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If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet

4/17-5/24: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM; no performance Sun 4/20

Nick Payne's comedy about a teenage girl and her dysfunctional family. $20-$22

Steep Theatre (map)
1115 W. Berwyn Ave.
phone 312-458-0722


Origin Stories


Group show featuring comic art.

Third Coast Comics (map)
6234 N. Broadway
phone 847-863-7450


Good Boys and True

3/11-5/3: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3:30 PM

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa sure knows how to tell a ripping yarn, which may explain why these days he divides his time between writing for theater, TV (Glee and Big Love), and comic books (notably Marvel’s Fantastic Four). Certainly the tale he tells in this 2008 drama—about a scandal that erupts at an all-male Jesuit high school when a sex tape featuring the captain of the football team surfaces—is well told. And director Cody Estle packs his production with actors who perform with grace and power. But in the end, as in a lot of TV, Aguirre-Sacasa's twisty story proves more diverting than insightful. And not even the heartfelt speeches about privilege, compassion, and personal responsibility near the end of the second act can give the play more than the illusion of depth. —Jack Helbig $36, $15 for students, teachers, and military personnel

Raven Theatre (map)
6157 N. Clark St.
phone 773-338-2177



4/12-5/10: Thu-Fri 8 PM, Sat 4 and 8 PM

Like deranged fun-house ghouls, the characters in this new play by Aaron Adair pop out and grab you. Based on Verdi's Rigoletto, the plot follows a sex-crazed queen (Maureen Yasko, whose entrance would make Frank-N-Furter blush) and her fool/procurer (Kathrynne Wolf). Cursed by a priestess for the queen's licentiousness, they throw the scold behind bars. Then it's the fool's own son's turn to be seduced. Drum beats mark every movement of this Babes With Blades production, staged in commedia dell'arte-style whiteface and featuring the "violence design" of Alison Dornheggen. The mind games may leave you feeling like a guest at the Mad Hatter's tea party, but—aside from a too-long second act—it works. Trade in the shackles of morality for a pair of handcuffs, the play spits. 'Tis better to have loved brutally than to have lived boringly. —Chloe Riley $20, $12 for students and seniors
Rivendell Theatre (map)
5775 N. Ridge Ave.
phone 773-334-7728


The Haunting of Hill House

Through 5/11: Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 2 PM; also 4/10, 4/18, 5/1, and 5/8, 7:30 PM

Shirley Jackson's enigmatic 1959 novel is in part a postmodern spin on the gothic ghost story tradition and in part a semiautobiographical account of a neurotic woman's mental disintegration. It's about a group of people exploring supernatural phenomena in a mysterious mansion; among them is Eleanor, a guilt-ridden spinster with a history of paranormal encounters. Audiences looking for conventional shocks and horror won't find them in Jackson's book, or in director-playwright Paul Edwards's faithful new adaptation for City Lit Theater. But Edwards and his fine cast and design team capture the brooding menace and dark humor of Jackson's classic book; Julia Kessler is excellent as Eleanor, for whom the visit to Hill House is an alluring and threatening emotional homecoming. Edwards has also created the show's wonderfully spooky sound design, which goes a long way toward drawing the viewer into Eleanor's eerie inner world. Albert Williams $25-$29

City Lit Theater (map)
1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
phone 773-293-3682
The Haunting of Hill House


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