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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

American Blues Theater

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Theater

Mission: American Blues Theater explores the American identity through the plays it produces and communities it serves.

Community Stories

86 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Madalyn C.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I’ve seen a couple of shows at American Blues Theater and really loved it! The actors were great and visited with the audience before and after. The environment was homey and everyone working there made an effort to make your experience great.

Stacie M.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I’ve seen multiple shows at American Blues Theater and have been impressed every time. Great actors, great character developement, and great stories.

Donor

Rating: 5

The American Blues family cares about its community and it shows! American Blues uses art to inspire, teach, serve and entertain. The plays and community service are thoughtfully chosen to stretch the imagination, reveal important lessons, and impact a diverse group of people. Chicago is better because Blues is here!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

American Blues Theater is a great company. They reliably produce fabulous shows with culturally relevant topics that keep theater goers entertained and engaged. I love this non-profit!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had nothing but fantastic experiences with this theater. Both the artistic work they create as well as their community outreach have had a strong impact on me.

Ever since I saw their production of Little Shop of Horrors, I knew I had found a place where I could return again and again. Subsequent shows such as DUTCHMAN/TRANSit, The Columnist, and most recently, Six Corners, have always transported me, and left me deep in thought for hours after the final curtain. On many of these occasions, I have stayed for the post-show talk-backs featuring community partners who have never failed to give greater insight to the world in which the plays live, and who often offer a chance for the audience to become involved in the organizations they represent.

I have also had the pleasure of volunteering at their annual gala, where I have been treated to stories of their clients served in Chicago Public Schools through the Lincoln Project. This program has transformed the lives of so many, and I look forward to the day when these students step into society as conscientious citizens, and potentially even artists in their own right.

I couldn't recommend American Blues more highly!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My family is a huge fan of American Blues Theater. Their productions are always phenomenal.

Client Served

Rating: 5

American Blues Theater is the best small theater in Chicago. Their productions are exceptional and community service initiatives robust.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Love this theater and loved The Buddy Holly Story!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I saw The Buddy Holly Story. It was one of the best shows I have ever seen. Great actors and singers! Very high energy!

Samantha K.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I watched the show Buddy- The Buddy Holly Story and enjoyed the theater. I would go back to see another show.

Cynthia J.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had a fantastic time at the American Blues Theatre! The play I attended was wonderful. I felt like I was actually a participant in the play, instead of just observing the play.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have truly fallen in love with this theater company and the consistently great art it produces throughout the year. I've only been aware of them for the past 2 years, but I try not to miss any of their productions. I've found their productions to be both very accessible as well as thoroughly engaging and thought provoking, a perfect combination to bring my friends and associates to that have not had the opportunity to partake in a lot of great theater. Forever a fan!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with American Blues Theater for the last year. Blues welcomed me with open arms during Little Shop of Horrors, and I have been eager to continue my freelance work with them over the last season. The staff and artistic team is top notch and I am proud to work alongside them.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I’ve been associated with the American Blues Theater for about a year now. I have met some of the most wonderful, talented, warm and embracing professionals ever in my career. The American Blues Theater is a proud group of artists, putting on high quality theater steeped in telling American stories that make you laugh, sing, cry, cheer and sometimes allows you to sit back and reflect. The shows are timely and relevant, and their attention to detail is on par with other medium to large theater groups in Chicago. Crowd pleasing and customer service is a focus of this group on top of the quality art. I am impressed with their community outreach to the Chicago Public School system and their community service and it’s great to see them make a positive impact on the children of some of the more challenged neighborhoods in Chicago. I am extremely proud to be associated with the American Blues Theater and I look forward to working with them for many more years as they seek to grow and expand their brilliance in Chicago.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the honor and privilege of volunteering for and with the wonderful people of American Blues Theater and have loved every minute. It has been so rewarding to see the ways the company uses the theater arts in such beautifully philanthropic and socially progressive ways.
In my discussions with other members of the theater community in Chicago over the last year, I have heard only glowingly positive opinions about both the people and the shows put on by American Blues, and I can certainly agree with every word of praise. I'm excited to see what else is in store for and from ABT in the future.

Client Served

Rating: 5

What a great staff and group of actors. I saw a show this winter. Was treated great and totally enjoyed the night.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have the pleasure of being an artistic affiliate with American Blues. Each show that I get to be a part of is so much fun. The team has a great, positive energy and they genuinely care about the cast and crew as well as their patrons. They make you feel right at home and put forth top notch performances every season.

Board Member

Rating: 5

What a jewel in Chicago's crown, American Blues Theater is! Every show is produced to highest standards; superb acting, great story telling and powerful messaging. I look forward to every new show with great anticipation and almost always go to see each one at least twice.
How fortunate we are to have this wonderful theater company in our community.
(And I love the new venue at Stage 773, too.)

