CHICAGO STAGES BRING
DOWN THE HOUSE DURING
BY ALICE LEVVIT
In the frigid winter months, it can take a little inspiration to compel yourself from the cozy couch. But the League of Chicago Theatres and Choose Chicago are a creative bunch. They’ve conceived Chicago Theatre Week, an annual celebration of the city’s sensational stages and the performers who bring them to life.
From February 13 to 23, more than 100 productions will be featured in and around the neighborhoods and suburbs of Chicago, ensuring great shows nearby no matter where you stay during Chicago Theatre Week, now in its eighth year. The success of the event can best be seen in the increased sales each year, with 12,700 tickets sold in 2019.
“Chicago, which is home to over 250 dynamic theatres, provides visitors more variety and creative platforms than any destination in the United States,” said David Whitaker, president and CEO of Choose Chicago.
Another appeal of Chicago Theatre Week is that tickets are deeply discounted. Participating theaters charge $30, $15, or even less for tickets during the event. Last year, 139 participating productions offered value-priced tickets during Chicago Theatre Week.
Few Chicago theaters are more storied than Steppenwolf. Co-founded by actor Gary Sinise, the theater is renowned for birthing the careers of some of the country’s greatest actors, and you never know where the stars of the latest production will pop up next. This play, written by Tracy Letts, best-known for August: Osage County, is compelling enough on its own. Just make sure you don’t mind hearing a conspiracy theory or three.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater
This company isn’t just devoted to the Bard. Fans of Jane Austen and musical theater alike are bound to be delighted by this musical — adapted from Austen’s novel — with music, book, and lyrics by Paul Gordon, who was nominated for a Tony Award for his work on the musical Jane Eyre.
Lyric Opera of Chicago
Founded in 1954, this opera company is known as one of the world’s best for a reason. Glory in the stunning sets and costumes of this Puccini classic, along with the city’s biggest voices. Even if you’ve never seen the story of geisha Cio-Cio San and her callous American lover, you likely already know and love the famous “Humming Chorus.”
Ever wondered about the story behind Roe v. Wade? The case — and the people behind it — that made abortion legal in the United States is brought to disarmingly humorous life in this play by Lisa Loomer, best known for the film Girl, Interrupted. Told from the perspective of plaintiff Norma McCorvey (“Jane Roe”) and attorney Sarah Weddington, the play peels back history to explore the extraordinary journeys of these two women.