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Theater & Performance Search – The Short List (Theater)

12 total results

Stupid Fucking Bird

8/23-9/21: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM

Sideshow Theatre Company presents Aaron Posner's loose adaptation of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull. $20-$25

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

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First Look Repertory

Through 8/24: various times

To paraphrase Martha and the Vandellas, summer's here and the time is right for sitting in the seats. Chicago's conventional theater season may still (roughly) follow the September-to-June academic calendar, but festivals have burgeoned­—along with outdoor Shakespeare—to fill up the warm-weather down period. For example: A physical theater festival called Physical ran here earlier this month, as did the Drekfest rotten-play competition. The three-day Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins performance marathon begins this Friday (see page 22). Next comes A Jangleheart Circus, promising 111 improv and sketch comedy acts. And the Chicago Fringe Festival dances summer out with 48 shows, starting Labor Day weekend. In that context Steppenwolf Theatre's First Look Repertory comes off as a modest affair. This year's edition—the ninth annual—comprises just two readings and a trio of "developmental productions" presenting new plays by younger writers. But the event has been discerningly curated by Aaron Carter and Greta Honold, and the three staged shows offer just under five hours of worthwhile summer sitting. Continue reading >> $20

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Musas

8/15-8/24: Wed-Fri 8 PM, Sat 3 and 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM

In Musas, writer Néstor Caballero answers a question no one has probably ever asked: What would happen if the depressive American poet Sylvia Plath met the eccentric Mexican painter Frida Kahlo? Sadly, his answer is garbled by poor dramatic structure. The play is full of intense dramatic moments (Kahlo writhes in pain on a gurney, Plath rages against her unfaithful husband) that don't quite add up to a compelling story. Worse still is Caballero's assumption that we already know all the key events and people in Plath and Kahlo's lives, so he doesn't have to dirty his hands with exposition or explanations. Mónica Steuer and Rebeca Aléman throw themselves heart and soul into recreating Plath and Kahlo, but it's all lost in the sound and fury of Caballero's incoherent material. —Jack Helbig $25

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

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My First Time

Through 8/29: 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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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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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

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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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

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Royal George Theatre Center (map)
1641 N. Halsted St.
Lincoln Park
phone 312-988-9000
Showing 1-12 of 12 total results in this search.