'Sweeney' at Williams Street Rep
Williams Street Repertory conjures Fleet Street London in its production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's "Sweeney Todd." The musical thriller is about an unjustly imprisoned barber seeking revenge on the judge who framed him and ruined his young wife, and the avaricious pie shop owner who teams up with him to exact vengeance.
Opens at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, at the Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. $25. (815) 356-9212 or wsrep.org or rauecenter.org.
Writers Theatre presents the regional premiere of "Port Authority," the first of two plays by Irish playwright Conor McPherson to be staged this season at Books on Vernon. William Brown, fresh off his "The Liar" triumph, directs the play about three ordinary Irish men -- young, middle-aged and elderly -- ruminating on lost love. Patrick Clear, Rob Fenton and John Hoogenakker star.
Previews begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 664 Vernon Ave., Glencoe. The show opens Nov. 6. $35-$70. (847) 242-6000 or writerstheatre.org.
In love and war
Paramount Theatre artistic director Jim Corti helms "Miss Saigon," Alain Boubil and Claude-Michel Schonberg's "Madame Butterfly"-inspired musical about an American G.I. who falls in love with a young Vietnamese girl during the waning days of the Vietnam War. Shawna Haeji Shin makes her Paramount debut as Kim opposite Brandon Moorhead's Chris. Jeff Award winner Anthony Joseph Foronda co-stars as The Engineer.
Previews begin at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, at 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. The show opens Nov. 2. $36.90-$49.90. (630) 896-6666 or paramountaurora.com.
Also in theaters:
• Fox Valley Repertory invites people to submit family photos for use in its upcoming production of Sean Grennan's comedy "Making God Laugh," which begins previews Nov. 7 at Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles. The deadline for entries is Nov. 4. Send high-resolution jpg files to firstname.lastname@example.org, with "Making God Laugh family photo" in the subject line. Approved photos will be used during the finale of each performance. See foxvalleyrep.org/makinggodlaugh.
• Three Cat Productions begins its 2013-2014 season with "Joint Attention," a new play by special-education-teacher-turned-playwright Pat Curtis examining autism and how a family addresses this disorder. The last preview is Friday, Oct. 25, at the Berger Park Coach House Theater, 6205 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago. The play opens Saturday, Oct. 26. (312) 970-9840 or threecatproductions.com.
• A woman and her lover plot to murder the woman's husband in Rupert Holmes' "Accomplice," a comedy thriller in which no character is who he or she seems. Jedlicka Performing Arts Center revives the whodunit beginning Friday, Oct. 25, at 3801 S. Central Ave., Cicero. (708) 656-1800 or jpactheatre.com.
• Latino comedy troupe Salsation Theatre Company celebrates 15 years with "S15: Our Big Fat Quinceanera" beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, at Gorilla Tango Theater, 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The celebration features past and current ensemble members performing favorite sketches from the last 15 years. (773) 598-4549 or salsation.com.
• Just in time for Halloween, The Improv Playhouse Radio Players delivers a spooky treat courtesy of Edgar Allan Poe. Ensemble members perform radio adaptations of "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Fall of the House of Usher" at 7:30 and 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, at 735 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville. (847) 968-4529 or improvplayhouse.com.
• Mike Toomey returns to the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights, with his solo show "TV & Me" showcasing memorable shows from the 1960s and 1970s. Toomey performs at 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26. (847) 577-2121 or metropolisarts.com.
• Griffin Theatre Company opens its 25th anniversary season with the charming musical, "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," conceived by Rebecca Feldman with words and music by William Finn. The show, about a fictional spelling bee and the six adolescents competing in it, begins previews Saturday, Oct. 26, at Theater Wit, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show, directed by Scott Weinstein with music direction by Matt Deitchman, opens Nov. 3. (773) 975-8150 or theaterwit.com or griffintheatre.com.
