5 must-see theater performances for teens this fall

The curtain may be coming down on summer, but it’s going up on great shows around Chicago this fall that are well-suited to tweens and teens. Not only can adolescents stay up later, they can handle more adult themes. I’ve found that talking about a performance with my teen can give me a lot of insight as to where her head is at and what she’s thinking. Here are some shows this fall that are great options for tweens and teens.

Legally Blonde The Musical

When: Sept. 5 – Oct. 21

Where: Paramount Theater, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora

Recommended age: 13+ for some profanity & sexual references.

Elle Woods is proof that you can’t judge a book (or a blonde) by its cover. With her own unique flair, she shows that high fashion and high intelligence are not mutually exclusive and she delivers a healthy dose of girl power. This fresh take on the 2001 movie offers lots of laughs and big dance numbers, and it might be more poignant in the wake of the “Me, too” movement. And yes, Bruiser (Elle’s dog) is in the show and adorable as always.

Little Shop of Horrors

When: Sept. 6 –  Oct. 28

Where: Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace

Recommended age: 13+ for mild adult themes and brief strong language

Feed me, Seymour! This show inspired by a 1960 comedy horror film could be a fun way to get into a bit of Halloween spirit with your older kids. After all, “horror” is in the title. That said, this musical is charming and with an added dose of doo-wop for good measure, but you don’t have to tell your teens that before you go.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

When: Oct. 3-27

Where: Steppenwolf Theater for Young Adults, 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago

Recommended age: grade 8+

Steppenwolf for Young Adults brings to life on stage the best-selling book by Mark Haddon. It follows a teen named Christopher who investigates the murder of the neighbor’s dog. Performances are held during weekdays for school groups and on weekends for the public. A sensory-friendly performance will take place on Saturday, Oct, 27, and ASL performances are also offered.

Circolombia’s Acéléré

When: Oct. 23 – Nov. 4

Where: The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand Ave. on Navy Pier, Chicago

This jaw-dropping performance from Colombia is the final event of the Destinos, Chicago’s International Latino Theater Festival, which is now in its second year. This will be Acéléré’s North American premiere. This show is filled with elements of Cirque du Soleil and gives them a uniquely Latin twist. The live music and dance will have all ages moving and grooving, and the feats of the aerialists and contortionists will you have asking, “How do they do that?”

Hello, Dolly!

When: Oct. 23 – Nov.17

Where: Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., Chicago

Recommended age: 9+

Here’s a chance for your tween or teen to take in a legendary show, starring a legend. Tony winner Betty Buckley stars in the title role of Hello, Dolly!, which is arguably among the best of the classic musicals. It’s currently also being staged on Broadway, but the touring show headed to Chicago is a lot closer to home.

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