Chicago Theater Week: Discount tickets for a slew of great shows

SHARE Chicago Theater Week: Discount tickets for a slew of great shows

February can be the cruelest month for theater ticket sales, although this year’s unusually temperate Chicago winter may have boosted activity at many box office windows.In any case, the fourth annual edition of Chicago Theatre Week —a program presented by the League of Chicago Theatres in partnership with Choose Chicago, that was designed to boost theater-going during the traditional doldrums period – is going full steam ahead. And from Feb. 11 – 21, tickets to more than 100 area productions (including ballet and opera) will be available for $15-$30 and, in some cases, even less.This program should also serve as a great incentive for even the most devoted theatergoers to move out of their comfort zone and explore productions at theaters they might never have tried or even heard about.For inventory updates and new show announcements visit www.choosechicago.com orr follow @ChicagoPlays on Twitter.

Mary Winn Heider and John Ferrick star in the Strawdog Theatre production of “In a Word.” (Photo: Jon Cole/ Jon Cole Media)

Mary Winn Heider and John Ferrick star in the Strawdog Theatre production of “In a Word.” (Photo: Jon Cole/ Jon Cole Media)

Here is a list of just some of the widely varying and intriguing shows you might want to see at discount prices. I’ve caught several of them, and plan to see as many of the others as possible in the coming weeks:“Fugitive Songs” (BoHo Theatre, 7016 N. Glenwood): This innovative song cycle by Chris Miller (music) and Nathan Tysen (lyrics), focuses on everyday people on the run. They include a disgruntled Subway sandwich shop employee, a jilted ex-cheerleader, a pair of Patty Hearst fanatics, a stoner forced to rob a convenience store against his will, and many others. The score blends traditional folk music with contemporary pop and gospel to create a portrait of restlessness in America.“Estrella Cruz (the junkyard queen” (Halcyon Theatre, 3255 W. Wilson): A play about a mother and daughter that also features “helpful tips on what to do if you get knocked up by the lord of the underworld, and it turns out he’s a little meh about the whole thing.” The 85-minute story includes a spunky heroine, some sex, loads of glamor and a riff on having Bette Davis as your imaginary best friend.“In a Word” (Strawdog Theatre, 3829 N. Broadway): A poetic new work from Lauren Yee, the author of Victory Gardens’ acclaimed production, “Samasara,” this play homes in on a woman who must sort through what’s left of her life and sanity when her son mysteriously vanishes.“Animals on Paper” (Shattered Globe Theatre at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont): Rajiv Joseph’s lovely, quirky play deals with everything from origami (the Japanese art of paper folding) and its possible use in designing a heart valve, to hip-hop. But mostly it’s about the awkward, painfully creased personal relationships among an origami master, the high school calculus teacher who adores her, and that teacher’s brainy, wildly improvisational student (played with stellar grace and wit by Awate Serequeberhan).“The Consultant” (Signal Ensemble, 1802 W. Berenice): The final production by this company, which is packing up shop after 13 years, is an inspired tragicomedy of contemporary workplace manners by Heidi Schreck (author of “Grand Concourse,” seen last year at Steppenwolf). It deals with everything from political incorrectness to the terror of downsizing, and features excellent performances by Ariel Begley, Ben Chang, Courtney Jones, Joe McCauley and Maggie Cain, and direction by Ronan Mara. Schreck is a master satirist with a big heart — a winning combination.

Joe McCauley (from left), Courtney Jones and Ben Chang in ‘The Consultant” at Signal Ensemble. (Photo: Johnny Knight)

Joe McCauley (from left), Courtney Jones and Ben Chang in ‘The Consultant” at Signal Ensemble. (Photo: Johnny Knight)

“Upstate” (MPAACT at the Greenhouse Theatre Center, 2257 N. Lincoln): Adapted by Aaron Todd Douglas from the novel by Kalisha Buckhanon, this bittersweet coming-of-age story is told through a series of rawly emotional letters for which Harlem, Chicago and Paris serve as backdrops. It chronicles the relationship between two teenagers, Antonio (who is accused of murdering his father), and Natasha, who must make hard decisions as they explore the importance of individual human connections over the years. ​

“The Glass Menagerie” (The Hypocrites at The Den Theatre, 1329 W. Milwaukee): This brilliant re-imagining of the Tennessee Williams classic, with direction by Hans Fleischmann (who also stars as Tom), played to sold-out houses when it was first seen at the Mary-Arrchie Theatre, and later remounted. Fleischmann returns in his production, withKate Buddeke as a new Amanda Wingfield. If you missed this show the first time around be sure to see it now.

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