• The Music Theatre Company presents "Fugitive Songs," the next in the company's musicals-in-concert series, featuring music by composer Chris Miller and lyricist Nathan Tysen. Performances begin Friday, Nov. 2, and run through Nov. 11, at 1850 Green Bay Road, Highland Park. (847) 579-4900 or themusictheatrecompany.org.
• As part of its 20th anniversary celebration, The Factory Theater remounts "Toast of the Town," Ernie DeŠk and Scott Oken's comedy about a floundering playwright with a very pregnant wife who gets a shot at having his work produced by a prestigious company comprised of oddball actors and an insane director. Previews begin Friday, Nov. 2, at Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston Ave., Chicago. The show opens Friday, Nov. 9. (866) 811-4111 or thefactorytheater.com.
• Bill Clinton look-alike Dale Leigh makes an appearance Saturday, Nov. 3, as part of the Improv Playhouse's night of improv comedy and political satire in advance of Tuesday's election. Improv ensemble Power Pop Culture Radio performs at 7:30 p.m., at 735 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville, followed at 9 p.m. by a standup showcase hosted by Dobie Maxwell. (847) 968-4529 or improvplayhouse.com.
• The Midwest premiere of the musical "The Burnt Part Boys" marks the beginning of Griffin Theatre's 24th season. Set in rural West Virginia, circa 1962, the musical by Mariana Elder (book), Chris Miller (music) and Nicholas Davio (lyrics) centers on a pair of young brothers who take a life-altering trip to the coal mine that claimed their father's life. Ensemble member Jonathan Berry directs the show which begins previews Saturday, Nov. 3, at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show opens Nov. 12. (773) 975-8150 or griffintheatre.com.
• Dream Theatre Company, a company that regularly produces shows with predominantly female casts, presents "Theatre of Women 7," its annual festival showcasing Chicago area actresses, playwrights and directors, to be held on Saturday Nov. 3, and Sunday, Nov. 4, at 556 W. 18th St., Chicago. Female actresses will perform seven, 10-minute plays which they and the writers and directors have had seven days to prepare, rehearse and perform. (773) 552-8616 or dreamtheatrecompany.com.
• Gorilla Tango Theatre's latest, "The Empire Brings Sexy Back: A Star Wars Burlesque Sequel," runs at 10:30 p.m. Saturdays, Nov. 3, through Dec. 29, at 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. (773) 598-4549 or gorillatango.com.
• Eta Creative Arts Foundation hosts a panel discussion on black theater titled Shades of Blues: A Conversation on the Classic Works of August Wilson and Lonne Elder II from a Blues Music Perspective, from 4 to 6 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St., Chicago. Lincoln Beauchamp Jr. moderates the discussion between Dr. Ken Warren of the University of Chicago and Dr. Mikell Pinkney of the University of Florida which will center on Wilson's "Jitney" which recently closed at Court Theatre and eta's own production of Elder's "Ceremonies in Dark Old Men" which begins performances Thursday, Nov. 8, at eta's main stage, 7558 S. South Chicago Ave., Chicago. The play revolves around the Parker family, whose patriarch owns a failing barbershop. It is kept solvent by his working daughter Adele, whose brothers have pursued a life of crime. (773) 752-3955 or etacreativearts.org.
• TUTA Theatre Chicago hosts its annual fundraiser This is TUTA 2012 honoring founding artistic director Zeljko Djukic and welcoming new artistic director Jacqueline Stone, from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, at 2010 W. Fulton Ave., Chicago. The evening includes food, beverages, a silent auction, prize drawings and entertainment. Admission is $60 per person or $100 per couple. See tutato.com for more information.
• Eclipse Theatre Company concludes its season devoted to Eugene O'Neill with the playwright's semi-autobiographical examination of his own troubled family, "Long Day's Journey Into Night," directed by artistic director Nathaniel Swift and featuring ensemble members Stephen Dale (Edmund) and Joe McCauley (Jamie) with guests Patrick Blashill (James Tyrone), Jaimelyn Gray (Cathleen) and Susan Monts-Bologna (Mary Tyrone). Previews continue through Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. The show opens Sunday, Nov. 4. (773) 935-6875 or eclipsetheatre.com.
• An American couple vacationing in Tijuana get more than they bargain for when they encounter a Mexican couple in an alley in Matthew Paul Olmos' "i put the fear of mexico in 'em." in its world premiere production courtesy of Teatro Vista. New co-artistic director Ricardo Gutierrez directs the company's season opening production which begins previews on Sunday, Nov. 4, at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago. The show opens Thursday, Nov. 8. (773) 599-9280 or teatrovista.org.
• John Loos, an ensemble member with Schaumburg's Laugh Out Loud theater and a member of GayCo Productions, debuts his first solo sketch show "Adorable Disasters," which examines rampant consumerism, on Sunday, Nov. 4, at the Annoyance Theater, 4830 N. Broadway, Chicago. It runs in conjunction with Andy Eninger's solo improv show, "Sybil." (773) 561-4665 or annoyanceproductions.com.
