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posted: 8/30/2013 6:00 AM

Theater events: Janus celebrates 15 years

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Janus dreams on
Janus Theater celebrates its 15th season with "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Shakespeare's bucolic comedy about two pairs of lovers whose romantic lives are upended by a pair of bickering faeries and their mischievous henchman. Sean Hargadon directs the production, which the company performs at the intimate Side Street Studio Arts.
Performances begin at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 30-31, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1, at 15 Ziegler Court, Elgin. $18. (847) 841-1713 or janustheater.com.

Behind the scenes
BrightSide Theatre goes behind the scenes during Hollywood's golden age with Ron Hutchinson's slapstick-filled comedy "Moonlight and Magnolias," a fictionalized account of how studio head David O. Selznick, director Victor Fleming and writer Ben Hecht created the script for "Gone With the Wind." Greg Kolack, who last year directed retwist theatre's "The Laramie Project" and "The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later," helms the comedy.
Performances begin at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 30-31, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1, at the Theater at Meiley-Swallow Hall, North Central College, 31 S. Ellsworth, Naperville. $20-$24. (630) 637-7469 or brightsidetheatre.com.

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ABT salutes Hank
American Blues theater kicks off its Legends and Legacies season with "Hank Williams: Lost Highway," a bio-musical about the singer-songwriter by Randal Myler and Mark Harelik featuring 20 of Williams' classics, including "Hey, Good Lookin'," "Move It On Over" and "Jambalaya." ABT ensemble member Matt Brumlow stars as Williams. Damon Kiely directs and Malcolm Ruhl serves as music director.
Previews at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 30-31, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1, at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. The show opens Sept. 5. $19-$49. (773) 404-7336 or americanbluestheater.com.

Other theater events

• Previews begin Friday, Aug. 30, for The House Theatre of Chicago's "The Crownless King," the second installment of a fantasy-adventure trilogy that began last year with "The Iron Stag King." Written by artistic director Nathan Allen and company member Chris Matthews, the play unfolds during the Golden Age of the Iron Stag King (Brandon Ruiter) who grapples for control with the exiled black dragon (voiced by actor/playwright Tracy Letts). After the dragon lures away the king, a band of heroes sets out to rescue him and meet a pirate (Blake Montgomery) who leads a fleet of rebels. The play opens Sept. 8 at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago. See thehousetheatre.com. Also, The House Theatre recently named new company members. They include actors Abu Ansari, Brenda Barrie, Paige Collins, Christine Mayland Perkins, Brandon Ruiter, Trista Smith and Kevin Stangler and stage manager Brian DesGranges, sound designer and composer Joshua Horvath and costume designer Melissa Torchia.

• Redmoon continues its free summer performances from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30, at Sherwood Park, 5701 S. Shields, Chicago. The event features emcee Lamar Jordan and performers DJ Such and Such, Jose Olivarez and The Bucket Boys along with Redmoon's latest invention, a 16-foot-tall mobile soapbox and speaker system. The series concludes with a last free performance from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Humboldt Park, 1440 N. Humboldt Drive, Chicago. For more information, see redmoon.org.

• Brothers Adrian and Alexander Aguilar star in Porchlight Music Theatre's Chicago premiere of "Double Trouble," beginning previews on Saturday, Aug. 31, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Written by brothers Bob Walton and Jim Walton (music, lyrics, book) and set in 1940s Hollywood, the show centers around a pair of song-and-dance brothers who get a chance to write a song for a major motion picture but have only a few hours in which to produce it. Adrian Aguilar and Alexander Aguilar play multiple characters (and instruments) in this two-hander that marks the Porchlight debut of director/choreographer Matthew Crowle, of Broadway's "Spamalot" and Drury Lane Theatre's "Singin' in the Rain." Linda Madonia serves as musical director for the show, which opens Sept. 3. (773) 327-5252 or porchlightmusictheatre.org or stage773.com.

• Stage Left Theatre begins its 32nd season with the world premiere of Barbara Lhota's "Warped," about two Chicago police officers who give a ride to an inebriated woman who later claims they raped her. Ensemble member Jason A. Fleece directs the "Rashomon"-inspired play. Previews begin Saturday, Aug. 31, at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show opens Sept. 6. (773) 975-8150 or stagelefttheatre.com. Also, Stage Left announced the recipients of this season's Downstage Left Playwright Residencies, which assist playwrights in developing their scripts from concept to performance. Literary manager Zev Valancy and artistic director Vance Smith selected Laura Schellhardt and Meridith Friedman. Stage Left will work to develop Schellhardt's "The Comparables," about three women "vying for power in the cutthroat world of high-end real estate," and Friedman's "The Firestorm" about a the perfect gubernatorial candidate and his perfect wife who are the perfect political couple save for their different races and a racially charged incident from the candidate's past.

