TBS' Byrne at Improv
Standup comedian Steve Byrne, a veteran of "Jimmy Kimmel Live," "Conan" and "The Tonight Show" and star of the TBS sitcom "Sullivan & Son," headlines the Chicago Improv this weekend.
8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15; 7 and 9:15 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16; 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, at 5 Woodfield Road, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg. $22. (847) 240-2001 or chicago.improv.com.
Dylan Thomas on tour
Newcomer Red Theater begins its second year with Sidney Michaels' 1964 play "Dylan," about Welsh poet Dylan Thomas' final U.S. tour. Gage Wallace stars as the poet in this production, directed by Red artistic director Aaron Sawyer.
Previews begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The show opens Nov. 23. $16-$32. (773) 733-0540 or redtheater.org.
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'Carol' with Santa
Bradley Armacost stars as Ebenezer Scrooge in Drury Lane Theatre's annual "A Christmas Carol." The play with music features Andrew Weir as Bob Cratchit and Jake Helm and Quinn Sitt alternating as Tiny Tim. Scott Calcagno directs the hourlong production, which includes breakfast with Santa on select Saturdays.
Begins at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, at 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace. $25, $30. Breakfast and dinner packages available. (630) 530-0111 or drurylane.com.
TimeLine Theatre's revival of Larry Kramer's 1985 drama "The Normal Heart" continues at Stage 773. Set during the early years of the AIDS epidemic, the play stars Jeff Award-winning director David Cromer as activist Ned Weeks, who tries desperately to warn the world of the impending crisis. Nick Bowling directs.
Performances continue through Dec. 22, at 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. $37-$50. (773) 327-5252 or timelinetheatre.com.
• Comedian Patti Vasquez chronicles her journey from single woman to wife to mother in her show "Lipstick Mom," a coproduction with Zanies Comedy Club opening Friday, Nov. 15, at the Royal George Theater Cabaret, 1641 N. Halsted St., Chicago. The 8 p.m. Nov 30 performance benefits Autism Speaks. (312) 988-9000 or ticketmaster.com.
• Pride Films and Plays hosts its 4th Annual Gay Film Weekend Friday, Nov. 15, to Sunday, Nov. 17, at the Center on Halsted's Hoover-Leppen Theatre, 3656 N. Halsted St., Chicago. The festival consists of staged readings of the finalists in the 2013 Great Gay Screenplay Contest, the winner of which will be announced at a fundraiser at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, at Marty's Martini Bar, 1511 W. Balmoral, Chicago. See brownpapertickets.com or pridefilmsandplays.com.
• Larry Yando reprises his performance as Ebenezer Scrooge for the sixth time in Goodman Theatre's 36th annual production of the Charles Dickens classic, "A Christmas Carol." Previews begin Saturday, Nov. 16, at 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. The show opens Nov. 24. (312) 443-3800 or goodmantheatre.org.
• Theo Ubique updates the madrigal dinner with the holiday revue "A Very Merry Madrigal," beginning previews on Saturday, Nov. 16, at No Exit Cafe, 6970 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago. Directed by David Heimann with music direction by Aaron Benham and Jeremy Ramey, the show includes yuletide folk music, poetry and variety acts. It opens Nov. 23. (800) 595-4849 or theo-u.com.
• "SNORF! The Saturday Afternoon Monster and Piggie/Comedy-Variety Show!" returns on Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted St., Chicago. The family-friendly, puppet-centered show runs at 2 p.m. monthly on select Saturdays through March 22, 2014. See thesnorfshow.com.
• Adventure Stage Chicago hosts a combination fundraising gala and 10th anniversary celebration, See a Hero, Be a Hero, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble St., Chicago. Tickets are $75 for adults and $35 for children for the event which includes appetizers and beverages, a performance of Marco Ramirez "Six Stories Tall" and live music. See adventurestage.org for tickets.
• Polarity Ensemble Theatre kicks off its residency at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, with a Polarity Greenhouse for Growth Fundraiser, from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16. Playwright Bill Jepsen is the special guest for the event, which includes the awarding of Polarity's Dionysus Cup to playwright Chuck O'Connor for his play "Miracles in the Fall." Tickets are $50 and include a preview of the upcoming production of "Macbeth," refreshments and a silent auction. See petheatre.com for information.
• After every enchanted mirror in the land tells an unlucky princess that her true love has died, she takes matters into her own hands and tries to get him back, upending the natural order in the somewhat family-friendly, fairy tale musical "The Dead Prince," with book music and lyrics by Emily Schwartz. Paul Holmquist directs Strange Tree Group's world premiere in association with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Previews begin Sunday, Nov. 17, at the Storefront Theater, 66 E. Randolph St., Chicago. The show opens Nov. 22. See strangetree.org for more information.
