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Following his critically lauded production of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh, Robert Falls takes on the legendary playwright's sweeping, heartfelt salute to youthful indiscretion and small town life. For the shy and scholarly Richard Miller, fireworks aren't the only flames burning on Fourth of July—this 16-year-old has started going steady with his beautiful neighbor Muriel. Her father, however, disapproves of their relationship and forbids the couple from seeing each other. Spurred by this obstacle, Richard embarks on an evening of hilarious and unexpected rebellion. Ah, Wilderness! delightfully captures the rush of excitement, torment, emotional confusion and bliss that accompanies first love and growing up.
It's the 1939 Academy Awards and the Los Angeles Times have leaked the winners early: Bette Davis will lose to Vivien Leigh. With newspaper in hand, Davis decides to leave the awards ceremony early. Once at home, Davis, disillusioned and frustrated, now grapples with memories of past lovers, confidants, and mentors. She experiences what happens when someone who always wins…loses. Bette Davis Ain't for Sissies offers audiences a rare insight into the mind of one of Hollywood's greatest stars. With humor and unabashed frankness, Sherr journeys into Bette Davis' battle to win freedom from the grip and control of the Hollywood studio moguls, studio executives, and her mother Ruthie in a "dynamic performance" that is "mesmerizing to watch" (Edinburgh Guide) and "worthy of an Oscar" (Mumble Theater).
Blind Date is a backstage glimpse of one of the 20th century's landmark historical events. In an era before Twitter and eHarmony, two of history's oddest couples seek to thaw the seemingly intractable relationship between the United States and Soviet Russia. Despite their advisors' efforts to keep them on track, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev eschew conventional protocols to discuss pop culture and old movies — while their wives mirror their husbands' negotiations in a passive-aggressive tango over tea and fashion choices. Blind Date is a compelling and edgy comic journey through the intricacies of statesmanship.
Some days feel like they will never end. After a morning that includes a cancer scare and kicking her girlfriend out of the house, Octavia decides to have a last turn up with her best friends. In poet Aziza Barnes's ingenious portrait of a day in the life of four young women of color in New York City, BLKS explores the joy and anguish of growing up and out. Riotously funny and magically rendered, Barnes's playwriting debut marks the arrival of a truly original contemporary American voice.
Winner of the 2016 Lambda Literary Award for Best Play, Bright Half Life follows the ups and downs of a modern lesbian relationship. Their moving story is told through a series of fast moving, fragmented memories – from elevator rides as strangers to steamy workplace romances to heartache and building a family.
Mercedes is an outsider. Tara makes sure she knows it. When a high school production of The Crucible forces them together, tensions escalate into acts of bullying — both online and IRL. This world premiere play explores what happens to a teacher and his students when a classroom conflict turns into an online witch hunt.
Note: This show is a Steppenwolf for Young Adults production.
Acclaimed Chicago actor Larry Yando returns for his 10th season at Goodman Theatre as Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, directed for the fifth year by artistic associate Henry Wishcamper. Dickens' holiday classic tells the tale of greedy businessman Ebenezer Scrooge, whose sizable bank account is only matched by his disdain for the holidays. One Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by four ghosts who take him on a spectacular adventure through his past, present, and future, helping him rediscover the joys of life, love, and friendship. Former cast members include stage and screen notables Jessie Mueller, Joe Minoso, Del Close, Harry J. Lennix, Felicia P. Fields, Raul Esparza, Sally Murphy, and Frank Galati.
Since its premiere in 1953, Arthur Miller's The Crucible, a masterful and chilling portrayal of the historic Salem witch trials and an allegory for the rise of McCarthyism in the late 1940s, has rightfully become an American classic. It serves as both a cautionary tale and a provocation that compels each generation to reflect upon the harrowing world the play portrays.
The people of Salem are whipped into a bloodthirsty frenzy by a series of escalating misinterpretations after a group of teenage girls are accused of dancing devilishly in the woods. Rather than face consequences for their actions, the girls begin a chain of finger-pointing until neighbor turns against neighbor, whispers become testimony, fabrications become facts, and a once powerless teenage girl suddenly has the ability to decide the fate of all those around her. As the hearts of the townsfolk become poisoned, even virtuous farmer and family man John Proctor is falsely accused of witchcraft and must fight a corrupt court to protect his good name.
