Chicago LIVE Again!

Raise your hand if you’ve missed live performances! Well, you can put your hand down, because this weekend Navy Pier has you covered.

Chicago LIVE Again is a two-day festival that flat out screams that Chicago is back and ready to play. 

It’s an unprecedented event, bringing together more cultural institutions than have ever been in the same place. But then again, these are unprecedented times. 

And guess what: the event is free! 

Navy Pier

There will be Broadway shows, classical music, dance, comedy, opera, drama, rock, jazz, folk, and every genre and discipline that you can imagine. Performances take place at the east end of the pier and on the Lake Stage in Polk Brothers Park.

The event takes place Friday, September 24 from 5 to 9pm and Saturday, September 25 from 12 to 9:30pm. Saturday’s capped by a bonus fireworks show, generously provided by an anonymous donor.

Participating groups include:

  • Broadway in Chicago (casts from Frozen, Moulin Rouge, Paradise Square, Teatro ZinZanni and the Illinois High School Musical Theatre Best Actor singing from Rent)
  • Joffrey Ballet
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Chicago Shakespeare Theater
  • Steppenwolf Theatre Company
  • Second City
  • Artists From the Lyric Opera’s Ryan Opera Center
  • Old Town School of Folk Music
  • Jonas Friddle
  • Chicago Children’s Theatre
  • Rhodee Castillo and the Garifuna Flava Band
  • Harris Theater for Music and Dance
  • Nathalie Joachim & Spektral Quartet
  • Chicago Fringe Opera
  • Porchlight Music Theatre
  • Joffrey Academy
  • Galaxie Chicago
  • Victor Garcia Organ Quintet
  • Katie Kadan
  • ChiArts Jazz Combo
  • Yin He Dance Company
  • Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
  • Joel Hall Dancers
  • South Chicago Dance Theater
  • Chicago Opera Theater
  • Mandala South Asian Performing Arts
  • Puerto Rican Arts Alliance
  • About Face Theatre Presents Sha Za
  • Kokandy Productions (cast from Hundred Days)
  • Buddy Guy’s Nublu Band
  • Actors’ Gymnasium
  • Classic Showtunes
  • Chicago Samba
  • Chicago Children’s Choir
  • The Seldoms
  • Meher Dance Company
  • Hiplet
  • Korean Performing Arts Institute Chicago
  • The Gift Theatre

It’s a who’s who of Chicago’s creative forces, and is an event not to be missed.

The festival is standing room only, but you’re invited to bring blankets or lawn chairs. There will also be food for purchase from Navy Pier’s restaurants.

Make sure to stop by the Navy Pier tent outside McDonald’s and register for the free raffle drawing. You could win a Sable Hotel Package, passes to the Chicago Children’s Museum, or some Kilwins Fudge, among other prizes.

Check Navy Pier’s website for all the details. It’s important to note that you must show proof of vaccination or provide negative result of COVID test administered within the past 48 hours. There will also be limited rapid tests available on-site, but if you’re not vaccinated it’s advised to get your own test before attending. 

Want to know the history of Navy Pier before you go? Before you go, check out the history of Navy Pier in an excerpt from Living Landmarks of Chicago, a book WGN-TV’s Dina Bair calls a “wonderful bible of Chicago.”