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Dance Nation

12/12-2/2: Tue-Thu 7:30 PM, Sat-Sun 3 and 7:30 PM; see website for holiday schedule

Buy TicketsPreviews 12/12-12/18, $20-$84; regular run 12/20-2/2, $20-$94

Clare Barron's play, a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize, follows a group of middle-school girls and competitive dancers (played by adults) through the guts and glory and griminess of preadolescent anguish. Lee Sunday Evans, who directed and choreographed the New York production, stages the show for Steppenwolf. 312-335-1650

Chicago Underground Comedy

Open run: Tue 9:30 PM
Beat Kitchen 2100 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago Roscoe Village

Buy Tickets$10; 21+

A benchmark for local stand-up comics takes the form of a slot at Chicago Underground Comedy—a weekly, curated showcase with the occasional former Chicagoan headlining. Think T.J. Miller, Hannibal Buress, Cameron Esposito, or John Mulaney. 773-281-4444

Open Mic in the SideBar

Tue., Feb. 4, 8 p.m.
FitzGerald’s 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn Berwyn

mostly singer-songwriters; sign-up begins at 8 PM 708-788-2118

Do You Believe in Madness?

Through May 31: Tue-Thu 8 PM, Fri-Sat 8 and 11 PM, Sun 7 PM
Second City 1616 N. Wells St., Chicago Old Town

Buy Tickets$31-$58

Ryan Bernier directs the latest mainstage revue for Second City as part of the company's 60th anniversary celebrations. The brand new ensemble includes Mary Catherine Curran, Sarah Dell’Amico, Andrew Knox, Asia Martin, Jordan Savusa, and Adam Schreck, with musical direction by Nick Gage. 312-337-3992

The Joy: The Visibility Of Black Boy Childhood

Tuesdays-Fridays. Continues through Feb. 29
Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery 515 N. Halsted, Chicago River West

An exhibition by photographer W.D. Floyd. 312-877-5170

Once on This Island

1/21-2/2: Tue-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 2 and 8 PM, Sun 2 PM; also Sun 1/26, 7:30 PM and Wed 1/29, 2 PM
Cadillac Palace Theatre 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago Loop

Buy Tickets$25-$99.50

The winner of the 2018 Tony Award for best revival of a musical, directed by Michael Arden, comes to town in a touring production. Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty adapted a 1985 novel by Rosa Guy for their 1990 show about a young peasant woman in the Caribbean, Ti Moune, who enlists the help of the gods to help her find the man she loves. 800-775-2000

Lights Out installation by Kate McQuillen

Through March 15
Ace Hotel 311 N. Morgan, Chicago Near West Side

An installation by Brooklyn-based painter and printmaker Kate McQuillen, presented by Johalla Projects. 312-764-1919

“This Bucket Ain't For Ice!”

Tuesdays-Saturdays, 12-4 p.m.

An exhibition of blues music photography by Eric Kriesant. 312-808-1286

Dream Freaks Fall From Space

Open run: Wed-Thu 8 PM, Fri-Sat 8 and 11 PM, Sun 4 PM, Tue 8 PM
Second City 1616 N. Wells St., Chicago Old Town

Buy Tickets$29-$46

Second City is in denial. Donald Trump is our president, and along with that comes a host of issues regarding race, gender equality, LGBTQ rights, and police brutality, among other things. The cast of the brand-new yet already outdated main-stage revue Dream Freaks Fall From Space tackle these loaded topics by mentioning them, then moving right along. And speaking of denial, scenes break one of the most fundamental rules of improvisation—embody the spirit of "yes, and . . . " to complement your partner onstage. Here instead actors deny ideas with "What are you talking about?" Second City is the tentpole of Chicago comedy for the rest of the country, but Dream Freaks feels like it was concocted in an intermediate-level improv class where mere nods get laughs and politics get skewered with Pixy Stix. Continue reading >> 312-337-3992

Erwin Helfer

Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m.
Hungry Brain 2319 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago Roscoe Village


