May 14, 2013

Mayor Emanuel Announces "Night Out in the Parks" With More than 750 Citywide Activities and Performances at Parks this Summer

More than750 Cultural Performances Plus Expanded Movies in the Parks, Circus in the Parks and Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks along with New Grant Park Music Festival Concerts

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Today Mayor Rahm Emanuel was joined by Superintendent Michael P. Kelly from the Chicago Park District and Commissioner Michelle Boone from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), local arts organizations, artists and community members to announce “Night Out in the Parks” at the Garfield Park Conservatory.  The new series will present more than 750 citywide activities this summer, making community parks a safe haven and a hub of cultural activity. Many are offered with free admission.

“From Movies in the Park to Music Festivals, residents will be able to check out the best of what Chicago has to offer right in their own backyard,” said Mayor Emanuel.  “We have increased the summer arts programming to more than 750 unique events in the city’s neighborhood parks, helping to ensure that Chicagoans across the City have access to these cultural experiences.”

In January, Mayor Emanuel announced that an additional $2 million in NATO Summit legacy funds will be invested in neighborhood parks and cultural programs.  The Mayor directed $750,000 of those private funds to expand cultural and arts programming throughout the city. Those funds will help pay for the expansion of these programs.

“We welcome Chicagoans and visitors alike to save a trip downtown and visit their local park to enjoy the breadth of world-class cultural programming that we will be offering in their community,” said Parks Superintendent Kelly.

"We are thrilled to be collaborating with the Chicago Park District this summer to expand access to the arts—including music, dance, theater and puppetry," said DCASE Commissioner Boone. "‘Night Out in the Parks’ will elevate and amplify the cultural assets of neighborhoods across Chicago, facilitate neighborhood planning of cultural activity and help the City integrate culture into daily life—all of which are key components  of the Chicago Cultural Plan."

Several new programs are coming to Chicago parks as a result of collaborations between DCASE and local arts presenters.  New programs include: the Grant Park Music Festival choral performances in communities; the Juicebox series for children; The Hypocrites’ Romeo Juliet; Eye on India festival; Collaboraction’s Crime Scene: Let Hope Rise; Elastic Arts’ Culture Coach; and Chicago Children’s Theatre in association with Redmoon The Elephant and the Whale.

The "Night Out in the Parks" series will feature a major expansion of the popular parks program doubling the number of performances and extending the program to new parks and new audiences, reaching more than 100,000 people in parks this summer.

For more information, visit or call 312.742.PLAY.


Following are several highlights:

Toddler, Tunes and Turtles

June 4-Sept. 19

Admission free

This event features a live turtle, music, and hands-on stations where children and families can try on costumes, make nature crafts, and more.


Shall We Gather at the River

Sunday, June 9 at 2:30 p.m.

Ping Tom Memorial Park, 300 W. 19th St.

Admission free

This is the culminating event of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Rivers Festival.  The public can enjoy traditional and contemporary classical music and river related activities.


Theater on the Lake

June 12-Aug. 11

Wednesdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 6:30 p.m.

Fullerton Ave. and Lake Shore Drive

Tickets are $18; call the box office at 312.742.7994

The Chicago Park District’s Theater on the Lake: The Chicago Summer Theater Festival kicks off its 61st anniversary with a USO dance before the first of eight encore presentations from artistically diverse Chicago theater companies.  The season opens with The New Colony’s The Bear Suit of Happiness (June 12-16) and continues with MPAACT’s Blackademics (June 19-23); Manual Cinema’s Lula del Ray (June 26-30); Theater Oobleck’s There Is a Happiness That Morning Is (July 10-14); Barrel of Monkeys’ That’s Weird, Grandma (July 17-21); The Den Theatre’s The Quality of Life (July 24-28); Jackalope Theatre’s Long Way Go Down (July 31 – Aug. 4); and Chicago Physical Theater’s The Chi-Town Clown Revue featuring Honeybuns (Aug. 7-11).  Theater on the Lake is sponsored by Southwest Airlines.


Movies in the Parks

June 13-Sept. 14

120 citywide parks

All movies begin at dusk.

Admission is free.

Call 312.742.1134 for weather updates. 

The Chicago Park District’s 13th annual Movies in the Parks series will feature 195 screenings of current and classic movies in 150 citywide parks.  Highlights include the James Bond 60th anniversary celebration featuring screenings of Dr. No, Thunderball and Skyfall plus Bollywood films and dance events in conjunction with the Eye on India festival.  The series is presented by Charter One with additional support by RCN.


Jazz City

Frieda Lee, June 14, Columbus Park

Latin Jazz Festival, July 19-20, Humboldt Park Boathouse

Admission is free.

JazzCity is a 16-year partnership with the Jazz Institute of Chicago and brings legendary and world-famous jazz performers to neighborhood parks.  Sponsored by Southwest Airlines.


The Hypocrites

Romeo Juliet

June 30-July 21

Admission free

In collaboration with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Chicago Park District brings The Hypocrites’ world premiere adaptation of Romeo Juliet by Sean Graney outdoors.


Collaboraction’s Crime Scene: Let Hope Rise

July 12-Aug. 14

Admission free

Collaboraction adapted their hit original play that is a theatrical reaction to Chicago’s history of crime and what it might take to create lasting change in our city.


Dance in the Parks

July 23-Aug. 2

Admission free.

Professional dancers offer free performances.


Grant Park Music Festival

July 30 at South Shore Cultural Center, 7 p.m.

Aug. 1 at the Columbus Park Refectory, 7 p.m.

Performances are free.

The Grant Park Chorus will perform Songs of Praise and Passion, a program of a cappella music.  Additional dates featuring the apprentice chorale string quartet will be announced.


Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks

July 25-Aug. 25

Admission is free.

The expanded citywide tour will feature 27 performances of The Comedy of Errors at 18 neighborhood parks.  The tour is made possible by a partnership between Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District and The Boeing Company. Additional support for the program is provided by production sponsor for The Comedy of Errors BMO Harris Bank and the Chicago Shakespeare Trust,


Circus in the Parks

August 10-Oct. 19

There is an admission.

Midnight Circus will tour citywide parks for 11 weeks.  Chicago Park District Advisory Councils present the performances at their respective parks.


SummerDance in the Parks

In partnership with DCASE, Humboldt Park, 63rd Street Beach, Theater on the Lake, Ping Tom Memorial Park, and Austin Town Hall Park host admission-free dance lessons followed by live music.  SummerDance in the Parks is sponsored by Southwest Airlines.


Blues, jazz, and gospel music performances

The Chicago Park District will generate excitement for downtown Grant Park and Millennium Park festivals by hosting preview concerts at neighborhood parks.



This admission free music series for young children introduces little ones to challenging, avant-garde contemporary music, dance, theater, puppets and more in a kid-friendly setting.


Elastic Arts’ Culture Coach

A portable stage will offer pop-up concerts featuring local musicians.

Paradis This performance and audio installation will be performed outdoors at twilight with live piano accompaniment.


The Elephant and the Whale

June 22 at Broadway Armory Park

June 30 at South Shore Cultural Center

In collaboration with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Chicago Children’s Theatre in association with Redmoon present this family fable that has everything from sea voyages to circus songs to wild mechanical objects.

Eye on India Festival

Event will feature Bollywood movies with pre-show dance instruction.  The “Day of India” celebration will include yoga, storytelling, meditation, music and performances.