• Evermore! Raven Theatre's quarterly showcase of performers from multiple disciplines returns at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, with a program titled Songwriters with Switchback. The performance features the duo Switchback (Brian Fitzgerald and Martin McCormack) along with songwriters Anna Fermin and Al Rose. They're followed by poet Marc Kelly Smith who performs a trio of one-act plays titled "Flea Market" from Nov. 22-24. Performances take place at 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago. (773) 338-2177 or raventheatre.com.
• British Taste Events, a new company dedicated to all things British, presents Gerald Charles Dickens, great grandson of Charles Dickens, in "An Afternoon with Mr. Dickens" at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, at the Stan Mansion, 2408 N. Kedzie Ave., Chicago. General admission is $100, $125 for priority seating, book signings and photographs. See britishtasteevents.com for more information.
• Provision Theater, 1001 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago, remounts its acclaimed double-bill of Truman Capote's semi-autobiographical "A Christmas Memory" and "The Thanksgiving Visitor" about the experiences of seven-year-old Buddy who spends the holidays with his mother's eccentric, small-town relatives. Previews begin Wednesday, Nov. 20. The show opens Nov. 23. (312) 455-0066 or provisiontheater.org.
• Previews begin Wednesday, Nov. 20, for The Second City's holiday revue "Miracle on Wells Street." The show opens Nov. 27, and runs through Dec. 31, at Up Comedy Club, at Piper's Alley, 230 W. North Ave., Chicago. (312) 662-4562 or upcomedyclub.com.
• The original cast and creative team, headed by director Halena Kays, return for The Ruffians' revival of Jay Torrence's "Burning Bluebeard," which debuted in 2011 at the Neo Futurarium. Inspired by the 1903 Iroquois Theatre fire that killed more than 600 people during a performance of the holiday show, "Mr. Bluebeard," the play centers on six singed clowns attempting to rewrite history. Previews begin Thursday, Nov. 21, at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. the show opens Nov. 24. (773) 975-8150 or theaterwit.org.
• Performances begin Thursday, Nov. 21, for First Floor Theater's "Polaroid Stories," Naomi Iizuka's re-imagining of Ovid's "Metamorphoses" supplemented by interviews with young sex workers to tell the stories of Orpheus, Persephone and Narcissus. Performances run through Dec. 21, at Red Tape Theatre, 621 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. See firstfloortheater.com.
• Rivendell Theatre Ensemble presents a workshop performance of the ensemble-generated show "Women at War," an examination of whether females should serve on the front lines, directed by Megan Carney. The performance takes place at 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 21, at the UIC School of Theatre & Music, 1040 W. Harrison St., Chicago, in the ETMSW Building, room L060. (773) 334-7728 or rivendelltheatre.org.
• Mierka Girten, an A Red Orchid Theatre ensemble member, and Kelli Simpkins, an artistic associate with About Face Theater, were among 10 Chicago area artists who received 3Arts awards, which are presented to women, artists of color and artists with disabilities working in the performing, teaching and visual arts. Recipients may use the $15,000 according to their needs. Over the last six years, 3 Arts has distributed more than $1 million to artists in Chicago.
• Goodman Theatre recently introduced a new subscription package for its 2014 season "Great Women at Play" that includes five plays for the price of four. Subscriptions start at $92. Call (312) 443-3800 or see goodmantheatre.org/greatwomen for more information.
• Genesis Theatrical Productions has announced its 2014 season, which begins in May with Stephanie Liss' "On Holy Ground," about American activist Henrietta Szold, who supported Jewish settlements in Israel and Palestine. In August 2014, the theater presents Jeffrey Skinner's "Downrange," about the effects of career military service on officers and their families. The season concludes in November 2014 with Hasan Padamsee's "Creation's Birthday," about astronomer Edwin Hubble. Dates are not available. Performances take place at National Pastime Theater at the Preston Bradley Center, 941 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago. For more information, see genesistheatricals.com.
• Prompted by the success of last season's "Crime Scene: A Chicago Anthology," Collaboraction artistic director Anthony Moseley announced in a prepared statement, a new vision for the Chicago company which will henceforth "explore critical social issues in an effort to create dialogue and incite change." The 2014 season begins on Feb. 20 with "This is Not a Cure for Cancer," cowritten and featuring Moseley who drew upon his father's battle with cancer for inspiration. Collaboraction's annual festival of new work, Sketchbook 14, follows on May 12, 2014. For more information, see collaboraction.org.