Chicago offers an outstanding theater scene, and it’s not often you are within arm's length of the actors during the performance. “Southern Gothic” at Windy City Playhouse in Irving Park offers an up-close and personal performance unlike any other I’ve experienced. The play has been extended through December 9th, so there is still time to see the show! I was offered complimentary tickets to see "Southern Gothic", so I took my mom, and we loved seeing this unique play together. I’m under no obligation to share my experience or opinions, but since we had such a fabulous time, I thought I’d tell you all about it!
"Southern Gothic" at Windy City Playhouse
“Southern Gothic” is set in Georgia in the 1960s where four couples get together for a birthday party. As the evening unfolds, so does the drama. Relationships are tested, secrets are revealed and the audience gets to be a “fly on the wall” for it all.
The Theater: Windy City Playhouse
This was my first time at Windy City Playhouse (3014 W. Irving Park Rd.), and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised to see such a chic space! The lounge is luxurious with a cozy fireplace and full-service bar. We ordered drinks and checked our bags before heading into the theater.
The Set of "Southern Gothic"
The set is built like a home in the 1950s, including a working kitchen, front porch, and complete exterior. The rooms are lined with benches for the audience to sit during the show. We found a spot in the dining room. Once the play started, it wasn’t long before we began roaming around the rooms. By the way, the play was designed for the audience to follow the action as they please.
Intimate but not Interactive
The audience size is limited to 28 people per show. It is this intimate, immersive concept that made “Southern Gothic” so memorable to me. The cast of eight holds various conversations at once, and you are actually not supposed to hear everything during the show. It was fun to follow the action. However, I did have a sense of FOMO when something seemed to go down in another room!
With audience members and actors moving freely throughout the “house,” at times I thought I was almost going to bump into the cast members! The actors do a great job of pretending there aren’t a dozen people staring at them from a couple of feet away. I never saw them make eye contact or acknowledge the audience. However, there is a staff member on set who offers complimentary cocktails and period-appropriate bites during the play. Think Twinkies, Cheese Whiz, and Necco Wafers. Such a fun detail!
Celeb Sighting at Southern Gothic
In the small audience of 28, there was someone I recognized: the renowned restaurateur and Chef Rick Bayless. If you’re not familiar, Chef Bayless owns a Michelin star restaurant in Chicago’s River North called Topolobampo. He won Top Chef Masters (Bravo TV show) and also owns Frontera Grill, which happens to be the most delicious place to get food at O’hare airport. Leave it to my mom to ask him for a photo after the show! So embarrassing, but now I have the photo below to show even celebrities come to Windy City Playhouse!
Good to Know
- The play last 90 minutes with no intermission
- There is a free coat check
- The play was extended and now showing in the South Loop
You can purchase tickets for the “Southern Gothic” online or call the Windy City Playhouse Box Office at (773) 891-8985. Performances are Wednesdays through Sundays with weekend matinees. Tickets are $100-$135. You’ll save money if you go on a weeknight (Read: Things to do in Chicago on a Wednesday).
"Southern Gothic" was written by Leslie Liautaudia and directed by David H. Bell.
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