Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theatre

24 W. Randolph

Seriously myopic, I like to sit near the stage for live theater. But seriously cheap, I hate to pay New York prices for Broadway in Chicago productions. If the show’s at my favorite BIC venue, the deliriously elaborate Oriental Theatre, there’s often a way to get a perfectly fine seat for as little as $25. Availability and details vary with each production, but here’s what generally works: Pick a weekday performance and get in line at the box office at least 15 minutes before it opens (usually 10 AM). Bring cash. Ask for “limited view” seats on the main floor. These will be on either the far right or far left, about seven to ten rows back. Take ones as far away from the wall as possible. There’ll be a piece of the stage abutting the wing that you won’t be able to see (ask the box office attendant how big a piece, since sets can be a factor), but chances are nothing significant will happen there, and you’ll be up-close for everything else. Similar deals can be had at the other Broadway in Chicago venues, but I can’t vouch for the views.