Under Barbara Gaines' inspired guidance, Chicago Shakespeare Theater has staged what are arguably the finest Shakespeare productions in town. These offerings, buttressed by state-of-the-art technical design, showcase some of the finest Shakespearean actors in the Midwest. (There are also outreach performances for 60,000 schoolkids.) The facilities on Navy Pier are dazzling, but the heart of everything is the intimate stage. The new setup allows expanded programs such as great books discussion groups, scholarly forums and guest speaker appearances. The English Garden just outside the lobby is a nice addition, too.