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Hard Times  
Lookingglass Theatre Hard Times
 
A Dickensian carnival of characters inhabits the streets of smoke-choked Coketown: grim Mr. Gradgrind's school churns out joyless students; poor Stephen Blackpool toils in the nearby mines; and mill-owner Mr. Bounderby, full of bluster and bombast, presides over it all. Only when a traveling circus alights nearby, and young orphan Sissy Jupe enters their world, does a ray of hope shine through. Artistic Director Heidi Stillman adapts and directs this timeless love-letter to the power of beauty, hope, and imagination.
   
The Heavens Are Hung In Black  
Shattered Globe Theatre at Theater Wit The Heavens Are Hung In Black
 
Presented for the first time in the "Land of Lincoln," THE HEAVENS ARE HUNG IN BLACK is James Still's personal interpretation on the months leading up to Abraham Lincoln's signing of The Emancipation Proclamation. This theatrical epic explores Lincoln's humanity, conscience and leadership through the troubled times of 1862 - as dreams of his famous adversaries and unnamed soldiers walk through his waking life. Sprinkled with text pulled from Lincoln's prolific letters and speeches, this play explores the heart of the man who led America in a war that we're still fighting today.
   
His Greatness  
Pride Arts Center - The Buena His Greatness
 
Three men - a great American playwright, his trusted and loyal assistant, and a young Canadian street hustler - find themselves together for two days in a hotel room in Vancouver. The ensuing battle for power, love and loyalty is frequently funny, engagingly dark and ultimately moving. HIS GREATNESS, inspired by a 'potentially true story' during the declining days of Tennessee Williams, is an intimate insight into the mind of a familiar public figure, grappling with the loss of former glory and desperate for a return to form and success.
   
The House of Bernarda Alba  
Saint Sebastian Players at St. Bonaventure Church The House of Bernarda Alba
 
In this great modern Spanish tragedy, Bernarda is a stern matriarch obsessed with family honor. Just widowed, she announces to her five daughters that they will enter a traditional eight-year period of cloistered mourning. Each daughter desires love, but with the doors clamped shut, they silently turn to other pursuits-except one, who pursues an affair with the betrothed of the eldest daughter. Discovery results in a tragic climax that is unrelenting in its severity and terror.
   
I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change  
Quest Theatre Ensemble at The Blue Theater I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change
 
A charming and tender look inside our deepest, darkest, most secret thoughts - whether out on a date, making headway toward the altar, or juggling the challenges of marriage.
   
In The Next Room, Or The Vibrator Play  
TimeLine Company at Stage 773 In The Next Room, Or The Vibrator Play
 
A story of awakening, equality, and the need for connection that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It is the 1880s and Thomas Edison's invention of the electric light has begun to change the fabric of daily life. Inspired by Edison's discovery, scientist and inventor Dr. Givings creates a piece of machinery to treat the increasingly common affliction of female hysteria. When he starts to see a new patient regularly, his wife's curiosity with the invention and what occurs "in the next room" grows, leading to discoveries of her own. This intimate and humorous story of self-discovery debunks the expectation of sexuality as a dirty word and shows that human connection is not simply a means to an end, but a vital part of life itself.
   
The Infinite Wrench  
Neo-Futurists The Infinite Wrench
 
The Infinite Wrench is a mechanism that unleashes a barrage of two-minute plays for a live audience. Each play offers something different-some are funny, others profound. Some are elegant, disgusting, topical, irrelevant, terrifying, or put to song. All of the plays are truthful and tackle the here-and-now, inspired by the lived experiences of the performers. With new plays every week, The Infinite Wrench is The Neo-Futurists' ongoing and ever-changing attempt to shift the conventions of live performance and speak to the present audience, including those unreached or unmoved by other types of theater.
   
Into the Woods  
Metropolis Performing Arts Centre Into the Woods
 
A fresh, sophisticated spin on Brothers Grimm fairy tales, Into the Woods interweaves several classic fairy tales into one epic story that shows what happens when magic becomes strikingly real. Unable to bear children, a baker and his wife complete a number of tasks for a witch who promises to grant their wish if they're successful. During their journey, they encounter Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk. All the storybook characters discover that wishes often come with a steep price, and things don't always end happily ever after. With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the original Broadway run won critical praise and numerous awards and the cast recording took home a Grammy. Come see this production when it enchants and astounds at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights.
   
The Invisible Hand  
Steep Theatre The Invisible Hand
 
An American banker has been taken hostage by an isolated militant group in Pakistan. When his ransom goes unpaid, his only hope is to trade on his expertise in international finance to earn his way to freedom, whatever the cost. The Invisible Hand is a geo-political thriller from the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar.
   
