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posted: 5/2/2013 6:00 AM

Local theater: 'Trumbo' performed

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BTE's 'Trumbo'

Buffalo Theatre Ensemble concludes its season with Christopher Trumbo's "Trumbo -- Red, White and Blacklisted," an homage to his father, screenwriter Dalton Trumbo ("Spartacus," "Roman Holiday") who was found in contempt of Congress after refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee and spent 11 months in prison.

Opens at 8 p.m. Friday, May 3, at Building K Theatre, College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. $25-$33. (630) 942-4000 or

Northlight premiere

Emmy Award winner Rhea Perlman joins Steppenwolf Theatre's Francis Guinan and Ed Flynn of Chicago's Gift Theatre Company for the world premiere of "Stella & Lou," Jeff Award-winning playwright Bruce Graham's drama about a couple of kindred spirits seeking solace in a bar.

Previews begin at 8 p.m. Friday, May 3, at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. The show opens Friday, May 10. $25-$72. (847) 673-6300 or

Groucho onstage

The Metropolis Performing Arts Centre invites comedy fans to spend "An Evening with Groucho" as portrayed by Frank Ferrante, who has made a career of playing the quick-witted Marx brother.

7 p.m. Sunday, May 5, at 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights. $35. (847) 577-2121 or

New 'Spoon River'

Provision Theater Company presents a new version of Edgar Lee Masters' "Spoon River Anthology," chronicling in poetry the life stories of the residents of a fictional small town. Artistic director Timothy Gregory adapted the script and directs the show featuring original music by Provision ensemble members Alaric Jans, Michael Mahler and Gary Fry.

The last preview is Friday, May 3, at 1001 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago. The show opens at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 4. $10-$32. (312) 455-0066 or

• Performances began this week for The Hypocrites production of "Ivywild: the True Tall Tales of Bathhouse John," a new play by Jay Torrence inspired by the outrageous schemes of early machine politicians: "Bathhouse John" Coughlin, a Chicago alderman from 1893 until his 1938 death, and fellow alderman Michael "Hinky Dink" Kenna, who presided over one of the most vice-ridden wards in the city. Artistic director Halena Kays directs the show which runs through June 16, at the Chopin Theater, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago. (773) 525-5991 or

• The National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St., Chicago, hosts the first Pilsen Improv Festival showcasing Latino improvisers, on Saturday May 4. Saltation Theater Company and the female duo Dominizualen perform at the mini-fest, which features standup comedians Jaime DeLeon and Abi Sanchez. Performances are at 6 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 and $10. They're available at For information, call (773) 875-6616 or see Pilsen Improv Festival on Facebook.

• Performances begin Monday, May 6, for Mortar Theatre Company's world premiere of the one-man show "Seek and Ye Shall Find," written and performed by Sentell Harper who examines what it means to be black and gay from the perspective of dozens of characters. The show runs through June 8 at the Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 935-6100 or

• Strawdog Theatre Company presents the family-friendly, world premiere adaptation of Lewis Carroll's nonsense poem "The Hunting of the Snark," about an oddball crew that sets out across the ocean to hunt "an inconceivable creature." Josh Sobel directs the show, which opens Monday, May 6, at 3829 N. Broadway St., Chicago. (866) 811-4111 or

• Filament Theatre continues its Music Monday series at 7 p.m. Monday, May 6, at 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Singer/songwriter Laura Joy performs as part of the series, which reflects the company's mission to "do theater in a folk tradition." Admission is free, but donations are accepted. (773) 270-1660 or

• With the patriarch and sovereign noticeably absent, his children are left to run the show in "Lear" -- Young Jean Lee's adaptation of Shakespeare's "King Lear" -- in which Big Bird must help make sense of the story. Previews begin Thursday, May 9, at Red Tape Theatre, 621 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show opens Monday, May 13. (847) 738-6919 or

• Lifeline Theatre hosts 30 Rocks, a benefit celebrating the Rogers Park company's 30th anniversary, from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at the Mayne Stage, 1328 W. Morse Ave., Chicago. The event includes a buffet, beverages, an auction and ensemble members performing a retrospective of three decades worth of productions. Tickets are $100 in advance, $125 at the door. (773) 761-4477 or

• Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, which devotes itself to work by female theater artists, hosts Rooted on Ridge, a salon and benefit from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at the Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark St., Chicago. The celebration marks the company's first year in its new home and includes music, a sneak peek at its upcoming show "The Electric Baby" and a raffle. VIP tickets are $125, patron tickets are $75. They're available online at or by phone at (773) 334-7728.

• Northlight Theatre announced its final selections for its 2013-2014 season. Ron OJ Parson directs "Detroit '67" (Nov. 8-Dec. 15), Dominique Morisseau's drama about brothers who run an after-hours club in their parents' basement, whose relationship deteriorates when an outsider joins their tight-knit community. Rounding out the season, which also includes "4,000 Miles," "Chapatti" and "Lost in Yonkers" is Jon Jory's world-premiere adaptation of Henry Fielding's 18th century comic novel "Tom Jones" (Jan. 17-Feb. 23, 2014), about an attractive young rascal's misadventures, mostly with the fairer sex. Subscriptions are available online at, by phone at (847) 673-6300 or at the box office at 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie.

