10 Hot Shows To See in Chicago

APRIL 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 April.

1. Cambodian Rock Band

Victory Gardens Theater
2433 N. Lincoln Ave. in Lincoln Park
Playing April 5 – May 5, 2019

Part comedy, part mystery, part rock concert, this thrilling story toggles back and forth in time, as father and daughter face the music of the past. Neary, a young Cambodian American, has found evidence that could finally put away individuals who carried out the Cambodian genocide. But her work is far from done. When Dad shows up unannounced — his first return to Cambodia since fleeing 30 years ago — it’s clear this isn’t just a pleasure trip. A wild rock-and-roll journey through the eyes of father and daughter, artistic director Chay Yew brings the world premiere journey of Lauren Yee’s (Samsara) Cambodian Rock Band from South Coast Repertory Theatre to Victory Gardens. Featuring songs by Dengue Fever. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

2. DJEMBE! The Show
Djembe! The Show

Apollo Theater
2540 N. Lincoln Ave. in Lincoln Park
Now playing through June 2, 2019

There’s a drum on every seat! Come see why Oprah chose DJEMBE! to lead her SuperSoul Sessions. DJEMBE! (pronounced “jem-bay”) is a theatrical concert taking audiences on an unforgettable musical journey through decades of beloved hits and genres, where you’ll play along to songs you love (from “We Are Family” to “Kiss” to “Happy”), all led by world-class Broadway and Chicago performers. Fresh from a smash-hit international tour, DJEMBE! makes its U.S. premiere at Chicago’s Apollo Theater in a strictly limited engagement. Recommended for ages 8 and up. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

3. Iron Kisses
Iron Kisses

Theatre Above The Law at The McKaw Theater
1439 W. Jarvis in Rogers Park
Playing April 4 – April 28, 2019

A story of a family: a son who made up for being gay by being perfect, a daughter who treats her daughter the way her mother treated her, a mother who struggles to love her two children equally, and a father who started missing his son while he was still a little boy. In a revealing theatrical twist, two actors portray the siblings as well as their Midwestern mother and father as they explore the complex nature of love, family and marriage in the 21st century. Saturday matinees are performed by the teen ensemble. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

4. Lottery Day

Goodman Theatre
170 N. Dearborn in the Loop
Playing March 29 – April 28, 2019

Not everyone will go home a winner. “Great, young, thrilling Chicago writer” (Chicago Tribune), Ike Holter (Exit Strategy, Sender) assembles the vibrant characters from his acclaimed works for a raucous theatrical bash. Long the matriarch of a quickly gentrifying neighborhood, Mallory invites the lonely residents, hardcore activists, and starving artists of her block to what she hopes will go down as a legendary barbeque — thanks to a special surprise. Her mysterious plan to revitalize her community, however, may just be the very thing that tears it apart. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

5. She The People: The Resistance Continues
She the People Second City   

The Second City at UP Comedy Club
230 W. North Ave. in Old Town   
Now playing through June 2, 2019

Back by popular demand, new and improved! We’ll bet you 72 cents on the dollar (or much, much less!) you’ll cheer for this sketch show entirely created, designed, and performed by the fearlessly funny women of The Second City. This mimosa-and-madness-fueled foray roasts the patriarchy, taking on everything from having it all…to having that sick feeling your government is trying to send you back to the Middle Ages. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

6. Small World
Small World

The New Colony at The Den Theatre
1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park
Now playing May 4, 2019

It’s the end of the world…maybe? There’s no way to confirm for three cast members trapped inside their attraction at the happiest place on earth. The music won’t stop, there’s a body in the moat and one of the group is impaled under a smiling animatronic. Can they force their way off the ride? And what waits for them on the other side? It’s a world of hope, it’s a world of fear. It’s a small world, after all. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

7. Tap Dogs
Tap Dogs

Broadway In Chicago at James M. Nederlander Theatre
24 W. Randolph in the Loop
Playing April 16 – April 21, 2019

This is not just tap. Experience high voltage, rugged, raw talent in the tap dance phenomenon that’s taken the world by storm. Dein Perry’s Tap Dogs returns to the stage with its trademark blend of live music and tap dance as you’ve never seen before. The New York Observer called it “positively electrifying.” Part theatre, part dance, part rock concert, and part construction site, the show is crammed with high-energy dance, theatrical performance, and music performed by the cast and live musicians in this unstoppable spectacular. Whether in water, upside-down or jumping through scaffolding, the Tap Dogs have been performing to the beat of their own drum for over 20 years. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

8. Utility 

Interrobang Theatre Project at Rivendell Theatre
5779 N. Ridge Ave.
Playing April 5 – May 4, 2019

Amber is doing everything she can to keep her head above water, but no matter how hard she tries it never seems to be enough. Money is tight, her marriage is in turmoil, and she’s juggling two jobs just to make ends meet. As she struggles to plan her eight-year-old daughter’s birthday party, Amber must stay strong as she feels increasingly invisible in her own life. Meticulous and heartbreaking, Utility offers an empathic glimpse into America’s’ working poor. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

9. The Ridiculous Darkness
A scene from The Ridiculous Darkness

Sideshow Theatre Company at Victory Gardens Theater
2433 N. Lincoln Ave. in Lincoln Park
Playing through April 28, 2019

The horror! The horror! Sergeant Oliver Pellner has clear orders: to travel into the savage wilderness, to find a Colonel who has gone rogue, and to kill him. The man’s gone native, as they say: has killed his comrades and disappeared into the darkness. Pellner and his pilot embark with confidence, but soon nothing makes sense anymore, as the river turns to mountains turns to jungle turns to black. In another time and place, Ultimo Pussi, a Somali fisherman-turned-pirate seeks justice and understanding before an increasingly hostile central European justice system. Fear turns to paranoia and civilization dissolves in Wolfram Lotz’ stunning and disturbing comedy: a fractured spin on Heart of Darkness, Apocalypse Now, and our shared history of barbaric colonialism. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

10. Yen

Raven Theatre Company
6157 N. Clark St. in Edgewater
Now playing through May 5, 2019

London, now. Two practically feral teenage brothers live alone in their filthy flat with a dog named Taliban, perpetually bathed in the blue glow of their screens, playing video games, watching porn, waiting for the occasional visit from their mother, and surviving. But when a strange neighbor girl barges through the door, the boys’ little blue world begins to change color. Raven Theatre Company brings Anna Jordan’s savage, unrelenting drama to Chicago for the first time. A play about growing up, opening the windows, and letting in the light. 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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