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posted: 6/14/2013 6:00 AM

Theater events: Naperville's BrightSide closes season with 'Rent'

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BrightSide's 'Rent'
BrightSide Theatre concludes its second season with Jonathan Larson's Pulitzer Prize-winning musical "Rent," about a group of aspiring musicians and artists struggling to sustain relationships, make a living and cope with the specter of HIV/AIDS in late 1980s New York City. Artistic director Jeffrey Cass, former producing director of Circle Theatre, directs.
Performances begin at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 14-15, and 3 p.m. Sunday, June 16, at Meiley-Swallow Hall, North Central College, 31 S. Ellsworth, Naperville. $20, $24. (630) 637-7469 or brightsidetheatre.com.

Folksy Shakespeare
Dubbing its 19th-century Appalachia-inspired production of "Cymbeline" a folk tale with music, First Folio Theatre pairs Shakespeare's tale of a young woman who flees her father's kingdom and her evil stepmother after she's accused of betraying her lover with original bluegrass music by co-founder David Rice and resident composer Michael Keefe. Michael Goldberg ("Twelfth Night") directs the production, which stars Kate McDermott as the intrepid Imogen and John Milewski as her father, the titular Cymbeline.
Previews begin at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, at the Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook. The show opens June 22. $22-$37. (630) 986-8067 or firstfolio.org.

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Huff premiere
Arlington Heights playwright Keith Huff lampoons Chicago in "Big Lake Big City," a contemporary crime noir drama about a Chicago detective dealing with a cheating wife, disapproving boss and a doltish partner all while chasing a suspect with a screwdriver in his head. Lookingglass Theatre Company co-founder David Schwimmer directs the production, which concludes the company's 25th anniversary season.
Previews begin at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, at Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. The show opens June 29. $28-$70. (312) 337-0665 or lookingglasstheatre.org.

Even more theater events:

• Raven Theatre and Vault 13 Productions team up for "Black and Blue," a comedy by Anthony Tournis about two brothers -- one a die-hard Cubs fan and the other a die-hard Sox fan -- who make a bet about which team will win more games over a 10-year period. WGN radio's Nick Digilio directs the show which stars Tournis and Greg Caldwell as the brothers. Performances begin Friday, June 14, at Raven Theatre 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago. (773) 338-2177 or raventheatre.com.

• Gorilla Tango Theatre, 7924 N. Lincoln Ave., Skokie, parodies zombie movies and one of TV's most beloved sitcoms in its latest show, "Zombie Seinfeld," opening Friday, June 14. Jeremy M. Eden directs Pete Mandra's script. (847) 677-7761 or gorillatango.com.

• The Filament Theatre Ensemble performs its original piece "A Muse in Love," adapted by Allegra Libonati from some of Shakespeare's best-loved love scenes. Performances take place at 3 and 5 p.m. Saturday, June 15, and 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday, June 16, at the Portage Park BBQ Fest, at Irving Park, Cicero and Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago at 4 p.m. July 27 at Jefferson Memorial Park, at Lawrence and Milwaukee avenues in Chicago. (773) 270-1660 or filamenttheatre.org.

• Performances continue through Sunday, June 16, at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, for newcomer Awkward Pause Theatre Company's production of the musical "Little Shop of Horrors" about a meek flower shop employee who unwittingly makes a monster of a seemingly innocuous plant. See awkwardpausetheatre.com.

• Victory Gardens Theater teams up with the The One-Minute Play Festival to present an evening of mini plays by playwrights 60 Chicago area playwrights. David Cerda, Lonnie Carter, Joel Drake Johnson, Bilal Dardai, Laura Jacqmin, Evan Linder, Nambi E. Kelley, Calamity West, Tanya Saracho, Dan Caffrey, Robert Tenges are among the writers whose works will be showcased at 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 17, and Tuesday, June 18, at the Biograph Theater at 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Some proceeds benefit VGT's Miller Match campaign to match the $350,000 give from board president Steven Miller and his wife, Diane Miller. See oneminuteplayfiestival.com or victorygardens.org.

• Genesis Theatrical Productions' staged readings series begins at 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 17, at National Pastime Theater in the Preston Bradley Center, 941 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago. Kicking off the series is Joel Shatzky's "Room for Doubt," about a respected professor at a major American university who's accused of being a Nazi officer responsible for murdering residents of the Warsaw Ghetto and is subsequently forced to reveal a secret that will change his and his accuser's life. See genesistheatricals.com for more information.

•The Wilmette Theatre, 1122 Central Ave., Wilmette, hosts the Chicago area premiere of the true-life crime drama "The Bling Ring," a film about a band of teenage thieves who robbed celebrity homes co-starring Winnetka native Katie Chang, an alumni of the theater's Actor's Training Center. Change will give a post-show talk back after the screening which benefits Wilmette Theatre. The screening begins at 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 17. Tickets are $75. (847) 251-7424 or wilmettetheatre.com.

