• Lifeline Theatre's season continues with the world premiere of ensemble member Christopher M. Walsh's adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities." Set against the Reign of Terror, the novel examines oppression, violence, sacrifice and love in the story of a dissolute British lawyer, his doppelgänger (a French aristocrat) and the woman they both love. Previews begin Friday, Feb. 14, at 6912 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago. The show opens Feb. 24. (773) 761-4477 or lifelinetheatre.com.
• The Saint Sebastian Players examine the issues in the development of the atomic bomb in their revival of Heinar Kipphardt's courtroom drama "In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer," a fictionalized account of the scientist's hearing before the Atomic Energy Commission in which he was charged with being a Soviet Union sympathizer. Performances begin Friday, Feb. 14, at St. Bonaventure Church, 1625 W. Diversey Ave., Chicago. (773) 404-7922 or saintsebastianplayers.org.
• Strawdog Theatre's season continues with the world premiere of Chicago playwright Philip Dawkins' "Miss Marx: Or the Involuntary Side Effects of Living." The play centers on Karl Marx's daughter Eleanor, whose struggle against social and sexual injustice in Victorian England impacts her common-law marriage to fellow socialist Edward Aveling. Previews begin Friday, Feb. 14, at 3829 N. Broadway St., Chicago. The show opens Feb. 24. (866) 4111 or strawdog.org.
• Jedlicka Performing Arts Center presents the Chicago-area premiere of "Love Story, the musical," based on Erich Segal's novel and the subsequent film about a rich Harvard boy who meets and falls in love with a poor Radcliffe girl. The book and lyrics are by Stephen Clark and the music and additional lyrics are by Howard Goodall. Melanie Lamoureux directs the show, which opens Friday, Feb. 14, at 3801 S. Central Ave., Cicero. (708) 656-1800 or jpactheatre.com.
• The Neo-Futurists host a special Valentine's Day edition of its long-running sketch show "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind" at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, at 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago. The adults-only performance includes 30 playlettes about love, sex and romance. Reservations recommended. (773) 275-5255 or neofuturists.org.
• Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble and the Fulton Street Collective incorporate music and dance into two performances of "The Vagina Monologues" at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14-15, at 2000 W. Fulton St., Chicago. The performances are a benefit for Refugee One, an organization that provides resettlement assistance to refugees. (773) 486-8261 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Steppenwolf Theatre's fifth annual Garage Rep showcasing new works in repertory from Chicago storefront companies, begins Friday, Feb. 14, at the Garage Theater, 1624 N. Halsted St., Chicago. Among the participating ensembles is The New Colony, which presents its world premiere of "reWILDing Genius" by Andrew Hobgood and Megan Johns. The play is about a group of hactivists, anarchists and geniuses determined to change the world. Prologue Theatre Company presents the Chicago premiere of Katori Halls' "Saturday Night/Sunday Morning." Set in 1945, at Miss Mary's beauty parlor and boardinghouse, where African-American women ponder the end of the war and what life will be like when their husbands return, if they return. Lastly, Walkabout Theater Company presents the world premiere of Thom Pasculli's "The Wild" an examination of what happens when institutions crumble, inspired by the work of avant-garde playwright Charles Mee. Performances continue through April 20. (312) 335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.
• Chicago Children's Theatre debuts its new, interactive show for children with autism, "Red Kite Brown Box," beginning Friday, Feb. 14, at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion Choral Rehearsal Room at Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago. Inspired by the book "Not a Box" by Antoinette Portis, about children who have moved into a new house, who would rather play with moving boxes than sleep. Admission is limited to 10 children, plus accompanying adults. (773) 227-0180, ext. 15, or theredkiteproject.org or chicagochildrenstheatre.org.
• Magician and House Theatre of Chicago member Dennis Watkins has added Valentine's Day performances of his long-running The Magic Parlour. Watkins performs at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel, 17 E. Monroe St., Chicago. The winter schedule includes performances at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Feb. 28 and March 7, 15, 21 and 28. (773) 769-3832 or themagicparlourchicago.com.
• For its third annual Valentine's Night Out, Liberty Town Productions presents a staged reading of the romantic comedy "Same Time, Next Year" on Friday, Feb. 14, at the Libertyville Civic Center, 135 W. Church St., Libertyville. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. with hors d'oeuvres, cash bar and live jazz followed by the performance at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25. They're available at libertytownproductions.com.
• The Cupid Players send up Valentine's Day and all its trappings in "Cupid in Your Pants," a special incarnation of the group's show "Cupid Has a Heart On: A Musical Guide to Relationships." They perform at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. (773) 327-5252 or stage773.com.
• Performances begin Saturday, Feb. 15, for Theatre Nebula's world premiere of "A Man With No Opinion" at Cutting Hall Performing Arts Center, 150 E. Wood St., Palatine. Kevin Wiczer's farce centers on Constance's attempts to convince her opinionated, potential mother-in-law Dorothy that Constance is the right woman for Dorothy's son Frances, a man with no opinions. (847) 202-5222 or cuttinghall.org or theatrenebula.org.