• Steppenwolf Theatre Artistic Director Martha Lavey and "Freakonomics" contributor Sudhir Venkatesh participate in a conversation centered on class, privilege and success inspired by Steppenwolf's current production of David Lindsay Abaire's "Good People" titled Making Money: From the Black Market to the Board Room. It begins at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, at 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago. (312) 335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.
• Theatre Y's world premiere of "Porn (1989. A butterfly)" opens Wednesday, Nov. 7, at 1317 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago. Hungarian/Romanian director Eva Patko directs Andras Visky's drama set in 1989 and inspired by the real stories of people who lived through the revolution. The show runs through Dec. 2. (708) 209-0183 or theatre-y.com.
• It's the Golden Girls like you've never seen them before promises Gorilla Tango Theatre in a release for its latest satire titled "Miami Nice: A Golden Girls Musical" in which the sassy seniors become involved in drug smuggling. The show runs Wednesdays, beginning Nov. 7 at 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. (773) 598-4549 or gorillatango.com.
• Previews begin Thursday, Nov. 8, for Court Theatre's remount of "The Dead," a musical inspired by the James Joyce tale of a family gathering for the Feast of the Epiphany in 19th century Dublin. Charles Newell and music director Doug Peck helm a production that includes Mary Ernster, Lara Filip, Rebecca Finnegan, Susie McMonagle and Rob Lindley among others. The show opens Nov. 17, at 5535 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago. (773) 753-4472 or courttheatre.org.
• A bicycle accident leaves a former rocker turned law student comatose bringing to his bedside his mother, former drummer and the girls who got away in Mallery Avidon's "breaks & bikes," which gets its world premiere courtesy of The Pavement Group. Previews begin Thursday, Nov. 8, at Collaboraction Studio 300, at the Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The show opens Nov. 15. See pavementgroup.org for more information.
• The Gift Theatre announced the launch of its 11th season which begins in January, 2013, with "TEN," a showcase of 10-minute plays curated by co-founder Michael Patrick Thornton and featuring performances by giftED, giftLIT and giftFILM (Jan. 10-20, 2013). Next up is Noah Haidle's "Vigils," about a young widow who keeps her late husband's soul in a box by her bed (March 1-April 28, 2013). Laura Marks' thriller "Mine," about a new mother who is convinced that her new baby is not really hers, runs June 13 to Aug. 11, 2013. The season concludes with Marco Ramirez's "Broadsword" (Sept. 19-Nov. 17), about former members of a heavy metal band who gather for their lead guitarist's funeral which turns into a supernatural rescue mission. Performances take place at 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Subscriptions are available at (773) 283-7071 or thegifttheatre.org.
• Black Ensemble Theater founder Jackie Taylor recently announced the company's 30th season. Titled "Treasures and Tributes," the season opens Feb. 7, 2013, with a revival of "Doo Wop Shoo Bop," a musical celebrating such 1950s groups as The Platters, The Drifters and The Chantels. That's followed by "It's All-right to Have a Good Time (The Story of Curtis Mayfield)" (April 25-June 23, 2013) a salute to the Chicago singer/songwriter. Next up is "Howling at the Moon (The Story of Howlin' Wolf)" (July 25-Sept. 15, 2013). The musical stars Rick Stone as the blues master responsible for hits like "Red Rooster" and "Baby Please Don't Go." The season concludes with a revival of 1998's "Chicago's Golden Soul" (Oct. 17, 2013-Jan. 5, 2014), Taylor's tribute to Chicago stars like Jerry Butler and the Chi-Lites. Performances take place at 4450 N. Clark St., Chicago. Subscriptions are available, including the Five Play Card which can be used Wednesday and Thursday evening and for Saturday matinees. (773) 769-4451 or blackensembletheater.org.
• Victory Gardens Theater executive director Jan Kallish will depart the theater in November after four years, the theater announced recently. Kallish took over after founding director Dennis Zacek retired after 34 years. Current artistic director Chay Yew praised Kallish as an invaluable collaborator and a passionate and fiercely talented administrator.
• Bonnie Metzgar will step down as About Face Theatre artistic director at the end of the 2012/2013 season, the company announced recently. During her five years helming AFT, Metzgar produced acclaimed productions including "The Kid Thing," Rent" and "Immediate Family" and directed Philip Dawkins' "The Homosexuals." The 17-year-old company will initiate a national search to replace Metzgar.
• Pride Films and Plays announced that Jim Piazza's "A Friend of Dorothy's," a comedy set in 1967 in which Judy Garland goes missing and ends up in the suburban bedroom of a teenage fan, was named the winner of its 2012 Great Gay Screenplay Contest.
ó Barbara Vitello
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