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posted: 5/10/2013 6:00 AM

Theater events: 'Black Tie' closes out Steel Beam's season

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Bridal daze
Steel Beam Theatre closes its 12th season with "Black Tie," A. R. Gurney's comedy of manners centered around a family wedding that goes any way but smooth. Richard Westphal, of Aurora, plays the ghost of the family patriarch who appears to his son as that man is preparing a rehearsal dinner toast for his son and daughter-in-law to be. Elgin's Terry Domschke directs.
Opens at 8 p.m. Friday, May 10, at 111 W. Main St., St. Charles. $23, $25. (630) 587-8521 or steelbeamtheatre.com.

Dinners for two
Several couples' quest for romance plays out in various restaurants in Metropolis Performing Arts Centre's production of the musical revue "Five Course Love" by Gregg Coffin. Amanda Bloom, Greg Foster and Amy Malouf star in this comic look at dinners-for-two, which take place at a barbecue joint, a roadside diner and an intimate Italian trattoria among other venues. Krista Hansen directs.
Previews begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 16, at 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights. The show opens at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 19. $28-$44. (847) 577-2121 or metropolisarts.com.

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Moliere fest begins
Court Theatre and the University of Chicago mark the establishment of their joint venture the Center for Classic Theatre -- drawing upon the university's academic resources and Court's producing prowess -- with The Moliere Festival featuring productions of "The Misanthrope" and "Tartuffe." First up is "The Misanthrope," which stars Erik Hellman as Alceste, a man who rails against hypocrisy and social niceties, then falls in love with a woman who possesses the flaws he abhors. Artistic director Charles Newell directs.
Previews continue through Friday, May 17, at 5535 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago. The show opens at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 18. "Tartuffe" previews begin June 20. $35-$65. (773) 753-4472 or courttheatre.org.

Other theater events:

• The Chicago Bar Association brings its annual musical comedy revue "Lawpocalypse Now" to the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights, for a performance at 8 p.m. Friday, May 10. (837) 577-2121 or metropolisarts.com.

• Profiles Theatre, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago, presents the world premiere of Neil LaBute's revised stage version of "In the Company of Men," about two men frustrated about their stalled careers and failures with women who decide to woo and then dump a deaf woman in their office. Steppenwolf Theatre's Rick Snyder directs the revival starring Jordan Brown, Brennan Roche and Jessica Carleton. Previews begin Friday, May 10. The show opens May 16. (773) 549-1816 or profilestheatre.org.

• "Roadkill," the docu-theater piece about sex trafficking, written and directed by Cora Bissett, makes its U.S. premiere at Chicago Shakespeare Theater as part of the company's World's Stage Series beginning Saturday, May 11. Based on interviews with victims, the site-specific, adults-only show begins with 20 audience members taking a bus ride to a Chicago apartment where they meet a young girl from Nigeria whose dreams of beginning a new life in America are dashed after she's forced into the sex trade. The show has a limited number of tickets available for $45. Call (312) 595-5600 or see chicagoshakes.com/roadkill for more information.

• A Red Orchid Theatre hosts A Day at the Races, a benefit for the company's upcoming production of Sam Shepard's "Simpatico" -- which takes place "in the netherworld of thoroughbred racing" -- from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at Arlington International Racecourse, 2200 W. Euclid Ave., Arlington Heights. The $150 tickets include a performance of a scene from the play by founding members Guy Van Swearingen and Michael Shannon, a buffet lunch, open bar and in-suite betting from the Secretariat Suite. (312) 943-8722 or https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/92348.

• Sideshow Theatre Company hosts its annual gala from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at 1326 N. Cleveland Ave., Chicago. Centered around the meeting between aristocratic Brits and their new Russian in-laws, the fundraiser includes Russian food, music and cocktails. Tickets are $100, $150 for VIP seating. They're available online at sideshowtheatre.org or by phone at (773) 809-4782.

• Teatro Luna presents a staged reading of "You, Me & Tuno," by Milta Ortiz, winner of the 2013 Diane Rodriguez Award for the Advancement of Latina Voices in Theatre. The reading is at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The play, which contains strong language and sexual content, centers on teen sisters left in the care of their absent aunt in East Oakland, CA, while their parents pick pomegranates in northern California. The girls set out with their cousin Tuno on a quest to a supermarket to taste a real pomegranate. (773) 819-5862 or teatroluna.org.

• Previews begin Sunday, May 12, for The Annoyance Theatre's dark comedy double featuring works expanded from their original short plays. The crime noir inspired "Closing Time" centers on a robbery at a pizza parlor. "The Imminent Future" is writer/director Ben Larrison's absurdist comedy about two pals traveling together in post-apocalyptic America. The shows open May 26 at 4830 N. Broadway, Chicago. (773) 561-4665 or theannoyance.com.

• InFusion Theatre Company teams with playwright Qui Hguyen for the Midwest premiere of his futuristic "Fight Girl Battle World," about a prizefighter named E-V who is also the last known human female in the galaxy. Sheila O'Connor stars in the play which begins previews Tuesday, May 14, at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show opens May 17. (773) 975-8150 or infusiontheatre.com.

• Redtwist Theatre company member Peter Oyloe returns for the Chicago area premiere of Leslye Headland's "Reverb," about a young musician and his girlfriend/muse trying to deal with their dysfunctional pasts and create a future together. Previews begin Wednesday, May 15, at 1044 W. Bryn Mawr, Chicago. Jonathan Berry directs the show, which opens May 18. (773) 728-7529 or redtwist.org.

