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President Obama meets the Hamilton Cast | Public Domain/WikiCommons
President Obama meets the Hamilton Cast | Public Domain/WikiCommons
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What They're Watching In Chicago This Fall

Picture of Elizabeth Newhart
Updated: 3 October 2016
Chicago loves a little bit of everything when it comes to entertainment. Whether you’re looking for sports, theater, television, or movies, our local watch guide has all your bases covered. Here’s what Chicago is tuning into this fall.

The Cubs

It’s no secret that the Chicago Cubs have been the hottest team in Major League Baseball (MLB) this year. It’s reflected in the team’s current total of 98 wins, soaring game attendance, and TV ratings. In 2014, the Cubs finished dead last in their division for the fifth consecutive year, giving them an embarrassing 1.5 average rating. But through September 2016, the team’s games broadcast on Comcast SportsNet (CSN) have averaged a 200 percent jump to a 4.5 rating. On September 13th when the Cubs had the chance to clinch a playoff berth against the Milwaukee Brewers, the rating was a staggering 11.2 and broke a record for the highest-rated regular season game of any MLB team in CSN history. The Cubs are having that kind of record-breaking season, and with the postseason just around the corner, Chicagoans have taken notice in a big way.

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The hype is real. The record-breaking, Tony Award-winning, smash-hit Broadway production Hamilton has spent the last year sweeping the nation into an American history musical frenzy. The explosive story of founding father Alexander Hamilton during the Revolutionary War is told through a score mixed of hip-hop, jazz, R&B, and Broadway tunes. Creator, composer, and star Lin-Manuel Miranda is officially sending the phenomenon out on the road, and Chicago is its first stop. Performances begin September 27th at The PrivateBank Theatre, and tickets are in extremely high demand. The city has been buzzing for months over the news and is sure to make it a success on par with previous Broadway legends such as Wicked and The Book of Mormon. Hamilton has plans to tour across the country and around the globe in the coming years to give everyone a chance to get a taste of its undeniable charm.

The PrivateBank Theatre, 18 W Monroe St, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 312 384 1500

Chicago Franchise

Legendary TV creator Dick Wolf is the mastermind behind the wildly successful and nearly two-decade-old Law & Order series, but in the last four years, he’s turned his talents to Chicago. Chicago Fire came first in 2012 and saw rapid success on NBC as an intriguing drama following members of the Chicago Fire Department. Chicago P.D. quickly followed as a mid-season addition in 2014, and Chicago Med premiered in 2015. All three have done well nationally but hit particularly close to home for Chicagoans. The shows are filmed in the city, offering frequent celebrity sightings and even extras opportunities for local actors, which is a refreshing approach for residents – TV show sets aren’t the norm here. Crossover episodes between the three make it easy and appealing to tune into each show, which is a big plus for their ratings. And Wolf isn’t done yet. Chicago Justice comes to NBC in January 2017 as his fourth installment in the hometown franchise.

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Cheers Live On Stage

The Broadway Playhouse off Michigan Avenue may not be a place ‘where everybody knows your name,’ but they will always be glad you came to a performance of Cheers Live on Stage. You (or your parents) will remember Cheers as one of the greatest sitcoms of all time, which ran for 11 seasons from 1982-1993 and inspired a spin-off that may have even surpassed Cheers in success, Frasier. It took place in a basement sports bar in Boston, owned by former fictional Red Sox pitcher Sam Malone. Other original main characters included waitresses Carla and Diane, bartender Coach and perennial barflies Cliff and Norm. The cast changed slightly throughout the show’s run, but renowned playwright Erik Forrest Jackson has adapted just the first season into his two-hour stage production. The play premiered in Boston and will travel around the country for the next six months. It’s on now in Chicago through October 23rd.

Broadway Playhouse, 175 E Chestnut St, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 312 977 1700

Blair Witch

In 1999, a new kind of horror movie exploded onto the film scene in the form of The Blair Witch Project. It took the style of a realistic, found-footage documentary following a few young adults as they went camping in the woods searching for the legend of the Blair Witch. The production quality and authentic actor reactions made audiences feel like they were watching a true story, increasing scare factor and drawing in crowds. And with a budget of just $60,000 USD and a box office performance of $248.6 million USD, it was a massive, unprecedented success. Seventeen years later it returns with a sequel, Blair Witch. The premise is largely the same – the younger brother of one of the original hunters enters the forest with his friends to find out what happened to his sister all those years ago. Though it may be a ‘reboot’ of sorts, it had everyone talking and anticipating a nostalgic return to a more pared-down and simplistic horror film – one that could still succeed and scare without expensive special effects. Its opening weekend on September 16th turned a decent profit on its $5 million USD budget even if it didn’t compare to the original’s premiere in 1999. But it’s sure to maintain a steady hit with audiences throughout the Halloween season.