Arts & Entertainment Venues Virtually Open in Chicago

virtual events Kenesha Reed in INCARNATION 1

Due to Chicago’s lockdown, audiences can’t get to a mountain of events, so the mountain is coming to them via a variety of virtual offerings. While it’s not as social as being there, you won’t have to fight over the armrest!

Local movie-goers can help support the Music Box Theatre by viewing “The Whistlers” at Magnolia Pictures. On a wider scale, The American Film (AFI) Institute invites cine-files to its AFI Movie Club. By using preexisting streaming services, viewers can access daily screenings along with related trivia, family discussion points and exclusive material from the AFI Archive. 

The Second City is currently livestreaming performances for free, yet donations made will benefit The Second City Alumni Fund. “We don’t know when we’ll be able to welcome an audience back into our theaters, so we’ve had to improvise on a whole new scale,” says Vice President of Production Jen Hoyt.

Similarly, Hell in a Handbag Productions is streaming its 2012 comedy “Sexy Baby” at no charge. Click here to watch the musical about child beauty pageants.

Red Clay Dance Company is sharing a series of videos related to its previously scheduled “Visions & Voices” program on Facebook and Instagram. “We have been working in the studio for several months with guest choreographers Du’Bois A’Keen and Lela Aisha Jones, both of whom have created world premieres, as well as on my own premiere for the company,” explains Founder/Artistic Director Vershawn Sanders-Ward. “We are fortunate to have captured much of that creative process on video and now, in lieu of our live performances, can share it with our audiences and supporters.” The videos are free, however donations will help offset the lost ticket revenue.

The HistoryMakers Digital Archive offers more than 10,000 hours of oral history interviews of African American leaders on topics from the arts, entertainment, fashion and beauty to music, sports, and more. To learn how to use this content for K-12 levels, visit

Chicago Children’s Theatre is offering online theater camps (April 6-10) led by professional teaching artists. Cabin Fever ($300) includes online instruction, offline activities, and a recorded performance. Campers need a smart device equipped with the free Zoom video conferencing app, basic craft materials, and their imagination. The DIY Cabin Fever Show ($100) is a scaled back experience that encourages children and their families to create a show at home. Campers will receive videos and written instructions.

Audiences can hear candid theater conversations thanks to “Half Hour: A Steppenwolf Theatre Podcast” hosted by the company’s newer ensemble members.

Every Wednesday at noon, the Auditorium Theatre hosts #AudTalk, a series of video chats on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram, in addition to podcast platforms Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud. Viewers may also visit Facebook Live every Sunday at 6 p.m. for the “At Home with the Auditorium” series.


Pictured: Kenesha Reed in INCARNATION 1. A short film detailing the creative process of this world premiere piece by Du’Bois A’Keen can be accessed online on April 4. Photo by Kristie Kahns. Courtesy of Red Clay Dance Company.

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Ms. Arvia is an online columnist and critic; entertainment ghostwriter reaching nine million visitors per month; award-winning artist; grant-winning filmmaker; and Janet-of-all-trades. She’s interviewed SNL’s Cecily Strong and Julia Sweeney, the travel industry’s Rick Steves and Pauline Frommer, and directors Taylor Hackford and Laurie Anderson. Press releases on Chicago cultural events can be sent to