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Theater & Performance Next 30 Days

13 total results

Speakeasy

7/11-8/29: Fri 11 PM

Kiss Kiss Cabaret's 20s-themed show. $20, $15 in advance

Greenhouse Theater Center (map)
2257 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-404-7336

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El Stories: Listen to the Music

6/21-8/30: Sat 11 PM

As I headed into the Waltzing Mechanics’ 16th collection of transit tales, a cast member asked if I had a good el story. I hastily described the time someone's bright-orange vomit ricocheted off a window and onto my shoulder. He asked a couple broad questions that elicited few additional details, then sent me into the theater. I suspect the folks who conduct the interviews to get material for El Stories proceed in a similar manner. Like previous incarnations I've seen, this late-night show consists mostly of fleeting incidents with hardly enough development to qualify as anecdotes, let alone stories, presented with unwavering earnest literalness. Each of the 15 pieces involves music, which can aggravate, captivate, or unify, as is made clear repeatedly throughout the hour. —Justin Hayford $20

http://waltzingmechanics.org
Greenhouse Theater Center (map)
2257 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-404-7336

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Home of the Gentry

8/14-8/31: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 2:30 PM

This new stage version of Ivan Turgenev's 1859 novel concerns middle-aged aristocrat Fyodor Lavretsky, who returns after a long absence to the country estate where he grew up. Estranged from his unfaithful, frivolous wife, the sensitive nobleman falls in love with his niece, Liza, a serious and deeply religious young woman he has known since her childhood. The potent and universal theme of midlife self-reflection comes through in writer-director Mike Brayndick's earnest adaptation, compensating for the stodgy pacing, cheap costumes, and sometimes amateurish acting in this On the Spot Theatre Company production. The show's greatest asset is Stephen Gawrit's sound design, which effectively merges Mikey Moran's original incidental music with classical selections that reinforce the story's setting (1840s Russia) as well as its emotional content. —Albert Williams $20

Greenhouse Theater Center (map)
2257 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-404-7336

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Churchill

Through 9/14: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 2:30 PM

Winston Churchill was a remarkable statesman and a total badass. The neglected, disdained son of a blue-blood English politician and an American beauty, he had a caustic wit, enormous pugnacity, and a tendency to piss people off. He spent his early career in the military, fighting his way through India, Sudan, and other outposts of the British Empire (all the while reporting on it for publications back home). He warned against appeasing Hitler, then led his country through the war that followed appeasement's failure. On the cusp of the Battle of Britain, he famously told the people "we shall fight in the fields and in the streets . . . we shall never surrender." Badass indeed. Ronald Keaton references all these facts and attributes in the course of his 105-minute solo turn as the great man—yet never shows us the formidable temperament behind them. Genial, sly, occasionally poignant, and packed with astonishing Churchillian quotes, the performance is engaging but lacks bite. It's as if Keaton were playing a nostalgic old pal of Churchill's rather than Churchill himself. —Tony Adler $25-$42.50

Greenhouse Theater Center (map)
2257 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-404-7336

Stupid Fucking Bird

Through 9/21: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM

This update of The Seagull announces itself at the very start, when Katy Carolina Collins, playing Masha (she who wears black because she's in mourning for her life), breaks the fourth wall with a mopey-cute love song picked out on a ukulele. Playwright Aaron Posner and Sideshow Theatre Company take an anachronistic, ostentatiously metatheatrical approach to Chekhov's 1896 black comedy about moneyed artsy types who go looking for love in precisely the wrong places. The conceit can get infuriatingly coy, as when Nate Wheldon's Conrad (Constantin in the original) puts the audience through the empty and condescending exercise of asking us how he can get his longtime crush, Nina, to love him. But director Jonathan L. Green and cast deliver an engaging show despite the choose-your-own-adventure gimmickry, by means of a strong ensemble performance. Though Collins's Masha is especially vivid, as are Nina O'Keefe's Nina and Norm Woodel in the role of aging Uncle Sorn, everyone onstage weaves beautifully, painfully into everyone else. —Tony Adler $20-$25

Victory Gardens Theater (map)
2433 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-871-3000
Stupid Fucking Bird

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My First Time

Through 9/26: Fri 11 PM

Two years ago, Broken Nose Theatre's first pass at this 2007 off-Broadway hit—a compilation of inaugural sex tales culled from myfirsttime.com—was a promising but overly stagey affair. This time, they've hit their stride. Under Benjamin Brownson's fleet direction, the quartet of attentive, malleable performers deliver an hour's worth of confessional monologues—sublime, ridiculous, banal, harrowing—with candor and charisma. The inclusion of factoids culled from an anonymous preshow survey of the audience (how many of us are virgins, what we'd say to our first partners today) slyly pulls everyone into the show without the threat of embarrassment. The script still offers few grand insights (and unwisely concludes that the evening's stories don't really matter), but it charmingly demystifies many of our most potent collective secrets. —Justin Hayford $25

