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Article updated: 10/11/2012 7:53 PM

Theater events: Fox Valley Rep stages 'Woman in Black'

By Barbara Vitello

Chills in St. Charles
Fox Valley Repertory remounts its production of "The Woman in Black," Stephen Malatratt's adaptation of Susan Hill's ghost tale about a London lawyer who hires an actor to recount the lawyer's otherworldly experiences tending to the affairs of a deceased client at her secluded estate. Artist director John Gawlik directs the show, which reunites Alex Hugh Brown and Ron Rains, who starred in last year's production. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 12-13, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, through Oct. 28 at Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles. $32, $42, dinner packages available. (630) 584-6342 or foxvalleyrep.org.

You be the jury
The fall tour of "Defamation," a courtroom drama about race, religion and the law by Evanston playwright Todd Logan ("Botanic Garden") continues this weekend at Palatine's Countryside Unitarian Universalist Church. The audience serves as the jury in this play in which a professional black woman sues a white Jewish man for defamation after he accuses her of stealing a family heirloom. Most people still reside in communities segregated by race, religion or class, said Logan in a prepared statement, adding that he wanted to write a play that encourages tolerance by spurring self-examination and civil discourse. 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at 1025 Smith Road, Palatine. Donations accepted. (847) 359-8440 or defamationtheplay.com.

Wilson revival
Linda Gillum, a Remy Bumppo Theatre artistic associate, directs Shattered Globe Theatre's production of "Burn This," Lanford Wilson's drama about four people who re-evaluate their lives and relationships following a friend's untimely death. The production stars ensemble members Kate LoConti and Brad Woodard, with Ryan Kitley and Jake Szczepaniak. Previews begin Thursday, Oct. 18, at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show opens Oct. 21. $18-$32. (773) 795-8150 or shatteredglobe.org.

What's new
• Looking for some levity this election season? Watch The Capitol Steps skewer presidential candidates, Secret Service shenanigans and European Union financial woes as part of their satirical musical revue at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. (630) 896-6666 paramountaurora.com.

• Previews begin Friday, Oct. 12, for TimeLine Theatre's world premiere of Susan Felder's "Wasteland." Associate artist William Brown ("To Master the Art") directs the drama about an American soldier imprisoned in Vietnam, whose only human contact comes courtesy of a voice he hears on the other side of the wall. Nate Burger and Steve Haggard star in the show, which opens Oct. 18, at 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago. (773) 281-8463, ext. 6 or timelinetheatre.com.

• Naperville's Dave Urlakis, of ComedySportz Chicago, and Sean Cusick, of the Annoyance Theatre, bring their new sketch comedy revue "Unquestionable Lullabies" to Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, beginning Friday, Oct. 12. Shows run through Nov. 16. (773) 327-5252 or stage773.com.

• Performers with Evanston's The Actor's Gymnasium give audiences a glimpse at their in-development acts as part of "Circus in Progress." Performances are at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St., Evanston. (847) 328-2795 or actorsgymnasium.com.

• A radio DJ in small-town Pontypool, Illinois, receives some disturbing calls from listeners about bizarre mob attacks and people eating other people. Is it a hoax or have zombies overtaken this tiny burg? That's the dilemma facing DJ Grant Mazzy in Tony Burgess' "Pontypool" in its Midwest premiere at Strawdog Theatre Company. Previews begin Saturday, Oct. 13, at 3829 N. Broadway St., Chicago. Anderson Lawfer directs the show, which opens Sunday, Oct. 14. (866) 811-4111 or strawdog.org.

• Chicago director Tom Mullen revises Irvine Welsh's novel "Trainspotting," which was adapted first for the stage by Henry Gibson and then for the big screen under director Danny Boyle. Mullen "re-adapts" Welsh's episodic novel about heroin addicts in Edinburgh, Scotland, during the late 1980s. Instead, Mullen sets "Trainspotting USA" -- which includes new material by Welsh -- in Kansas City, Missouri. Previews begin Saturday, Oct. 13, at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show opens Thursday, Oct. 18. (773) 975-8150 or theatrewit.org or trainspottingusa.com.

• Sideshow Theatre Company presents "CLLAW-O-Ween," a benefit featuring members of the Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestlers. It begins at 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at O'Malley's Liquor Kitchen, 3551 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago. Proceeds benefit Rock For Kids, a not-for-profit organization that provides music education for needy children. See cllaw.org for more information.

• WBEZ arts and culture reporter Alison Cuddy is among the performers appearing at The Side Project Theatre's "Choosing to Be Here: A Festival of Storytelling," which opens Sunday, Oct. 13, and runs at 7:30 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays, through Oct. 31, at 1439 W. Jarvis St., Chicago. (773) 973-2150 or thesideproject.net.

• "Schweyk in the Second World War," Bertolt Brecht's 1943 play about a World War I veteran who travels throughout Europe attempting to survive the second World War, gets a revival courtesy of Red Theater. Previews begin Tuesday, Oct. 16, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show opens Oct. 18. (773) 327-5252 or stage773.com.

