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Back to School: Our Favorite Things

Victory Gardens Greenhouse Theater

In 1969, the Community Arts Foundation purchased a dumpy Lincoln Avenue building, a former meatpacking plant with a bowling alley on the second floor, and turned it into the Body Politic, a hub of political and cultural activity with a decidedly countercultural bent. (Rumor has it director Mike Nichols anonymously donated the down payment out of proceeds from The Graduate.) This is where the professional off-Loop theater movement was born: soon the space was drawing crowds with productions by Second City cofounder Paul Sills (whose Story Theater put a hip twist on classic tales by Ovid), composer William Russo (whose Free Theater presented original “rock cantatas”), and Stuart Gordon’s freewheeling Organic Theater (whose science-fantasy trilogy Warp! anticipated the Star Wars phenom by several years). Later the Body Politic evolved into a resident ensemble specializing in classic and contemporary Anglo-Irish drama. They shared the building with Victory Gardens Theater, which took over the space following the Body Politic’s 1996 dissolution.

Today this historic venue—the oldest continually operating theater space in Chicago—boasts four auditoriums (two 199-seat main stages and two 60-seat studios) that host several Equity and non-Equity troupes, including Remy Bumppo, Eclipse, Shattered Globe, and the Ma’at Production Association of Afrikan Centered Theatre (MPAACT), as well as shows by Victory Gardens. 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-871-3000, victorygardens.org. —Albert Williams

We also want to hear your stories about your favorite people, places, and things in the city--go here to share them with the rest of the class.


A & T Grill
Elizabeth M. Tamny

All Rise Gallery
Liz Armstrong

The Ando Gallery at the Art Institute
Tamara Faulkner

Bartender Ballet at the Violet Hour
Mike Sula


The Basement of After-Words
Monica Kendrick

The Blue Crab Lounge at Shaw’s
Michael Lenehan

The Butcher Shop
Noah Berlatsky

Deborah Butterfield’s “Ben”
Ryan Hubbard


The Diary of Virginia May Garcia
Noah Berlatsky

The Fern Room at the Garfield Park Conservatory
Martha Bayne

Fine Wine Brokers
Kathie Bergquist

The Grid
Bill Savage


Hideout Dance Parties
Martha Bayne

Jazz Record Mart and Dusty Groove
Peter Margasak

Jollyball at the Museum of Science and Industry
Noah Berlatsky

Ken Dunn
Mick Dumke


The Lobby Bar at Second City
Albert Williams

Lost & Found
Kathie Bergquist

Manhattans at the Matchbox
David Hammond

Matinees at the Music Box
Adam Langer


Marina City
Lynn Becker

The Mausoleum at Rosehill Cemetery
Kerry Reid

Monday Night at Sidetrack
Zac Thompson

Monday Night Farm Dinner at Lula Cafe
Peter Margasak


Moo & Oink
Mike Sula

Music Box Massacre
J.R. Jones

The Murals at the 18th Street El Stop
Brenna Ehrlich

The Newberry Library
Harold Henderson


The North Branch Trail
Jennifer Sodini

Open Mike at Gallery Cabaret
Julia Rickert

Outdanced!
Liz Armstrong

RUI: Reading Under the Influence
Kathie Bergquist


Silent Summer Film Festival
J.R. Jones

Sunday Transmission at the Hungry Brain
Peter Margasak

The Sweet Spot at the Empty Bottle
Miles Raymer

Textile Discount Outlet
Tasneem Paghdiwala


The Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute
Albert Williams

Victory Gardens Greenhouse Theater
Albert Williams

Wil Hasbrouck
Harold Henderson

The Window Seat at Letizia’s
Emerson Dameron


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