• The Chicago Shakespeare Theater launches its 2013-2014 season with its annual gala on Monday, June 17, at the company's home on Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. The event includes dinner and performances from husband and wife Broadway veterans Jason Danieley and Marin Mazzie. Most of the proceeds benefit CST's civic and educational initiatives. (312) 553-2000 or pjhchicago.com/cst.

• "Buddy -- The Buddy Holly Story," featuring more than 20 songs from the seminal rock 'n' roller whose budding career was cut short when he was killed in a plane crash, comes to the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago, for a brief run beginning Tuesday, June 18. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.

• Eager to change the past to improve the future, Theo Mendelssohn builds a time machine to stop his mother from abandoning the family, but doing so prevents his father's second marriage and the birth of his half- brother Nicholas in Elizabeth Bagby's time-travel dramedy, "The Half-Brothers Mendelssohn." The Strange Tree Group's world premiere begins previews Tuesday, June 18, at Signal Ensemble Theatre, 1802 W. Berenice Ave., Chicago. The show opens Thursday, June 20. See strangetree.org for more information.

• The 61st season of Theater on the Lake continues Wednesday, June 19, at Fullerton Avenue and Lake Michigan, in Chicago, with MPAACT's "Blackademics." Idris Goodwin's comedy in which two female African-American scholars examine what it means to be black in America. Performances run through Sunday, June 23. (312) 742-7994 or chicagoparkdistrict.com.

• (re) discover theatre ensemble member Jessica Shoemaker re-examines the myth of Jason and Medea in "Jason and (Medea)," which the company will present free beginning Thursday, June 20, at The Second Stage, 3408 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago. Janet Howe directs. See rediscovertheatre.com for more information.

• The Annoyance Theatre, 4830 N. Broadway St., Chicago, unveils the second preview of its new show "Trust and Confidence: A Secret Service Musical" on Thursday, June 20. Created and directed by Julie Pearson, the show chronicles a day in the life of Secret Service agents as they study crowds looking for suspicious people. It opens June 27. (773) 561-4665 or theannoyance.com.

• The House Theatre of Chicago remounts its 2012 remount of its signature show from 2001, "Death and Harry Houdini" by writer/director Nathan Allen. House ensemble member and award-winning magician Dennis Watkins reprises Houdini, the role he originated 11 years ago, while fellow ensemble member and choreographer Tommy Rapley dons stilts to play the role of Death in this tale about the master magician's attempt at the ultimate escape, from death itself. Previews begin Friday, June 21 at The Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago. The show opens June 30. (773) 769-3832 or thehousetheatre.com.

• Circle Theatre's production of "When the Rain Stops Falling," about a pair of dysfunctional families, took top honors including best production -- play at the non-equity Jeff Awards ceremony held earlier this month in Chicago. Wheaton native and Fox Valley Repertory artistic director John Gawlik received a directing award for the production which also earned the company's former artistic director Kevin Bellie an award for projections. Circle's production of "Reefer Madness" also earned a choreography award for Brigitte Ditmars. Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre's "Smokey Joe's Cafe," now running at Chicago's Royal George Theatre, received awards for best revue, musical director Jeremy Ramey and a directing award for Lincolnshire native Brenda Didier. Theo Ubique's Kelli Harrington also received the award for principal actress in a musical for the company's production of "Aspects of Love." The ensemble award went to Sideshow Theatre Company's U.S. premiere of "Idomeneus" and the new work Jeff Award went to Pride Films and Plays' based on real life musical, "Under a Rainbow Flag."

• First Folio Theatre in Oak Brook offers a new two-show subscription option for its indoor productions of Tom Stoppard's "Rough Crossing" (Jan. 30-March 3, 2014) and Joseph Zettelmaier's "Salvage" (March 26-April 27, 2014). Packages start at $52. Three and four-show subscriptions are also available. (630) 986-8067 or firstfolio.org.

Bohemian Theatre Ensemble has announced its 10th anniversary season examining truth, beauty, freedom and love through the prism of human relationships. The season begins on Sept. 28 with Ira Levin's thriller "Veronica's Room" about a young student who agrees to impersonate the long-dead Veronica to grant the dying wish of Veronica's elderly, dementia-afflicted sister Cissie. Next up is Peter Schaffer'speriod play with music, "Amadeus" (Feb. 15-March 16, 2014) in which composer Antonio Salieri reflects upon his rivalry with the genius Mozart. "Myths and Hyms," a song cycle by Adam Guettel ("The Light in the Piazza"), explores man's search for meaning and draws upon Greek myths, Christian hymns and musical theater. It runs June 13 to July 13, 2014. The season concludes with "Parade" (Sept. 13-Oct. 12, 2014), the Alfred Uhry-Jason Robert Brown musical about a Jewish factory manager who is charged with raping a young girl in 1913 Georgia. Performances take place at the Heartland Studio, Stage 773 and Theater Wit in Chicago. BoHo will introduce a new membership subscription program in August. (773) 975-8150 or bohotheatre.com.

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