• Theatre in the Woods presents a family-friendly performance of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, as part of Riverwoods Halloween celebration. Children audience members can participate in the performance, which takes place at Riverwood Village Hall, 300 Portwine Road, Riverwoods. See riverwoods-il.net.
• The Noah Ginex Puppet Company and Playground Theater team up for "SNORF! The Saturday Afternoon Monster and Piggie/Comedy-Variety Show," a puppet-centered, family-friendly, once-monthly show debuting at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, at 3209 N. Halsted St., Chicago. (773) 871-3793 or thesnorfshow.com.
• Clockwise Theater debuts its Great New Plays Reading Series on Sunday, Oct. 27, at 221 North Genesee St., Waukegan. The staged readings begin at 6:30 p.m. Suggested donation is $5. (847) 775-1500 or clockwisetheatre.org.
• Performances begin Monday, Oct. 28, for Barrel of Monkeys' second installment of "Chicago's Weird, Grandma" in partnership with The Hypocrites, About Face Theatre, Manual Cinema, Bailiwick Chicago and other ensembles who work with Chicago public schoolchildren to transform their stories into sketches. Performances continue at 8 p.m. Mondays through Dec 2, at the Neo-Futurist Theater, 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago. (312) 409-1954 or barrelofmonkeys.org.
• Pride Films and Plays hosts its Simply Sensational Benefit on Monday Oct. 28, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Cabaret artist Tom Michael performs during the benefit which begins at 7 p.m. and also features performances from Porchlight Music Theatre's "Ain't Misbehavin'," Haven Theater's "The Wedding Singer," About Face Theater's "We Three Lizas" and Kokandy Productions' "Sweet Smell of Success." Tickets are $25, $50 for VIP tickets. They're available at pridefilmsandplays.com.
• The African American Arts Alliance of Chicago honors actor and activist Ernest Perry Jr., a veteran of Goodman, Court and Black Ensemble theaters, with its lifetime achievement award during its 13th annual awards ceremony Monday, Oct. 28, at the DuSable Museum 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago. Tickets are $40 and are available at africanamericanartsallianceofchicago.org.
• Previews begin Tuesday, Oct 29, for Pegasus Theatre's 2014 season-opening world premiere of "Blacula: Young, Black and Undead," a horror comedy by Reginald Edmund about an ordinary guy who enlists help from a vampire-slaying duo to save his ex-girlfriend from the African Prince of Darkness. The show opens Nov. 1 at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago. (866) 811-4111 or pegasusplayers.org.
• "Wicked," the musical by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman based on Gregory Maguire's 1995 novel, returns to Chicago beginning Wednesday, Oct. 30. Performances continue through Dec. 21, at the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., Chicago. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.
• The Gift Theatre recreates H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds, A Radio Drama" as part of the Chicago Park District's Classics in the Parks Series, featuring performances by some of the city's premier arts ensembles. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, to Saturday, Nov. 2, at Jefferson Memorial Park, 4822 N. Long Ave., Chicago and at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 and 8, and 3 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9, at Lincoln Park Cultural Center, 2045 N. Lincoln Park West, Chicago. Admission is free but reservations are recommended through the Gift Theatre (773) 283-7071. See chicagoparkdistrict.com for more information.
• Previews begin Thursday, Oct. 31, for The Elegy Project's Chicago area premiere of Ron Hirsen's "Elegy" at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Jumping back and forth in time and location between Germany's Kristallnacht and contemporary New York City, the play dramatizes the torment of Holocaust survivors, the anguish their Jewish American children experience and the clash that occurs between the generations. The show opens Nov. 5. (773) 871-3000 or victorygardens.org or elegyproject.org.
• Akvavit Theatre begins its season with Swedish playwright Sofia Freden's black comedy, "They Died Where They Lied," about an embittered couple whose ongoing arguments are interrupted by a pair of wandering foreigners. The preview is Thursday, Oct. 31, at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The show opens Nov. 1. Matthew Isler and Mark Litwicki codirect. See akvavittheatre.org or brownpapertickets.com for tickets.
