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updated: 3/22/2013 6:37 AM

Local theater: Adaptation of Last Supper

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'The Gathering'
Improv Playhouse reprises its production of "The Gathering," Josephine Raciti Forsberg's contemporary adaptation of the Last Supper, which takes place during a Seder. Shahab Astabraghpour, of Waukegan, stars as The Teacher in director David Brian Stuart's production.
7:30 p.m. Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23, as well as Thursday through Saturday, March 28-30; 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 24, at 735 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville. $22.50, $17.50 (847) 968-4529 or improvplayhouse.com.

Detective tale
Kristine Thatcher returns to First Folio Theatre to star in the female version of Glen Berger's one-woman show "Underneath The Lintel," an examination of life's meaning in the guise of a detective story. Thatcher stars as a Dutch librarian who finds a book 113 years overdue in the return bin, and her quest to uncover the borrower leads her on a worldwide odyssey. Alison C. Vesely directs.
Previews begin Wednesday, March 27, at the Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook. The show opens Saturday, March 30. $22-$37. (630) 986-8067 or firstfolio.org.

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'Plaid' returns
Fox Valley Repertory delivers a dollop of doo-wop with a revival of the 1950s set jukebox musical, "Forever Plaid," about a quartet whose members perish on the way to their first big gig and then get a heaven-sent second chance to fulfill their dreams. "Three Coins in a Fountain," "Love is a Many-Splendored Thing," "Heart and Soul" and "Day-O" are among the show's featured numbers.
Previews begin Thursday, March 28, at Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles. The show opens Saturday, April 6. $32-$42. (630) 584-6342 or foxvalleyrep.org.

Also in theaters:

• Broken Nose Theatre continues its examination of love, sex and relationships with the world premiere of "Beautiful Broken" by Benjamin Brownson, beginning previews Friday, March 22, at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Set in Chicago's storefront theater community, the play centers on two couples whose relationships are anything but simple. The show opens Friday, March 29. (773) 404-7336 or greenhousetheater.org.

• "Dawn, Quixote," The Building Stage artistic director Blake Montgomery's re-imagining of Miguel de Cervantes' classic tale marks the end of the company known for reinventing classic stories. After eight years, Montgomery "is closing The Building Stage in order to follow new theatrical and educational pursuits." Montgomery called the experience "incredibly rewarding" in a prepared statement saying "We want to thank everyone who has supported the company and venue with their time, money and attention." Montgomery's adaptation -- part Samuel Beckett and Sergio Leone -- centers on the return home of the self-proclaimed knight to face the dawn of his final day. Previews begin Friday, March 22, at 412 N. Carpenter St., Chicago. It opens Monday, March 25. (312) 491-1369 or buildingstage.com.

• Kids These Days, Wheaton College's improv team, is among 16 teams competing on Saturday, March 23, for the sixth annual College Improv National Championship. Kids These Days bested last year's national champion Columbia College Chicago's Droppin' $cience to win the Windy City Regional. Among the other teams competing are: Red Light School District from University of Illinois-Chicago and Improv Mafia from Illinois State University. Matches begin at noon at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. (773) 935-6875 or citregionals.com or web.ovationtix.com. Live coverage is available on cit.mtvu.com.

• Pride Films and Plays presents the world premiere of "Under a Rainbow Flag," a musical by Leo Schwartz inspired by the life story of Illinois native Jon Philips and the fellow soldiers he met on the way to combat during World War II and the choices they made during and after the war. David Zak directs the play which opens Saturday, March 23, at 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago. (800) 838-3006 or pridefilmsandplays.com.

• Artistic associates and former cast members from The Brown Paper Box Co. perform roles they wouldn't typically play due to age, gender or voice type on Saturday, March 23, as part of the company's Character Breakdown: A Miscast Cabaret at Davenports Piano Bar and Cabaret, 1383 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The 8 p.m. performance features Andrew Lund, Stephanie Rohr, Nick Shoda and Katherine Glavin among others. See davenportspianobar.com or brownpaperbox.org.

• The adults-only "Late Live Show" comes to the iO Theater, 3541 N. Clark St., Chicago, for its final season beginning Saturday, March 23. Show time is 11:59 p.m. and the show runs through May 11. (773) 880-0199 or ioimprov.com.

