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Exclusive | Theater Weekends, Darling

Exclusive | Theater Weekends, Darling

If escaping for the weekend is a treat, then seeing great theater during it is like a rich chocolaty dessert (but without the guilt).

Taking the show on the road, Out Traveler Joseph Alexiou revisits beautiful and historic theatrical houses in New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, and San Diego. Check out the new and exciting shows being staged in the coming seasons!

NEW YORK CITY
Where To Go
The original "Broadway" scene, originating on this street in lower Manhattan, moved to the Times Square (42nd street and Broadway) area in the early 20th century and is now host to 39 official theaters.

Season Highlights
Dolly Parton's new musical 9 to 5, an adaptation of her breakout 1980 film, will open at the Marquis Theatre (1535 Broadway, call Ticketmaster, 212-840-3890) in April 2009. The score and lyrics were composed by the luscious country diva herself while the lead role will be played by West Wing star Allison Janney. Don't miss Dolly's explanation of the musical here.

Billy Elliott was originally a film about a working class British boy who wants to be a ballet dancer. Playing at the Imperial Theatre (249 W 45th St.).

Gayer than Average
Check out the Wings Theatre (154 Christopher St, 212-627-2960), which puts on a series of gay-themed plays every year.

Tickets and Hotels
The average price of a Broadway ticket is around $78, although on weekends some show can go as high as $200+. Cheaper tickets are available but must be bought well in advance.

A weekend night at the theater district's (pet-friendly!) Muse Hotel (130 W. 46th St., 212-485-2400) runs from $170 to $445.

CHICAGO
Where to go
Chicago's downtown, known locally as the Loop, contains most of Chicago's mainstream theaters. The most famous include the Drury Lane Theatre (175 Chestnut Ave.) and the Steppenwolf Theatre Company (1650 N Halsted St.).

Season Highlights
Spring Awakening, a Tony Award-winning new musical, follows the lives of teenagers who are in the midst of discovering their sexuality in 19th century Germany. August 4-16th, 2009.

The History Boys, written by Alan Bennett and adapted for film in 2006, won Tony and Olivier awards for Best New Play upon its debut. Opening in the TimeLine Theatre (615 W. Wellington Ave) in April 2009.

Gayer than Average
The Bailiwick Repertory Theatre (1229 West Belmont, 773-883-1090) has produced a diverse range of shows with gay themes.

Tickets and Hotels
Ticket prices are similar to New York's; the lowest prices one could pay for a show ranges from $22 to $60 per person, but expect to shell out the cash.

The Hampton Majestic hotel (22 W. Monroe, 312-332-5052) offers a special Broadway package that includes tickets and a discounted room rate (starting at $139).

Part One | Part Two

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