Must-See Storefront Shows for Chicago Theatre Week 2017

Now in its fifth year, Chicago Theatre Week celebrates the city's vibrant theater scene with discounted tickets priced at $30, $15, or less.

Chicago Theatre Week 2017
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Now in its fifth year, Chicago Theatre Week celebrates the city’s vibrant theater scene with discounted tickets priced at $30, $15, or less.

This year there are over 120 participating productions from big Broadway shows to intimate storefront productions Theatre Week has it all. These discounted tickets are the perfect opportunity to check out a new theater or revisit the theater if you haven’t been in awhile.

Since storefront theater is Chicago’s staple theater style, here’s a list of four neighborhood storefront productions that you should check out during Theare Week.

Earthquakes in London Chicago Theatre Week

“Earthquakes in London”

Earthquakes in London

Steep Theatre, 1115 W. Berwyn Ave.
Get Chicago Theatre Week tickets using Promo Code THWEEK
Runs through March 4
Director Jonathan Berry tackles the first U.S. production of Tony-nominee and Olivier Award-winning playwright Mike Bartlett’s “Earthquakes in London.” Not only does it feature a 15-person ensemble cast in a small storefront space, it tackles some intense subject matter. “Earthquakes in London” reminds us that our political climate isn’t the only volatile climate we have to worry about.

The play follows three London sisters. Sarah, the oldest, is an environmental minister of the government; Jasmine, the youngest, is a student and a bit of a rebel; and the middle child, Freya, is pregnant and desperately worried about bringing a child into this world. Why is she worried? Their estranged father is a famous environmentalist. In his books, he predicts that the world will soon end due to man’s effects on the environment.

Freya decides to visit her father after years of never seeing him. Instead of getting comfort, she feels her world turned upside down and things begin to fall apart. Bartlett examines both family and environmental dynamics in this thought-provoking play that doubles as a rallying cry for environmental protection.

 

"Wit" Chicago Theatre Week

“Wit”

Wit

Presented by the Hypocrites at Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Get Chicago Theatre Week tickets using Promo Code THWEEK
Runs through Feb. 19
Dr. Vivian Bearing, a university professor and acclaimed John Donne scholar, has been diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer. After her diagnosis, she attempts to fight the battle with the strongest medication available. Much to her dismay, she struggles and death looms. The experience has her perplexed, so she examines her feelings by dissecting Donne’s Holy Sonnet X, “Death Be Not Proud” and relating it to her situation. The play takes place during her final hours on Earth. She spends them in a soliloquy to the audience, recounting her life, and coming to terms with her impending death.

Chicago actress Lisa Tejero magnificently portrays Dr. Bearing in this moving meditation on life and death. Under the incredible direction of Marti Lyons, Tejero and the cast effortlessly shift from one memory to another, giving the audience a glimpse into the life and psyche of this tremendous woman.

“Wit,” written by Margaret Edson, won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was also adapted into a film. The Hypocrites’ production of “WIt” perfectly embodies storefront theater in Chicago, making it a must-see show for Chicago Theatre Week.

 

The Tall Girls

Presented by Shattered Globe Theatre at Theatre Wit, 1223 W. Belmont Ave.
Get Chicago Theatre Week tickets using Promo Code THWEEK
Runs through Feb. 25
The future doesn’t look so bright for the residents of Poor Prairie. The Great Depression has hit the small Midwestern town hard, and the jobs have dried up along with the soil. But the local high-school girls have found a glimmer of hope in the game of basketball. Could a game be their ticket out?

Almeda is a rambunctious teenager who loves basketball more than anything. Almeda’s mother has passed, and the young girl has become too much for her father to handle. So her older cousin, Jean, has been shipped to Poor Prairie to care for her. Both Almeda and Jean are not pleased with the situation. However, encouragement from Johnny, the mysterious new high-school teacher/coach, leads Jean to join the basketball team as well. Almeda naturally views this as a threat at first, but ultimately basketball manages to help their relationship grow.

Despite their differences, the girls band together and try to overcome their unfortunate circumstances. “The Tall Girls” by Meg Miroshnik is inspired by the real life Midwestern girls basketball teams of the 1930s. You find yourself cheering on the young ladies as they maneuver through the game and through life—sometimes successfully and sometimes not. If only for a moment, the girls manage to escape their difficult lives and write their own story. Ensemble member Louis Contey cleverly directs this heartfelt Chicago premiere.

 

A Disappearing Number

TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.
Get Chicago Theatre Week tickets using Promo Code THWEEK
Runs through April 9
“A Disappearing Number” is a critically-acclaimed play originally devised in 2007 by the London-based international touring theatre company Complicite. This ensemble-based show is a beautiful blend of artistry, math, history, and love. Like String Theory, all things are connected in this moving piece directed by TimeLine Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling.

The play features the story of real-life math phenom Srinivasa Ramanujan. Ramanujan is a young Indian mathematician with no formal education. In 1913, he sends an out-of-the-blue letter full of amazing theorems to lauded British mathematician G.H. Hardy. Astounded by Ramanujan’s letter, Hardy invites Ramanujan to Cambridge University to collaborate.

Hardy and Ramanujan’s tale is told in tandem with a fictitious story about another unlikely couple, Ruth and Al. Ruth is a British mathematics professor who views math in the way poets view poetry, and Al is a businessman who doesn’t know a thing about math. The two fall in love and their story interweaves through space and time with Hardy and Ramanujan’s, highlighting the not-so-random connections between us all. With the help of beautiful projections and live music accompaniment, TimeLine’s ensemble expertly brings this intriguing play to life for Chicago audiences.

Chicago Theatre Week 2017 will take place Feb. 9–19. For a full list of participating shows please visit chicagotheatreweek.com or follow @chicagoplays on social media using #CTW17.


Krista Krauss
Written By Krista Krauss

Krista is the chef concierge and co-founder of the travel start-up company When in ROAM, wheninroam.com Krista spent most of her career serving as a luxury Chicago hotel concierge. She is food fanatic and puppy mommy who is passionate about theater, craft cocktails, and discovering the best things to do in the city. Additionally, she is member of the League of Chicago Theatres’ Young Professionals Circle. For insider info, follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram @KristaD14.

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