Chicago shares its stage talent | Performing Arts Sidebar | Chicago Reader

Chicago shares its stage talent 

The inaugural Three Oaks Theater Festival, in southwest Michigan, features three celebrated local productions, plus a premiere.

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Faith Healer

Faith Healer

Joe Mazza

This summer Acorn Theater, housed in a rehabbed corset-bone factory in Three Oaks, Michigan, inaugurates a new festival that takes its talent from Chicago stages. The Three Oaks Theater Festival engages three celebrated local productions plus a premiere for Saturday performances through early August.

The Selfish Giant (Sat 7/6, 1 PM, $15) is a puppet musical based on an Oscar Wilde gem, featuring a cranky giant who expels the children from his prized garden, provoking the outraged flora to grow meager and ugly in protest. Chicago Children's Theatre performed this collaboration between Redmoon Theater cofounder Blair Thomas and folk singer Michael Smith back in 2008. Thomas will offer a free, all-ages puppetry workshop before the show.

Hans Fleishmann directs and stars in Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co.'s production of The Glass Menagerie as Tom, Tennesee Williams's surrogate in this intensely autobiographical play (Sat 7/20, 8 PM, $25). According to Reader critic Justin Hayford, the production's brilliance lies in its staging, which renders Tom's famous three-day escapade to Saint Louis darkly and potently indeterminate.

The original 1995 cast return for a third remounting of Irish playwright Brian Friel's Faith Healer, produced by TurnAround Theatre (Sat 7/26, 8 PM, $25). In a series of monologues, part-time miracle worker Frank Hardy, his forlorn wife, and his manager rehash events that led to two of their suicides.

Complicated (Sat 8/3, 8 PM, $35) is a new musical with tunes by Hawaiian alt-rock transplants Poi Dog Pondering. Director Brigid Murphy, a local vaudeville artist who performs as her alter ego Milly May Smith, got her inspiration from Pomegranate, a Poi Dog album released in 1995, during the band's Chicago years.

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