• The Neo-Futurists describe their latest production -- "The Miss Neo Pageant" -- as a "feminist play for accidental feminists." Megan Mercier's creation upends the traditional American beauty pageant by populating it with offbeat contestants who are "stumbling into womanhood." Previews begin Thursday, May 15, at 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago. The show opens May 20. (773) 275-5255 or neofuturists.org.

• A tragedy brings together a group of people around a baby who glows with an otherworldly light in Stefanie Zadravec's 2012 drama, "The Electric Baby," whose Chicago area premiere concludes Rivendell Theatre Ensemble's season. Previews begin Thursday, May 16, at 5779 N. Ridge, Chicago. The show, directed by founder Tara Mallen, opens May 20. (773) 334-7728 or rivendelltheatre.org.

• Australia's Back to Back Theatre makes its Chicago area debut with "Ganesh Versus the Third Reich," about the elephant deity Ganesh's attempts to reclaim the Hindu swastika from Nazi Germany, juxtaposed with a tale of struggling actors trying to wrest power from their overbearing director. Performances run Thursday, May 16, to Sunday, May 19, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago. (312) 397-4010 or mcachicago.org.

• Dead Writers Theatre Collective's second production "Tea with Edie and Fitz," imagines what might have happened during the meeting of literary greats Edith Wharton and F. Scott Fitzgerald at the former's home during the 1920s. Performances continue through June 9 at the Greenhouse Theater Complex, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 404-7336 or deadwriters.net or greenhousetheater.org.

• The Royal George Theatre has extended Hershey Felder's "The Pianist of Willesden Lane," starring Mona Golabek as her mother, pianist Lisa Jura, who was one of the Jewish children sent to London on the kinder transport to shield them from the Nazis. Performances continue through May 25 at 1641 N. Halsted St., Chicago. (312) 988-9000 or theroyalgeorgetheatre.com.

• ETA Creative Arts Foundation announced its 43rd season which opens Sept. 13 with the Midwest premiere of "The Resurrection of Alice." Written and performed by Perri Gaffney, it tells the tale of a 15-year-old whose parents have secretly arranged for her to marry a man her grandfather's age. The Midwest premiere of "If Scrooge Was a Brother," a holiday show that re-imagines Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," follows on Nov. 1. Olivia Dawson and Ray Proctor's "Out Loud," about a gay actor and a straight actress who manage to be friends despite their diametrically opposing views, premieres Jan. 16, 2014. Next up is "Savior?" (March 20-May 11, 2014), Esther Armah's drama about a white client who hires a black attorney to represent him in a discrimination case. The season concludes with "227" (May 29-July 20, 2014), Christine Houston's play that inspired the hit TV series about a building owner who sticks her nose in her tenants' business. Performances take place at 7558 S. South Chicago Ave., Chicago. Tickets are available by phone at (773) 752-3955 or at etacreativearts.org.

• Provision Theater's 10th anniversary season begins Sept. 6, with "Red Letter Jesus," Brad Sherrill's one-man, multimedia show adapted from the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. As its holiday offering, Provision remounts artistic director Timothy Gregory's adaptation of Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory" and "The Thanksgiving Visitor" (Nov. 20-Dec. 29), inspired by the author's childhood in Alabama. Next up is William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" (Feb. 12-March 30, 2014), set in Little Italy, New York City and starring Gregory and ensemble member Michael Mahler. The season concludes with Gregory's "Jacob" (May 7-June 15, 2014), a re-imagining of the story of Jacob wrestling with the Angel set in a downtown Chicago high-rise. Season subscriptions are available by phone (312) 455-0066 or online at provisiontheater.org.

• Signal Ensemble Theatre announced its 11th season which begins Aug. 22, with Hannah Moscovitch's "This Is War." Set in 2008, the play is about a Canadian army captain whose soldiers are holding a volatile region in Afghanistan with little NATO support, who uncovers a threat in his own ranks. Next up is Eric Schmiedl's adaptation of Kent Haruf's novel "Plainsong" (Jan. 30-March 8, 2014), about a father raising two young sons in the same Colorado town where a pregnant, 17-year-old runaway finds solace with a pair of aging brothers. The season concludes on May 1, 2014, with ensemble member Jon Steinhagen's musical "The Next Thing," about a pair of Hollywood up-and-comers who meet on a film set and work together every 18 months or so over 18 years, prompting fans to wonder: Will they or won't they? Season tickets are available by phone at (773) 698-7389 or online at signalensemble.com.

• Taylor Marie Sherry, of St. Charles North High School, and John Clay III, of Oak Park River Forest High School, are the 2013 winners of Broadway in Chicago's Illinois High School Musical Theater Awards. The winners will represent Illinois at the National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York City in July.

• Bailiwick Chicago, Rasaka Theatre Company, Sideshow Theater Company and Teatro Vista are among the new companies participating in Victory Gardens Theater's inaugural multiyear resident theater program which -- according to artistic director Chay Yew -- allows VGT to "help existing storefront theaters grow and develop institutional stability."

• Chicago's Annoyance Theatre announced that, after 25 years, it will move from its Uptown home on Broadway to 851 W. Belmont Ave. later this year. The new venue will have two stages and will allow the company to have their performance space and classrooms under one roof. "We believe the central location will help us reach more of the downtown and corporate community as well as suburbanites," said owner Jennifer Estlin in a prepared statement.

• The Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce awarded its Excellence in Arts and Culture Award to Emerald City Theatre, which develops new works for young audiences. The award recognizes individuals or organizations that contribute to the community's cultural or artistic reputation.

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