Royal George Theatre hosts innovative off-Broadway entertainment in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park. The complex has four distinct stages with seating for 50 to 450. It is a one-stop entertainment center, with four theater spaces, two floors of office space, and the popular Balena Restaurant on the premises. Built in 1984, the venue has been going strong for the past 35 years, hosting such acclaimed attractions as Forbidden Broadway; I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change; Don’t Dress for Dinner; and Steady Rain, to name a few. The theater’s regular programming includes interactive events and gut-busting comedy shows.
Royal George Theatre Facilities
The largest venue in the Royal George Complex is the Mainstage Theatre, which has 452 seats (267 in the orchestra and 185 in the balcony). The traditional proscenium theater has fixed seating on two levels and an orchestra pit. It is known for its excellent sight lines and live acoustics. There truly isn’t a bad seat in the house. It hosts frequent straight plays, musicals, one-person shows, stand-up comedy and film screenings.
The one-of-a-kind Cabaret/Studio Theatre has 199 seats and a fixed, raised seating plan. It is not a traditional “cabaret” theater in the traditional sense, but it has a fully stocked 20-foot bar. Its intimate stage is perfect for small musicals, plays and cabaret acts.
For a more versatile seating arrangement, the Great Room is a 100-seat found space. It too boasts a fully stocked bar and also has impressive architectural features like exposed brick and timber ceiling beams. It’s perfect for one-person shows or as a flexible workshop space.
The most intimate venue here is the Gallery, a highly versatile 50-seat black box theater. It can be configured as a proscenium simulation, thrust stage and miniature arena stage. Up-and-coming theater companies and readings are frequently hosted here.
Royal George Theatre Programs
One of Royal George Theatre’s longest-running shows is Late Nite Catechism, a two-act solo performance. It is led by a “Sister” who gives instructions to you the audience as a roomful of students. Throughout the class, good students are rewarded with prizes like glow-in-the-dark rosaries. Naughty students beware: you might find yourself on stage taking a time out in the corner.
Bible Bingo is another interactive comedy show, including wacky prizes and fun bingo cards, of course. There’s also the funniest quiz about the Holy Family you’ve ever seen.
Royal George Theatre is also hosting the Chicago premiere of I’m Not A Comedian, I’m Lenny Bruce, hot off its sold-out Los Angeles and Off-Broadway engagements. Bruce is an undisputed comic legend, and he’s sure to offer a night of both profound and gut-busting comedy.
Getting to the Royal George Theatre
The closest subway stop to Royal George would be the North/Clybourn stop on the Red Line. However, bus is recommended. The Royal George is just one block north of the intersection at Halsted St. and North Ave. It is served by the #72 North Ave and #8 Halsted St bus lines. If you’re driving, valet parking is available at the Theatre for $13 per car.