As lovely as Hyde Park is, it’s useful and fun to get out into other Chicago neighborhoods throughout the year. We recommend trying a few during the summer after you move out here to see where your home-away-from-home in Chicago might be! To get you started, the office staff has thrown together a starter guide about a few of our favorite neighborhoods around town…
Okay so you’ve all survived your first week and you have six novels , two film screenings and Hegel to read over the weekend and MAPH Central keeps telling you to leave Hyde Park. So if you don’t think you can squeeze in a play on this dreary rain-filled weekend save this post for some future night when you have an evening free and are wondering what you can do for $10. Some of you are in an arts reviewing class so seeing performances is homework.
Chicago is a fantastic theater town. There are many big theaters but there are also great small theaters performing in church basements and storefronts. There are performances where you could reach out and touch the actors (although the actors won’t like that). There are roughly 300 theaters producing work for almost every taste. Most of them are listed at the League of Chicago Theatres website.
However, the League won’t group them by style of theater and give you tips for seeing things cheaply. My updated guide to Chicago theaters and tips for seeing theater on the cheap is after the jump.
So it seemed like it was time to update the blog with a new batch of free or cheap ways to entertain yourself as a graduate student. Courses haven’t started so there is no excuse for not trying out a few of these options before you are drowning in reading.
First for incoming students it is great to know that your University of Chicago ID serves as your arts pass to get you in free or discounted to many area museums and theaters.
Festivals and Lectures
There will be many fantastic lectures on campus. However, the Chicago Humanities Festival hosts events all over the city in October and November. Most of them free or very cheap for students there is no excuse not to go see Steven Sondheim, Laurie Anderson or Jonathan Franzen speak.
Many Chicago street festivals are still happening in September and October.
Check out the Renegade Craft Fair September 10-11, Oktoberfest, September 23-24 or the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, September 24-25. A full list is here. Don’t miss free concerts in Millenium Park or Grant Park.
Discounted theater tickets are available the week of performances at hottix It is always worth asking for a student rate or checking your arts pass discount at most theaters.
Be sure to check out my guide to Chicago theaters here. There are over 200 small theaters in Chicago covering ever style, taste and price range, many small companies still have industry nights, or pay-what-you-can nights.
More free things after the jump . . .
Chicago is a fantastic theater town. There are many big theaters but there are also great small theaters performing in church basements and storefronts. There are performances where you could reach out and touch the actors. There are over 200 theaters producing great innovative work for almost every taste. Most of them are listed at the League of Chicago Theatres website.
Here is my basic quick guide to Chicago theaters and tips for seeing theater on the cheap.
Reviews appear in the Sun Times, Tribune, Chicago Reader and TimeOut Chicago and a number of theater blogs, which given how much newspaper space for reviews has been cut can be a great place to look for information on shows. Chicago Theater Blog, Stead Style Chicago and Theatre in Chicago and Chicago Critic all have reviews.
The Chicago theater awards are known as the Jeffs (short of the Joseph Jefferson Award) so if you see a play has been Jeff nominated or Jeff Citation nominated then it means a panel of fellow Chicago theater artists think it is good.
Movement Based Theater
Check out: The Building Stage (I saw an amazing adaptation of Moby Dick here where different actors played Ishmael and Ahab) Redmoon (known for their annual spectacles and puppet, The House, TUTA (The Utopian Theatre Asylum- the first play I saw there was an adaptation of a Peter Handke novel and performed without speaking), Lookingglass (they are particularly known for their Lookingglass Alice- expect to see someone dangle from a rope), 500 Clown (you haven’t seen Macbeth until you’ve seen it done by three actors with comedia dell’arte and clown training), or Plasticene.
Chicago Dramatists, New Leaf, Theatre Oobleck (always free if you’re broke and amazing writing) Curious Theater Branch, Victory Gardens Theatre (where Kristoffer Diaz’s The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity debuted last year) or Collaboraction (which hosts an annual sketchbook). » Read the rest of this entry «