10 Hot Shows to See in Chicago


The League of Chicago Theatres rounds up this month's theatrical favs.

With more than 250 theater companies, Chicago is renowned around the world for its innovative and vibrant theater scene. Add a performance (or two or three) to your Chicago itinerary — plus, experience many shows on a budget with HALF-PRICE THEATER TICKETS FROM HOT TIX! From Broadway musicals and world premieres to intimate dramas and side-splitting comedies, you could fill every night of your visit with a front-row performance.

And here’s even more good news! 

The League of Chicago Theatres has launched its brand new Hot Tix website, featuring a sleek new look, user-friendly search options, geo-locating to find nearby half-price performances, and the ability to buy your half-price tickets straight from your mobile device.

Now back to this month's hot shows! Here are 10 top plays and musicals — both traditional favorites and main-stage headliners — with discount tickets during the month of August.

1. Haymarket 

Underscore Theatre at Theater Wit
1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Lakeview
Playing August 3-August 19, 2018​


Based on historical events, Haymarket tells the dramatic story of labor unrest in Chicago, 1886, where striking workers clashed with a brutal police force, resulting in an act of terror, a corrupt trial and the deaths of five innocent men. Told by a cast of 12 actor-instrumentalists, Haymarket is a folk, bluegrass and Americana adventure. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

2. BLISS (or Emily Post is Dead!)

Promethean Theatre Ensemble at Athenaeum Theatre 
2936 N. Southport Ave. in Lakeview 
Now playing through August 25, 2018

It's 1960 in North Orange, NJ. Clytemnestra and Medea are now housewives with a pill addiction, and Antigone is the teenage girl next door who is in love with a black boy. On the surface, they're seemingly blissful to follow the "rules” of Emily Post, the American author famous for writing on etiquette. But that's just the surface. Then Cassandra, a black working girl, moves into their neighborhood and all routines are interrupted. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

3. Heartbreak Hotel

Broadway in Chicago at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place
175 E. Chestnut Ave. along the Magnificent Mile 
Now playing through September 9, 2018​

Heartbreak Hotel

From the creator of the Tony Award-winning smash hit Million Dollar Quartet comes Heartbreak Hotel, a record-breaking musical, selling out at its world premiere at the historic Ogunquit Playhouse. This prequel to Million Dollar Quartet follows the story of Elvis Presley in the early years of his bourgeoning career as he and Sam Phillips create the music that will forever change their lives. As Elvis’ career skyrockets, both lifting and shattering the lives of those he loves, a secret love story is revealed, a betrayal is discovered, and “Colonel” Tom Parker changes the course of history, all in just 18 short months. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

4. 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas 

Lookingglass Theatre 
821 N. Michigan Ave along the Magnificent Mile 
Now playing through August 26, 2018

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

When a terrifying sea monster is spotted off the coast, renowned scientist Professor Aronnax and fellow explorers set out to investigate. They soon find themselves kidnapped and held under the command, and spell, of the mysterious Captain Nemo. As they circle the globe aboard the most advanced submarine the world has never seen, they confront giant squids, bizarre sea creatures, and the monsters that lurk below…and within. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

5. Huggable Riot: Take With a Grain of Fault

Huggable Riot at Annoyance Theatre
851 W. Belmont in Lakeview 
Now playing Wednesdays at 8:00pm through August 29, 2018

Huggable Riot’s 19th production, Take with a Grain of Fault explores relationships between the past and present, where we are headed, and what it all means in the end; and the result is a collective, “We don’t know, but had fun getting there.” Whether through philosophical window washers, the world’s worst therapist, or the child-like wonder of the Cult of Cthulu, this revue cares most about the journey and the friends made along the way. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

6. Holding the Man

Pride Films and Plays at The Broadway
4139 N. Broadway in Uptown
Playing August 5-August 26, 2018