• Convicted Chicago power broker Stuart Levine inspired The Agency Theater Collective's original play "I Wish to Apologize to the People of Illinois," beginning previews Thursday, Oct. 31, at Collaboraction's Pentagon Theatre in the Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Artistic director Andrew Gallant and ensemble member Tim Touhy used court transcripts and news reports to create this play chronicling the political woes that brought down former Governor Rod Blagojevich, among others. The show opens Nov. 7. (773) 490-5265 or wearetheagency.org.
• Eta Creative Arts Foundation begins performances of its Christmas ghost tale, "If Scrooge Was a Brother," on Thursday, Oct. 31. Performances run through Dec. 31 at 7558 S. South Chicago Ave., Chicago. (773) 752-3955 or etacreativearts.org.
• Team StarKid performs its new PG-rated sketch revue "1Night2Last4Ever," centered around a successful boy-band, at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31, and Nov. 2, at Up Comedy Club, at Piper's Alley, 230 W. North Ave., Chicago. (312) 662-4562 or upcomedyclub.com.
• Performances of Scott Woldman's "Please Say Yes," part of a play cycle chronicling the evolution of a relationship, continue at 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at redtwist theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr, Chicago. The adults-only show is part of redtwist's late-night series, Dark Red. Recent DePaul University MFA graduate Reshmi Hazra directs. (773) 728-7529 or redtwist.org.
• Performances continue through Nov. 10 at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, for The Pavement Group's production of "Harry & The Thief." Sigrid Gilmer's part action movie, part time-travel comedy, is about a thief who goes back in time to deliver a cache of weapons to Harriet Tubman, changing the course of U.S. history. See pavementgroup.org for more information.
• TimeLine Theatre Company has extended its hit production of "A Raisin in the Sun," Lorraine Hansberry's seminal drama about an African American family in 1950s Chicago seeking to relocate from their impoverished community to a middle-class white neighborhood. Performances continue through Dec. 7 at 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago. (773) 281-8463, ext. 6 or timelinetheatre.com.
• A Red Orchid Theatre artistic associate Shade Murray is among three theater artists -- including actor Kamal Angelo Bolden and lighting designer Mike Durst -- invited to join the AROT ensemble. "We at A Red Orchid are thrilled and honored to invite this group of exceptionally talented theater artists to join our creative family in a more formal and ongoing capacity," said artistic director Kirsten Fitzgerald in a prepared statement.
• A world premiere dance musical created and choreographed by artistic director Jessica Redish will be the 2014 main stage offering from Highland Park's The Music Theatre Company. "Without Conversation: A New Dance Musical" opens June 3, 2014, at 1850 Green Bay Road, Highland Park. The company continues its chamber musicals series Dec. 6 with "The Triumph of Love," inspired by an 18th century play by Marivaux about a princess who attempts to win the heart of a scholar. Also on tap is "Do I Hear a Waltz?" (Jan. 31-Feb. 9, 2014), about a lonely American woman who meets a handsome Venetian man. Purchase tickets by phone (847) 579-4900 or online at themusictheatrecompany.org.
• Strawdog Theatre Company announced it will begin its 2013-2014 Hugen Hall season on Nov. 24 with the world premiere of Brett Neveu's "Detective Partner Hero Villain," a superhero- and film noir-inspired play that pits The Fantastic Phenomenon against his nemesis Supernova. That's followed by a remount of Strawdog's late-night hit thriller "Pontypool" (Jan. 9-Feb 2, 2014), about a town infected with a deadly virus. The Hugen Hall season concludes on March 9, 2014, with the world premiere of "Forks and Hope's Just So Stories," an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling tales by Josh Sobel and his Forks & Hope Ensemble. Performances take place at 3829 N. Broadway St., Chicago. Tickets available by phone (773) 528-9696 or online at strawdog.org.