Board Member

Rating: 5

American Blues Theater is emblematic of the best parts of Chicago.

American Blues Theater has rekindled my love of theater. I was a theater kid in high school. Other academic and professional pursuits sidelined that passion. Upon attending my first American Blues Theater production, I felt I had become part of something special. I am now lucky enough to be a member of the American Blues Theater Board of Directors.

I can attest, from the inside-out American Blues Theater's demand for authentic, honest, meaningful art is unwavering. We have made a priority of respecting artists, staff, audience members, volunteers, students, and ensemble members. That respect shows through our exceptional efforts in community education and outreach. It is also reflected in the priority we place on paying artists and staff in a fair and equitable manner.

In addition, our artistic development team has an uncompromising dedication to quality art. In a densely talented theater town, like Chicago, it is difficult to stand out. More important, in Chicago, mediocre theater is quick to find a death. Here, at American Blues Theater, its accessible, truthful, and thought-provoking art has a well-earned place among Chicago's theater community.

Finally, American Blues Theater is a collection of good people. We care about theater. More important, American Blues Theater uses the power of art to affect meaningful change and empower segments of our population who may feel like their voice has been discounted or, worse, ignored. American Blues Theater's Lincoln Project, Ripped, and Blue Ink projects all work to develop talent at various levels of ability. These projects and the plays American Blues Theater produces reflect the ethos of Chicago.

Elyse D.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

American Blues Theater creates art with heart! This is an organization that cares about its employees and does great work in the community.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

American Blues is an incredible organization. Not only do they make amazing art, they do so with endless amounts of heart: I've never known another theater organization to be so invested in serving the community. The partnerships American Blues fosters with other nonprofits are wholly unique and leave a lasting impact. I'm proud to be associated with American Blues and highly recommend it.

Donor

Rating: 5

Not only is the art impeccable, but the administration is fantastic. They follow up on donations with paperwork, personal notes, and an attention to personal relationships that I have never seen before. I love that American Blues Theater even pairs performances with other non-profits to spread awareness and support their missions. The Lynn Sage previews have been a great way to share the love.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

American Blues Theater produces plays that spark conversation, which is exactly what theater is meant to do. This is an exceptional organization filled with people who care for each other, for the art, and for the world.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Truly a wonderful company. Their commitment goes above and beyond, for the art, the talent and the community.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

ABT is a treasure! Their staff goes above and beyond to not only provide top quality performances, but create an experience for the community both on and off the stage.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

American Blues Theater continues to excite and amaze me. It is an organization full of big hearts and big dreams. I cannot wait to see what's next!

Donor

Rating: 5

I love the mission, art, and the people. Excellent organization!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

American Blues Theater continues to produce excellent shows and do incredible work in Chicago. They treat each patron and donor as an individual rather than just a number. Such a wonderful place!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Blues are talented, seasoned, passionate professionals. The only thing more satisfying than watching them work their theatrical magic is to help create the magic with them. Having been on both sides of the American Blues footlights on many occasions, I cannot say enough about this top-notch collection of artists, staff and board members, all of whom work tirelessly in seamless common purpose. The theatre is the better for American Blues being a part thereof.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ABT is the classic Chicago storefront theater. Always cast with local actors and designers, ABT continually produces intimate, visceral theatre that gets to the heart of America and what it means to live here.

Donor

Rating: 5

Nothing but 5 stars!
I've never seen an ABT production that was less than exceptional.
However, what makes me love this theater is their outreach and service to their community; providing audio described and touch tour performances for the hearing and visually impaired and free arts and education program reaching 5th-10th grade students in the Chicago area plus so much more.
The ABT team is more than talented, they have huge hearts, they are a giving, crazy, fun and talented group of people!

srkey

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

A truly wonderful org that's on an amazing trajectory of growth!

With so many qualities to praise, I'll limit it to my 3 faves:

1) Throughout this group; Artists, Artistic leadership, Board, Staff, Technicians and Teachers, they're positive, hard working people with beautiful souls, dedicated to shared goals.

Those goals are:

2) Creation of truly excellent art which challenges, inspires and entertains a diverse audience in rich, profound ways.

3) Service to their community and audience, going well beyond the art they produce. They actually changes lives, for the better.

The upshot: They invaluably touch an increasing number of lives, consistently raising the quality of life and discourse in Chicago, as they grow.

I can't think of a better way to spend time, money and love.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Well...I've been affiliated with the company for a couple more years now and they continue to grow artistically, and infrastructurally while they expand their practical impact on other important not-for-profits. It really is an arts org in which I feel that my efforts make a difference.