• GayCoProductions debuts its new adult sketch-comedy show "#GodHatesHashtags" Saturday, Aug. 31, at Donny's Skybox, 1616 N. Wells St., Chicago. (312) 337-3992 or gayco.com.

• The Midnight Circus continues its summer-long Night Out in the Parks in partnership with the Chicago Park District. The Circus performs at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, and 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1, at Garfield Park, 100 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago. Tickets range from $5 to $20. Proceeds go to improve Chicago parks. See circusintheparks.org for tickets.

• Gorilla Tango Bucktown, 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, presents "Monday Night Guffaw," an improv and sketch comedy show hosted by Colin Hanson, at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 2. Opening Sept. 16 is "I'm New Here: A Variety Hour," which examines the benefits and challenges of being the new person in town. Last up is "A Box Full of Kittens," a sketch show from comedy newcomers running on Sept. 20. (773) 598-4549 or gorillatango.com.

• Pigpen Theatre Company brings "The Old Man and the Old Moon" to Glencoe for its Midwest premiere produced in conjunction with Writers Theatre and directed by artistic associate Stuart Carden. The play with music centers on a man whose job it is to collect spilled light to refill the leaking moon who neglects his responsibilities to follow his wife in her pursuit of adventure. Previews begin Tuesday, Sept. 3, at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. The show opens Sept. 12. (847) 242-6000 or writerstheatre.org.

• Previews begin Thursday, Sept. 5, for The Neo-Futurists U.S. premiere of "Sweet Child of Mine," by Bron Batten and her father, Jim. Presented in collaboration with Australia's The Last Tuesday Society, the play examines "modern perceptions of art and family in Australian society." It opens Sept. 6 at 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago. (773) 275-5255 or neofuturists.org.

• A clever young lawyer tries to prevent a small New England company from being overtaken by a corporate raider in "Other People's Money," a sharp and ever timely dramedy by Jerry Sterner that opens Shattered Globe Theatre's 22nd season. Ensemble members Doug McDade, Linda Reiter, Ben Werling and Joe Wiens and artistic associate Abbey Smith star in the play, which begins previews Thursday, Sept. 5, at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show, directed by Dennis Zacek, opens Sept. 8. (773) 975-8150 or theaterwit.org or shatteredglobe.org.

• On the heels of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s iconic speech during the historic March on Washington, Court Theatre presents the Chicago-area premiere of Katori Hall's "The Mountaintop." David Alan Anderson makes his Court debut as King, who's working on a speech in a Memphis hotel room when he is interrupted by a maid played by Lisa Beasley. Resident artist Ron OJ Parson directs the production, which begins previews on Thursday, Sept. 5, at 5535 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago. The show opens Sept. 14. (773) 753-4472 or courttheatre.org.

• Redtwist theater has extended its world premiere of Erik Gernand's "The Beautiful Dark," about parents who believe their college-age son may be dangerous. Performances continue through Sept. 8 at 1044 W. Bryn Mawr, Chicago. (773) 728-7529 or redtwist.org.

• Congratulations to Goodman Theatre executive director Roche Schulfer who celebrates his 40th anniversary with the Chicago mainstay. A lifelong Chicagoan, Schulfer started his theater career in the Goodman's box office in 1973 and worked his way up to executive director, a position he has held since 1980, a tenure that is among the longest in the industry. In that capacity he has been responsible for overseeing the production of more than 350 plays, including 125 world premieres and the introduction of the Goodman's annual "A Christmas Carol" production 36 years ago. Schulfer will receive a star on the walkway of stars beneath the Goodman marquee on Sept. 24 during the season-opening celebration. "There simply is no better, smarter or more generous collaborator in the American theater than Roche Schulfer," said artistic director Robert Falls in a prepared statement. "An enormously gifted producer and shrewd business strategist, he has shepherded productions like 'Death of a Salesman,' 'Desire Under the Elms' and 'Chinglish' to theaters on Broadway and beyond."

• Remy Bumppo Theatre Company has named Amy Schultz, the company's business and operations manager since 2009, to the newly created position of general manager. "I think she'll be a great team leader," said artistic director Nick Sandys in a prepared statement. "I am always excited to be able to reward those who have shown great dedication to the company and who will represent the best of our values going forward."

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