• Lifeline Theatre presents the musical, "The Emperor's New Threads: A Fashion Statement," inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fable. Part of the theater's KidSeries, the musical is about a trendsetting emperor whose fashion tax threatens to bankrupt the country until a young girl teaches him a lesson. Performances begin Sunday, March 24, at 6912 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago. Ensemble member Frances Limoncelli adapted the tale and directs the show which stars Mike Ooi as the emperor and Kacy Ann Smith as the kid. (773) 761-4477 or lifelinetheatre.com.

• Broadway veteran Chester Gregory, who starred in Black Ensemble Theater's original "The Jackie Wilson Story," returns Sunday, March 24, for a performance of his one-man show "The Eve of Jackie Wilson" which chronicles the entertainer's final days in concert. The performance is at 7:30 p.m. at 4450 N. Clark St., Chicago. (773) 769-4451 or blackensemble.org.

• Chicago area favorite Gene Weygandt stars as seminal showman P.T. Barnum in Mercury Theater's production of the circus-inspired musical "Barnum," by Cy Coleman (music), Michael Stewart (lyrics) and Mark Bramble (book). The show also stars Jeff Award winners Cory Goodrich as his wife Charity and Summer Naomi Smart as singer Jenny Lind. L. Walter Stearns directs and Eugene Dizon serves as musical director with co-choreographers Brenda Didier and Andrew Waters. Sylvia Hernandez-Distasi of the Actor's Gymnasium directs the circus acts. Previews begin Wednesday, March 27, at 3745 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. The show opens Thursday, April 4. (773) 325-1700 or mercurytheaterchicago.com.

• A Reasonable Facsimile Theatre Company opens its revival of Shirley Lauro's "A Piece of My Heart," on Friday, March 29, at the Cornservatory, 4210 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. ARFTCo first produced the show about women who served in Vietnam, taken from a military nurse's real life experiences in 2004. The show runs through April 28. See arftco.com for more information.

• Chicago Shakespeare Theater announced its 2013-2014 season earlier this month. The season opens Sept. 24 with the return of Jeff Award winner Henry Groener ("The Madness of George III") who stars in Anthony Burgess' adaptation of "Cyrano de Bergerac" by Edmond Rostand. Next up is "The Merry Wives of Windsor" (Dec. 3-Jan. 19, 2014), Shakespeare's comedy about the cash-strapped rogue Sir John Falstaff who woos the wives of Windsor's gentlemen. Gary Griffin directs a production of the Jule Styne-Stephen Sondheim musical "Gypsy" (Feb. 6-March 23, 2014), about a domineering stage mother determined to make her children stars. Griffin sticks around to direct "Road Show" (March 13-May 4, 2014), the Stephen Sondheim-John Weidman musical based on the story of brothers Wilson and Addison Mizner who traveled America during the early 20th century in an effort to get rich quick. The season concludes with CST's first staging on Navy Pier of Shakespeare's "Henry V" (April 29-June 15, 2014), the play that launched CST on a Chicago rooftop in 1986. Director Rachel Rockwell makes her CST debut with a 75-minute, family friendly adaptation of "Shrek the Musical" (July 13-Sept. 1), inspired by the DreamWorks film. CST's World's Stage productions include: "Measure for Measure" (fall 2013) from Australia and "Tristan & Yseult" (March 30-April 13, 2014), a British production inspired by a 12th century poem about a love triangle between an Irish woman, Cornish king and a French knight. Subscriptions and single tickets are available at the box office at 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, online at chicagoshakes.com or by phone at (312) 595-5600.

• The League of Chicago Theatres and Choose Chicago touted the success of the first Chicago Theatre Week which took place throughout the city and suburbs last month. With 6,200 tickets sold to more than 300 performances by 97 participating productions, "Theatre Week was a smashing success," said Eileen LaCario, vice president of Broadway in Chicago, in a prepared statement, adding "expectations were met for ticket sales and for heightening the visibility and all around enthusiasm for Chicago's great theater scene."

• Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace has completed phase one of its renovation, president Kyle DeSantis announced earlier this month. Phase one under designer Shannon Leoni features a revamping of the 27.000-square-foot grand ballroom, lobby and cocktail lounge along with the French and English rooms. Phase two, including the courtyard restaurant and theater bar, will conclude next year.

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