• The Strange Tree Group revives and revamps its original gothic ghost story, "Funeral Wedding: The Alvin Play," just in time for Halloween. Performances begin Tuesday, Oct. 16, at Signal Ensemble Theatre, 1802 W. Berenice Ave., Chicago. (773) 598-8240 or strangetree.org.

• Heidi Stillman adapts the current One Book, One Chicago selection of Markus Zusak's "The Book Thief" for Steppenwolf Theatre's young adults series. The world premiere stage adaptation by Stillman stars Leisel Meminger as a young girl living in Nazi Germany, who uses books to cope with the horror and uncertainty of World War II. Directed by Hallie Gordon, the production marks the collaboration between Steppenwolf, the Chicago Public Library, Facing History and Ourselves and other cultural institutions as part of the city's Now is the Time initiative to encourage young people to make positive change in their communities. Previews begin Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago. The show opens Oct. 20. (312) 335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.

• John Paul Karliak brings his autobiographical one-person show "Donna/Madonna" to Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, for a 7:30 p.m. performance on Tuesday, Oct. 16. It's about a young boy trying to be the perfect son for his adopted mother, who seeks advice from his British, fashion journalist birth mother. (773) 598-4549 or donnamadonnashow.com or gorillatango.com.

• Teatro Luna opens its 12th season with Solo Tres, a trio of solo plays written by company members. Performances begin Wednesday, Oct. 17, at Luna Central, 3914 N. Clark St., Chicago. The plays run in repertory and include: "Sexomedy," artistic associate Melissa DuPrey's revelation of tales of frustration, surprise and pleasure in the bedroom; "Putas!" Liza Ann Acosta's examination of four generations of Puerto Rican divorcees; and "Cry Wolf," Kristiana Rae Colon's play about a woman battling depression and uncovering old wounds. See teatroluna.org for more information.

• A Red Orchid Theatre presents the world premiere of ensemble member Brett Neveu's latest, "The Opponent," directed by ensemble member Karen Kessler. Set in the boxing world, "The Opponent" centers on the relationship between gym owner Tre and an up-and-coming fighter named Donell to explore issues of loyalty, pride, responsibility and the toll boxing takes on the mind, body and spirit. Previews begin Thursday, Oct. 18, at 1531 N. Wells St., Chicago. The show opens Oct. 22. (312) 943-8722 or aredorchidtheatre.org.

• Chemically Imbalanced Comedy offers as its Halloween offering "Troll the Sequel, Troll Again!" about a vacationing family who are menaced by goblins. The show opens Thursday, Oct. 18, at 1422 W. Irving Park Road, Chicago. (800) 838-3006 or cicomedy.com.

• Profiles Theatre has extended its Midwest premiere of Chad Beckim's "After," about a wrongfully convicted man who tries to assimilate into society after 17 years in prison. Performances continue through Nov. 4, at The Alley Stage, 4147 N. Broadway, Chicago. (773) 549-1815 or profilestheatre.org.

• WildClaw Theatre's stage adaptation of Clive Barker's "The Life of Death" opened recently at the Storefront Theatre, 66 E. Randolph St., Chicago. Founder and former artistic director Charley Sherman adapted the story, which is set during Christmas in London, which is being terrorized by a serial killer. The unknown killer fascinates Elaine, whose recent surgical procedure has left her with a morbid fascination with death. Performances continue through Nov. 4. See wildclawtheatre.com.

• "The Dirty Shame," a sketch comedy show by brothers Matt and Lee Barat about a small town's ill-fated centennial celebration, runs through Nov. 11, at The Annoyance Theatre, 4830 N. Broadway, Chicago. (773) 561-4665 or theannoyance.com.

• The Music Theatre Company announced its fifth season, which includes "The Pajama Game" (April 18-May 26, 2013), a musical by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, about a union organizer and a corporate executive who fall in love during a labor dispute. The season also includes TMTC's "Musicals in Concert" series showcasing new or infrequently revived shows, including the song-cycle "Fugitive Songs" (Nov. 2-11, 2012), spotlighting people on the run; "Lucky Stiff" (Nov. 30-Dec. 9), about a man searching for an inherited fortune in Monte Carlo; "The Baker's Wife" (Feb. 1-10, 2013), by Stephen Schwartz and Joseph Stein. Performances are at 1850 Green Bay Road, Highland Park. (847) 579-4900 or themusictehatrecompany.org.

• "5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche," The New Colony original that began as a short play in Collaboraction's 2010 Sketchbook series and evolved into a full-production last year, will run off-Broadway at New York City's SoHo Playhouse beginning Saturday, Oct. 13. John Arthur Pinckard ("Clybourne Park") will helm the production. See sohoplayhouse.com.

• Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Porchlight Music Theatre, Black Ensemble Theatre, Congo Square Theatre, Silk Road Rising and Goodman Theatre are among the ensembles that received grants ranging from $11,000 to $70,000 from The Chicago Community Trust. The awards are for arts organizations that advance diversity and promote access to the arts.

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