based on beloved children’s author Leo Lionni’s Caldecott Award-winning book about Frederick the mouse. While other mice are gathering food for the winter, Frederick daydreams the summer away. But when dreary weather comes, it is Frederick who has stored up something special for the long cold winter. The classic, much-loved early reading book celebrates the idea that there is a place for all of us in this world.

The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party
Based on the Beatrix Potter Stories
Devised by Will Bishop, Lara Carling, Kay Kron, Grace Needlman & Ray Rehberg
Directed by Will Bishop

The perfect way to kick off your family’s holiday festivities! The latest Chicago holiday tradition returns with two new stories after a smash success last year. Children of all ages are once again cordially invited to dress up and enjoy a spot of hot cocoa with CCT’s friends from the English Lake District at the The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party. Spend the day with beloved literary characters as they delight audiences in this interactive trunk and puppet show. Children and parents are invited to the stage following the performance to pull levers and turn cranks, revealing images that surprise and delight.

X-Marks the Spot
Listen! Smell! Touch! – A Show to Xcite Your Senses!
Conceived and directed by Jacqueline Russell

X-Marks the Spot is a play presented with sounds and voices, and with touchable and scented props. A low-light setting and/or the use of blindfolds gently encourages audience members not to rely on their senses of sight, but instead to tune-in to their other four senses to experience EST, “Extra Sensory Theatre.” EST aims to give children insight into what it is like to encounter the world as a person who is blind or low vision.

The World Inside of Me
Directed by Lauren Jost
Music by Jono Waldman
A Co-production with Spellbound Theatre

The World Inside Me is a new form of educational arts experience designed specifically for Pre-K youth. This world premiere production is part art and part science, showcasing the creative abilities of our youngest children. The experience celebrates the human body, following human development from pre-natal through age 5 (the age span of the participants). Artists will lead the audience through a series of interactive vignettes that engage the body and senses, delighting the imaginations of participants.

Red Kite Green Mountain
Conceived by Jacqueline Russell with the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Burlington, VT
Designed by Will Bishop

Red Kite, Green Mountain is an interactive, immersive theatrical production designed for young people with autism and sensory sensitivities and their families. With the flora and fauna of the Green Mountain State of Vermont as its inspiration, audiences explore nature while experiencing “impressionistic and fantastical” animal puppetry according to designer and puppeteer Will Bishop. On their theatrical journey, audiences are introduced to a Mountain Music Man and band of handcrafted, interactive, larger-than-life, yet approachable puppets including foxes, hares, an owl and caterpillars.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963
Based on the book: The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
Adapted by Cheryl L. West
Directed by Wardell Julius Clark

Rounding out the 2018-2019 Season, Chicago Children’s Theatre, in a co-commission with Seattle Children’s Theatre and the University of California- Santa Barbara, will open a brand-new adaptation of acclaimed author Christopher Paul Curtis’ groundbreaking, timeless work, The Watsons Go To Birmingham- 1963. When Kenny’s older brother starts getting into too much trouble in Michigan, it’s decided that he needs to pay a visit to Grandma Sands in Birmingham, Alabama to straighten him out. The whole family – Momma, Dad, Byron, Kenny and Joetta – sets out on a wild cross-country journey in the family car, the “Brown Bomber.” When they make it to Birmingham, however, they find much more than they bargained for. The powerful story reminds us that during times of crisis, hope reveals itself in the forms of family and friendships; learning, growing, and evolving.

A Year With Frog and Toad
Book and Lyrics by Willie Reale
Music by Robert Reale
Based on the Books by Arnold Lobel
Directed by Stuart Carden

Lobel’s well-loved characters hop from the page to the stage in this whimsical show that follows two best friends – the cheerful, popular Frog and the rather grumpy Toad – through four, fun-filled seasons. Waking from hibernation in the spring, Frog and Toad plant gardens, swim, rake leaves, go sledding and learn life lessons, celebrating and rejoicing in their differences that make them unique and special along the way. Part vaudeville, part make believe, all charm, A Year With Frog and Toad tells the story of a friendship that endures, weathering all seasons.

The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party
Devised by Will Bishop, Lara Carling, Kay Kron, Grace Needlman, & Ray Rehberg
Directed by Will Bishop
Designed by Grace Needlman

The perfect way to kick off your family’s holiday festivities! The latest Chicago holiday tradition returns with two new stories after a smash success last year. Children of all ages are once again cordially invited to dress up and enjoy a spot of hot cocoa with CCT’s friends from the English Lake District at the The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party. Spend the day with beloved literary characters as they delight audiences in this interactive trunk and puppet show. Children and parents are invited to the stage following the performance to pull levers and turn cranks, revealing images that surprise and delight.

My Wonderful Birthday Suit
Written and Directed by Gloria Bond Clunie

When hurtful words about skin color slip out at a magical birthday party, three children explore their friendship, similarities, and differences. It’s a story of learning through experience and communication; a story of redemption and forgiveness. My Wonderful Birthday Suit! includes music, puppetry and a visit to the splendiferous Thinking Tree. My Wonderful Birthday Suit! concludes with kindness, generosity and the sharing of a big, amazing present, symbolizing one of the work’s major themes: that we as people are ALL gifts to be treasured and celebrated inside and out.

An Epic Tale of Scale
Created and Directed by Jo Cattell and Henry Wishcamper
Designed by Frank Maugeri
Music and Lyrics by Gabe Ruiz
Special thanks to The Field Museum

An Epic Tale of Scale is an immersive, interactive theatrical event unlike anything you’ve ever experienced! In the spring, The Station itself transforms into an all-immersive, two-story theatrical environment, totally unique to Chicagoland, created and directed by Henry Wishcamper and Jo Cattell, designed by CCT Community Programs Artistic Director Frank Maugeri, with original music by Gabriel Ruiz. Think The Magic School Bus meets Sleep No More, and you’re on the right track.

Last Stop On Market Street
Based on the book by Matt de la Peña, Illustrated by Christian Robinson
Adapted for the stage by Cheryl L. West
Music and Lyrics by Lamont Dozier and Paris Ray Dozier
Directed by Henry Godinez
Arranged and Music Directed by Andra Velis Simon
Co-commission with Children’s Theatre Company

Young CJ is staying with his grandmother – stripped of his smart phone or tablet “because Nana says so” – in a world considerably different from the one he’s used to. Dragged on an urban bus ride that’s loud, gritty and weird, guided by his veritable force of nature, Nana, CJ travels a little closer to his roots and learns that things are not always what they have been, and people are not always who they may seem.

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