Some of the hottest tickets in local theater went on sale this week and none of them are for "Hamilton."
They're for more than 100 productions running at dozens of suburban and city theaters participating in Chicago Theatre Week.
If this year follows true to form, some of the performances may be sold out by the time the sixth annual celebration -- a collaboration between the League of Chicago Theatres and Choose Chicago -- begins Feb. 8.
No wonder. With most priced at $30 and $15 (some theaters charge even less), Chicago Theatre Week tickets are something of a bargain, allowing theatergoers an opportunity to sample companies or ensembles with which they're unfamiliar without putting a significant dent in their wallets.
That's exactly what organizers hoped when the mini-fest debuted six years ago. Since then, attendance has risen steadily, with 2017 marking sales of 11,750 tickets.
The number of productions stands more than 100 (with promises of more to come) as of press time, including 10 suburban shows.
Aurora's Paramount Theatre revives "Cabaret" under Katie Spelman, in her Paramount directorial debut. And in Oakbrook Terrace, Drury Lane Theatre stages the buoyant "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."
Relationships, war and morality are among the topics Donald Margulies explores in his drama "Time Stands Still." Buffalo Theatre Ensemble co-artistic director Connie Canady Howard directs the Glen Ellyn company's revival.
Romantic relationships are also central to Citadel Theatre Company's production of "Sex With Strangers" in Lake Forest. Laura Eason's drama is about the moral conundrums that result from an affair between a middle-aged author and a young blogger.
Oak Brook's First Folio Theatre presents the Chicago-area premiere of "Women in Jeopardy," Wendy MacLeod's incisive comedy about two divorced women who suspect their friend's new boyfriend is a serial killer.
William Brown helms "A Moon for the Misbegotten," Eugene O'Neill's tragedy about the doomed romance between a ruined woman and a dissolute actor at Writers Theatre in Glencoe. In Skokie, Northlight Theatre presents Dominique Morisseau's "Skeleton Crew," a contemporary drama about autoworkers facing possible layoffs.
On a lighter note, the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights revives French playwright Marc Camoletti's 1960 farce "Boeing, Boeing" about womanizer Bernard's efforts to juggle affairs with three women.
In Chicago, Court Theatre revives Arthur Miller's "All My Sons," while Goodman Theatre premieres "Blind Date," Rogelio Martinez's fictionalized take on the 1985 meeting between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. Goodman also presents the Chicago-area premiere of Sarah DeLappe's 2017 Pulitzer Prize finalist "The Wolves," about a high school girls soccer team.
Broadway in Chicago offers specially priced tickets to "Love Never Dies," Andrew Lloyd Webber's sequel to "The Phantom of the Opera," and the popular Harry Potter parody, "Potted Potter."
Other Theatre Week performances include Second City's main stage revue "Dream Freaks Fall From Space" and the sketch revue "She the People: Girlfriends' Guide to Sisters Doing it for Themselves," as well as Steppenwolf Theatre's "You Got Older," a dark comedy by Clare Barron.
Showcasing the area's diverse scene was only one of Chicago Theatre Week organizers' goals. From the beginning, League of Chicago Theatres representatives hoped the mini-fest would encourage people to check out Chicago storefront theaters.
Here's a sampling of Chicago Theatre Week's lesser-known participants:
• Babes With Blades, a company that specializes in using stage combat to tell women's stories, presents the Chicago premiere of "The Good Fight" by Ann Bertram.
• Steep Theatre premieres "Hinter," Calamity West's drama inspired by the 1922 Hinterkaifeck Murders at a remote farm in a German village.
• Saltbox Theatre Collective revives "4.48 Psychosis," Sarah Kane's last work about a person suffering from depression.
• Red Tape Theatre presents "I Saw Myself," about a 13th-century queen challenging convention.
• Trap Door Theatre offers tickets to "The Locketeer," adapted from Elias Canetti's 1956 play about a future state that regulates citizens' life spans.
• Definition Theatre mounts the Chicago premiere of "Moon Man Walk," James Ijames' examination of a young man mourning his late mother.
• The Plagiarists' "Some Like It Red" offers a mashup of "Some Like It Hot" and William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" set in 1985 Albania.
• 20% Theatre Company stages "Spark," about war's aftermath through the eyes of a female veteran and her family.
• The Comrades present "Row After Row," a comedy about a pair of male Civil War re-enactors whose hobby is upended by the arrival of a female soldier.
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Chicago Theatre Week
When: Feb. 8-18
Where: At theaters and arts venues throughout the suburbs and Chicago
Tickets: $30, $15 or less. See chicagotheatreweek.com for a schedule and tickets