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posted: 10/4/2013 6:00 AM

Theater events: A show for Gershwin fans

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Crazy for Gershwin
"Summertime," "I Got Rhythm" and "S'Wonderful" are among the George Gershwin tunes featured as part of Light Opera Works' "Gershwin's Greatest Hits," a concert performance of classic tunes. The cast includes Sophie Grimm, Sara Lynn Kelly and Martin L. Woods in their LOW debuts alongside veterans David Schlumpf and Colette Todd.
Opens at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston. $30-$60. (847) 920-5360 or lightoperaworks.org.

Halloween hike
Bram Stoker's novel inspired Theatre-Hikes' seasonal offering "The Passion of Dracula." Written by Bob Hall and David Richmond, the play unfolds in the early 20th-century English countryside where several village girls have gone missing and where an English lord, a doctor and a reporter battle the Count for the soul of a young woman.
Performances, which involve walking, take place at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 5-6, at the Morton Arboretum, 4100 Ill. Route 53, Lisle. $8-$19. (630) 725-2066, theatre-hikes.org or mortonarb.org.

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Next's 'Compulsion'
Next Theatre Company opens its 2013-14 season with the Chicago-area premiere of "Compulsion," Rinne Groff's drama about the slender "line between idealism and fanaticism" inspired by Meyer Levin's efforts to honor the legacy of Anne Frank. Devon de May ("Everything is Illuminated") directs Mick Weber, artistic director Jennifer Avery and John Byrnes.
Previews begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St., Evanston. The show opens Oct. 15. $25-$40. (847) 475-1875, ext. 2, or nexttheatre.org.

Other theater events

• Previews begin Friday, Oct. 4, for Pride Films and Plays' season opening production of "Directions for Restoring the Apparently Dead." David Zak directs the world premiere of Martin Casella's drama about longtime friends who examine marriage, relationships, gender and sexuality during a vacation in the English countryside. The show opens Tuesday, Oct. 8, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. (773) 327-5252 or pridefilmsandplays.com or stage773.com.

• Teatro Luna, in association with Teatro Vista's late-night series, brings the adults-only "Luna Unlaced," a choose-your-own-adventure play running at 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4-5, at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Ensemble members use monologues, music and poetry to examine issues ranging from sexuality to immigration. See victorygardens.org.

• Just in time for Halloween, Gorilla Tango Burlesque presents "Boobs of the Dead: A Walking Dead Burlesque," beginning Friday, Oct. 4, at 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. (773) 598-4549 or gorillatango.com/zombies.

• Schaumburg Prairie Center for the Arts, 201 Schaumburg Court, Schaumburg, presents "100 Years of Broadway," a revue by Neil Berg (off Broadway's "The Prince and the Pauper") featuring music from "Cats," "Les Miserables," "The Phantom of the Opera" and other shows at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5. (847) 895-3600 or prairiecenter.org.

• Local favorite Mike Nussbaum along with Katherine Keberlein and Guy Massey join imports Catherine Combs and Eric Slater for Goodman Theatre's "Smokefall," Noah Haidle's latest and a play on which he and Goodman have collaborated for two years. In this surreal drama, we meet unborn twin boys who contemplate their future while their mother's life transforms as her husband plans to leave her and her father slips into senility. Previews begin Saturday, Oct. 5, at 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. The show opens Oct. 13. (312) 443-3800 or goodmantheatre.org.

• Emerald City Theatre begins its season with "Llama, Llama ..." adapted and directed by Ernie Nolan from the children's books by Anna Dewdney. The family-friendly show centers on the daily "fun and foibles" of Llama Llama and Mama Llama. Performances begin Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 529-2690 or emeraldcitytheatre.com.

• The Arts Before Entertainment Collective hosts a fundraiser for newcomer Royal NonSuch Presents beginning at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, at Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. On tap are three short plays created within the 24 hours preceding the fundraiser. (773) 598-4549 or gorillatango.com.

• Performances begin Wednesday, Oct. 9, for the Tony Award-winning musical "Once," based in the 2007 film written by Enda Walsh and with music by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. The show tells the story of an Irish musician and a Czech immigrant whose shared love of music draws them together for a weeklong romance. The national tour runs through Oct. 27 at the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., Chicago. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.

• Chicago actor Karl Hamilton will star in the Chicago Children's Theatre season-opening production of "A Year With Frog and Toad" based on Arnold Lobel's children's books about two best friends -- popular Frog and grumpy Toad -- and their adventures. Performances begin Wednesday, Oct. 9, at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. (872) 222-9555 or chicagochildrenstheatre.org.

• Previews begin Thursday, Oct. 10, for A Red Orchid Theatre's Midwest premiere of "Trevor." Shade Murray directs Nick Jones' comedy about a 200-pound chimpanzee and TV commercial star and his owner, Sandra. Performances run through Nov. 24 at 1531 N. Wells St., Chicago. (312) 943-8722 or aredorchidtheatre.org.

