Standup at the Shrine
Rocky Osborn headlines Aurora's Comedy Shrine this weekend. The 90-minute standup comedy set also features host Jack Baker. The adults-only version of the Shrine's audience-interactive, improv show "Whose Line?" (inspired by the TV show hosted by Drew Carey) follows the standup show at 10 p.m.
8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 24-25, at 4034 Fox Valley Center Drive, Aurora. Tickets to each show cost $20. (630) 585-0300 or comedyshrine.com.
The great wordsmith David Ives' adaptation of "The Liar" -- the 17th-century farce by Pierre Corneille -- marks the return of director William Brown ("A Little Night Music") to Writers' Theatre. Ives described working on this costume comedy as the most fun he's had writing a play. Rooted in mistaken identities and secret agendas, the production features Nate Burger as Dorante, a charmer who wins admirers everywhere he goes so long as he doesn't tell the truth.
Previews continue through Wednesday, May 29, at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. The show opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 30. $35-$70. (847) 242-6000 or writerstheatre.org.
Steppenwolf Theatre's third annual Next Up showcase of emerging theater artists features MFA directing and design graduates from Northwestern University and alumni from the Steppenwolf school in three productions, which run in repertory through June 16. Featured plays include Neil LaBute's "Fat Pig," Adam Bock's "The Drunken City" and Anne Washburn's "The Internationalist."
Performances begin Tuesday, May 28, at the Garage Theatre, 1624 N. Halsted St., Chicago. $20. (312) 335-1650 or see steppenwolf.org for schedule.
Other theater events
• Wayward Productions and Chicago Fusion Theatre's "Sons of Anarchy"-inspired production of Shakespeare's "Richard III" gets a remount at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Director Carlo Lorenzo Garcia imagines the Rose Wars as a fight between two outlaw motorcycle gangs in this production, which was a hit earlier this year at The Underground Wonder Bar. Performances begin Friday, May 24. (866) 468-3401 or waywardproductions.org.
• "Homecoming 1972," by Chicago Dramatists resident playwright Robert Koon, opens Friday, May 24, at 1105 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago. Kimberly Senior directs the drama about Frank, a Vietnam War veteran returning to his small Midwestern town only to find himself disconnected from the apple pie world he now finds strange and more than a little threatening. Matt Holzfeind stars as Frank. (312) 633-0630 or chicagodramatists.org.
• Previews begin Saturday, May 25, for Ka-Tet Theatre Company's Chicago-area premiere of "Smudge." Written by former "The Daily Show" writer Rachel Axler, the black dramedy is about first-time parents whose newborn is not quite the infant they imagined. Directed by Allison Shoemaker, the show opens Tuesday, May 28, at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. (773) 935-6875 or athenaeumtheatre.org or katettheatre.org.
• As their inaugural show, 3 Squares Productions presents the world premiere of "Lipstick Goes on Last," a comedy by Cheryl Thomas and Gary Malinowski about a former teen pageant queen struggling with alcoholism, a cheating husband, a defiant daughter and her high school nemesis. Performances begin Saturday, May 25, at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. David Zak directs the production which features Richard Pryor, Jr. See lipstickgoesonlast.com or brownpapertickets.com.
• Previews begin Saturday, May 25, for The Annoyance Theatre production of "Lonesome Drifter," about a solitary man who encounters an oddball group of "left-behinds" when passing through a near-deserted mining town. Duke Harbison directs the show, which features original music and music direction by Lisa McQueen. The show opens June 8 at 4830 N. Broadway, Chicago. (773) 561-4665 or theannoyance.com.
• Steppenwolf Theatre Company will accept applications through 5 p.m. Friday, May 31, for next year's Garage Rep series showcasing three Chicago storefront theater companies. Garage Rep runs from March through April, 2014. In addition to showcasing their work at Steppenwolf, companies selected to participate receive assistance with producing, dramaturgy, marketing, financial management and fundraising. Past Garage Rep participants include XIII Pocket, Sideshow Theatre Company, Pavement Group, Dog & Pony Theatre Company and Theatre Seven of Chicago among others. See steppenwolf.org/apply4grep for more information.