Note: This show is a Steppenwolf for Young Adults production.
In the dangerous back channels of international resource politics, a wealthy British businessman suffers an untimely accident just before a critical African copper deal is signed. So when his unwitting (and witless) American doppelgänger is thrust into negotiations to avert intercontinental disaster, chaos erupts, leaving us wondering: whose side are we supposed to be on...and who will save Africa? This new American farce is a hilarious, irreverent and timely look at the back-room deals that shape our world and the unlikely cast of characters who make them.
Henrik Ibsen's masterwork finds renewed immediacy in a daring new production from Goodman artistic director Robert Falls. The contamination of a resort town's water supply sets the stage for a battle involving the town's respected mayor, Peter Stockmann, and his brother Thomas, a respected doctor. As the brothers become locked in a combative struggle between political wisdom and personal ethics, the economic fate of the community — and the unity of the town's residents — hangs in the balance.
Hero, a Texas slave, faces a simple yet monumental choice: Join his master in the Confederate army to win his freedom — or remain enslaved at the plantation. As he debates leaving his lover for what may be another empty promise, Hero must take charge of his life, even when much remains beyond his control. Filled with music, wit, and poetic wisdom, this play by Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks challenges audience members to navigate their own moral compass in a country that both unites and divides.
Over the course of a parent-teacher conference, a grieving mother and an emotionally overwhelmed primary school teacher have a fraught conversation about the tragic suicide of the mother's son, Gidion. Gidion may have been bullied severely — or he may have been an abuser. As his story is slowly uncovered, the women try to reconstruct a satisfying explanation for Gidion's act and come to terms with excruciating feelings of culpability.
Note: This show is recommended for ages 13 and up, due to strong language.
India 1648. The dawn will reveal for the first time the extraordinary beauty of the Taj Mahal, built as a tribute to the ruler who demanded its construction. But for two hapless imperial guards, the morning light brings with it an unspeakable task that will shake their faith in God, the empire, and their lifelong friendship. This boldly funny and deeply moving play examines the true meaning of beauty and the cost of transcendence in a world that confuses the value of both.
The Delany sisters, Sadie and Bessie, remain best friends and roommates even as they pass their centennial birthdays. As they prepare a meal in honor of their late father, a former slave, they reminisce about the joys and challenges of their lives: coming to maturity in the Jim Crow South, experiencing the Harlem Renaissance and rising to unimagined professional prominence. Having Our Say showcases the sisters' unique, indomitable spirits as they fondly recall meeting beloved historical figures and denounce prejudices that infect the country.
Young William Shakespeare is hiding from the law in rural Lancashire, languishing as a simple school master. Christopher Marlowe is living the high life as a spy for the Crown. When a dastardly plot to assassinate the Queen draws these two unforgettable wits together, Will is swept up in a world of intrigue, treachery, and mayhem in an adventure that will define the rest of his life — if he can only manage to save Her Majesty. An irreverent comedy that imagines Shakespeare's "lost years" as a rousing romp through the streets and across the stages of Elizabethan London.
The classic dysfunctional family drama has crashed in a new place. Meet Paige, a wife and mother liberated from an oppressive and abusive marriage; Max, her newly out transgender son; and Isaac, Max's PTSD-addled older brother, who discovers a brand-new war zone when he comes home from Afghanistan. Hir's crusade to shake up the patriarchy is funny and absurd. The play looks at an American family forced to build a new world out of the pieces of the old.
Taylor Mac (who uses "judy" not as a name but as a gender pronoun) is a playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, director, and producer. Hir is one of the 17 full-length plays and performance pieces judy has written.
A father and daughter fish for silence in both the Euphrates and Poudre Rivers after serving in Iraq — a Marine Corp enlistment separated by 16 years. Johnny 10 Beers' Daughter shares the personal and public struggles created by war. This dialogue-driven drama showcases the battle with postwar life and inner-self, capturing the silence and the explosions of anger created by PTSD.
Instinct, tenacity, biting humor, and trust in the future keep Lela alive as her world closes in around her. Based on a true story, Lela & Co. is an eerily funny and enthralling story about the horrifying enterprise of war and a girl who may or may not have eaten some frosting.