• A creature who longs to be someone else discovers he cannot escape his destiny in "The Magical Exploding Boy and the Invisible Circus," the latest production from the Actors Gymnasium. Dean Evans stars in the show written by Larry DiStasi, Lindsey Noel Whiting and Evans and directed by DiStasi with original music by Greg Hirte. Performances begin Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St., Evanston. (847) 328-2795 or actorsgymnasium.org.
• Previews begin Saturday, Feb. 15, for Griffin Theatre Company's revival of "Golden Boy," Clifford Odets' 1937 examination of the American dream, about Joe Bonaparte, a gifted violinist who gives up music for a career as a prizefighter. Heading up the 15-member cast is Nate Santana as Joe. Griffin ensemble member Jonathan Berry directs the show, which opens Feb. 24 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. (773) 975-8150 or theaterwit.org or griffintheatre.com.
• redtwist theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago, presents the Chicago-area premiere of Robert Caisley's "Happy." Elly Green directs the comedy about a man and his wife who visit an old friend and his new young girlfriend. Everybody's happy except the girlfriend, who proceeds to push everyone else's buttons. The show opens Saturday, Feb. 15. (773) 728-7529 or redtwist.org.
• In honor of Chicago Theatre Week, Waltzing Mechanic will charge $10 for their Saturday, Feb. 15, performance of "El Stories" adapted from interviews of people about their mass transit experiences. Performances are at 11 p.m. Saturdays through March 29 at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 404-7336.
• The Filament Theatre Ensemble hosts singer/songwriter and ensemble member Peter Oyloe in performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, at 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Performing with Oyloe is guitarist Marc Walloch and percussionist Luke Heiden. (773) 270-1660 or filamenttheatre.org.
• The Peking Acrobats, a renowned ensemble of jugglers, gymnasts, cyclists and tumblers, perform one show only at 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16, at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. (630) 896-6666 or paramountaurora.com.
• Idle Muse Theatre Company concludes its eighth season with "Rites and Sacrifices," Jennifer L. Mickelson's adaptation of Euripides' "The Suppliants" about grieving women, who on the losing side of a war, beg the newly crowned king for permission to bury their dead. Evan Jackson directs the play, which looks at the broader costs of war. Previews begin Thursday, Feb. 20, at Collaboraction Theater, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The show opens Feb. 22. (773) 340-9438 or idlemuse.org.
• Collaboraction marks the introduction of its new "incite change" mission with the world premiere of "This is Not a Cure for Cancer" by Anthony Moseley and Sarah Illiatovitch-Goldman. Moseley draws from his father's battle with cancer to create "an interactive, experiential, live art installation that will demystify a terrible disease, leave a theatrical imprint on audiences and change the way we think about cancer and its treatment," he said in a prepared statement. Previews begin Thursday, Feb. 20, at the Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The show opens Feb. 27. (312) 226-9633 or collaboraction.org.
• Nearly 50 people have gone missing in a Texas border town by the time Mary Graves, a battered woman fleeing her abusive husband, wanders in in "Rio," by Dream Theatre Company playwright and artistic director Jeremy Menekseoglu. Dream Theatre's production opens Thursday, Feb. 20, at 556 W. 18th St., Chicago. Laura Gouin directs. (773) 552-8616 or dreamtheatrecompany.com.
• Previews begin Thursday, Feb. 20, for Theatre at the Center's production of "Ring of Fire -- The Music of Johnny Cash," a revue featuring 35 of Cash's songs including "I Walk the Line" and "Folsom Prison Blues." Kent Lewis stars as Cash, opposite Jeff Award winner Cory Goodrich as June Carter. The show opens Feb. 23 at 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Ind. (219) 836-3255 or (800) 511-1552 or theatreatthecenter.com.
• "Option Up!," a new cabaret talk show, premiered this week at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Director/choreographer Christopher Pazdernik and composer/pianist/music director Aaron Benham host the show, which runs at 7:30 p.m. the second Sunday of the month and features interviews and performances from local musical theater performers. (773) 327-5252 or stage773.com.
• Director Kimberly Senior's provoking revival of "Hedda Gabler" has been extended by Writers Theatre. Performances continue through April 6 at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. Kate Fry stars as the titular, Hedda whose frustration with 19th-century conventions prompts her to wreak havoc on those around her. (847) 242-6000 or writerstheatre.org.
• The record-breaking "Million Dollar Quartet," now in its fifth year at the Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, has been extended through Aug. 31. Producers recently announced the new block of tickets for the jukebox show, a fictionalized account of the impromptu 1956 jam session between Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley at Sun Records in Memphis. (773) 935-6100 or ticketmaster.com or milliondollarquartetlive.com.
• About 20 theaters and 100 bars and restaurants in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood have established The Belmont Theater District to promote the cultural and culinary offerings of the community and offer theatergoers deals on tickets, drinks, dining and lodging. "We offer an affordable experience with convenient transportation and a bustling neighborhood where you can shop, dine and stay for a play," said Maureen Martino, executive director of the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce, in a prepared statement. For more information, see btdchicago.com.
-- Barbara Vitello
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