Some highlights in Chicago theater from the 2010s

From ingenious new works to profound revivals of classics, theatergoers were presented with thousands of works over the course of the decade.

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In this April 20, 2012, production photo provided by the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, actors Brian Dennehy, left, portraying one-time syndicalist-anarchist Larry Slade and Nathan Lane as Theodore “Hickey” Hickman perform in a scene in Eugene O’Neill’s “The Iceman Cometh” directed by Robert Falls. The epic drama runs through June 17. (AP Photo/Courtesy of The Goodman Theatre, Liz Lauren)

Actors Brian Dennehy (left) portraying one-time syndicalist-anarchist Larry Slade and Nathan Lane as Theodore “Hickey” Hickman perform in a scene in Eugene O’Neill’s “The Iceman Cometh” directed by Robert Falls at the Goodman Theatre in 2012.

Liz Lauren

Chicago’s stages are a treasure trove of theatrical productions. And the 2010s were no exception.

From ingenious new works to profound revivals of classics, theatergoers were presented with thousands of works over the course of the decade.

Rather than create a list of the “decade’s best,” here’s a look at highlights from the past 10 years, and what Sun-Times reviewers had to say about them:

Original: Ensemble members Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in Steppenwolf Theatre CompanyÕs production of Edward AlbeeÕs WhoÕs Afraid of Virginia Woolf? | Photo by Michael Brosilow. Published: SteppenwolfÕs Carrie Coon, (from left), Tracy Letts, Madison Dirks and Amy Morton in ÒEdward AlbeeÕs WhoÕs Afraid of Virginia Woolf?Ó | Photo by Michael Brosilow.

Carrie Coon, (from left), Tracy Letts, Madison Dirks and Amy Morton in “Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” at Steppenwolf Theatre.

Michael Brosilow

2010 — “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” at Steppenwolf Theatre:“Thanks to the most meticulous, probing, scalpel-like direction by Pam MacKinnon, and the galvanic yet gorgeously calibrated performances of Tracy Letts and Amy Morton as George and Martha, this enthralling take on Albee’s play makes you feel like an embedded reporter in a harrowing living-room war.”—Hedy Weiss

King George III (Harry Groener) and the royal family greet their subjects in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s The Madness of George III, playing now through June 12, 2011.

King George III (Harry Groener) and the royal family greet their subjects in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s “The Madness of George III.”

Chicago Shakespeare Theater

2011 — “The Madness of George III” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater: “At the very moment when all the world seems plagued by a crisis of leadership, director Penny Metropulos gave us a penetrating, even revelatory revival of Alan Bennett’s play about the British monarch who lost the American colonies, lost his mind, and yet still retained the essential core of himself.” —Hedy Weiss

2012 — “The Iceman Cometh” at GoodmanTheatre: This was the theatrical breakfast of champions — a test of sheer stamina for both its actors (a sublime ensemble of 18 led by Brian Dennehy and Nathan Lane under the direction of Robert Falls) and its audiences (who, in vast numbers, gave themselves over to Eugene O’Neill’s nearly five- hour-long, alcohol-fueled fever dream of a play). — Hedy Weiss

Kevin Gudahl as Robert and Chaon Cross as Catherine in David Auburn’s “Proof” at Court Theatre.

Kevin Gudahl as Robert and Chaon Cross as Catherine in David Auburn’s “Proof” at Court Theatre.

Michael Brosilow

2013 —“Proof” at Court Theatre: “Mathematical beauty on that level might well be beyond the understanding of most of us. But audiences can almost always identify a beautiful play when they see it. And there can be no doubt that David Auburn’s 2001 Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning ‘Proof,’ now in an emotionally piercing (and, at many moments, downright funny) revival at Court Theatre, has a particular beauty and elegance in terms of its ideas, structure and insights into the complex nature of inheritance, both intellectual and psychological. Like the play, this production is exceedingly smart. More importantly, it is fierce.” — Hedy Weiss

Erin Barlow and Christine Stulik in The Hypocrites’ world premiere of “All Our Tragic,” adapted and directed by Sean Graney.

Erin Barlow and Christine Stulik in The Hypocrites’ world premiere of “All Our Tragic,” adapted and directed by Sean Graney.