The Hoover family has seen better days. Richard, the father, is a floundering motivational speaker, Grandpa's been kicked out of his retirement home, and Uncle Frank's been dumped by his boyfriend. Moody teenager Dwayne has taken a vow of silence, and overextended mom Sheryl can do little more than slap on a smile. But when the youngest Hoover, the energetic Olive, enters a regional children's beauty pageant, the family think their luck could change and embark on a cross-country trek, chasing the coveted title of "Little Miss Sunshine."
Grace Harkaway, who considers herself immune to love, is marrying elderly Sir Harcourt Courtly for his money. Then she meets his son. Then Sir harcourt meets horse-riding virago Lady Gay Spanker, who enters in her leather-trimmed hunting suit wielding a riding crop, and goes on to complicate the already complicated romantic entanglements of the play. The comedy sensation of 1841 has been produced repeatedly in New York and London up to the present day, including National Theatre Live's worldwide broadcast in 2010, but has not been seen on a Chicago stage for 120 years. City Lit's production will feature Cameron Feagin as Lady Gay and Kingsley Day as Sir Harcourt.
Celebrated director and playwright Aaron Posner and famed magician Teller (of duo Penn & Teller) join forces for an innovative take on "the Scottish play," returning after their Jeff Award-winning production of The Tempest at Chicago Shakespeare Theater in 2015. With astounding sorcery, this supernatural thriller dives into the psyches of the power-hungry Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
One will rule. One will fall. Two women of power — Queen Elizabeth I of England and Mary, Queen of Scots — face off in a struggle for the faith of a nation in a new electric adaptation by Peter Oswald. The production is staged by acclaimed director Jenn Thompson, former artistic director of the Actors Company Theater.
Steppenwolf's production of The Minutes will premiere at Steppenwolf and then move directly to Broadway in spring 2018.
The Minutes, by Tracy Letts, the author of August: Osage County, is a scathing new comedy about small-town politics and real-world power that exposes the ugliness behind some of our most closely held American narratives while asking each of us what we would do to keep from becoming history's losers.
The Minutes, by Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Letts, the author of August: Osage County, comes a scathing new comedy about small-town politics and real-world power that exposes the ugliness behind some of our most closely held American narratives while asking each of us what we would do to keep from becoming history's losers.
Winner of four Jeff Awards, including Best Production, and fresh off a national tour, the critically-acclaimed Moby Dick returns to the Lookingglass stage in this harrowing and intoxicating exploration of revenge, obsession, and destiny.
Madness rages like the angry sea when man pits himself against leviathan in Herman Melville's epic and poetic tale, furiously reimagined by director David Catlin.
Climb aboard the Pequod with Ishmael, Starbuck, and the intrepid crew on a voyage into the darkest reaches of the human psyche with an insatiably driven Captain Ahab at the helm in reckless pursuit of the legendary white whale.
Pablo, a high-powered lawyer, and his pregnant wife Tania, a doctoral candidate, think they have hit the jackpot with their new home. It seems to have everything they dreamed of: a nice neighborhood, plenty of bedrooms for their growing family, outdoor space, and friendly neighbors. When Pablo and Tania decide to upgrade the eyesore chain link fence in their backyard, neighbors Virginia and Frank couldn't be happier. Happy until they think their new neighbors are taking more than they deserve. A disagreement over a property line quickly spirals into a war of taste, class and entitlement in Native Gardens, a hilarious comedy by Karen Zacarias and directed by Marti Lyons.
After surviving a tumultuous upbringing in war-torn Liberia, Shedrick Yarpai has found a new home in a sunny, coastal Australian city. Safe from the horrific perils of guerrilla soldiers and refugee camps, Shedrick now faces a different type of danger: the haunting memories stirring inside him. Inspired by writer Charles Smith's friendship with a Liberian refugee-turned-acclaimed-actor, the playwright crafts a harrowing story of personal honor vs. familial obligation and the responsibility that comes with being a survivor.
Ten years after their critically acclaimed collaboration on King Lear, Robert Falls and stage and screen star Stacy Keach — both 2015 Theater Hall of Fame inductees — reunite for the world premiere of Pamplona by Jim McGrath. Keach stars as Ernest Hemingway, one of the most celebrated novelists and short story writers of the 20th century in this explosive tour-de-force drama, set during the author's haunted years following his Pulitzer and Nobel Prize honors.
