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Four Shows to See During Chicago Theatre Week

There are only a few days left of discounted tickets at more than 100 productions.

From left: Carmen Cusack, Christine Sherrill, and Faith Prince in The First Wives Club: The Musical.   Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune

We’re halfway through Chicago Theatre Week, but it’s not too late to score some great deals (think $15 to $30 tickets) on shows to see in the city. Overwhelmed by the 100-plus options? Don’t worry, Chicago pulled together four that should make everyone’s must-see list, so get your tickets now. Chicago Theatre Week ends February 22.

Red Bud

From Chicago playwright Brett Neveu (The Last Barbeque, Drawing War) comes the story of a group of 40-something guys on their annual road trip to a motocross race. The men’s overnight camping excursion leads to an alcohol-induced unpacking of baggage, ending with to laughs, brawls, and that tragic sort of glory years nostalgia. Neveu is unmatched in his ability to capture the vernacular of everyday white guy schmoes, whether they’re making nice over barbecue or taking punches at each other. As Bards of Midwestern angst go, Neuveu’s at the top. Signal Theatre, 1802 W. Berenice. signalensemble.com

Forgotten Future: The Education Project

Collaboraction has carved out a crucial niche for itself by devising exhaustively researched, intensely acted pieces centering on social issues. Having tackled crime and healthcare with the signature collage style of interlocked scenes, Collaboraction sets its sights on the school system. Company members fanned out across the city, interviewing students about everything from racism to standardized testing, and the result is the rare show that entertains and informs with equal potency. Collaboraction, 1579 N. Milwaukee. collaboraction.org

The Importance of Being Earnest

Oscar Wilde’s biting, subversive, and infinitely witty commentary on Victorian social mores is a perennial favorite for dramatists. And nobody does fanged, scathing, rapid-fire Wilde with panache and expertise as well as ShawChicago. For this production, veteran director Robert Scogin leads Wilde’s merry band of well-spoken revolutionaries in a staged reading of the playwright’s undisputed masterpiece. ShawChicago at the Ruth Page Theatre, 1019 N. Dearborn. Through March 2. shawchicago.org

The First Wives Club

This “pre-Broadway tryout” based on the 1996 movie (inspired by Olivia Goldsmith’s novel) spins a delicious tale of spurned wives getting righteous vengeance on their ex-husbands. Written by best-selling author Linda Bloodworth Thomason (Designing Woman) with music by Grammy Award-winner Lamont Dozier,  The First Wives Club stars Tony winner Faith Prince, Carmen Cusak, and Chicago’s own Christine Sherrill, who spent years as an elementary school teacher before making the leap to musical theater. Oriental Theatre, 24 E. Randolph, firstwivesclubthemusical.com

For more information on Theatre Week, go to chicagoplays.com

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