The Navy Pier-based Chicago Shakespeare company has expanded its outdoor performances from 11 to 18 parks after last year's inaugural run was a huge success.
"We really had a good response, and even in the bad weather we had to turn people away last year," said Chicago Shakespeare spokeswoman Nancy Cortes.
Performances of "The Taming of the Shrew" drew crowds of 600 to 1,100 people, Cortes said, and even Mayor Rahm Emanuel was seen carting his lawn chair to a Garfield Park show.
"He is actually the reason the tour is bigger," she said. "He called for the tour to be expanded after seeing it."
Like last year's Humboldt Park performances, the stage will be set up on the east side of the park's historic boat house. There, actors will put on the funny tale of identical twins separated in childhood and the confusion that ensues when they grow up and happen find themselves in the same town.
"It's really nice that they come and they put a complete outdoor production," said Humboldt Park Advisory Council president Amy Vega. "It's really awesome."
Vega said she will be among the people with their blankets and lawn chairs watching this show and likely in years to come, because as Cortes said, the program has all the makings to become a long-lasting Chicago tradition.
"It's really great for our cultural institutions to be in every neighborhood in the city especially where people may not have access," she said. "I think it's a really good way to engage families and residents in culture because they shouldn't have to only go to the lakefront to experience anything like that."
The troupe will move on to Riis Park, 6100 W. Fullerton Ave., for Saturday's performance and will be back in the area for a performance at Garfield Park, 300 N. Central Park Ave., on Aug. 25.
A full listing of Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks performances can be found here.