Chicago Theatre Week
Top picks from Chicago actor Eli Branson:
Sure–you could escape the cold with another night out at the movies, but why not spend an evening with some real, LIVE actors and take advantage of Chicago Theatre Week! From February 11th-16th tickets are discounted at most participating theatres for as low as $15-$30 (some places less!).
Best bets: These selections are based TOTALLY on what l think are must-sees, but since this is Chicago theatre, I guarantee any show you pick will be worth the (discounted!) price of admission.
- From White Plains (Broken Nose Theatre @ The Greenhouse Theatre Center) – coming off an incredible, GLAAD Award-winning off-Broadway run Michael Perlman’s play about bullying makes its Chicago Debut with the tagline “Just because it gets better doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.” What happens when the nasty, thoughtless words we’ve said as children come back to haunt us in adulthood? Tickets (with discount code) here.
- Improv All Stars (UP Comedy Club) – Maybe it’s all the “30 Rock” binge-watching I’ve indulged in, but a night of improv (with a “Suggested R” rating) directed by living-legend Mick Napier sounds like the perfect respite from our endless winter. $15 tickets here.
- Tribes (Steppenwolf) – This story of a deaf man’s quest to find an identity outside his family unit is sparking a vibrant dialog about representations of disability in the theatre (as well as bowling-over critics). See a show in the birthplace of Gary Sinise for only $30! Tickets (with discount code) here.
- Hedda Gabler (Writer’s Theatre in Glencoe) – The Practically Perfect Kate Fry leads Broadway-bound director Kimberly Senior’s new production; wallow in the winter-time blues with this haunting domestic drama—maybe you won’t leave humming any tunes, but it’s sure to be a knock-out. Tickets (with discount code) here.
- Rough Crossing (First Folio Theatre, Oakbrook, IL) – this rollicking Tom Stoppard comedy is sure to be hilarious in a new treatment by First Folio Theatre. Performances take place in the historic and gorgeous Mayslake Peabody Estate, so if you’re looking to see something outside the “blackbox” (HA!), take 290 West for a night in one of the most immersive theatre spaces in the area. Tickets (with discount code) here.
For a full listing of participating shows and theatres, go here: http://www.choosechicago.com/things-to-do/arts-culture-and-entertainment/chicago-theatre-week/
Culture & Entertainment
- Celebrate America’s representation in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Kicking off on February 6, follow the action on NBC. With a number of athletes hailing from Chicago, here are the ones to watch:
- Speed skating: Shani Davis, Emery Lehman, Brian Hansen and Patrick Meek
- Figure skating: Gracie Gold and Jason Brown
- Bobsledding: Aja Evans
- Hockey: Patrick Kane and Megan Bozek
- Listen to the classical works of Stravinsky and Ravel at Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s “after dark” 21+ event, POST, on Friday, February 28 at 8 p.m. Discounted tickets ($35) provide admission to the entire performance and the after-concert lounge. Sip a cocktail while mingling with CSO’s musicians and composers. Also watch for the April POST event featuring Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” set
- Sing along to Texas-born Pat Green’s performance at Joe’s on Weed, Friday, February 7 at 8:30 p.m. He puts on a great show and has the crowd singing along. Known for collaborations with the likes of Willie Nelson and Brad Paisley, Pat Green has been selling out his latest shows performing his soulful country music. Tickets $28
Food & Drinks
- Learn how to make dumplings with Chef Bill Kim of bellyQ on-site (1400 W. Randolph) at on Saturday, February 1 at 11 a.m. For $37, learn the art of dumplings through various flavors: beef and cheddar, pork and cilantro, and buffalo chicken and blue cheese (just in time to impress your friends at your Super Bowl party!)
- Make Whoopie Pies at deca restaurant (160 E. Pearson) to sweeten your February. Classes offered at 6 p.m. February 14 and 15, $40 per couple. The hands-on class will be supplemented by hors d’oeuvres and champagne. Call 312-573-5160 for reservations
- Take part in 2 Sparrows’ monthly beer pairing dinner (533 W. Diversey) on Friday, February 7 at 7 p.m. Chef Gregory Ellis will take you through four courses on his German menu, including cassoulet and German chocolate cake, all paired with Metropolitan Brewing beers. Tickets are $55 for all food and drinks, and they have limited reservations available
- Brave Navy Pier to attend the 2nd annual Chicago Cider Summit. Cider-lovers rejoice at the thought of samples from over 90 ciders around the world, with food pairings. $25 advance tickets will get you 8 tastings and a souvenir glass, with the option to purchase additional tastings. The event is on Saturday, February 8 with two sessions – 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and 4 – 8 p.m.
- Join wine enthusiasts nationwide for a virtual toast to Silver Oak’s 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. At City Winery (1200 W. Randolph), you can take part in a 20-year Silver Oak “release day” tradition and be the first to taste the newly released wine at 12 p.m. on Saturday, February 1. For $50, there will be several tastings with complementary appetizers and an etched wine glass to take home
Volunteer & Charity
- Follow your passion and give back to the city by finding the right volunteer opportunities for you at the Chicago Volunteer Expo. On Sunday, February 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (2430 N. Cannon) hosts over 75 non-profit organizations showcasing opportunities for you to get involved. In the past I’ve found it difficult to find volunteering events in the city, so I’m looking forward to seeing the great work we can take part in all over the city
- Go all-out fancy for Snowball, the Saturday, February 8 gala benefiting the Pediatric and Adolescent HIV/AIDS Programs at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Complete with live music and a silent auction, Snowball is the annual charity event for Chicago’s young professionals. Tickets, $140+, provide entry to the event with food and drink features from around the city, and proceeds support access to high-quality healthcare for children with HIV/AIDS. Held in Union Station’s Great Hall, expect a night of dancing and mingling with the city’s finest
- Bring your dogs to the party at PAWS Chicago’s Animal Magnetism gala, Friday, February 28 at Galleria Marchetti (825 W. Erie). Enjoy a night of drinks, dancing and live auction to better the lives of endangered animals throughout Chicago. Advance tickets $125/person and $25/pet
- Take your charity work to the road by racing in Chiditarod, Chicago’s fourth annual costumed shopping cart relay race fundraiser. Join together with your team to race a shopping cart around the city in one of the largest mobile food drives benefiting the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Trade your ball gown for a crazy costume and expect a day of chaos, fun and laughter. Registration is open now ($55-70 per team) for the Saturday, March 1 event. Over 80,000 pounds have been donated to date, how much can you contribute?