Ziemba is Dolly
Tony Award-winner Karen Ziemba ("Contact") stars as the titular matchmaker in Drury Lane Theatre's "Hello Dolly!" the musical by composer/lyricist Jerry Herman and writer Michael Stewart inspired by Thornton Wilder's 1955 play "The Matchmaker." Rachel Rockwell directs and choreographs, and Roberta Duchak serves as music director for this production, featuring David Lively as Horace Vandergelder and Jeff Diebold as Cornelius Hackl.
Previews continue at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, at 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace. The show opens Thursday, Oct. 24. $35-$49. (630) 530-0111 or drurylane.com.
Real estate comedy
Clockwise Theatre opens its season with an examination of the cutthroat world of urban real estate in "Carnegie Hill." Written by Dorian Palumbo and directed by Wayne Mell, the play is about eight female Realtors who weigh ambition against personal ethics.
Opens at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, at 221 N. Genesee St., Waukegan. $20. (800) 838-3006 or clockwisetheatre.org.
Smart is Mary
Marriott Theatre's regional premiere of Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman's "Mary Poppins" is an all-star event beginning with director Gary Griffin and leading lady Summer Naomi Smart as the "practically perfect" nanny. Michael Mahler handles the music direction of the show, which features such tunes as "A Spoonful of Sugar" and "Chim Chim Cher-ee." Local favorites co-star, including Bernie Yvon as Bert and Susan Moniz as Winifred Banks.
Previews begin at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire. The show opens Wednesday, Oct. 30. $40-$48. (847) 634-0200 or marriotttheatre.com.
• Performances continue through Nov. 3 for "Étude," a new musical by Mike and Jerry Sigman, the sons of lyricist Carl Sigman ("Love Story"), running at the Des Plaines Theater, 1476 Miner St., Des Plaines. Partly inspired by 19th century composer and acclaimed pianist Charles-Valentin Alkan, a reclusive artist and contemporary of Liszt and Chopin, the musical posits that Alkan did not die in 1888 but lived on as a vampire. For information and tickets, see etudethemusical.com.
• Citadel Theatre Company's production of the all-ages show "Jenny & the Old House," about a young girl who overcomes her fears about the creepy old house on her street, runs through Sunday, Oct. 20, at the Mellody Farm Nature Preserve, 250 N. Waukegan Road, Lake Forest. Audience members should dress for the weather and bring a blanket or chair and a flashlight. (847) 735-8554 or citadeltheatre.org.
• The House Theatre of Chicago announced that its hit show "The Magic Parlour," starring magician Dennis Watkins, will add Halloween performances at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18 and 25, and at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31, at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel, 17 E. Monroe St., Chicago. Only 32 seats are available per performance. Tickets are $75. (773) 769-3832 or themagicparlourchicago.com.
• The Chicago Mammals put a new spin on Mary Shelley's classic horror tale with their production of the "All Girl Frankenstein." Erin Meyers plays Victor Frankenstein, and Amy E. Harmon plays the Creature in this all-female take on this gothic tale of arrogance and obsession. Performances begin Saturday, Oct. 19, at Zoo Studios, 4001 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago. See chicagomammals.com.
• Performances begin Saturday, Oct. 19, for Lifeline Theatre KidSeries' world premiere of "Click, Clack Boo! A Tricky Treat!" a family-friendly musical based on the ne book by Doreen Cronin and illustrator Betsy Lewin. This marks the first time in Lifeline's 30-year history that the company has premiered a stage adaptation to coincide with the publication of a new book. James E. Grote adapted the tale, and George Howe composed the music for this show, in which mean Farmer Brown refuses to let Duck, Pig, Cow and Hen throw a Halloween party. Performances continue through Nov. 24 at 6912 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago. (773) 761-4477 or lifelinetheatre.com.
• Speaking of family-friendly musicals, Emerald City Theatre brings Marta Kauffman and David Crane's musical adaptation of "Rapunzel" to the Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. The show opens Saturday, Oct. 19, and runs through Jan. 4, 2014. (773) 529-2693 or emeraldcitytheatre.com.
• Collaboraction Theatre Company hosts its annual fundraising gala Beggars' Banquet beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at Chop Shop/First Ward, 2033 W. North Ave., Chicago. Partygoers are encouraged to wear "future space disco attire" for the event, which includes buffet, bar, live and silent auctions, a preview of the company's in-development show, live music and a dance party. Tickets are $50 for the dance party only, which begins at 10 p.m.; $100 for general admission and $150 for VIP seating, including a reserved table and 10 free raffle tickets. Tickets are available at collaboraction.org.