Greenhouse Theater Center (map)
2257 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-404-7336

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Hank Williams: Lost Highway

Through 9/28: Wed-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 2:30 PM

Matthew Brumlow is superb in this affecting chronicle of the turbulent life of the great country singer-songwriter Hank Williams, who died in 1953, at age 29, from heart failure brought on by too much pills and liquor. Under the guidance of director Damon Kiely and musical director Malcolm Ruhl, Brumlow uncannily re-creates Williams's expressive yodeling style, demonstrating the deeply personal way Williams melded hillbilly and black blues influences in such classic tunes as "Your Cheatin' Heart," "Long Gone Lonesome Blues," and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." American Blues Theater's excellent remounting of Randal Myler and Mark Harelik's musical drama also boasts a first-rate supporting cast of actor-instrumentalists on guitar, fiddle, bass, steel guitar, harmonica, and spoons. (Love the spoons!) —Albert Williams $29-$49

http://americanbluestheater.com
Greenhouse Theater Center (map)
2257 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-404-7336
Hank Williams: Lost Highway

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The Ceyx Series

Open run: first Mon of every month, 7:30 PM

A monthly variety show set up by Halcyon Theatre. $10

Greenhouse Theater Center (map)
2257 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-404-7336

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The Magic Cabaret

Open run: Wed 8 PM,
phone 773-404-7336
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Once upon a time, Chicago was a magic town. You could buy tricks and apparatus at Marshall Field's and get a full-blown magic show with your dinner at Schulien's. The waiters there invented what became known as the Chicago style of magic. It was up-close and personal, not too grand, but still astonishing, and best of all, it made the audience part of the show. David Parr and Joe Diamond re-create this golden age in The Magic Cabaret, using homely objects like books and light bulbs and (naturally) playing cards to bring their stories of old-time magic to life. The result is by turns funny, surprising, and spooky. But here's the most amazing part: it really is fun for the whole family, not just the kids. —Aimee Levitt $20

http://magic-cabaret.com
Greenhouse Theater Center (map)
2257 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-404-7336

Kiss Kiss Cabaret

Open run: Fri 11 PM,

The tone and pace are just right in this late-night burlesque show. Doubling as affable emcee Max Flattery, director Chris Biddle keeps the evening fresh with a rotating line-up of erotic dancers, campy acts, and nerdy comedians. Striptease routines satisfy a wide range of PG-13 fetishes, sometimes in unconventional ways. Teddy Bare's absinthe fairy number, for instance, incorporates modern dance elements not typically associated with the bump-and-grind. The result is an eclectic blend of steam, smart humor, and shtick. If Biddle and company can maintain momentum, Kiss Kiss Cabaret has what it takes to become a cheeky Chicago staple. --Dan Jakes $15 online in advance, $20 at the door

Greenhouse Theater Center (map)
2257 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-404-7336

Bible Bingo: An Act of Charity in Two Acts

Open run: Fri-Sat 8 PM

A former nun holds a bingo fundraiser for her church in this interactive one-woman comedy written by Vicki Quade (Late Nite Catechism). $30

http://biblebingo.info
Royal George Theatre Center (map)
1641 N. Halsted St.
Lincoln Park
phone 312-988-9000

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Late Nite Catechism

Open run: Sat 5 PM, Sun 2 PM
phone 312-988-9000

A bona fide born-in-Chicago international hit, this simultaneously nostalgic and satirical comedy by Vicki Quade and Maripat Donovan concerns a nun instructing her students—that's you—on the dos and don'ts of dogma. —Jack Helbig $30

Buy from Ticketmaster
Royal George Theatre Center (map)
1641 N. Halsted St.
Lincoln Park
phone 312-988-9000

Million Dollar Quartet

Open run: Wed 2 and 7:30 PM, Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 5 and 8 PM, Sun 3:30 and 6:30 PM

Re-creating a legendary 1956 jam session involving Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis, this crowd-pleaser is basically a vehicle for crackling renditions of classic tunes, including "Blue Suede Shoes," "That's All Right," and "Great Balls of Fire." The show's emotional center is Sun Records founder Sam Phillips, a man caught between competing personal and business pressures. —Albert Williams $25-$70

Apollo Theater (map)
2540 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-935-6100

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