In this play, after the prize comes the pressure. Basking in the glory of career-defining awards — the 1953 Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954 — legendary writer Ernest Hemingway insists his best work is yet to come. Five years later, holed up in a Spanish hotel with a looming deadline, he struggles to knock out a story about the rivalrous matadors of Pamplona. But his real battles lie outside the bullfighting arena; in declining health, consumed by his troubled fourth marriage, and tormented by the specter of past glories, he must now conquer the deepening despair that threatens to engulf him.
Pamplona marks Keach's second exploration of the literary legend: He earned a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Hemingway in the eponymous 1988 television miniseries.
In this bold, incendiary riff on Waiting for Godot, two young black men are standing around on the corner — talking smack, killing time, and hoping that maybe today will be different. When a white man wanders into their space, an escalating crisis threatens to prevent their escape from the block. In Pass Over, pop culture collides with historical and religious references to create a hilarious and disturbing meditation on manhood, race, and the cycle of violence that prevents too many from realizing their potential.
Playwright Antoinette Nwandu is a member of the Ars Nova Play Group. Her plays have been produced and developed by Page73, Ars Nova, the Flea, and Naked Angels, among others. She is a recipient of the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, the Negro Ensemble Company's Douglas Turner Ward Prize, and a literary fellowship from the Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference. In spring 2016, Pass Over received a workshop as part of the Cherry Lane Mentor Project under the mentorship of Katori Hall.
Based on a best-selling novel, this wondrous tale is the grownup's prequel to Peter Pan. Discover the origin story of the boy who never grew up in this Tony Award-winning show. Follow the journey of an orphan longing to find a home and family of his own in this cleverly and theatrically told tale. Imprisoned on a ship bound for Rundoon, he is befriended by a young girl, Molly. Together they embark on an adventure that includes mermaids, protecting treasure, and outwitting pirates. Let your imagination take flight in this whimsical adaptation.
Staged by leading Broadway and Chicago director Gary Griffin, this award-winning play chronicles the seldom-told, true story of Ira Aldridge, an African-American actor who challenged convention by taking the London stage as the first black Othello in 1833 — sending shockwaves through the city at a time when anti-abolition protesters rioted in the streets.
When a museum guard decides to touch a famous Rembrandt painting, a remarkable journey across the ages ensues. Spanning centuries of human experience, Jessica Dickey's The Rembrandt movingly explores the power of creative expression and the sacrifices we make in the pursuit of love and beauty, reminding us that though our beliefs may die with the sound of our voice, it's the love we share — and the art that love inspires — that finds eternity.
Helena is dreading her sister's wedding. The groom, Duarte, should have been hers. She knows her sister, Belmira, only wants to escape their quiet Brazilian town for an exciting new life in the city. Three days before the wedding, a mysterious stranger is pulled out of the river—a man with no past who offers both sisters an alluring, possibly dangerous future.
Sharon is Midwestern nice. But to Robyn, her new roommate from the Bronx, that just means nosy and very, very talkative. A comical mismatch leads to a surprising and touching friendship in The Roommate, a new comedy about how early-life choices lead to midlife challenges and the unexpected rewards of bridging the divide.
The Oscar-winning romantic comedy about Shakespeare and the Lord Chamberlain's Men returns to its rightful home — the stage. Imagine a young playwright on the make struggling to write his new tragic love story, Romeo and Ethel, The Pirate's Daughter. The title just doesn't have the right ring — and young Will Shakespeare knows it. He's got writer's block and must do something quickly. Will needs a muse, and he finds one in Viola, a vivacious beauty who will do anything — even disguise herself as a man — to audition for the stage, where no women are permitted to perform. Once revealed, the torrid affair begins inspiring the completion of the most romantic tragedy ever penned. Backstage maneuverings jostle hilariously with onstage dramas in this love letter to the theater itself, directed by multi-Jeff Award winner and Chicago Shakespeare favorite Rachel Rockwell.