• The Side Project Theatre's second annual storytelling festival "The Kindness of Strangers: A Festival of Storytelling" kicks off at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 20, at The Side Project, 1439 W. Jarvis St., Chicago. Forty storytellers will participate in the three-week festival, which features performers accompanied by multi-instrumentalists Matt Wills at 7:30 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday evenings through Nov. 6. Storytellers Kim Morris (Oct. 20-23), Amy Sumpter (Oct. 27-30) and Eric Warner (Nov. 3-6) will perform solo pieces at nightly performances each week. The festival features artists telling personal stories about how strangers impacted their lives. (773) 340-0140 or thesideproject.net.
• "50 Shades! The Musical -- The Original Parody" returns to Chicago on Tuesday, Oct. 22, for a brief run at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E Chestnut St., Chicago. In this adults-only parody, a ladies book club takes audience members through the best-selling novel. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.
• Broadway in Chicago, along with Queen Theatrical Productions and others, stages the North American tour of "We Will Rock You," a "rock theatrical" created by Queen and comedian Ben Elton and consisting of 24 of Queen's biggest hits. The brief run begins Tuesday, Oct. 22, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.
• Underscore Theatre Company concludes its season with its third annual production of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show Live," inspired by the cult film and done in steampunk style. Performances run Thursday, Oct. 24, to Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago. See chicagorocky.com for more information.
• Double LTR Productions brings "Mom Baby God," a new political theater piece that skewers the anti-abortion rights movement, to Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, at 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, and 3 p.m. Oct. 26. Boston performer and playwright Madeline Burrows star in the show, directed by Emma Weinstein and centered on an anti-abortion rights starlet. (773) 598-4549 or gorillatango.com.
• "Joint Attention," Pat Curtis' examination of a young couple grappling with their son's autism, begins previews Thursday, Oct. 24, at the Berger Park Coach House Theater, 6205 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago. The show by Three Cat Productions opens Oct. 26. (312) 970-9840 or threecatproductions.com.
• Lifeline Theatre has extended its remount of its 2004 commission, "The Killer Angels," a portrayal of the Battle of Gettysburg adapted from Michael Shaara's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Performances run through Nov. 24 at 6912 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago. No performances Nov. 2. (7730 761-4477 or lifelinetheatre.com.
• The 16th Street Theater has extended its production of Steven Simoncic's "Broken Fences," about two neighboring couples -- one black and one white -- living in Chicago's Garfield Park. Performances continue through Nov. 9 at 6420 16th St., Berwyn. (708) 795-6704 or 16thstreettheaqter.org.
• Oracle Productions recently announced its fourth season of public access theater, offering free admission to all performances. The season begins Jan. 24, 2013, with a remount of the company's 2013 production of Bertolt Brecht's "The Mother" featuring Katherine Keberlein (currently starring in Goodman Theatre's "Smokefall") playing a woman who goes from illiterate peasant to labor leader in Tsarist Russia. It's followed by Ferenc Molnar's "The President" (April 12-May 31, 2014), a 1929 farce inspired by "Pygmalion," in which a business executive has one hour to transform the Communist, taxi driver husband of his investor's daughter into a capitalist. Next up is Matt Foss' adaptation of "The Jungle" (July 19-Sept. 6, 2014), Upton Sinclair's expose of the horrible conditions in Chicago's stockyards at the turn of the 20th century. The season concludes with Gore Vidal's adaptation of Friedrich Durrenmatt's "Romulus" (Oct. 11-Nov. 15, 2014), about the Roman emperor who sits by while his empire collapses. See publicaccesstheatre.org for more information.
• Two Chicago-area premieres and a first staging of a Shakespeare play comprise The Gift Theatre's 2014 season, which begins Jan. 9, 2014, with "Ten" the company's annual showcase of 10-minute plays written by Gift ensemble members and guests. Wheaton's John Gawlik directs the Chicago premiere of Melissa Ross' "Thinner Than Water," about half siblings reuniting when their father falls ill. It runs March 27 to May 25, 2014. Director Jonathan Berry's production of Shakespeare's "Othello" begins previews on July 10, 2014. The season concludes with the Chicago premiere of Laura Marks' "Bethany," about surviving during the Great Recession. Previews begin Sept. 25, 2014, for this production, directed by Libertyville's Marti Lyons. Season subscriptions start at $75. A three-show/three-dinner subscription is available on Thursdays for $170 and Sundays for $190 per person. Performances take place at 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. (773) 283-7071 or thegifttheatre.org.