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Theater & Performance Tomorrow

50 total results

Follow the Reader

Thu 4/17, 11 PM

In Follow the Reader, Chicago Dance Crash director and dancer Daniel Gibson will call the shots according to rules loosely based on the KTF (Keeper of the Floor) dance competitions that have made the crew popular. But Gibson won't be choreographing the spots. Instead, they'll be composed live by the dancers, who for 50 minutes will improvise and freestyle to tracks lifted from the B Side of this very paper. Audience members should be able to follow along, since dancers will signal when to turn a page and help make the stories recognizable by latching on to as many details as possible. The troupe may feel driven to do ironic takes on features like Savage Love, I Saw You, and the Straight Dope. But I say, go for it! Take it a step further and parody reviews, whether they be of books or beer, movies or restaurants. Heck, even this preview is fair game! I offer it up to this stupendous exploit. —Jena Cutie $5



4/17-5/25: Thu-Fri 8 PM, Sat 3 and 7 PM, Sun 4:30 PM

Set in rural Mississippi, Jerre Dye's lyrical drama unfolds in a ramshackle house where a sweet teenager named Ace lives with his mother, Lily, who's losing her mind. There are also the ghosts of several female relatives rattling around; sometimes they act as a chorus, other times as Lily's tormentors. Haunted southerners given to waxing poetic aren't exactly an untapped vein in theater, but Dye supplies piquant dialogue and a tragic sense of how the past can squeeze out the present. Both the quick and the dead are sensitively played by the fine cast of this Route 66 Theatre Company staging, which benefits from dreamlike atmospherics and a set (designed by Brian Sidney Bembridge) that feels at once claustrophobic and on the verge of collapse. —Zac Thompson $35, $20 for students
Greenhouse Theater Center (map)
2257 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-404-7336


Late Night at Garage Rep

Through 4/17: Thu 11 PM

Steppenwolf Theatre is going back to its own late-night roots for a new series, "Late Night at Garage Rep." Following each of Garage Rep's Thursday-night performances from March 6 to April 17, Late Night will feature performances from up-and-coming Chicago artists. No two weeks will be the same; the lineup promises music, poetry, and some strong words for James Franco. Continue reading >> $5



4/17-5/17: Thu-Sat 8 PM

John Godber's comedy about a quartet of doormen. $15

Public House Theatre (map)
3914 N. Clark St.
phone 800-650-6449


The Dream of Antigone

4/17-4/27: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 2 PM

Curt Columbus’s contemporary adaptation of Sophocles. $10


Eyes and Ears: The Musical

4/17-4/26: Thu-Fri 6 PM, Sat noon

A contemporary musical focusing on the struggles of a deaf artist. $15

Gorilla Tango Theatre (map)
1919 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Wicker Park/Bucktown
phone 773-598-4549


Gothic Arch

4/17-4/27: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM

Forget Me Not Theatre Company presents the Rashoman-inspired tale of a single crime told through the eyes of multiple witnesses. $20
Den Theatre (map)
1333 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Wicker Park/Bucktown
phone 773-609-2336


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


God's Work

4/4-4/19: Thu 7:30 PM, Fri-Sat 8 PM; also Sun 4/13, 2 PM and Wed 4/16, 7:30 PM

High school students involved with the Albany Park Theater Project worked with professional directors and designers to devise this powerful performance about a horrific case of child abuse, based on the actual experiences of a former ensemble member (an earlier version was produced in 2006). The teens play a Duggar-size brood who are kept in a cold, single-bulb basement by their Bible-thumping father; he lets them out only to administer sadistic punishments, represented by paint smeared on their arms, legs, and faces. The atmosphere is oppressive and otherworldly, thanks to Izumi Inaba's prisonlike costumes, Stephanie Paul and Maggie Popadiak's ritualistic choreography, and Mikhail Fiksel's eerie sound design. Combined with the fear and emotional deprivation conveyed by the cast, the results are haunting and heartbreaking. —Zac Thompson $10-$25

