The Scoop: Since 2002, the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre has brought romance, drama, comedy, and entertainment to the northwest suburbs of Chicago. The theater is a major attraction for couples on a date in downtown Arlington Heights, and its shows promote arts and culture in the community. As a nonprofit production company and educator, Metropolis gives people of all ages the chance to experience the power of live performance and make memories at the theater. The 2021 season will look a bit different due to its focus on outdoor performances, but the joy of the theater remains undaunted at Metropolis.

The first time a boy asked me out, we were in middle school drama club, and he just said, “Do you want to go on a date with me?” He didn’t have much of a plan beyond hoping I’d say yes. It was my mom who came up with the idea of going to see a play together.

Seeing a comedy show helped break the ice on our first date because it provided easy entertainment and conversation starters. By the end of the show, we had new inside jokes and could bond over our shared love of theater.

Couples can bring a lot of fun to their date nights by taking a trip to their local theater. The Metropolis Performing Arts Centre is a great example of a place where romance can blossom.

Arlington Heights has lots of low-key date venues in its downtown area, and Metropolis stands out for its varied entertainment schedule. The theater houses 329 seats for its main stage and puts on hundreds of shows in the average year.

Photo of Metropolis

Metropolis enriches the community with its live plays and concerts.

Metropolis is a nonprofit organization that features a wide range of  productions, including musicals, plays, concerts, comedy shows, cabaret, and other live performances. Its shows give people a reason to visit downtown Arlington Heights and explore the local arts and cultural scene.

“We are a cultural and performing arts hub,” said Joe Keefe, Executive Artistic Director. “It’s fantastic to be part of an excellent theater that produces such excellent works while attracting the best patrons in the world.”

Metropolis Performing Arts Centre suspended its operations throughout much of 2020, but now it is prepared to return to the stage (at an outdoor venue) and bring live theater back to Arlington Heights in 2021.

A Hub of Entertainment in Downtown Arlington Heights

Metropolis Performing Arts Centre is dedicated to fostering an appreciation for live theater. Its work reaches every cross-section of the community. The nonprofit’s School of Performing Arts has taken on students ranging in age from 3 months old to 91 years old. Over 15,000 individuals with special needs have been engaged through its programming.

In addition to producing its own seasonal shows, Metropolis hosts 110 nights of performing acts from visiting bands, singers, dance companies, and comedians.

Metropolis logo

Metropolis fosters a diverse community space where the arts can thrive.

In the average year, Metropolis attracts approximately 90,000 visitors to see its live shows. These patrons vary in age and background, and they come together to enjoy world-class entertainment in their own backyard.

The Metropolis team includes 35 full-time staff members and 200 performing artists who include local actors, directors, and designers. In the wake of 2020’s racial justice movement, the theater’s leadership team has pledged to bring more people of color into the fold in the coming shows.

“We will add voices of color to the Artistic Associates Committee who help select our shows, as well as to the audition and casting process,” the leadership said. “We will learn. We will grow. We will change.”

Metropolis has weathered financial losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, but virtual performances and donations from arts patrons have ensured that the show could go on with new safety measures in place.

Beginning in April 2021, Metropolis will once again open for live performances, though its indoor theater will remain closed. The stage will be set at an adjacent outdoor venue in downtown Arlington Heights. The outdoor venue will allow people to safely gather, and masks will be required for all audience members throughout the performance.

Support the Creative Community & Discover Romance

Arlington Heights has a vibrant downtown scene where daters can find all sorts of pre-show and post-show entertainment. Metropolis Performing Arts Centre is walking distance from many restaurants, shows, and pubs, and it is one block away from Harmony Park, a lovely green space where couples often sit and talk.

“Theater goers have numerous food and drinking options before and after a show,” said Tom in a TripAdvisor review of Metropolis. “Free parking in the downtown parking lot adds up to a fun evening!”

Photo of a Metropolis performance

Metropolis endeavors to make the arts more accessible to the general public.

Metropolis offers a fun and dynamic setting to plan a memorable date. The theater creates a wonderful backdrop for laughter, romance, and intrigue. After the show, couples can grab dinner at a nearby pizzeria or get drinks at the piano bar to engage in a thought-provoking conversation about their shared experience. Finally, they can end the night on a sweet note by walking to a local bakery around the corner.

“Live theater is one of the best dating options available to people,” Joe said. “For example, musicals and concerts are one way for couples to find ‘their song’ — that memorable moment that builds a unique bond in any relationship.”

The last year has posed unique challenges to local theater companies like Metropolis. The curtain closed for months for public safety, but virtual shows kept the magic going during lockdown. Now a new season can begin, and the Metropolis production team is excited to start with the cult-classic comedy musical “Little Shop of Horrors.”

“Little Shop of Horrors” will run from April 29 to June 12, 2021. Tickets will cost $35 for the preview performances and $40 for the regular run performances.

“We are now returning to live theater with more passion and enthusiasm than ever before,” Joe told us. “We believe that 2021 and onward will be the start of a boom in theatrical production — as people reconnect to the vitally necessary experiences of live theater.”

Metropolis Performing Arts Can Put on an Impressive Show

My first date was a smash success because we went to the theater. The play gave us the space to laugh side by side, and we came away with a lot to talk about afterward. I’ve been a fan of “play dates” ever since.

Local theaters like Metropolis can give couples the chance to go outside their everyday routines and strike up a romance that’s worthy of the stage. The unique experience offered by live performances can be just what couples need to mix up their date nights, especially if they’re in a post-lockdown funk.

In the coming year, the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre is prepared to reopen its stage productions and invite audiences to fall in love with live theater all over again. The 2021 season will start with “Little Shop of Horrors” and then make a musical tribute to Frank Sinatra — and more shows will be added to the roster as time goes by.

“Our goals, as always, are to create and present excellent works of superior productions,” Joe said. “Our shows and offerings create engaging and indelible experiences for our patrons and community. We look forward to welcoming our world back to our stage.”

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