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Jaclyn G.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of working with this company for over 10 years. They are not only amazing at what they do, but incredibly inclusive and welcoming. I can't wait to see where the next 10 years takes them!

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of working with this company in various capacities since 2005. Their commitment to producing stellar art while making everyone feel included in the process can not be matched. I've always been made to feel "part of the family" since day one.

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1 girlabouttown

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

American Blues Theater truly invests in its artists and audiences. They tell stories with great impact and importance. They serve their community humbly. They approach their art boldly. American Blues Theater creates events that are not to be missed.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Great people with big hearts. Their passion matches their generosity. And they make unforgettable art.

Board Member

Rating: 5

American Blues is a nonprofit which not only meets its mission statement, but does it with gusto. The productions are first class and thought provoking. How they do it on a limited budget is a splendid example of what can be done under strong leadership.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is a special group of people. They are top-notch professionals doing great theater. In addition, their idea of donating a portion of their revenue to other non-for-profit theaters is unique. I am impressed with how they run their affairs and how they turly believe in the good work they are doing.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Amazing theater company. Not only committed to making great art, but also to serving it's community.

Sammie B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

American Blues Theater is an exemplary organization. Not only do they make sure to go above and beyond for all of their constituents, they also treat everyone like a part of the family. I am proud to be affiliated with American Blues and highly recommend that anyone who has a love for the theater check them out!

Donor

Rating: 5

This is one of the best non-profits out there. I know that my donations will be well spent and put to good use. Their productions are always wonderful, and their "Ripped: The Living Newspaper" brings current social issues to the stage in a powerful way. Even beyond top-quality productions, they use their funds to help other non-profits and educational organizations such as the Chicago Public Schools for free. And for each production they make a concerted effort to connect to the community in various ways, including identifying a charitable organization to partner with. This all makes me feel good about how my donations are being used to help others.

1 Michael324

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Some of my favorite experiences in the theatre have been the performances we've done of "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Hank Williams" for the visually impaired - being able to bring Bedford Falls and Montgomery Alabama to life for them with only our voices and our instruments is an inspiring reminder of the power of theatre to transcend all barriers and connect us all, and just one small example of American Blues' dedication to community outreach.

Manny B.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a teaching artist, I've worked with American Blues to take Arts Education into Chicago Public Schools(CPS) that otherwise wouldn't get programming. American Blues serves these schools at no cost to the schools. I can't think of many, if any other theaters in the city at all, that offer programming like The Lincoln Project.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Watching this company grow and serve Chicago has been a great pleasure! Their talent is matched by their integrity.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

American Blues Theater combines the performing arts with service to reach the Chicagoland public. The partnerships are truly valuable and affect patrons in life-changing ways.

dawnbach

Volunteer

Rating: 5

American Blues Theater is one of the most thoughtful, inspiring and artistic ensembles in Chicago and I am grateful to have been a member for many years. Audiences are considered family, cast and crew are treated with respect and the ensemble and board do more than co-exist - they work together. All levels of the organization "click" to create great theater.

Previous Stories
1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Not only are their productions fabulous, but ABT's heart is in the right place, helping other organizations in need. I have no qualms about recommending this company to friends, family, people off the street.

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Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a member of Chicago's artistic community, I am grateful to consider myself a member of the American Blues Theater family. Not only is the organization's art work excellent, but ABT stands as a powerful role model to other theatres and non-profits in that it offers consistent service to the community as an ensemble.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

American Blues Theatre is my favorite theatre in Chicago. Committed to excellence, their productions are consistently first-rate.

Most appealing to me is their noble mission which resonates in each production as they pursue the heart and soul of the American experience by giving voice to the working class, the salt-of-the earth.

The ensemble is strangely egoless. They have a genuine love for the work. It always comes first. It is central. Such values give way to artistry that is honest, poignant, and straight from the heart. That is exactly what I look for in a theatrical experience. Go ABT!!! You're the best!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great to work with and great to work for. And they always connect and involve the community.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Amazing, powerful, inspired theater. Every time I walk into a production by American Blues I feel like family and I'm ready to be carried away into great new story.