Fat Babies

Tuesdays, 9 p.m.
Green Mill 4802 N. Broadway St., Chicago Uptown

With few exceptions, those practicing the sort of traditional jazz popularized in New Orleans and Chicago during the 20s and early 30s essentially believe and traffic in museum-grade preservation. They play for audiences living in time-travel fantasies, preferring to ignore the music made over the last 80 years as they seek Charleston partners. The members of Chicago’s Fat Babies might perform in shirtsleeves and neckties and meticulously record interpretations of the trad-jazz repertoire in glorious mono, but they also play music of other eras—whether it’s drummer Alex Hall working in the Flat Five or bassist Beau Sample storming through jazz manouche with Alfonso Ponticelli. The Fat Babies perform with such a vitality—never jacking up the pitch-perfect rhythm or playing postmodern games—that I don’t even see what they do as an act of reclamation. The ebullient polyphony and drive on their third album, Solid Gassuh (Delmark), is pure pleasure, a riot of motion and multilinear melody as banjoist Jake Sanders flails propulsive chords alongside the Baby Dodds-inspired rhythmic spill of Hall and Sample’s unerring pulse-and-harmony anchor. That leaves plenty of space for the raucous yet lyric playing of pianist Paul Asaro, reedists Jonathan Doyle and John Otto, trombonist Dave Bock, and cornetist Andy Schumm. While the occasional white-bread vocal might suggest a hokey costume party, there’s little to disrupt the spell these guys cast their long-running weekly residencies. 773-878-5552

Tuesday Night Fellowship with Greg Ward

Tuesdays, 9 p.m.
Hungry Brain 2319 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago Roscoe Village


Alison Ruble & Jeremy Kahn

Tuesdays, 9 p.m.
Drake Hotel 140 E. Walton Pl., Chicago Gold Coast/Mag Mile/Streeterville


Joe Barr, Joanna Connor

Tuesdays, 9:30 p.m.
Kingston Mines 2548 N. Halsted St., Chicago Lincoln Park


Pete Galanis Band with Marty Sammon

Tuesdays, 9:30 p.m.
Rosa’s Lounge 3420 W. Armitage, Chicago Logan Square


Love, Chaos & Dinner

Through 3/29/2020: Wed-Fri 7 PM, Sat-Sun noon and 7 PM
Hotel Cambria 32 W. Randolph, Chicago Loop

Buy Tickets$99-$189 (includes a four-course meal)

Blue Man Group

Open run: Wed-Fri 8 PM, Sat 2, 5, and 8 PM, Sun 4 PM
Briar Street Theatre 3133 N. Halsted St., Chicago Lakeview

Buy from Ticketmaster$49-$104

The long-running show (22 years and counting in Chicago) featuring performers in blue latex paint, drumming, video, comedy, and other assorted mayhem continues. 800-258-3626

The Harold

Open run: Wed-Thu 8 PM, Fri 8 and 10:30 PM, Sat 10:30 PM, Sun 8 PM, Mon 10:30 PM
iO Theater 1501 N. Kingsbury, Chicago Lincoln Park

Improv teams use an audience suggestion to create interweaving story lines that result in a connected long-form narrative.

Live Band Karaoke

Wed., Jan. 29, 8 p.m. and Wed., Feb. 5, 8 p.m.
Reggies’ Music Joint 2105 S. State, Chicago South Loop


The Mousetrap

1/16-2/16: Wed-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat-Sun 2 and 7:30 PM
Court Theatre 5535 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago Hyde Park

Buy TicketsPreviews 1/16-1/24, $28.50-$66; regular run 1/26-2/16 $37.50-$84

Agatha Christie's classic whodunit, whose initial production had the longest run in theater history, gets a revival at Court under the direction of Sean Graney, founder and former artistic director of the Hypocrites. Four guests are snowbound in a country house near the scene of the murder of a young woman. By tradition, theaters ask patrons not to reveal the twist ending. The cast includes Kate Fry, Hell in a Handbag artistic director David Cerda, Hollis Resnik, Allen Gilmore, Alex Goodrich, Erik Hellman, Tina Muñoz Pandya, and Lyonel Reneau. 773-753-4472


1/18-2/23: Wed-Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 2 and 8 PM, Sun 2 PM; also Sun 1/19 and 2/2, 7:30 PM; Thu 1/30 and 2/20, 2 PM; Tue 2/11, 7:30 PM
Goodman Theatre 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago Loop

Buy Tickets$20-$60

The women behind the Roe v. Wade decision—plaintiff Norma McCorvey (identified in the case as "Jane Roe") and her attorney, Sarah Weddington, are the subject of Lisa Loomer's 2016 drama. McCorvey, who died in 2017, later became active in the anti-abortion movement. Vanessa Stalling directs the Chicago premiere, which stars Christina Hall as Weddington and Kate Middleton as McCorvey. The performance on 2 PM Saturday, February 15, is audio described and there is a touch tour preceding the performance at 12:30 PM. The performance on Wednesday, February 19 at 7:30 PM features ASL interpretation. The performance 2 PM Saturday, February 22 is open captioned. 312-443-3800


