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5 total results

Penny the Fuckable Dolphin

12/17-2/11: Wed 8 PM

A musical dark comedy about a man who falls in love with a dolphin. $20

Annoyance Theatre (map)
851 W. Belmont
phone 773-697-9693



Through 1/16: Tue-Sun, various times, see website

You've got to give credit to the folks at Chicago Shakespeare Theater: they take their mission seriously enough that they'll attempt even this miserable contrivance, only partly written by the Bard and extant only in a corrupt quarto that scholars suppose was pieced together from memory. The editors of the First Folio couldn't justify including Pericles in their collection, but CST is willing to give it a try. The story is reminiscent of The Winter's Tale in that it concerns a king who spends years separated from his wife and daughter. But where the estrangement in The Winter's Tale is caused by the king's reckless behavior, here it's just another damned thing that happens. Best known for musicals, director David H. Bell tries all kinds of tactics to make something silky of his sow's ear. Now it's a comedy with metatheatrical winks. Now it's a fantasia a la Mary Zimmerman. Now . . . dancing! Nothing works. And Bell is further hobbled by his poorly cast leading man, Ben Carlson, whose Pericles resembles an accountant in a jerkin. At least we've got Nan Cibula-Jenkins's sumptuous costumes and Scott Davis's cunning sets to look at. —Tony Adler $58

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (map)
800 E. Grand Ave.
Other Central
phone 312-595-5600


Plan 9 Burlesque

Open run: last Sun of the month, 7:30 PM

The theme of this monthly event changes from show to show. At one edition, Attack of the 50 Ft. Stripper, host (and occasional ukulele player) Aly Oops guided the audience with adorkable hyperdrive through a series of sci-fi-themed strip teases, in which characters from Star Trek, Captain Apollo, and Star Wars skillfully denuded themselves but didn't manage to uncover any mysteries of the universe in the process. The production had some stellar moments: there's very little in this world or any other that can beat Leeloo from The Fifth Element slowly removing a multipass from the crotch of her glittery gold pants. And while a shimmying cardboard-box robot may invite scrutiny from whatever higher life form one day discovers our sex- and spaceship-obsessed culture, it definitely improved my Sunday night. —Hannah Gold $15
Public House Theatre (map)
3914 N. Clark St.
phone 800-650-6449

Porgy and Bess

Through 12/20: times vary, see website

Like its hobbled hero, this great American opera has been constrained over most of the nearly 80 years since its first production. Between critical quibbles and more serious social concerns, George Gershwin's gorgeously tuneful masterpiece, with libretto by DuBose and Dorothy Heyward and Ira Gershwin, didn't get to the Lyric Opera stage until 2008. This season Lyric has brought that same, busily choreographed Francesca Zambello production back. The strong, mostly new cast includes baritone Eric Owens as a mature and memorable Porgy; baritone Eric Greene as his convincingly explosive nemesis, Crown; and soprano Adina Aaron, in an able Lyric debut as the dicey redheaded woman, Bess. There's a treasure trove of outstanding performances by the huge supporting cast and chorus. Ward Stare conducts. —Deanna Isaacs $20-$229

Civic Opera House (map)
20 N. Wacker Dr.
phone 312-332-2244


Process: The Holiday Production

Through 12/20: Fri-Sat 8 PM

Process promises audiences: "You'll witness the entire production process from the auditions to the curtain call of closing night as an improvised three-act play unfurls before your eyes." It's a challenging, enticing premise that requires creating a play within a play from scratch. Actually, multiple plays, based on titles solicited from the audience. The show begins with improvisers conjuring monologues before a director casting a "holiday play." Next it jumps to a rehearsal, then a final act of that play. The format proved too complicated for these CIC performers; neither characters nor plots gelled. It's the 19th century. No, the 18th! Then a character suffers a Korean war flashback. Rudolph the Reindeer gets blown to bits but then is whole. Improv shows often get better over time, however: this tough format, like Rudolph, may yet come together. Ted C. Fishman $10

CIC Theater (map)
1422 W. Irving Park Rd.
phone 773-865-7731


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