Executive Director Walter Stearns announced today that he will launch a subscription series at the Mercury Theater including four full productions, which will transform the Mercury into the largest producer of musicals in the city of Chicago; employing almost one hundred theater professionals. Plans are to produce Rogers and Hammerstein’s A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING which features songs such as ‘Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’, ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ and ‘If I Loved You’ in January. In March, the Mercury will stage a revival of BARNUM, the Cy Coleman circus musical centered around legendary showman P.T. Barnum, complete with professional circus performers. August brings the regional premiere of THE COLOR PURPLE, the Broadway hit based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel and subsequent Steven Spielberg film. The season concludes with the return voyage of the popular holiday musical, THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER. Single tickets are available for $29 and up, and 3 show subscription packages start as low as $80. Season packages and A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING tickets go on-sale November 16th.

One of Chicago’s leading musical theater producers, Walter Stearns, has lovingly renovated the Mercury Theater over the past two years. The Mercury now boasts a new front of house layout and state of the art lighting and sound systems. When asked what spawned the shift to a subscription season, he stated: “The Mercury Theater has been successful at long-running shows, but those audiences come maybe once a year. The Mercury Theater will be a place where people return to meet up with friends and see something new. It is more than a once-a-year experience, the Mercury Theater and its partner restaurants are a perfect place for people to meet up. When we shift to a season subscription, the shows change every 3-4 months and audiences will come to think of the Mercury Theatre as a place where there is always something new. “

The Mercury, which has been a well-respected venue for long-running commercial theater, is an intimate playhouse in the heart of a sophisticated neighborhood of restaurants and shopping steps from Wrigley Field. Notable past productions include A TWIST OF WATER (now running off-Broadway), THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS, THE IRISH AND HOW THEY GOT THAT WAY and OVER THE TAVERN. The smash hit original production of FREUD’S LAST SESSION ended a nine-month run on November 11th, and the second ‘season on the water’ for THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER begins November 23d. When asked if the Mercury will still be available for commercial rentals, Stearns said “Absolutely. Producers who want to book the theater months in advance can become part of our subscription series. We hope to be the place where off-Broadway shows are incubated in Chicago.” The Mercury adjoins two restaurants; Cullen’s Bar and Grill and Deleece, who offer dining and libations before and after the show.

Tickets are available online at, over the phone at 773-325-1700, or in person at 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago 60613. Discounts of up to 50% are available for groups of 10 or more.

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING

Music by Richard Rodgers, Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II

January 10 – March 10, 2013

Broadway’s tribute to the genius of Rodgers & Hammerstein is truly A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING. This Tony Award®-nominated Best Musical showcases Richard Rodgers’ timeless music and the incomparable lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein. It will take you on a romantic musical journey from young infatuation to the touching and funny complexities of commitment and marriage, the joys of parenthood, and finally, the power of enduring love. From “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” to “Some Enchanted Evening,” A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING features over 30 of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s greatest hits from shows such as Carousel, Oklahoma!, The King and I, South Pacificand more —“something wonderful” indeed for all lovers of classic musical theater. It doesn’t get any grander than this!


Book by Mark Bramble, lyrics by Michael Stewart, and music by Cy Coleman.

March 27 to June 30, 2013

The greatest show on earth is the setting for the life story of Phineas Taylor Barnum. Celebrating its Chicago professional premiere, BARNUM sets this colorful personality inside the center ring of his own circus. Audiences will be thrilled with high flying acrobatics as BARNUM tells the story of America’s greatest showman. This show bursts with toe tapping melodies; ballads, marches, and ragtime tunes by Cy Coleman and Michael Stewart.


Based upon the novel by Alice Walker

And the Warner Bros./Amblin Entertainment Motion Picture

Book by Marsha Norman, music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray

August 14 to November 10, 2013

From the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Alice Walker and the moving film by Stephen Spielberg, comes the soul-stirring musical THE COLOR PURPLE. It is an inspiring story of a woman who, through love, finds the strength to triumph over adversity and discover her unique voice in the world. With a joyous score featuring jazz, ragtime, gospel, African music and blues, THE COLOR PURPLE is a story of hope, a testament to the healing power of love and a celebration of life.


Book by John Reeger, music and lyrics by Julie Shannon

November 22 to December 29, 2013

Returning for its annual voyage, THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER has become Chicago’s holiday tradition. The whole family will enjoy this heart-warming story of the first Christmas tree ship and the family who risked their lives to fill Chicago with the Christmas spirit. The Chicago Tribune calls this show “a sacred part of a Chicago Christmas”. The Chicago Sun-Times raved, “An inheritance to be treasured”. A timely and uplifting tale of love and loss, THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER reminds us of tradition, and our responsibility to celebrate the living while honoring our heritage.