Goodman Theatre (map)
170 N. Dearborn St.
phone 312-443-3800


War Song

3/13-4/19: Thu 7:30 PM, Fri-Sat 8 PM

The Plagiarists' production of Jessica Wright Buha's Civil War-centered one-act looks at the power of speech and racism’s lingering toxicity through the eyes of Sergeant Major Christian Fleetwood of the United States Colored Infantry. The best parts of the show are the poetry and comic relief from a bumbling Walt Whitman (played by Christopher Marcum) and the period-appropriate music from Wyatt Kent, Sean McGill, and Kathryn Miller. The rest feels unfocused and superficial, employing a blind-faith patriotism that’s difficult to relate to. As Fleetwood’s wife Sara, Jyreika Guest faithfully provides the voice of reason throughout, noting there’s no glory in war and needless death. But once Christian drops his rhetoric and decides “a rifle makes a quiet man suddenly able to shout," what have we really learned here? —Marissa Oberlander $25, $15 for students and seniors
Berger Park (map)
6205 N. Sheridan Rd.
Rogers Park/West Rogers Park
phone 773-761-0376



3/7-4/19: Wed-Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 2:30 and 8 PM, Sun 2:30 PM

The star attraction is John Mahoney as Dan, a retired laborer who can't get over the death of the woman he's loved for 30 years. But it's Penny Slusher who provides all that's worthwhile in this world-premiere staging of a hokey two-hander by Irish playwright Christian O'Reilly. Slusher plays Betty, an aging divorcee with nothing but a brood of cats (19 of them "and counting," she says) to take the edge off her loneliness. Literally running into Dan at the vet's, she sets about bringing both him and herself back to life. If only she could do the same for the show as a whole. Between the formulaic script and a miscast Mahoney, however, that's impossible. Still, Slusher enlivens her every moment onstage with a bittersweet ebullience that bubbles over every so often into little dances of everyday transcendence. When Betty dons a ridiculous red party dress and asserts that she looks lovely in it, we have to admit she's right. —Tony Adler $25-$72

Northlight Theatre (map)
North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd.
phone 847-673-6300

Garage Rep

Through 4/20: Wed-Sun, times vary

When Martha Lavey became Steppenwolf Theatre's artistic director almost two decades ago, she invited me to lunch to pick my brains about the fringe theater scene. With so many resources at her disposal, she explained, she felt a duty to share the wealth with the smaller itinerant companies in town. I knew her good intentions were genuine (we spent time together in graduate school, and I'd seen firsthand her commitment to experimental work), but I doubted the demands of an oversize, heavily mortgaged, subscriber-dependent institution would leave her much room for noblesse oblige. Thankfully, I was wrong. It didn't take long before groups like Redmoon, Curious Theatre Branch, and 500 Clown started showing up on the Steppenwolf stage—albeit sometimes performing on whatever set Steppenwolf had up for its own production. And in 1996, when Cheryl Trykv, one of the under-the-radar stars of the perpetually under-the-radar performance scene, faced insurmountable bills for cancer treatment, Steppenwolf turned over its compound for a huge fund-raising performance featuring the likes of Ira Glass and Liz Phair. Continue reading >> $20, $45 three-play pass

Steppenwolf Theatre (map)
1650 N. Halsted St.
Old Town
phone 312-335-1650
Garage Rep


Through 4/20: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3 and 7 PM

Dan Caffrey's episodic new play works a dark, dark variation on the Pinocchio story. Set in the old west, it follows a brooding carpenter as he searches for his "son": a puppet who's not only run away but gone rogue. Knocking up girls and carrying out massacres are what make this piece of wood feel like a real boy. Caffrey raises disquieting questions about what it means to be human—and (especially in light of recent public comments by the father of Sandy Hook murderer Adam Lanza) provocative ones about the provenance of evil. But Aaron Henrickson's production for Tympanic Theatre comes across as ponderous, largely because of a self-consciously allegorical approach that all but ignores the characters' motives. I'd like to know a lot more, for instance, about what drives the carpenter; as things stand, he's a cipher who nevertheless has to carry the story. Ironically, the 80-minute show only comes alive when Anthony Stamilo is onstage playing the dangerous but endearing son. —Tony Adler $15-$20


Sleeping Beauty

4/15-4/25: Tue-Thu 9:45 and 11 AM, Fri 10 AM, Sat 11 AM

The Chicago Kids Company presents the classic fairy tale. $14, $12 for children

Metropolis Performing Arts Centre (map)
111 W. Campbell St.
Suburbs Northwest
phone 847-577-2121



3/28-4/26: Wed-Sat 8 PM

Hamlet becomes a masked vigilante set on exacting revenge in this parody from Corn Productions. $7-$15

Cornservatory (map)
4210 N. Lincoln Ave.
North Center
phone 773-650-1331


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