The Jackie Mason Musical  
Skokie Theatre The Jackie Mason Musical
 
Based on a true story, The Jackie Mason Musical begins at a deli in Miami in 1977, where Jackie - a renown 46 year old Comedian, (played by David R. Gordon), spots twenty-something Ginger (played by Jackie's own daughter - comedian Sheba Mason - who's playing her own mother). Along for the ride is her overbearing mom, Mrs. Olivier (Coleen Tutton), and a hilarious cast of off-beat characters. Soon Jackie is wooing her each winter whenever he's in South Florida churning up laughs with the South Beach set. The trouble is, Jackie is also wooing Trixie (Megan Gill), a ravishing young Rascal House server, and Rosa - a senior Rascal House server with attitude - a fact that sends Ginger into romantic distress. Popular entertainer Scott Gryder rounds out the cast as a disgruntled fan. After ten years, she becomes pregnant, Jackie denies his paternity just as stardom re-emerges, while still yearning to be with her, and a complicated relationship begins, including Sheba's own love for the man she knows is her father and whom she wishes she knew. The original score includes "Ode to the Early Bird Special" and "I Never Met This Yenta", written by Ginger Reiter, the girl in the eye of the comedic storm.
   
Lady Faust  
The Public House Theatre Lady Faust
 
"Lady Faust" is an adaptation of Christopher Marlowe's haunting work, which takes a female-forward turn. The central character is woman struggling through the Great Depression, who has lost the right to inherit her father's business and fortune because she's female. In true Faust fashion, she strikes a deal with Lucifer to make women equal to men in public and private matters. She has a year to run the family business and overturn the patriarchy, or she will lose her soul forever.
   
The Last Days of Judas Iscariot  
Eclectic Full Contact Theatre at Athenaeum Theatre The Last Days of Judas Iscariot
 
It's the biggest trial in Purgatory, and Judas is on the stand-surrounded by a Fellini-esque cast of character witnesses, from Satan to Sigmund Freud. Is he merely fallen or beyond forgiveness? In this far cry from any church pageant, you'll laugh out loud while you reassess one of the most reviled names in history.
   
The Last Days of the Commune  
Prop Theatre The Last Days of the Commune
 
The Last Days of the Commune, a 21st-century glance at Bertolt Brecht's last, and unfinished play, focuses on those left behind to carry ideals, when the military has swept up all fighter material. Set in 1871 during the Paris uprising and establishment of the Paris Commune, the show addresses 'how to think beyond defeat.' Featuring a cast of 23 Chicago performers onstage and onscreen, The Last Days of the Commune now features a live musical performance, in addition to a film within the play.
   
Late Nite Catechism  
Royal George Theatre Late Nite Catechism
 
Late Nite Catechism is an uproariously funny play, written by Vicki Quade and Maripat Donovan, where the irrepressible Sister teaches class to a roomful of "students." Throughout the course of the play the benevolent instructor rewards audience members for correct answers with glow-in-the-dark rosaries and other nifty prizes. Naughty students may well find themselves on stage sitting in a corner reflecting their actions. Now in its 20th year in Chicago, Late Nite Catechism is a sharp satire, but never mean. Itís simply an evening of fun and laughter.
   
The Legend Of Georgia McBride  
Northlight Theatre The Legend Of Georgia McBride
 
A down-on-his-luck Elvis impersonator has an overdrawn checking account and a baby on the way. When a drag show takes over the entertainment at the Florida Panhandle bar where he performs, he'll also be out of a job...unless he's willing to step into some high heels. This heartwarming, music-filled comedy celebrates the unexpected path to finding your true voice.
   
Les Miserables  
Cadillac Palace Theatre Les Miserables
 
Cameron Mackintosh presents the new production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg's Tony Award-winning musical phenomenon, Les Miserables, direct from its acclaimed Broadway return. Featuring the beloved songs "I Dreamed A Dream," "On My Own," "Stars," "Bring Him Home," "One Day More," and many more, this epic and uplifting story has become one of the most celebrated musicals in theatrical history. With its glorious new staging and dazzlingly reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, this breathtaking new production has left both audiences and critics awestruck.
   
Light Up The Sky  
Citadel Theatre Company Light Up The Sky
 
The play's first act takes place before the play-within-a -play begins, when all assembled are being effusively loving toward each other. In LIGHT UP THE SKY's second act, the play's performance has ended disastrously and, believing the play will flop, the theater folk quickly turn on each other. In the third act, when they see the overnight reviews at 5:30 am and it's clear the play will be a hit, they frantically try to repair the damage they did to their relationships when they thought the play had failed.
   

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