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Article updated: 1/25/2013 6:57 AM

Theater events: Fox Valley Rep opens with comedy whodunit

By Barbara Vitello

Humorous whodunit
Successful artist Jack devises a plot to kills his art dealer after he discovers the man has tricked him in the comedy whodunit "The Art of Murder" by Joe DiPietro ("I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change," "Memphis"). American Theater Company's Jason W. Gerace directs Fox Valley Repertory's season-opening production.
Previews continue through Feb. 1 at the Pheasant Run Resort main stage, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles. The show opens at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2. $32, $42. (630) 584-6342 or foxvalleyrep.org.

Drury Lane's 'Sunset'
Drury Lane Theatre revives "Sunset Boulevard" -- the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical inspired by Billy Wilder's iconic 1950 film about fading silent screen star Norma Desmond who's desperate for a Hollywood comeback and sees her opportunity in struggling screenwriter Joe Gillis. Christine Sherrill and Will Ray star in director William Osetek's production, which also features Don Richard as Norma's faithful butler, Max.
Previews continue through Jan. 31 at 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace. The show opens at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1. $35-$46. (630) 530-0111 or drurylaneoakbrook.com.

Jeeves and Bertie return
Jim McCance, Christian Gray and Kevin McKillip reprise their roles as the taciturn gentleman's gentleman Jeeves, his hapless upper-crust employer Bertie and Bertie's best pal Binky in First Folio Theatre's "Jeeves Takes a Bow," the company's third production of a Margaret Raether adaptation of the P.G. Wodehouse tale. This installment finds Bertie in America where he gets involved in a Broadway musical, tangles with the mob and canoodles with chorus girls. Artistic director Alison C. Vesely directs.
Previews begin Wednesday, Jan. 30, at the Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st. St., Oak Brook. The show opens at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2. $22-$37. (630) 986-8067 or firstfolio.org.

Also happening on the Chicago theater scene:

Ÿ A Confederate soldier returns to his family home after the Civil War and finds it abandoned and inhabited by two former slaves in "The Whipping Man," by Matthew Lopez, a writer on HBO's "The Newsroom." Kimberly Senior directs Northlight Theatre's production starring Derek Gaspar, Sean Parris and Tim Edward Rhoze. The show opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25, at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. (847) 673-6300 or northlight.org.

Ÿ Ana's dream of a perfect quinceanera falls short after some unexpected news affecting her older brother Luis throws the family into turmoil in Susan Lieberman's "Cars and Quinceaneras," a coming-of-age-drama that opens Friday, Jan. 25, at Clockwise Theatre, 221 N. Genesee St., Waukegan. Juan Castaneda directs. (800) 838-3006 or clockwisetheatre.org.

Ÿ Previews begin Friday, Jan. 25, for Victory Gardens Theater's U.S. premiere of "Disconnect," Anupama Chandrasekhar's dramedy about consumerism and the global economy centered around a forty-something debt collector and workers in a Chennai, India, call center. The show, directed by Ann Filmer, opens Feb. 4, at 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 871-3000 or victorygardens.org.

Ÿ Clock Productions brings its latest incarnation of its ongoing Scary Tales series featuring short stories of mystery and terror to National Pastime Theater, at the Preston Bradley Center, 941 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago. Performances begin Friday, Jan. 25, and run through Feb. 9. (773) 327-7077 or brownpapertickets.com.

Ÿ Emerald City Theatre opens its spring season Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Apollo Theater, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. Running in repertory are Katie Mitchell's adaptation of "Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat," about a frisky feline who makes trouble for a pair of siblings, and Ryan Scott Oliver's musical adaptation "The Frog Prince, Continued," about what happens when "happily ever after" proves unsatisfying to The Frog Prince, who decides to pursue a new adventure. "The Cat in the Hat" runs through May 19, and "The Frog Prince, Continued" runs through June. 2. (773) 935-6100 or emeraldcitytheatre.com.

Ÿ The comedy-variety show "City Life Supplement" begins its new season at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Holiday Club, 4000 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago. A "radio play without a station," the show features music, social commentary and storytelling. Reservations required. (773) 960-0548 or citylifesupplement.org.

Ÿ Bailiwick Chicago Theater's production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," featuring winners of the company's annual casting auction, begins performances Thursday, Jan. 31, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Among the nonprofessionals appearing in the production of the Tim Rice-Andrew Lloyd Webber musical are Buffalo Grove residents Harvey and Fran Kaluzna who play Pharaoh and his queen. The couple are participating in their ninth Chicago Casting Auction production. It runs through Feb. 2. (773) 969-6201 or bailiwickchicago.com.

Ÿ Metropolis Performing Arts Centre and the Arlington Heights Memorial Library host Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley ("A Thousand Acres") at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights. Smiley appears as part of Metropolis' From Page to Stage series. Tickets are free and can be reserved by calling the library at (847) 392-0100 or ahml.info.

Ÿ Previews begin Wednesday, Jan. 30, for Lookingglass Theatre Company's Chicago-area premiere of Rajiv Joseph's dark comedy "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo," in which two U.S. Marines and their Iraqi translator encounter a now-deceased but very angry tiger in Baghdad's war-torn streets. Ensemble member Heidi Stillman directs. The show opens Feb. 9 at the Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. (312) 337-0665 or lookingglasstheatre.org.

Ÿ Chicago Shakespeare Theater welcomes the Belarus Free Theatre as part of its World's Stage Series beginning Wednesday, Jan. 30, at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. The company performs its newest political work, "Minsk, 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker." Inspired by American writer Kathy Acker, the satirical piece tells the stories of several exploited Belarusians. (312) 595-5600 or chicagoshakes.com or freebelarusnow.org.

Ÿ Theater Oobleck revives Mickle Maher's comedy "There is a Happiness That Morning Is," in which two college lecturers who engaged in inappropriate displays of public affection the evening before, must justify or apologize for their behavior through the poetry of William Blake. Performances begin Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 871-3000 or theateroobleck.com or victorygardens.org.

Ÿ The Waltzing Mechanics celebrate the second anniversary of "El Stories" with a best-of production that runs at 11 p.m. Saturdays through March 30 at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. The stories are adapted from interviews ensemble members had with CTA riders about their experiences. (773) 404-7336 or waltzingmechanics.org.

Ÿ The Guild Theater's revival of "Bus Stop," William Inge's examination of a group of travelers who are snowbound at a diner in 1955 Kansas who come to some life-changing realizations, runs through Feb. 2 at the Elgin Art Showcase, 164 Division St., Elgin. The Guild donates $2 from every ticket sold to the United Way of Elgin. "It's exciting to actually see our dollars at work in the community we serve," said Guild business manager Paul Sprecher in a prepared statement. (847) 297-6365 or theguildtheater.org.

Ÿ Trap Door Theatre has extended its double bill of "The Unveiling" and "Dozens of Cousins." Performances continue through Feb. 9 at 1655 W. Cortland St., Chicago. (773) 384-0494 or trapdoortheatre.com.

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