Support Group for Men is a hilarious exploration of what happens when society's new normal doesn't seem so normal to everyone. Thursday night in Wrigleyville is "Guys' Night" for a group of longtime pals. Instead of letting off steam over baseball, they've formed a support group — with its "no ladies" policy strictly enforced — in which they can vent about dashed romances, stalled careers, and other middle-age maladies. But when an unexpected visitor crashes their party, the guys' traditional notions of masculinity are exploded. This topical, Chicago-flavored comedy gleefully dissects the ever-changing role of gender in today's culture — and proves that understanding is sometimes found in the least likely of places.
"Ice Follies" read the cover of Time magazine on January 24, 1994, after ice skating medalist favorite Nancy Kerrigan was struck in the leg with a police baton by Shane Stant. In his darkly funny and unrelenting play, Dan Aibel explores the lengths one will go to for fame. Margot Bordelon returns to Chicago to direct this world premiere play named for Tonya Harding, the first woman ever to complete a triple axel jump in competition. Nancy Kerrigan never saw her coming.
Artistic director Barbara Gaines reexamines Shakespeare's notorious "battle of the sexes" with an all-woman company. She partners with playwright Ron West (Chicago Shakespeare Theater's The Comedy of Errors) to frame Shakespeare's story as a performance by a group of suffragettes on the eve of the passing of the 19th Amendment.
The 2014 fatal police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown brought international attention to the town of Ferguson, Missouri, and the festering history of race relations in America. Award-winning playwright, performer, and Goodman artistic associate Dael Orlandersmith brings to life a riveting exploration of the tragedy and its aftermath. Based on dozens of interviews with Ferguson residents, Until the Flood encompasses the perspective of such disparate people as a middle-aged black teacher, an elderly barbershop owner, and a white policeman. The result: a richly complex mosaic of a community — and a country — in trauma.
Visionary Belgian director Ivo van Hove injects a raw, pulsating energy into Arthur Miller's 1955 classic, which won the 2016 Tony Awards for best revival of a play and best director. Straight from sold-out runs on Broadway and the West End comes the Chicago debut of van Hove's production. Brooklyn longshoreman Eddie Carbone welcomes his immigrant cousins to America. But when one of them falls for Eddie's young niece, his jealous mistrust exposes an unspeakable secret — one that drives him to commit the ultimate betrayal.
Ireland's most prestigious theater ensemble is back with a contemporary interpretation of Samuel Beckett's seminal work. Staged by Tony Award-winning director Garry Hynes, this production marks the legendary company's third return to Chicago Shakespeare Theater, following The Cripple of Inishmaan (2011) and The Walworth Farce (2009).
Haven Theatre Company announces We're Gonne Die, the final production in its fourth season, written by Young Jean Lee. A singer takes the stage, backed by her rock-band compatriots, to share Young Jean Lee's life-affirming show about the one thing we all have in common: "We're gonna die." Drawing from true stories of people's experiences with tragedy, despair, and loneliness, this personal and rejuvenating play with live music reminds us that in our darkest, most isolated moments, we are not alone.
The Wolves is an unconventional exploration of the pitfalls of friendship and coming maturity, as seen through the struggles of a girls' athletic team. Nine teenage girls stretch, train, and argue about everything from the meaningful to the mundane as they try to make sense of the world from the relative safety of their suburban patch of Astroturf. Infused with the raw, jagged energy of adolescence, The Wolves offers a refreshingly complex depiction of girls navigating friendships, growing up, confronting the future — and trying to score a few goals.
The refugee experience is illuminated by this story about love and renewal in the face of past devastation. Challenged by his Iraqi roots, Abdul Samee has obscured his Muslim identity in favor of assimilation — he's changed his name to Sam and even tells his coworkers that he's Italian. But his attitudes change when he meets Yasmina, a refugee from his father's homeland whose own experiences have hardened her to the possibilities of love. As a tentative relationship between the two blossoms into something more, each begins to find hope in the future, buoyed by the power of family, connection, and the embracing of their shared culture.
There's a haunted place between where we started and where we need to be that finds the most tender among us — and breaks them open. In You Got Older, Clare Barron's bawdy, irreverent, and touching play, Mae, brokenhearted and unemployed, returns home to care for her ailing father and escape the loneliness of a life that just can't seem to get off the ground.