The Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance (also known as the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, the Harris & Harris Theater or, most commonly, the Harris Theater) is a 1,525-seat theater for the performing arts located along the northern edge of Millennium Park on Randolph Street in the Loop community area of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, US. The theater, which is largely underground due to Grant Park-related height restrictions, was named for its primary benefactors, Joan and Irving Harris. It serves as the park's indoor performing venue, a complement to Jay Pritzker Pavilion, which hosts the park's outdoor performances.
Constructed in 2002–03, it provides a venue for small- and medium-sized music and dance groups, which had previously been without a permanent home and were underserved by the city's performing venue options. Among the regularly featured local groups are Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Chicago Opera Theater. It provides subsidized rental, technical expertise, and marketing support for the companies using it, and turned a profit in its fourth fiscal year.
The Harris Theater has hosted notable national and international performers, such as the New York City Ballet's first visit to Chicago in over 25 years (in 2006). The theater began offering subscription series of traveling performers in its 2008–09 fifth anniversary season. Performances through this series have included the San Francisco Ballet, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Stephen Sondheim.
The theater has been credited as contributing to the performing arts renaissance in Chicago, and has been favorably reviewed for its acoustics, sightlines, proscenium and for providing a home base for numerous performing organizations. Although it is seen as a high caliber venue for its music audiences, the theater is regarded as less than ideal for jazz groups because it is more expensive and larger than most places where jazz is performed. The design has been criticized for traffic flow problems, with an elevator bottleneck. However, the theater's prominent location and its underground design to preserve Millennium Park have been praised. Although there were complaints about high priced events in its early years, discounted ticket programs were introduced in the 2009–10 season.