Cheap theater tickets
How to save cash on musicals and plays without waiting until the last-minute to buy.
Is there a way to get discounted theater tickets without waiting until the last minute? I like to plan in advance, but I don’t want to commit to a whole season.
Discount ticket outlets like Hot Tix and Goldstar are great for spur-of-the-moment entertainment on the cheap, and many theaters offer rush tickets. But they’re not much help if your niece is planning to visit in May and will absolutely die if she doesn’t see David Cromer’s Rent. Unfortunately, the peace of mind that comes with planning ahead will usually mean paying full price when buying single tickets. But a few of the city’s pricier institutions have ticket schemes you can creatively employ. The $150 Steppenwolf Pass gets you three tickets to the company’s main-stage productions in whatever combination you choose; use it to take your parents to the Civil War epic The March (Apr 5–Jun 10) and you’ll save up to $78 over regular price. The Goodman offers two-show subscriptions for its smaller Owen Theatre, nabbing you both The Convert (Feb 25–Mar 25) and Fish Men (Apr 7–May 6) for $52 general admission on most dates—only $10 more than the top ticket price for just one of these plays. And Chicago Shakespeare Theater has a deal right now: Pick two of the four remaining shows in its 25th anniversary season—Elizabeth Rex (through Jan 22), The Feast: an intimate Tempest (Wed 18–Mar 11), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Feb 7–Apr 8) or Timon of Athens (Apr 24–Jun 10)—and get 20 percent off with the promo code PICK2. About Rent? Your niece will survive, I promise.
Top-dollar theater for $25 or less
Motion Signal Ensemble Theatre’s new pro-football drama finds labor discord threatening the league. Jan 26–Mar 3 (1802 W Berenice Ave, 773-698-7389; $20).
The Factory Theater Enjoy a 2012 season of remounted favorites like Ren Faire! A Fistful of Ducats!, opening July 27. (3504 N Elston Ave, 773-305-5775; $20).
Arcadia Tom Stoppard’s heady play takes the stage at New Leaf Theatre. May 3–Jun 16 (2045 N Lincoln Park West, 773-980-6391; $25).
Steppenwolf’s Garage Rep See new work by rising local troupes LiveWire Chicago, Theatre Zarko and the Inconvenience. Feb 2–Apr 8 (1624 N Halsted St, 312-335-1650; $20, three-play pass $45).