• Porchlight's 19th season includes a Chicago premiere, a classic revue and some rarely performed shows as part of the company's new "lost musicals" series, Porchlight Revisits. The season begins Aug. 31 with the Chicago premiere of "Double Trouble -- A Musical Tour de Farce" about a pair of song-and-dance brothers who get their big break when asked to write a song for a new film. The problem is, they have only a few hours to do it. Next up is "Ain't Misbehavin'" (Feb. 1-March 9, 2014), an homage to Thomas "Fats" Waller, followed by "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" (April 26-June 1, 2014), which chronicles the rise of J. Pierrepont Finch from window washer to executive. As part of its inaugural Porchlight Revisits series, the ensemble delivers single-night, semi-staged productions of three unsung Broadway shows from a single year. This year's series is devoted to 1964 and it begins with "Anyone Can Whistle" (Sept. 25), followed by "Golden Boy" (Feb. 26) and "Fade In -- Fade Out" (May 24). All performances take place at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Early-bird discounts and season subscriptions are available through July 1, online at or by phone at (773) 777-9884. Single tickets go on sale July 1, at the Stage 773 box office or by phone at (773) 327-5252.

• Profiles Theatre celebrates its 25th season with Midwest premieres from Neil LaBute, Mike Bartlett and Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and the return of its acclaimed revival of Will Kern's "Hellcab." The season begins Aug. 23 with the Midwest premiere of Rhett Rossi's "In God's Hat" a dark comedy about a confrontation between estranged brothers, one recently released from prison, performed on Profiles' main stage at 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago. Next up is the Midwest premiere of "Wrecks" (Sept. 27-Nov. 17, Alley Stage, 4147 N. Broadway, Chicago), resident artist Neil LaBute's drama about a man devastated by the death of his beloved wife. The company remounts its acclaimed 2012 revival of the dark comedy "Hellcab" (Nov. 14-Jan. 12, 2014, main stage) about a Chicago cabdriver enduring a difficult night on the streets. Johnna Adams' "Gidion's Knot" begins previews on Jan. 17, 2014 on the Alley Stage. Set during a 90-minute parent-teacher conference, the play unfolds as a conversation between the grieving mother of a boy bullied into committing suicide and his overwhelmed teacher. Mike Bartlett's comedy about sexual identity in which a man breaks up with his longtime boyfriend and falls in love with a woman is scheduled Feb. 14-April 6, 2014 (main stage). The season concludes with Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's "Hunter Gatherers" (May 16-June 29, 2014, mains stage), which examines the thin line between civilization and savagery experienced by two couples at an annual dinner get-together. Tickets are available by phone (773) 549-1815 or online at Flex pass discounts are available through Aug. 31.

• The House Theatre of Chicago explores the connection between ourselves, our communities and our favorite tragic heroes as part of its 12th season, which begins Aug. 30, with "The Crownless King," a political action-adventure tale that is the second installment of a trilogy the company introduced last year. Inspired by King Arthur and Norse mythology, the story centers on young Casper Kent who has won the crown and struggles to keep it from an exiled black dragon. Next up is the company's annual production of "The Nutcracker" (Nov. 8-Dec. 29) about a young girl's efforts to save Christmas. The House next revives "Rose and the Rime" (Jan. 17-March 9, 2014) is about a young heroine named Rose who tries to save her Radio Falls, Mich., home from the curse of the Rime Witch. The season concludes with "Dorian" (May 9-June 22, 2014), an adaptation of Oscar Wilde's "A Picture of Dorian Gray." Continuing in an open run Fridays at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel, is ensemble member Dennis Watkins' "The Magic Parlour." All other performances take place at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago. Tickets are available online at

• Chicago Children's Theatre opens its 2013-2014 season with a revival of the company's musical adaptation of "A Year With Frog and Toad" (Oct. 9-Nov. 24) the company's inaugural production eight years ago based on Arnold Lobel's children's book series. Next up is "Mr. Chickee's Funny Money" (Jan. 21-March 2, 2014), a musical adapted from the book by Christopher Paul Curtis about a 9-year-old self-proclaimed spy. The season concludes with the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia's production "The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favorites" (April 25-June 1, 2014), about a caterpillar who eats his way through a variety of foods on his way to becoming a butterfly. The shows are performed at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. Tickets are available online at or by phone at (872) 222-9555.

• Bohemian Theatre Ensemble, the Rogers Park company known for staging intimate musicals, received 14 nonequity Joseph Jefferson Award nominations, the most of any company. Right behind them is The Hypocrites, which earned 12 nominations. BoHo earned nominations in the musical category for "The Spitfire Grill," which also earned nominations for lead actress Laura Savage, supporting actresses Nancy Kolton and Laura Lindahl, and music director Tom Vendafreddo. The Hypocrites received nominations for "The Mikado" in the best musical, ensemble and director (Sean Graney) categories. Fox Valley Repertory artistic director John Gawlik received a directing nod for Circle Theatre's "When the Rain Stops Falling," while Lincolnshire native Brenda Didier received a directing nomination for Theo Ubique's "Smokey Joe's Cafe." The 40th annual nonequity Jeff Awards ceremony will be held on Monday, June 3, at the Park West, 322 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago. Tickets are $40 in advance, $45 at the door. See

• The League of Chicago Theatres has named Berwyn's 16th Street Theater -- an ensemble devoted to new works and diversity -- as the winner of its 2013 Broadway in Chicago Emerging Theater Award. The company receives $5,000, consultation from BIC staff and advertising support. BIC created the award in 2007 to support and encourage promising new companies.

-- Barbara Vitello

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