10 Hot Shows To See in Chicago

June 2019


With more than 250 companies, Chicago is known across the world for its innovative and vibrant live theatre scene. Add a performance (or two!) to your Chicago itinerary – plus, experience many shows on a budget with half-price theater tickets from Hot Tix! From Broadway musicals to intimate dramas to sidesplitting comedies, every night you can choose from dozens of shows – including these top plays and musicals playing this June.

1. Ms. Blakk for President
Ms. Blakk Steppenwolf

Steppenwolf Theatre Company
1650 N. Halsted St in Lincoln Park  
Now playing through July 14, 2019

Don’t miss ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney’s return to the stage as Joan Jett Blakk, America’s first black drag queen presidential candidate. Joan’s story begins in Chicago; it’s 1992 and, with the AIDS crisis at its height, Joan and the newly formed Queer Nation Chicago have big goals in mind. Joan sets off on an exhilarating and dangerous journey to drag queer politics out of the closet and into a future where everyone has a place at the table. Part campaign rally, part nightclub performance, part confessional, and all party, Ms. Blakk for President takes us into the heart and mind of one of Chicago’s most radical and influential trailblazers. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

2. Emma

Lifeline Theatre
6912 N. Glenwood in Rogers Park
Now playing through July 14, 2019

After a successful experiment in matchmaking, Emma Woodhouse is convinced she can do no wrong. So the high-spirited socialite inserts herself in the love lives of everyone around her, meddling despite their wishes, and leaves a tangle of heartbreak in her wake. To restore happiness to her fractured world, Emma must swallow her pride and learn to value the needs of others over her own desires. Navigate the blunders of the heart in this world premiere adaptation of the 1815 romantic comedy by Jane Austen. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

3. If I Forget
If I Forget at Victory Gardens

Victory Gardens Theater
2433 N. Lincoln Ave in Lincoln Park
Playing through June 7 – July 7, 2019

In the final months before 9/11, liberal Jewish studies professor Michael Fischer has reunited with his two sisters to celebrate their father’s 75th birthday. Each deeply invested in their own version of family history, the siblings clash over everything from Michael’s controversial scholarly work to the mounting pressures of caring for an ailing parent. As destructive secrets and long-held resentments bubble to the surface, the three negotiate—with biting humor and razor-sharp insight—how much of the past they’re willing to sacrifice for a chance at a new beginning. If I Forget tells a powerful tale of a family and a culture at odds with itself. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

4. The Selfish Giant 

Ghostlight Ensemble Theatre Company at Otherworld Theatre 
3914 N. Clark St.
Playing June 8 – 30, 2019

Told through an ensemble of physical storytellers and geared toward young audiences, The Selfish Giant tells the story of a large lovely garden and the children who loved to play there until the return of the giant who owned the land. Outraged to see the children on his land, the giant builds a big wall to keep them out and puts up a notice that reads: TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED. But without the children, the garden falls into perpetual winter and the Selfish Giant finds himself isolated and all alone. Based on Oscar Wilde’s short story of the same name, The Selfish Giant illustrates the perils of isolation and the negative consequences of selfishness, but it also teaches us that it is never too late for redemption and for loveCheck for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

5. Grace, or the Art of Climbing

Brown Paper Box Co. at Stage 773
1225 W. Belmont Ave in Lakeview
Playing June 6 – July 8, 2019

Faced with a painful chapter in her life and fighting the inertia of depression, Emm decides to enter the world of competitive rock-climbing. Her quest through the rugged and humorous terrain of physical training and personal relationships charts the journey of a young woman suspended between love and loss, strength and fear, fathers and daughters, and the ardor and grace of being human. Brown Paper Box Co. is proud to present the Midwest premiere of this Barrymore Award Best New Play nominee and Kilroys List honorable mention. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

6. Desire in a Tinier House

Pride Films and Plays at The Broadway
4139 N. Broadway in Buena Park   
Now playing through June 29, 2019

It only takes three seconds for Trevin and Carlos to lock eyes. But how many minutes, months, millennia will it take for them to remain in love in the middle of the woods – in the middle of an America determined to pull them apart? Can they truly keep the tiny house they’ve made for themselves forever? Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

7. Life on Paper
Life on Paper

Jackalope Theatre Company at Broadway Armory
5917 N. Broadway in Edgewater   
Now playing through June 22, 2019

After his proof for the Riemann Hypothesis (one of the world’s last great math puzzles) disastrously flames out, Mitch Bloom, a brilliant mathematician finds himself working as a consultant using complex algorithms to set the value of human lives in wrongful death cases. His knack for devaluing lives has made him the darling of the insurance companies, but what will he do when the wrongful death of a billionaire philanthropist crosses his desk, and the future of a small-town hangs in the balance? Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

8. Queen of the Mist
Queen of the Mist

Firebrand Theatre at The Den Theatre
1331 N. Milwaukee Ave in Wicker Park   
Now playing through July 6, 2019

Queen of the Mist is based on the astounding and outrageous true story of Anna (Annie) Edson Taylor, who in 1901 set out to be the first person to go over the Niagara Falls in a barrel of her own design. Navigating both the treacherous Falls and a fickle public with a ravenous appetite for sensationalism, this unconventional heroine vies for her legacy in a world clamoring with swindling managers, assassins, revolutionaries, moralizing family, anarchists and activists. With a soaring score that incorporates turn of the century themes with LaChiusa’s signature complexity and insight, Queen of the Mist is the story of a single great fall, and how one woman risked death so that she could live. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

9. SIX
SIX Shakespeare Theatre

Chicago Shakespeare Theater
800 E. Grand Ave at Navy Pier
Now playing through Aug. 4, 2019

Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived. On the heels of its UK debut and wildly popular West End run, Chicago Shakespeare stages the North American premiere of SIX—currently nominated for five Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical. The ex-wives of Henry VIII join forces for an electrifying pop-concert spectacle—shining a spotlight on these six women as never before. The queens take the mic to reclaim their identities out of the shadow of their infamous spouse—remixing five hundred years of historical heartbreak into an exuberant celebration of twenty-first-century female empowerment. Backed by a band known as the “Ladies in Waiting,” the all-woman ensemble traverses the spectrum of modern-day pop with a soundtrack that has stormed to the top of the UK charts. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

10. Take Me
Take Me

Strawdog Theatre
1802 W. Berenice in North Center
Now playing through June 22, 2019

Take Me is a world premiere musical and based on a true story by Mark Guarino and Jon Langford (The Mekons and The Waco Brothers) about searching into the vast universe for answers when they might be found inside. When her husband lapses into a coma, Shelly feels hopeless and turns to the sky for a reason to go on. She finds direction from voices she believes are aliens who instruct her to move to Roswell, N.M. and build an amusement park in their honor before awaiting further instruction. She follows their orders and what follows is a comic fantasia involving government conspiracy theories, deadly insect bites and idol worship. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

Note that the schedules included above are subject to change; visit the Hot Tix website for exact dates and half-price ticket availability. Visit to find other exciting productions on stage while you're here, and find insider guides to all things performing arts and the Chicago theatre scene to create your Chicago itinerary.

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