Board Member

Rating: 5

American Blues Theater is a wonderful company that not only produces great, relevant art but it also shares that art with other worthy Chicago non-for-profits. What public school student doesn't want to see the Civil War come to life with a visit from a "real" Abraham Lincoln? What young, struggline playwright doesn't want the opportunity to see their work on stage? What ambitious actor wouldn't like to play a meaty role in a play about a working class family. In short, it is a pleasure to associate with ABT and see them do such great, passion-filled work.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

American Blues is a theater passionate about creating art that speaks to audiences and also gives back to the community. Its so great to see an ensemble theater doing such great work in so many ways.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

American Blues Theater does an outstanding job in presenting thoughtful theater. Their recent show, "American Myth" raised many questions regarding ethics and what really constitutes truth. The group of us who saw it, had a long discussion afterwards in a way that we never would have otherwise. It allowed us to share different perspectives and build on each other's thoughts. ABT made that conversation happen and that's what's important in good theater work. Starting new conversations and helping people consider issues from another angle. Thank you ABT for presenting provocative material!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Their love for the Chicago community is matched by their incredible talent!

Joeyjoejoe

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

These guys do incredible work. I have nothing but love for them

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

American Blues Theater is a place where actors, writers, directors, technicians can collaborate to create amazing theater. Not only do they collaborate with artists, they collaborate with the community. I love these guys, and am honored to be a part of American Blues Theater.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

American Blues Theater's mission is inspirational. They tell great stories and support great causes. Whenever I go there, I feel a part of something bigger. Their artists are professional in their craftsmanship. The organization strives to bring heart to the art.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am inspired after every interaction with American Blues Theater. Their dedication to top notch theater is taken to another level with their dedication to also contriubuting to other non-profit organizations for each production. I highly recommend checking out what they are doing.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is an excellent organization that has two goals: to tell interesting, important stories that resonate with its audience, and to provide support to other nonprofit organizations that are providing help to other types of clients. Their success in these goals is inspiring.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am truly amazed and blown away by this company! I have had the immense pleasure of working on many productions with them and they constantly exceed my expectations of their professionalism, talent and care for not only the other artists but the audience! They make you feel you are part of their home.

Lindsay J.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This theatre company has consistently inspired its audiences with stories that touch the heart and challenge them to reconsider what it means to be an American. They're constantly pushing to strive further in their field, and are truly one of the best theatre companies in Chicago, if not the entire country. They need and deserve your support.

Donor

Rating: 4

Every show is very enjoyable! Excellent cast, staging and production of performances. A truly wonderful theater experience.

Donor

Rating: 5

Love love love ABT performances everything about the shows are excellent the cast, the staging, the perfomance . It is always worth the ride from Milwaukee to come see a show! Look forward to more !!!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I volunteered for ABT years ago, drawn to them because of their commitment to producing the kind of raw, visceral, brilliant theater for which Chicago has a reputation. The talent of this ensemble is unmatched, especially for a theater of this size. I don't live in the city any longer, but when I visit, I always look up ABT to find out if I can see one of their shows -- they are a unique, longstanding staple of Chicago's cultural scene.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My husband and I have attended ABT since it's inception. This is a company with top-line talent, excellent productions, and shows addressing vital issues.

We, as Chicago actors, are honored to support American Blues.
Diane Dorsey & Danny Goldring

Donor

Rating: 5

Love, love, love this company. I've been attending their performances for years.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering with ABT since 1999. It's one of my favorite non-profits.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

ABT is great! 5 Stars! Very professional productions, very professional and genuine actors, actresses. Very much enjoy their productions and it is impressive to see how committed the whole ensemble is to every aspect of their company and performances!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the privilege of working artistically and as an educator with American Blues over the past decade. I find it to be a unique organization in the way that it offers a supportive, productive and professional environment which allows its professionals to work at their peek level. Also, I have been extremely impressed with their mission to connect productions with serving the community.

Ashley B.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've had the privilege of working with ABT on many different projects over the last fourteen years. ABT shows a strong commitment to their mission statement in both the choice of plays and in outreach activities - an excellent example is the partnership with the Illinois Farmer's Bureau to raise awareness for Illinois farmers during the 2010 run of "Tobacco Road."

ABT treats its staff and artists with both love and respect - there is always great love and camaraderie, which is wonderful, but behind that is a strong and ethical administrative process: Checks are on time, working conditions are excellent and the process uniformly collaborative.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been privleged to work with American Blues Theater for almost three years. I have been with them through difficult times and times when they were re-exploring who they were and what they stood for as a theater company and as professionals. The Blues family (which they really are) are wonderful artists and people, intent on making the best art they can and making sure that the productions they create are socially and politically relevant, that they are informed and filled with "heart". I feel extremely fortunate to work with a group of people who are so committed to their art, their community, and to each other. Their productions are always stellar in many aspects, and they are extremely focused on creating a community with their patrons and businesses around. This season, the Blues are giving back to a number of organizations and charities through the money they make on their productions, and very few companies do this with even a single show, let alone an entire season. And during our yearly production of It's A Wonderful Life, we honor the soliders of the armed forces who have made the american dream a reality. This company cares about the people it meets and the community in which we all live. There needs to be more companies like this!