1/15-3/15: Wed 1 and 7:30 PM, Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 4 and 8 PM, Sun 1 and 5 PM; Wed 1/15, 7:30 PM only; Wed 2/26-3/11, 1 PM only
Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire 10 Marriott Dr., Lincolnshire Suburbs Northwest

Buy Tickets$55-$60

The musical that began life (although in a different form) in Chicago in 1971, when Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey decided to pay homage to their 1950s teen years (including Jacobs's time at Chicago's Taft High School) returns to the suburbs for its first-ever production at the Marriott. Jimmy Nicholas and Leryn Turlington star as Danny and Sandy under Scott Weinstein's direction. 847-634-0200

Top Girls

1/16-2/22: Wed-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 2:30 and 7:30 PM, Sun 2:30 PM; also Sun 1/19, 7:30 PM; Thu 2/13 and 2/20, 2:30 PM; 7:30 PM only Sat 1/18 and 2/15
Theater Wit 1229 W. Belmont, Chicago Lakeview

Buy TicketsPreviews 1/16-1/18, Thu-Sat 7:30 PM and Sun 1/19 2:30 PM, $32.75; regular run 1/22-2/22 $37.75-$47.75; $20 industry Wed-Fri, $15 students day of performance (depending on availability)

Caryl Churchill's 1982 feminist classic about two sisters—a hard-charging executive at a temporary agency and a working-class woman who is raising the former's daughter—gets a revival with Remy Bumppo, who last presented it in 2001. Keira Fromm directs a cast that includes Linda Gillum and Annabel Armour (who was in the 2001 production). The performance on Sat, 1/25, 2:30 PM is with audio description and is preceded by a touch tour at 1 PM. There is an open caption performance on Sat 2/1, 2:30 PM 773-975-8150

The Adult in the Room

1/22-2/15: Tue-Fri 8 PM, Sat 2 and 8 PM, Sun 2 and 5 PM
Victory Gardens Theater 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago Lincoln Park

Buy Tickets$49

Madame Speaker takes the gavel in Bill McMahon's world premiere about the life and career of Nancy Pelosi, presented in an independent production at Victory Gardens. Orlagh Cassidy stars as the first woman to ever serve as Speaker of the House. Heather Arnson and Conor Bagley codirect. 773-871-3000

Pure Lies

1/8-3/25: Wed 7:30 PM
Chicago Magic Lounge 5050 N. Clark, Chicago Uptown

Buy Tickets$35 main floor, $45 front row

Comedy magician Trent James presents a show combining "up close" sleight-of-hand magic and offbeat humor as part of the Chicago Magic Lounge artist-in-residence series. 312-366-4500

Rhinoceros Theater Festival

1/11-2/23: times vary, see website
Prop Thtr 3502 N. Elston Ave., Chicago Avondale

Buy Tickets$15 or pay what you can

The 31st annual Rhinoceros Festival returns to Prop under the curation of Curious Theatre Branch. The longest-running festival of new and alternative performance work in the city, this year's Rhino Fest includes 48 separate events, including the return of such favorites as David Shapiro in Wallace Shawn's one-man monologue The Fever and M.C. Steffen performing Theater Oobleck stalwart Mickle Maher's An Apology for the Course & Outcome of Certain Events Delivered by Doctor John Faustus on This His Final Evening. The Cleveland Public Theater visits with two new devised pieces (Panther Women and Emergence), and Curious Theatre Branch presents Four Story Animal Plus Dessert, an evening of performances of short works by Samuel Beckett, Flannery O'Connor, Anton Chekhov, and Elizabeth Bishop (and as promised, dessert will be provided). 773-539-7838

The Paper Machete

Open run: Wed 6:30 PM, Sat 3 PM
Green Mill 4802 N. Broadway St., Chicago Uptown

The "salon in a saloon." Comedians, writers, and storytellers discuss the week in pop culture and politics. 773-878-5552

Cole's Comedy Open Mike

Wednesdays, 9 p.m.
Cole’s 2338 N. Milwaukee, Chicago Logan Square

Hosted by Sonia Denis and Rebecca O'Neal, this scrappy showcase boasts about 50 comics a week. 773-276-5802