John Taflan

2014 — “All Our Tragic” at The Hypocrites: “Adapter/director Sean Graney’s monumentally ambitious effort to stage all the existing Greek tragedies in one great, impressively unified, daylong marathon was superbly executed by a gifted, tireless ensemble and an ingenious team of designers. The miracle of it was that audiences were hungry to see it — so hungry, in fact, that the production is set to return to Chicago in the summer of 2015.” —Hedy Weiss

Jamie Abelson (left) is Ishmael and, Anthony Fleming III is Queequeg in Lookingglass Theatre’s “Moby Dick.”

Jamie Abelson (left) is Ishmael and, Anthony Fleming III is Queequeg in Lookingglass Theatre’s “Moby Dick.”

Liz Lauren

2015 — “Moby Dick” at Lookingglass Theatre: “David Catlin’s thrilling, physically daring, consistently imaginative stage adaptation of the Herman Melville classic, as only Lookingglass Theatre can do it, featuredChristopher Donahue as a tormented Captain Ahab, and an altogether unforgettable performance by Anthony Fleming II as the exotic Queequog.” — Hedy Weiss

Chris De’Sean Lee (from left), Jose Ramos, Wallace Smith and Miguel Cervantes in the original cast of the Chicago production of “Hamilton.”

Chris De’Sean Lee (from left), Jose Ramos, Wallace Smith and Miguel Cervantes in the original cast of the Chicago production of “Hamilton.”

©2016 Joan Marcus

2016 —“Hamilton” at Bank of America Theatre: “Perhaps the way to approach ‘Hamilton’ — and so much has been written about the show since its debut at New York’s Public Theatre in February 2015 that its title alone has become its own form of solid gold cultural currency — is to simply revel in its brilliance.” — Hedy Weiss

Paul-Jordan Jansen plays Sweeney Todd and Bri Sudia is Mrs. Lovett in the Paramount Theatre production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” (Photo: Liz Lauren)

Paul-Jordan Jansen plays Sweeney Todd and Bri Sudia is Mrs. Lovett in the Paramount Theatre production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”

Liz Lauren

2017 — “Sweeney Todd” at the Paramount Theatre: “On every level this production of the Stephen Sondheim classic was on a grand opera scale, with Bri Sudia perhaps the finest Mrs. Lovett ever.” — Hedy Weiss

Sarah Price (No. 11), Isa Arciniegas (No. 25), Natalie Joyce (No. 7) and Angela Alise (No. 00) in a scene from”The Wolves” by Sarah DeLappe, directed by Vanessa Stalling at Goodman Theatre. | Liz Lauren

Sarah Price (No. 11), Isa Arciniegas (No. 25), Natalie Joyce (No. 7) and Angela Alise (No. 00) in a scene from”The Wolves” by Sarah DeLappe, directed by Vanessa Stalling at Goodman Theatre.

Liz Lauren

2018 — “The Wolves” at the Goodman Theatre: “This Goodman production, directed with just the right balance of physicality, subtle nuance, and quirky humor by Vanessa Stalling, stars an exceptional ensemble of all-local performers. Each provides a full and sympathetic character portrayal, despite the dispersion of the dialogue among the actors and the fact that they are mostly known only by their jersey numbers.” — Steven Oxman

Sarah Price (No. 11), Isa Arciniegas (No. 25), Natalie Joyce (No. 7) and Angela Alise (No. 00) in a scene from”The Wolves” by Sarah DeLappe, directed by Vanessa Stalling at Goodman Theatre. | Liz Lauren

Sarah Price (No. 11), Isa Arciniegas (No. 25), Natalie Joyce (No. 7) and Angela Alise (No. 00) in a scene from”The Wolves” by Sarah DeLappe, directed by Vanessa Stalling at Goodman Theatre. | Liz Lauren

Liz Lauren

2019: “Every Brilliant Thing” at Windy City Playhouse: “At a moment when the news cycle is moving at breakneck speed, when nerves are frazzled and tensions are high and a self-help author is credibly running for president by talking about ‘dark psychic forces’ on the debate stage, a number of Chicago premieres are suddenly reminding us to take stock of joy and possibility and human kindness. Add to the list Windy City Playhouse’s ‘Every Brilliant Thing,’ which happens to be propelled by the idea of making a list of all of life’s greatest and simplest pleasures — a list its maker begins as a catalog of reasons to go on living.” — Kris Vire

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