Jack's doing his best to escape the Giant, but other fairy tale characters are getting in his way in "The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales," Griffin Theatre's show for young audiences, which it brings to the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre as part of its family-friendly Stories in Action series.
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Performances at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, through Saturday, Feb. 23, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights. $14, $12. (847) 577-2121 or metropolisarts.com.
The Actors Gymnasium, an ensemble that produces circus-theater works for all ages. introduces "Skooled: A Study in Circus" featuring work by clown Dean Evans and co-artistic directors and circus artists Larry DiStasi and Sylvia Hernandez-Distasi. An examination of life's lessons in myriad forms, the show features aerial acrobatics, music and pranks.
Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St., Evanston. (847) 328-2795 or actorsgymnasium.com.
A past revealed
A young man sets out to find the woman who may have saved his grandfather from the Nazis in "Everything is Illuminated," adapted by playwright Simon Block from the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer ("Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"). Accompanying Jonathan on this journey is an old man, a dog and a Ukrainian translator. Brad Smith stars as Jonathan in director Devon de Mayo's production for Evanston's Next Theatre.
Previews begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St., Evanston. The show opens at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26. $30-$40. (847) 475-1875, ext. 2, or nexttheatre.org.
First Folio Theatre has added performances of "Jeeves Takes a Bow," at 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23; 3 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24; 3 and 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27; 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 2; and 3 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 3. Performances run through March 3 at the Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook. $26-$37. (630) 986-8067 or firstfolio.org.
• Lifeline Theatre continues its 30th season with the world premiere of Christopher M. Walsh's adaptation of "The City & The City," China Mieville's combination fantasy fiction/police procedural about a detective investigating a murder in the European city-state Beszel, which leads him to its twin city Ui Qoma, both of which occupy the same space. Citizens are trained to "unsee" the sister city and anyone who breaches the separation commits a crime worse than murder. Previews begin Friday, Feb. 15, at 6912 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago. The show opens Feb. 25. (773) 761-4477 or lifelinetheatre.com.
• Previews begin Friday, Feb. 15, for Saint Sebastian Players' world premiere of "Lefties," by Chicago area playwright Leigh Johnson. Set during the McCarthy era, the play is about a baseball-loving, Russian-born man and devoted Communist whose son is a semiprofessional pitcher enamored with capitalism. Performances run through March 10 at St. Bonaventure, 1625 W. Diversey Ave., Chicago. Talkbacks with the cast and playwright follow Sunday matinees. (773) 404-7922 or saintsebastianplayers.org.
• A tragedy tears apart the community of fictional Unison Hills, an upscale neighborhood whose residents work in the music industry, in Black Ensemble Theater's world premiere of "From Doo Wop to Hip Hop" by BET founder Jackie Taylor and associate director Rueben Echoles. The show features music by the Platters, Drifters and The Chiffons as well as Jay-Z and Kanye West among others. Previews begin Friday, Feb. 15, at 4450 N. Clark St., Chicago. The show opens Sunday, Feb. 24. (773) 769-4451 or blackensemble.org.
• Chicago Shakespeare Theater teams up with The Market Theatre of South Africa for the world premiere of "Cadre," the latest in CST's World's Stage Series. Written by and starring playwright/actor Omphile Molusi, "Cadre" is based on the real-life experiences of an anti-apartheid activist from South Africa. Performances begin Friday, Feb. 15, at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., The show opens Tuesday, Feb. 19. (312) 595-5600 or chicagoshakes.com.
• A Muslim standup comedian preparing for an audition to play a terrorist in a Hollywood movie reflects upon his late father, the impact of art and the American dream in "Dishwasher Dreams," a solo show by Alaudin Ullah, directed by Victory Gardens' Chad Yew for Silk Road Rising. The show runs at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, and 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb., 16, at the Historic Chicago Temple Building, 77 W. Washington St., Chicago. (312) 857-1234, ext. 201, or silkroadrising.org.
• Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson brings his one-man show "Undisputed Truth" to Chicago this weekend as part of a 10-week national tour. Directed by Spike Lee, the show offers a look inside the mind of the fighter. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, and Sunday, Feb. 17, and 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com or facebook.com/miketysonontour.
