Theatre Specific Discounts: Spend a little quality time on your chosen Theatre’s website. Often theatres offer discounts for students, seniors, day of tickets or even a pay-what-you-like day.
Previews: Most regional theatres have previews. A preview is basically seeing the show before the critics do. Since the show is still rehearsing while previews are going on, it is still evolving and isn’t the “final product” yet.
Industry Nights: If you happen to be in the theatre industry, most theatres offer discount nights for you!
Discount Websites/Locations: There are a handful of discount websites that offer great deals for seating. Be sure to read the fine print- Sometimes the seats have limited view. Try StubHub.
The Lottery: Broadway in Chicago often offers a lottery! If you win, you get tickets for a fraction of the price. I recommend contacting individual theatres to confirm or check here for details.
Saints/Volunteer: If you are a local or plan to be in the area a few times a year, you can volunteer as an usher to see the show for free! Many Chicago theatres use an organization called The Saints. There is a small membership fee but you can essentially see as much Chicago theatre as you can fit into your schedule.
In the end, Chicago theatre is amazing and certainly worth the bucks. Choose something that inspires you. Choose something that challenges you. Choose something you would love to see and the cost won’t matter.