R&J goes gothic
A 19th century sensibility animates First Folio Theatre's production of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," which director Nick Sandys sets against the backdrop of the romantic era poets Shelley, Byron and Keats. Will Allan (Claudio in First Folio's "Much Ado About Nothing") stars as Romeo and Kelsey Brennan (of Victory Gardens Theatre's "The Gospel According to Jim") makes her First Folio debut as Juliet.
Previews begin Wednesday, July 6, at the Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook. The show opens Saturday, July 9. (630) 986-8067 or firstfolio.org.
Funny side of romance
Lauren Pizzi, currently appearing in Fox Valley Repertory's "Around the World in 80 Days," stars in FVR's production of Theresa Rebeck's one-woman show "Bad Dates." Kimberly Senior (Collaboraction founder and Strawdog Theatre member) directs the comedy about a woman balancing career and a teenage daughter at the same time she returns to the dating scene.
Previews begin Thursday, July 7, at Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles. The show opens Saturday, July 16. (630) 584-6342 or foxvalleyrep.org.
Blues Bros onstage
Direct from the West End come Jake and Elwood Blues -- the sunglass-sporting, R&B-loving characters created by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd -- to headline the rock and soul revue "The All New Original Tribute to the Blues Brothers." The tour features members of the London cast along with a new set, songs and choreography.
Runs Wednesday, July 6, through Sunday, July 24, at the Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago. (800) 982-2787 or ticketmaster.com.
• Sideshow Theatre Company presents the Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestlers in a series of matches beginning at 10 p.m. Saturday, July 2, at Joe's Bar, 940 W. Weed St., Chicago. Proceeds from the event benefit the theater company. See cclaw.org for information.
• Members of Remy Bumppo Theatre Company and other Chicago area theater professionals will read the Declaration of Independence during the Grant Park Music Festival Independence Celebration beginning at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, July 3, at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago. Remy Bumppo's new artistic director Timothy Douglas heads up the program, which will feature Tony Award winner Deanna Dunagan, Lookingglass Theatre Company ensemble members Andrew White and Raymond Fox, Victory Gardens executive director Jan Kallish and Douglas among others. Admission is free. See grantparkmusicfestival.com for more information.
• The Chicago Park District's annual Theater on the Lake showcasing some of the best productions of 2010-11 continues at Fullerton Avenue and Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. Next up, Griffin Theatre Company's "Letters Home," adapted by Bill Massolia from letters written by soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, and inspired by The New York Times article, "The Things They Wrote," the HBO documentary "Last Letters Home" and from Frank Schaeffer's books "Letters Home From America's Military Family," "Faith of Our Sons" and "Keeping Faith." The production runs Wednesday, July 6, through Sunday, July 10. (312) 742-4786 or chicagoparkdistrict.com.
• Young Rosalind -- banished from her kingdom after her uncle usurps her father, the king -- disguises herself as a boy named Ganymede and escapes to the forest where she falls in love with a young nobleman who is in love with ... Rosalind! It all unfolds in Shakespeare's bucolic comedy, "As You Like It." Two Pence Shakespeare's production begins previews Thursday, July 7, at the Evanston Arts Depot, 600 Main St., Evanston. The show opens Friday, July 15. Tickets are available at brownpapertickets.com. For more information, see twopenceshakespeare.org.
• William F. Brown and Charlie Smalls' wonderful "The Wiz," the R&B inspired retelling of L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," comes to the Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Ind. Stacey Flaster directs and choreographs the musical, which stars Tony Award nominee Felicia Fields as Evillene, James Earl Jones II as The Lion and Adrianna Parson as Dorothy. Previews begin Thursday, July 7. The show opens Sunday, July 10. (219) 836-3255 or theatreatthecenter.com.
• "The Crowd You're in With," Rebecca Gilman's dissection of the question of whether to parent or not parent (which premiered at the Goodman Theatre in 2009), gets its second Chicago area production courtesy of The 16th Street Theater. Ann Filmer directs the production, which begins performances Thursday, July 7, at the Berwyn Cultural Center, 6420 16th St., Berwyn. (708) 795-6704 or 16thstreettheater.org.
• The Neo-Futurists' 10th annual staging of the worst-ever films runs Thursdays through Aug. 18, at 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago. "It Came from the Neo-Futurarium X: Battle for the Neo-Futurarium" continues with a performance by guest artists from The House Theatre of "The Care Bears Movie" from 1985. The performance is at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 7. (773) 275-5255 or neofuturists.org.
Performances continue through Saturday, July 30, of The New Colony's "5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche," which premiered at Sketchbook 10 and has been expanded in this remount at the Dank House, 4740 N. Western Ave., Chicago. Set in 1956, the comedy takes place during the annual quiche breakfast of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein at which time some members make startling revelations. (773) 413-0862 or thenewcolony.org.
• Anthony Oberbeck continues his one-person examination of his life, "I Am the Horizon," through Friday, July 8, at the Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted St., Chicago. (773) 871-3793 or the-playground.com.
• "The Detective's Wife," Keith Huff's latest drama about a woman trying to unravel the mystery surrounding her husband's murder, in its world premiere at Writers' Theatre, has been extended one week. Performances continue through Sunday, Aug. 7, at Books on Vernon, 664 Vernon Ave., Glencoe. (847) 242-6000 or writerstheatre.org.
• Three years and still going strong. Producers for "Million Dollar Quartet" -- the jukebox musical inspired by a 1956 Sun Studios' jam session that brought together Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley -- have announced an extension through Dec. 31. Performances continue at the Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 935-6100 or milliondollarquartetlive.com.
• The Gift Theatre has extended its sold-out, Jeff Award recommended production of William Nedved's "Northwest Highway," about a man conflicted about whether he should sell the family's Jefferson Park home. Performances are sold out through the end of its regular run on Sunday, July 17. The extension begins Thursday, Aug. 18, and runs through Sunday, Sept. 11, at 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. (773) 283-7071 or thegifttheatre.org.
• The Annoyance Theatre has extended its production of "Weirdos," its all ages puppet show. Performances run through Sunday, July 31, at 4830 N. Broadway, Chicago. (773) 561-4665 or theannoyance.com.
• Kristoffer Diaz has won The New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award for "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity," a joint production by Victory Garden Theater and Teatro Vista that premiered in Chicago in 2009. The award was created two years ago to support American playwrights whose work has debuted in New York.