Taste of Chicago – Theatre Garden

July 12–14, 11:30am, 1:30pm and 6pm

Grant Park • Southwest corner of Jackson Blvd. & Columbus Dr.

Free Admission

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Porchlight Music Theatre(click on image to enlarge)


As part of the Year of Chicago Theatre, the Theatre Garden at Taste of Chicago showcases local theater talent with performances of musical theatre, improv and sketch comedy.

The Theatre Garden is supported in part by the generosity of the Bayless Family Foundation.


Friday–Sunday, 11:30am

The Second City Totally Bonkers Improv Showdown

The Second City presents an outrageously wacky, family-friendly kids' show with two teams of totally top-notch improv maniacs facing off in a comedy showdown of totally bonkers proportions!


Friday–Sunday, 1:30pm

A Taste of Porchlight Music Theatre

Chicago's Porchlight Music Theatre celebrates its 25th anniversary with a cabaret featuring America's favorite musicals and songs from Oklahoma! to Hamilton.


Saturday & Sunday, Noon-5pm

Pocket Con

Make zines, learn the art of bookbinding, watch live illustration and more at family-friendly interactive workshops and performances. Pocket Con is a free convention for Chicago youth that focuses on highlighting comics and illustration work by artists of color, women, Latinx, LGBTQ artists and artists with disabilities.


Friday, 6pm

Baby Wants Candy

Entirely based on audience suggestions and accompanied by a live band, Baby Wants Candy is a roller-coaster ride of spontaneously choreographed dance numbers, rhyming verses and witty, jaw-dropping comedy.


Saturday, 6pm

The Best of The Second City

This must-see show features the best sketches and songs from The Second City’s history made famous by superstars like Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray and more--as well as their trademark improvisation.


Sunday, 7pm

Improvised Shakespeare Chicago℠

Based on one audience suggestion (a title of a show that has never been written), The Improvised Shakespeare Company creates a fully improvised Shakespearean masterpiece right before your eyes.


Theatre Garden

The Theatre Garden's artistic elements - Holding Patterns - were designed by Chicago-based artist John Preus. Since 2013, Preus has been making work from furniture collected from closed Chicago public schools, imagining it as a creeping memorial that flowers in unlikely places and inscribes history into our collective identity.

The theatre tent seating was made with William FitzPatrick, Matthew Kellen, Kevin Clarke, Seth Keller, Josh Ippel, Michael Anthony, Josh Thilmany, Caroline Robe, Julio Vargas, Josh Truman, Titus Wonsey, John Badal, Erik L. Peterson, Lara Rosenbush, Cherrie Yu, Eva Preus, Genevieve Wolff, Norman Teague, Rick Valicenti and George Schaefer.

The theatre set was built by MEANS OF PRODUCTION, helmed by Jason Kingsley and serving as Chicago's premier boutique scenic studio since 2004. Notable MOP clients include Writers Theatre of Glencoe, Court Theatre, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Chicago Opera Theater, Drury Lane, The Second City, Saks Fifth Avenue, Groupon HQ and Bucktown’s upcoming multi-themed interactive eatery and entertainment venue Games Café.

The simple stage setting was designed by Bob Knuth, creative director and resident scenic designer for The Second City. Knuth is a JEFF award-winning set designer, most noted for his past work at Circle Theatre - Forest Park and Mercury Theater Chicago.

The picnic table seating is a collaboration between Emmanuel Pratt, co-founder and Executive Director of the Sweet Water Foundation, and Preus Studios.

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