Best art gallery

Co-Prosperity Sphere 

Runner-up: Chicago Truborn

Best art group or collective

Englewood Arts Collective 

Runner-up: Project Onward

Best choreographer

Star Dixon 

Runner-up: Stephanie Martinez

Best comedian (non standup)

Maggie Winters 

Runner-up: Alex Collyard

Best comics illustrator

Keith J. Taylor 

Runner-up: Chris Ware

Best comics writer

Chris Ware 

Runner-up: Megan Kirby

Best dance production

Fly Honey Show’s DIY Fly 

Runner-up: Hubbard Street Dance’s RE/TURN at Harris Theater

Best dance studio or training program

Hyde Park School of Dance 

Runner-up: Giordano Dance Chicago

Best dance troupe

Fly Honeys 

Runner-up: Joffrey Ballet

Best dancer

Donnetta “LilBit” Jackson 

Runner-up: Dawn Xiana Moon

Best drag performer

Lucy Stoole 

Runner-up: Derry Queen

Best drive-in movie programming

Music Box of Horrors: Dawn of the Drive-In at ChiTown Movies

Runner-up: ChiTown Movies

Best established theater company

Steppenwolf Theatre 

Runner-up: The Neo-Futurists

Best film festival

Chicago International Film Festival 

Runner-up: Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival

Best film programming

Music Box Theatre 

Runner-up: Gene Siskel Film Center

Best filmmaker

Elias Rios 

Runner-up: Jennifer Reeder

Best independent book publisher

Haymarket Books 

Runner-up: The University of Chicago Press

Best lecture series

Chicago Humanities Festival 

Runners-up: Great Cities Institute at UIC, VOICES at UIC’s Gallery 400

Best movie theater

Special award for most votes of any winner in any category

Music Box Theatre 

Runner-up: Logan Theatre

Best movie theater bar

The Music Box 

Runner-up: The Logan Theater

Best mural

Robin Williams mural at 2047 N. Milwaukee (Concord Music Hall) by Jerkface and Owen Dippie 

Runner-up: Dolly Parton mural at Lytle House (5517 N. Broadway) by Michelle Lytle

Best museum

Art Institute of Chicago 

Runner-up: National Museum of Mexican Art

Best musical

American Mariachi (Goodman) 

Runner-up: Sister Act at Mercury Theater

Best new local opera production

The Magic Flute (Lyric Opera of Chicago) 

Runner-up: Macbeth (Lyric Opera of Chicago)

Best new nonfiction book by a Chicagoan

Three Girls from Bronzeville: A Uniquely American Memoir of Race, Fate, and Sisterhood by Dawn Turner 

Runner-up: U2’s The Joshua Tree: Planting Roots in Mythic America by Bradley Morgan

Best new novel by a Chicagoan

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala 

Runner-up: This Little Life of Mine by Shakia Jackson

Best new play

When Harry Met Rehab 

Runner-up: Where the Air Meets the Water

Best new poetry collection by a Chicagoan

And She Worthy by Kwyn Townsend Riley 

Runner-up: There Are Trans People Here by H. Melt

Best new theater company

Stepping Stone Theater Chicago 

Runner-up: Cabinet of Curiosity

Best nonfiction writer

Eve Ewing 

Runner-up: Alex Kotlowitz

Best novelist

Rebecca Makkai 

Runner-up: Kathleen Rooney

Best off-Loop theater company

The Neo-Futurists 

Runners-up: Porchlight Music Theatre, Raven Theatre

Best open mike

The Open Stage at Annoyance Theatre 

Runner-up: Cole’s Bar

Best opera company

Lyric Opera 

Runner-up: Chicago Opera Theater

Best original digital content (dance)

M.A.D.D. Rhythms (Aisha by Star Dixon) 

Runner-up: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (Half of Us)

Best original digital content (theater)

The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral (Neo-Futurists) 

Runner-up: ComedySportz Chicago

Best performing arts festival

Ravinia Festival 

Runner-up: Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival

Best photographer

Barry Butler 

Runner-up: The Kid From Pilsen (William Guerrero)

Best playwright

Tracy Letts 

Runner-up: Kristiana Rae Colón

Best poet

Eve Ewing 

Runner-up: Hannah McDonald

Best poetry organization (tie)

Poetry Foundation

Kuumba Lynx 

Runners-up: Chicago Poetry Center

Best reading series

Read Some Shit Chicago 

Runner-up: Grandma’s House

Best sketch/improv troupe

Late Night Shenanigans 

Runner-up: Devil’s Daughter

Best stage actor

Carrie Coon 

Runner-up: Ana Silva

Best stage director

Madison Smith 

Runners-up: Ron OJ Parson, Barbara Zahora

Best stand-up comic

Eliana La Casa 

Runner-up: Luca Ferro

Best storytelling series

The Moth 

Runner-up: Grown Folks Stories

Best street artist

JC Rivera 

Runner-up: Sentrock

Best theater bar or lobby

Steppenwolf Theatre 

Runner-up: The Annoyance

Best theater designer (sets, light, sound, etc.)

Sydney Lynne 

Runner-up: Sam MacNerland

Best theater production

Bug 

Runner-up: Hot Clown Sex

Best theater training program

Second City 

Runner-up: The Annoyance

Best venue for dance

Harris Theater 

Runner-up: Auditorium Theatre

Best venue for improv

Second City 

Runner-up: Annoyance Theatre

Best venue for stand-up

The Hideout 

Runner-up: The Annoyance

Best venue for theater

Steppenwolf 

Runner-up: Goodman Theatre

Best venue to see drag

Berlin 

Runner-up: Baton Show Lounge

Best virtual play

Queen Lear (Quarantine Queens) 

Runner-up: Pride & Prejudice, Pride & Prejudice Productions

Best visual artist

Kerry James Marshall 

Runner-up: Keith J. Taylor

Best zine

Word Brothel 

Runner-up: Acid Nun (Corinne Halbert)

Best of Chicago 2021 is
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Refer to the closed final ballot to see all the categories and finalists that were voted on.