• LiveWire Chicago Theatre celebrates Chicago Theatre Week with Bekah Brunstetter's "I Love You, I Think," comprised of monologues about the subject of love. Performances run Friday, Feb. 15, and Saturday, Feb. 16, and Feb. 22-23, at the Tom Robinson Gallery, 2416 W. North Ave., Chicago. Discounted $10 tickets are available for the Feb. 15-16 performances online at chicagotheatreweek.com, code THWEEK. See livewirechicago.com.
• "25 Saints," the latest by Pine Box Theater Company ensemble member Joshua Rollings ("A Girl With Sun in Her Eyes"), begins previews Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. The play centers on a man named Charlie who returns to his Appalachian home to clean up his brother's mess. which involves paying off a debt and cooking up a batch of meth. Ensemble member Susan E. Bowen directs a cast that includes Drew Johnson as Charlie and Danny Goldring ("Boss") as the sheriff. The show opens Thursday, Feb. 21. (773) 404- 7336 or greenhousetheater.org or pineboxtheater.org.
• Sideshow Theatre Company presents CLLAW XV, its latest ladies arm wrestling event benefiting the theater company and Girl's Rock! Chicago, an organization that helps females between 8 and 16 to develop creative expression and self-esteem through rock music. The event takes place on Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie Ave., Chicago. See cllaw.org or sideshowtheatre.org.
• Performances begin Sunday, Feb. 17, for the Annoyance Theatre's "Kill Me I'm Irish (A Chicago St. Patrick's Day Story)" at 4830 N. Broadway, Chicago. Derrick Aguis directs the show, which looks at the funny side of the popular Chicago holiday. (773) 561-4665 or annoyanceproductions.com.
• Midwest New Musicals in association with Evanston's Light Opera Works presents a concert performance of the in-progress, one-act opera "Eve," by Philip Seward and Joan Mazzonelli. It's about a woman who receives flowers, champagne and a marriage proposal, then spends a sleepless night wrestling with her answer. The performance is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18, at LOW's Second Stage, 1420 Maple St., Evanston. (847) 920-5360.
• A national tour of the musical "Fela!," based on the life of Afrobeat originator and political activist Kuti, comes to Chicago for a brief run. Former Destiny's Child member Michelle Williams stars in the production, which runs Tuesday, Feb. 19, through Feb. 23, at the Arie Crown Theater, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. (312) 791-6320 or felaonbroadway.com.
• Emmy Award-winning actor/director Charles Dutton ("Roc," "A Time to Kill," "The Piano Lesson") brings his one-man show "From Jail to Yale: Serving Time onstage," to Chicago to benefit the Chicago Youth Leadership Academy, a program sponsored by the Chicago Police Department and the University of Chicago that helps youth from high-risk neighborhoods to take advantage of career and educational opportunities. Dutton performs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, and Thursday, Feb. 21, at the David Logan Center for the Arts Performance Hall, University of Chicago, 915 E. 60th St., Chicago. Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for children. (773) 702-2787 or ticketsweb.uchicago.edu.
• A one-week vacation on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, and a one-week vacation in Fort Myers, Florida (both including airfare), a weekend package at Chicago's Omni Hotel, a one-year membership at the Old Town School of Folk Music and a tour of the Candyality Candy Museum are among the items available for the live and silent auctions taking place at Signal Ensemble Theatre's Signal Soiree. The fundraiser takes place Wednesday, Feb. 20, at the Omni Hotel, 676 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Tickets are $75 in advance, $90 at the door for the even which includes dinner and a preview of the company's 2013-2014 season. See signalensemble.com.
• Walkabout Theater presents the world premiere of "All Rise -- a theatrical event on sacred ground," at the Luther Memorial Church, 2500 W. Wilson Ave., Chicago. Held in conjunction with Luther Memorial Church, the promenade-style production unfolds on a tour of the church with Billy (played by Errol McLendon) as the guide introducing audience members to a women's club meeting, a burial and a rebirth. Previews begin Wednesday, Feb. 20. The show opens Friday, Feb. 22. See walkabouttheater.org for more information.
• Australian playwright Andrew Bovell's "Speaking in Tongues," about the mistakes people make and the consequences of their actions, is the next production from Interrobang Theatre Project. Previews begin Thursday, Feb. 21, at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave, Chicago. The show, directed by artistic director Jeffry Stanton, opens Saturday, Feb. 23. (773) 975-8150 or theaterwit.org or interrobangtheatreproject.org.
-- Barbara Vitello