Harold Washington Library Center
Chicago Theater Collection
Photo Credit: Lisa Ebright. Backstage at the Goodman Theatre, ca. 1987. From the Chicago Theater Collection, Special Collections & Preservation Division.
The historical collection includes pre-fire imprints, and extensive runs of programs and scrapbooks recording productions in over 100 theaters from 1875 to 1956: neighborhood theaters, vaudeville and variety shows, minstrel shows, musical comedy theaters, and local stock companies.
In the early 1970s, Chicago re-emerged as one of the important theater centers in the United States. In 1983, the Special Collections Department began an active effort to document contemporary theater in Chicago. Today, the contemporary theater holdings are extensive and include material from the pivotal theaters in Chicago: Steppenwolf, Second City, Body Politic, Victory Gardens, Northlight, Goodman, St. Nicholas, etc.
Learn more about Before the Curtain Goes Up: The Chicago Theater Collection, 1986-1996.