Holding the Man

In 1976, Tim and John meet as teenagers at their all-boys Catholic school in Melbourne and become boyfriends. The story follows them into adulthood as their relationship endures in spite of obstacles such as parental resistance, differing views on monogamy, separation, and finally HIV. Conigrave’s memoir won the 1995 UN Human Rights Award for Non-Fiction and was voted one of Australia’s 100 favorite books. Tommy Murphy’s stage adaptation faithfully captures the book’s humorous and heart-wrenchingly honest portrayal of the relationship, but also succeeds in transforming it into a unique theatrical experience. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

7. The Lady Demands Satisfaction

Babes with Blades Theatre at City Lit Theater Company
1020 W. Bryn Mawr in Edgewater
Now playing through August 25, 2018

A young maiden, Trothe, learns that her entire inheritance will be forfeited to anyone that bests her in a duel once she comes of age. The catch? Her birthday is in a week. She must turn to her Aunt Theodosia, a famed swordsman, if she is to keep her house and lands. She also enlists the aid of her two favorite servants, though they may prove more hindrance than help. With the house filling up with Prussian swordmasters, a clueless lawyer, and a poetically minded suitor, events unfold in true farcical fashion. Like all good farces, everyone gets the ending they deserve, but will they be satisfied? Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

8. Pamplona

Goodman Theatre
170 N. Dearborn in the Loop
Now playing through August 19, 2018

Stacy Keach triumphantly returns to the Goodman in a tour-de-force performance as legendary author Ernest Hemingway. After the prize comes the pressure. Five years after receiving career-defining awards, Ernest Hemingway faces a looming deadline for a story about the rivalrous matadors of Pamplona. In declining health and consumed by the demise of his fourth marriage, he must now conquer the despair that threatens to engulf him. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!


9. Scenes for a Green World 

On the Spot Theatre Company at Greenhouse Theater Center
2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Lincoln Park  
Now playing through August 19, 2018

Artist, Hiroko Takahashi, was a prisoner along with her family in the Heart Mountain Internment Camp, and Dina Novak, botanist, survived the Holocaust in Europe.  These two best friends, retired public school teachers, meet periodically at the Lincoln Park Conservatory to discuss everything under the sun, and usually not the wartime of their childhoods. That is, until some health issues for one, and the visit of the younger generation from both their families, causes a change in their routine. When Dina’s granddaughter Sadie moves to Chicago to teach and can’t get seem to get on the same page as Hiroko’s American-educated, but Osaka-born, furniture designer nephew, things get more interesting for everyone.  Scenes For a Green World explores the potential for redemption when reconnecting to one’s early years can be both a curse and a blessing.   What can be nurtured to blossom out of the dark ground of the past to sustain the future for oneself and others? Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!

10. Avenue Q

Mercury Theater 
3745 N. Southport Ave. in Lakeview 
Now playing through September 9, 2018

Avenue Q

The homegrown production of Avenue Q from 2014 is lovingly revived on the Mercury stage. A racy cross between South Park and Sesame Street, Avenue Q is a modern musical focusing on a group of unique 20-somethings making their way in the big city, seeking their purpose in life. Although the show addresses humorous adult issues, it is similar to a beloved children’s show; a place where puppets are friends, Monsters are good and life lessons are learned. Winner of the Tony “Triple Crown” for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book, Avenue Q is part flesh, part felt, and packed with heart. Check for half-price tickets at Hot Tix!


BONUS! A Midsummer Night’s Dream  

Chicago Shakespeare In the Parks 
Now playing through August 26, 2018
Touring to neighborhood parks across the city 

FREE and OPEN to the public!

Join Chicago Shakespeare In the Parks for one of our city’s favorite summer traditions! Now in its seventh year, the FREE FOR ALL Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour heads out to neighborhood parks across the north, west, and south sides of the city, with a 75-minute abridged production. At each location, a specially equipped truck rolls into the park, a stage unfolds, and a company of professional actors shares Shakespeare’s magical comedy with families and neighbors of all ages. Barbara Gaines brings a vision of merriment to the enchanting story of four young lovers who set out for the forest, in which an amateur theater troupe is rehearsing. When the Fairy Court discovers these mortals in their midst, mischief ensues until dawn. Get more info!


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

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