• Young girls trafficked for sex in Chicago inspired Mary Bonnett's "Shadow Town," in its premiere courtesy of Her Story Theater. Performances begin Thursday, Oct. 10, at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Based on interviews Bonnett conducted with victims, detectives, social workers and pimps, the play chronicles four young girls -- Marisol from Humboldt Park, Tatiana from Chicago's West Side, Samantha from China and Ling Ling from China -- who are trafficked as modern-day slaves. Among the celebrity actors participating in various performances are Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, news anchors Bill Kurtis, Marion Brooks and Joel Daley, and columnist Eric Zorn, among others. Proceeds benefit the Salvation Army Promise Program, Anne's House and The Dreamcatcher Foundation, which help rescue trafficked girls. (773) 609-2336 or herstorytheater.org.

• Cowardly Scarecrow Theatre remounts for the fourth year "Musical of the Living Dead" beginning Thursday, Oct. 10, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. A sendup of zombie films and musical theater, the show by Marc Lewallen, Brad Younts and Mary Spray is about 10 survivors of a zombie apocalypse trapped in a farmhouse who will to do anything to escape. Performances run through Nov. 9. (773) 327-5252 or musicalofthelivingdead.com.

• Performances begin Thursday, Oct. 10, for Gorilla Tango Theatre's double-bill of horror. It's comprised of "Strokes Before the Coming of Midnight," in which a group of people await the Devil's midnight arrival, and "Dead. Drunk. Girls," a sendup of the pop culture stereotype of the tragically drunk female. Performances run through Oct. 31 at 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. (773) 598-4549 or gorillatango.com.

• The Factory Theater hosts a launch party for its upcoming production "Street Justice: Condition Red" from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at Chief O'Neill's Pub, 3471 N. Elston Ave., Chicago. "Street Justice," about a pair of polar-opposite Chicago cops, opens Nov. 8. (773) 305-5775 or thefactorytheater.com.

• Teatro Vista recently launched LNTV -- Late Night Teatro Vista, an adult-centered performance series that inaugurates the company's residency at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Upcoming events include "Luna Unlaced" at 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4-5; a play reading session at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 8, and an evening of music and comedy at 10:30 p.m. Oct. 11-12 with Dominizuelan with Nina & The Specifics. See victorygardens.org for information.

• Even before it officially opened, the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St., Chicago, has extended its production of "Old Jews Telling Jokes," an off-Broadway hit that showcases five actors paying homage to classic jokes, songs and routines from the past and present. Performances continue through Feb. 16, 2014. (312) 988-9000 or oldjewstellingjokes.com.

• Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, has extended Nora Dunn's one-woman show "Mythical Proportions" based in part on Dunn's experiences growing up in Chicago. Performances continue through Oct. 19. (773) 975-8150 or theaterwit.org.

• Eta Creative Arts Foundation offers two-for-one tickets every Friday and Saturday through Oct. 19 to its production of Perri Gaffney's one-woman show "The Resurrection of Alice." It's at 7558 S. South Chicago Ave., Chicago. (773) 752-3955 or etacreativearts.org.

• Lifeline Theatre recently announced new members of its artistic ensemble. They include writer/director Heather Currie; director/choreographer and 2nd Story artistic director Amanda Delheimer Dimond; actor/director Amanda Link; and dramaturge Maren Robinson.

• Wayward Productions recently announced its merger with Chicago Fusion Theatre. The company known as Wayward Productions welcomes former CFT managing director Natalie Di Cristofano as marketing director and former CFT designer Noel Dominique as technical director. They and other artistic associates join artistic director Brittany Ellis.

• Redmoon Theatre announced its 2013-2014 season at its new home at 2120 S. Jefferson St., Chicago. "Redmoon Indoors" begins Nov. 1, with the company's third annual Boneshaker celebration featuring large-scale projections, mobile DJ contraptions, a punk marching band and the Fire Organ. The family-friendly Skelebration follows on Nov. 2 and 3. Next up is the Winter Pageant, a 50-minute spectacle produced in association with punk surf band San Andreas Fault and the Kalapriya Center for Indian Performing Arts. It's inspired by Farid ud-Din Atta's poem "The Conference of the Birds," about a flock of birds seeking their lost king. Redmoon rings in the new year on Dec. 31 with Revolution, featuring music, an indoor circus and dessert. The season concludes with the Spring Spectacle created by Jim Lasko and directed by Blake Montgomery and featuring a new giant machine, grand visuals and original music. (312) 850-8440, ext. 123, or redmoon.org.

• Broadway in Chicago announced its spring 2014 season, which includes the North American premiere of "Heartbeat of Home" (March 4-16, 2014, at the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., Chicago). On tap beginning April 22, at the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., Chicago, is "Motown the Musical" chronicling the career of music impresario Berry Gordy. The pre-Broadway premiere of "The Last Ship," with a score by Sting and inspired by his childhood, begins June 10 at the Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St., Chicago. See broadwayinchicago.com.

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