Social satire at BTE
Next up at Buffalo Theatre Ensemble is Carl Sternheim's early 20th century farce "The Underpants," adapted by actor/comedian Steve Martin. The satire centers on a beautiful young wife living in Germany who, to the chagrin of her husband, drops her drawers while watching the king's parade. Ensemble member Kurt Naebig stars in director Amelia Barrett's revival of this satirical examination of the price of fame.
Opens Friday, Jan. 18, at Building K Theatre, northwest end of the College of DuPage campus, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. $25-$33. (630) 942-4000 or atthemac.org.
New plays showcase
Metropolis Performing Arts Centre unveils the winning submissions to its New Play Festival with staged readings beginning with Chris Swanson's "The Principle of the Thing," about marriage and counseling, followed by Scott Glander's "Shakespeare Restored." Next up is "Grin and Bear it" about three Scouts attempting to earn a merit badge by teen winner Naomi Rawitz, of Buffalo Grove, followed by fellow teen winner Joey Lubelfeld's "Not Far from the Tree," a coming-of-age-story about a boy struggling with loss. The festival concludes with first-place winner Norma Simon's "Griffiths," about a boy's acceptance into an exclusive school.
Live readings at 7 p.m. Sundays, Jan. 20 to Feb. 17, at 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights. $15. (847) 577-2121 or metropolisarts.com.
Tiffany Topol stars as a good-hearted but ill-fated good-time girl, Charity Hope Valentine, in Writers' Theatre's revival of Neil Simon's effervescent "Sweet Charity" with music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Dorothy Fields. Music director Doug Peck re-imagines the score for a jazz combo in director Michael Halberstam's revival.
Previews begin Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. The show opens Thursday, Jan. 31. $35-$70. (847) 242-6000 or writerstheatre.org.
Other theater events:
• Dream Theatre Company pays tribute to Arch Oboler, the writer responsible for the horror radio series "Lights Out," with the world premiere of "Lights Out, Everybody -- a tribute in Horror to Arch Oboler." Performances continue through Sunday, Feb. 10, at 556 W. 18th St., Chicago. (773) 552-8616 or dreamtheatrecompany.com.
• Performances begin Friday, Jan. 18, for Jedlicka Performing Arts Center's regional premiere of the rarely produced musical, "Das Barbecu!" by Jim Luigs (book and lyrics) and Scott Warrender (music). The show re-imagines Wagner's Ring Cycle as a Texas tale with five actors playing more than 30 characters, including a crooning cowboy named Siegfried. The show runs through Saturday, Feb. 2, at 3801 S. Central Ave., Morton College, Cicero. (708) 656-1800 or jpactheatre.com.
• Profiles Theatre artistic director Joe Jahraus directs the Midwest premiere of "The Dream of Burning Boy," Toronto native West Read's drama which unfolds in the wake of a sudden death of a beloved high school student and centers around a teacher who finds himself falling asleep at his desk, a guidance counselor who thinks inspirational posters will boost the student body's spirits and fellow students having a hard time processing everything. Previews begin Friday, Jan. 18, at the company's Alley Stage, 4147 N. Broadway, Chicago. The show opens Tuesday, Jan. 29. (773) 549-1815 or profilestheatre.org.
• Oracle Productions opens its third season of public access theater with Dario Fo's 1970 farce "Accidental Death of an Anarchist." about a known anarchist suspected of bombing a public building, who falls to his death during the interrogation prompting the question: Was his death accidental? Performances begin Saturday, Jan. 19, at 3809 N. Broadway, Chicago. It runs through March 2 with no performances Feb. 8-11. Admission is free, but reservations are necessary and donations are accepted. See publicaccesstheatre.org.
• The Chicago Mammals present a short run of Samuel Beckett's classic "Waiting for Godot" Saturday, Jan. 19, Monday, Jan. 21, and Monday, Jan. 28, at Zoo Studios, 4001 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago. Sean Ewert and Justin Warren star as the clownish tramps Vladimir and Estragon waiting for the enigmatic Godot. (866) 593-4614 or chicagomammals.com.
• "Desdemona, A Play About a Handkerchief," Paula Vogel's re-examination of Shakespeare's "Othello," in which Desdemona is every bit the loose woman Othello imagines her to be, runs Saturday, Jan. 19, at Gorilla Tango Theatre, 7924 Lincoln Ave., Skokie. (773) 598-4549 or gorillatango.com.
• The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events showcases Blair Thomas & Company as part of its In the Works series showcasing in-development works. The DCASE presents a free reading of an excerpt of "Moby Dick" at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, at the Storefront Theatre, 72 E. Randolph St., Chicago. See blairthomas.org or chicagoculturalcenter.org.
• Chicago Children's Theatre welcomes Christopher Paul Curtis, author of "Bud, Not Buddy," for a Martin Luther King Day event at 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, at Chase Auditorium, 10 S. Dearborn St., Chicago. Curtis' free appearance coincides with the opening of the company's adaptation of the children's novel about a young African-American boy who searches for his father during the Depression. The play opens at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. (872) 222-9555 or chicagochildrenstheatre.org.
• A chance encounter causes a married woman to consider making some changes in her life and marriage in Lucinda Coxon's dark comedy, "Happy Now?" Artistic director Roger Smart directs Shattered Globe Theatre's production, which begins previews Thursday, Jan. 24, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show opens Sunday, Jan. 27. See shatteredglobe.org.
• The uneventful lives of rooming house owners Petey and Meg and their longtime tenant Stanley are upended when a pair of mysterious and menacing men appear just in time to celebrate Stanley's birthday in Harold Pinter's dark comedy "The Birthday Party." Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble member Austin Pendleton directs the company's revival which begins previews Thursday, Jan. 24, at 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago. The show opens Saturday, Feb. 2. (312) 335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.
• Previews begin Thursday, Jan. 24, for Signal Ensemble Theatre's world premiere of Jon Steinhagen's "Successors," about a popular, three-term mayor who decides to retire without endorsing any of his ambitious children. Co-artistic director Ronan Marra directs the show, which opens Saturday, Jan. 26, at 1802 W. Berenice Ave., Chicago. (773) 698-7389 or signalensemble.com.
• Writers' Theatre has extended John W. Lowell's two-hander, "The Letters," starring Kate Fry and Mark L. Montgomery. Set in 1930s Russia, this thriller centers around an interview between the director of some unnamed government agency and a midlevel employee. Performances continue through March 17 at Books on Vernon, 664 Vernon Ave., Glencoe. (847) 242-6000 or writerstheatre.org.
• Profiles Theatre announced a final extension for its 20th anniversary production of "Hellcab," Will Kern's play about a day in the life of a Chicago cabdriver. Performances continue through Feb. 24 at 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago. (773) 549-1815 or profilestheatre.org.
• Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook will complete phase 1 of its facility renovation in March, president Kyle DeSantis announced recently. Phase 1 includes renovation of the 27,000-square-foot ballroom, main lobby and cocktail lounge, which will feature original artwork. Phase 2, including renovation of the courtyard restaurant, French and English rooms and the theater bar, will conclude by mid-2014.
• The Chicago Sinfonietta recently awarded its Chairperson's Award for Diversity and Inclusion to theater ensemble Silk Road Rising, which produces plays rooted in the experiences of Asian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean people. The organization also lauded the company's work in mentoring and assisting the professional development of minority artists.