Chocolates are cliched. Flowers appear forced. And dinner's nice, but not enough. If you're not quite sure how to one-up last year's Valentine's Day performance, consider a trip to one of the many Chicago theaters offering some sweet stage action on or before February 14. You just might get a standing ovation.
Duets for My Valentine
Saturday, February 13 at Park West, 8 p.m.; $25
Being in love, flirting and seduction are all like dances. That's why this Valentine's Day performance includes every type of dance — from jazz to modern, tango, tap, ballet, swing and even cha cha — that'll make you swoon. Companies include DanceWorks Chicago, Elements Contemporary Ballet, Breakdance Chicago, Chicago Tap Theatre, Same Planet Different World Dance Theatre, Joel Hall Dance Company and Culture Shock Chicago.
River North Chicago Dance Company's Valentine's Weekend Engagement
Friday, February 12 - Saturday, February 13 at Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 8 p.m.; $30-$65
River North Chicago checks into the Harris Theater for a weekend of Valentine's Day performances, including two world premieres (Robert Battle's "Three" and Laurie Stallings' "Suppose"), "Evolution of a Dream," a re-imagining of the Company's signature work, "Reality of a Dreamer," and several other performances.
Bikerman and the Jewish Avenger: Love Hurts
Saturday, February 13 at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 10 p.m.; $16.50
No punches are pulled in this Valentine's Day show, as two ordinary guys break down the intricacies of dating, romance and love. Find a date if you can (not a young teen, please).
Valentine's Dance Night
Saturday, February 13 at Ballroom Dance Chicago, 6 p.m.; $50
Ballroom Dance Chicago invites you and someone you love to celebrate a weekend of romance. You'll experience an evening of romantic Latin dance and a complimentary sampling of selected wines and hors d'oeuvres.
A Valentine's Show
Sunday, February 14 at Annoyance Theatre and Bar, 8 p.m.; $10
You never know what to expect from love, so why should a show about it be any different? Derrick Aguis and Lindsey Finn use as suggestions from the audience to create an unscripted romance in this one-night-only show.
VD with Cornfusion
Sunday, February 14 at Cornservatory, 6:30 p.m.; $25
Booze, food and relationship-themed comedy are on the menu for Valentine's day this year.
Show Us Your Love
Sunday, February 14 at Mary's Attic, 7:30 p.m.
You could just buy a couple of $15 tickets for this collage of love-themed comic and dramatic musical selections - but to really make it special, go for the Valentine's Day Couples Package ($79), which includes two reserved seats, two servings of champagne, two red roses and a dessert to share. Get tickets at BailwickChicago.com.
Cupid Has a Heart On: A Musical Guide to Relationships
Saturdays at IO Theater, 10:30 p.m.; $18
The Cupid Players continue the open run of their love-themed show, in which they poke fun at relationships, love and, well, life in general. Is there a better day to evaluate and reflect on your own self-worth this Valentine's Day? That's what we thought.
Kama Sutra The Musical
February 13-March 27 at Davenport's Piano Bar & Cabaret; 10:30 p.m. Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sunday (Feb. 14 only)
Chicago may not be home to Kama Sutra's origins — that belongs to (duh) India — but our big-shouldered city is the birth place of "Kama Sutra: The Musical." Dustin Hamilton and Kendel Lester reprise their roles as sexually dysfunctional Dick & Gina, with director/choreographer Buddy Reeder returning for his second season as Swami Comoniwannagetonya, the 1800-year-old creator of the Kama Sutra, whose enchanted vibrator - the John Handcock - resuscitates the couple's lackluster lustlife.
MATE: Male Attraction Techniques Exposed
February 6-27 at Town Hall Pub, 7 p.m. Friday (February 12 and 26 only) and Saturday; $10
After being displaced from their convention at McCormick Place, a group of eccentric scientists gather here to present their breakthrough findings regarding the connection between animal courtship displays and human attraction techniques. The scientists explore all corners of the animal kingdom, from reptiles to arachnids, as they demonstrate males and females in pursuit of a MATE. If this doesn't get you in the mood, nothing will.