• Organic Theater Company opens its 2013 season on Wednesday, May 29, with Albert Camus' "Caligula," about a kind but inexperienced young emperor transformed by tragedy. Running in repertory with that play is Slawomir Mrozek's dark comedy "The Emigrants," opening Friday, May 31, about a pair of exiles -- a simple laborer who dreams of returning home a rich man, and a political refugee who repeatedly dashes his hopes. Performances run through July 7 at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 404-7336 or organictheater.org.
• A mysterious man with a cane disrupts the lives of Gus and Max, who spend every day in the park in "Lives of the Pigeons." Sherod Santos' "surreal comic drama" gets its world premiere courtesy of The Side Project Theatre Company. Previews begin Thursday, May 30, at 1439 W. Jarvis Ave., Chicago. The show, directed by artistic director Adam Webster and starring Don Bender, Matthew Lloyd and Vincent L. Lonergan, opens Saturday, June. 1. (773) 340-0140 or thesideproject.net.
• Attempting to find a place for themselves, a group of twentysomethings change careers, locales and even species in "Aloha, Say The Pretty Girls," Naomi Iizuka's absurdist examination of love, identity and evolution. M. William Panek directs the Brown Paper Box Co. production, which begins performances Thursday, May 30, at the Heartland Studio, 7016 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago. See brownpaperbox.org for tickets.
• Bohemian Theatre continues its season with the John Kander, Fred Ebb and Terrence McNally musical "Kiss of the Spider Woman" based on Manuel Puig's novel about Luis Molina, a homosexual imprisoned for corrupting a minor, who's assigned to a cell with political prisoner Valentin, who Molina has been instructed to spy on. Nathan Carroll plays Molina and Evan Tyrone Martin plays Valentin in the production directed by Peter Marston Sullivan. Previews begin Friday, May 31, at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show opens June 1. (773) 975-8150 or bohotheatre.com.
• ETA Creative Arts Foundation hosts a fundraising dance party beginning at 9 p.m. Friday, May 31, at 7558 S. South Chicago Ave., Chicago. Admission is $5. See etacreativearts.org.
• Next Theatre examines the ramifications of secrets kept and lies exposed as part of its recently announced 33rd main stage season featuring two Midwest premieres and the Chicago premiere of Rinne Groff's "Compulsion" (Oct. 10-Nov. 17), about the lengths one man will go to to honor Anne Frank's legacy. The Midwest premiere of Kirsten Greenidge's 1950s set "Luck of the Irish" (Jan. 16-Feb. 23, 2014) is about an upwardly mobile African-American couple looking to buy in an all-white Boston neighborhood who ask an Irish family to "ghost buy" a house on their behalf. The season concludes with the Midwest premiere of Amy Herzog's "Great God Pan" (April 3-May 11, 2014) about a man whose seemingly perfect life unravels when a childhood trauma resurfaces making him question his past and his present. Performances take place at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St., Evanston. Season subscriptions are available by phone at (847) 475-1875, ext. 2 and online at nexttheatre.org.
• Bailiwick Chicago Theater's 2013-14 season opens with the Chicago area premiere of Robert O'Hara's "Bootycandy," a series of sketches about what it's like to grow up gay and African-America. Artistic director Lili-Anne Browne directs the show which opens in March 2014. It's followed in May by the Charles Strouse-Lee Adams musical "Applause," inspired by the 1950 film "All About Eve," in which aspiring young actress Eve Harrington schemes to oust her idol Margo Channing from the lead in a Broadway play and steal Margo's man. Performances take place at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Tickets will go on sale at a later date. See bailiwickchicago.com.
• Producer John Stoops, actor Marc Grapey and Northlight Theatre executive director Tim Evans recently announced the inaugural season of Three Oaks Theater Festival, a summer festival located in Harbor Country in Michigan, about 75 minutes from Chicago. The first season consists of one-night-only engagements of the following shows: Blair Thomas & Co.'s "The Selfish Giant" (July 6); Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company's "The Glass Menagerie" (July 20); TurnAround Theatre's "Faith Healer" (July 27); Brigid Murphy and Poi Dog Pondering's world premiere "Complicated" (Aug. 3). Performances take place at the Acorn Theater, 107 Generations Drive, Three Oaks, Michigan. Information and tickets available at (269) 756-3879 or threeoksfestival.com.