Chicago theater scene’s current lineup is a breath of fresh air

If reality just feels a little too real these days, we invite you to take a page from the Chicago theater scene’s current lineup and take a breath of fresh air. Their version looks a lot like effervescence to us, and we couldn’t be more ready to laugh, marvel and shed some of the heaviness, already.

Odysseo

Whether you’ve got a resident horse lover or simply a crew you’re jonesing to blow away, this equestrian masterpiece (the largest touring production in the world, at that) brings 65 horses and 48 artists under a big top the size of an NFL field. (You’ll be able to gauge that for yourself, what with Soldier Field being within throwing distance.) Created by Cavalia—and the co-founder of Cirque du Soleil—the breathtaking spectacle (billed as The Best Show Ever) features international riders, acrobats, musicians, dancers and aerialists, and uses an 8,400-square-foot panoramic screen as a backdrop. They’ve saved something downright marvelous for the finale, too; just wait and see what they do with 40,000 gallons of water in mere minutes.

Runs through April 23 at Soldier Field South Lot, 1410 Museum Campus Drive, Chicago

Blue Man Group

If it’s been awhile since you’ve seen the rite of passage for every new Chicago patron of the arts, you’ve got to check out what those blue-headed guys of questionable origin have been up to. For starters, there’s more. Of everything, really. Lights, sounds, colors and interactive technology for days. (A particularly inspired series of iPhone segments wows the crowds while simultaneously convincing them to pocket the gadgets, at least while wandering the streets.) It’s probably the most family-friendly, actual “all ages” show out there, and you’re pretty much guaranteed that your kid won’t be the loudest; that honor will be reserved for the folks who take “audience participation” to the next level. (We dare you to not try and grab for a bouncing ball.)

At the Briar Street Theatre, 3133 N. Halsted, Chicago

Spamilton

Sure, everyone and their teenaged babysitter are nuts for that other show about the 10-dollar Founding Father without a father, but what about the sidesplittingly funny version performed by a cast of five? Brought to us by the folks behind ‘Forbidden Broadway,’ this critically acclaimed, off-Broadway smash adoringly roasts ‘Hamilton’ in its first foray outside of NYC.

Gauge the maturity levels of your younger Hamilfans for this love letter to Broadway, its stars, and the afterbirth of a nation (for which even Lin-Manuel Miranda declared “I laughed my brains out!”). But don’t wait too long; this limited engagement only runs for 12 weeks. So, you know, don’t throw away your shot.

Open run at the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted, Chicago

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