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posted: 3/7/2014 7:00 AM

Theater events: 'Rock of Ages' returns to Chicago

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  • The 1980s-inspired musical "Rock of Ages" returns to Chicago at the Bank of America Theatre.

      The 1980s-inspired musical "Rock of Ages" returns to Chicago at the Bank of America Theatre.

 
 

New at Metropolis
Baby Wants Candy, the improv ensemble responsible for the improvised musical of the same name, comes to the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre for one performance only. Based on audience suggestions, "Baby Wants Candy" had a long run at Chicago's iO Theater. Also at Metropolis is a revival of James Sherman's "Half and Half," a domestic dramedy offering dual snapshots of a marriage, set 35 years apart in the same Rogers Park home. David Belew directs.
"Baby Wants Candy" starts at 8 p.m. Friday, March 7, at 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights. $25. Previews for "Half and Half" begin Thursday, March 13. The show opens March 16. $28-$44. (847) 577-2121 or metropolisarts.com.

Northlight premiere
John Mahoney and Penny Slusher star in Northlight Theatre's world premiere of "Chapatti," Irish playwright Christian O'Reilly's tale about two lonely animal lovers who rediscover the importance of human relationships. BJ Jones directs the show, which emerged from Northlight's Interplay development series. A co-production with the Galway Arts Festival, "Chapatti" will open there in July.
Previews begin at 8 p.m. Friday, March 7, at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. The show opens Friday, March 14. $25-$75. (847) 673-6300 or northlight.org.

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Theo Ubique's 'Passion'
A love triangle between a beautiful married woman, her soldier lover and a passionate spinster animates the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical "Passion," inspired by Ettore Scola's 1981 film "Passione d'Amore." Theo Ubique revives the musical in a jewel-box production at No Exit Cafe under director Fred Anzevino.
Previews begin at 8 p.m. Friday, March 7, at 6970 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago. The show opens at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 10. $20-$39. (800) 595-4849 or theo-u.com.

Other theater events

• The 1980s-inspired, metal-lite musical "Rock of Ages" returns to Chicago for a limited run at the Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St., Chicago. Performances run Tuesday through Sunday, March 11-16. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.

• American Blues Theater's "Legends and Legacies" season continues with the world premiere of "American Myth" by Christina Gorman. Goodman Theatre's Steve Scott directs the drama about a best-selling author and scholar accused by a former student of lying about his participation in the Vietnam War. Previews begin Friday, March 7, at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. The show opens March 13. (773) 404-7336 or americanbluestheater.com.

• In the middle of the night, a woman named Clementine checks into a no-name interstate hotel and encounters a group of regulars who want to know who she's running from in "Darlin'" by Joshua Rollins. Previews for Step Up Productions' world premiere begin Friday, March 7, at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. The show, directed by Ilesa Duncan, opens March 13. (773) 935-6875 or stepupproductions.org.

• Bare Knuckles Productions' season-long examination of conflict continues with Wendy Macleod's "The House of Yes," running weekends beginning Friday, March 7, at 4001 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago. The play centers on a young man who returns home for Thanksgiving with his fiance to confront a family whose secrets are unraveling. See bareknuckleproductions.org for more information.

"Who Do I Give This Money To?" a sketch show from a group called Vienna Juvenile (made up of Layne Dixon, Hank Greene and Anthony Smith) runs at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 7-8, at Gorilla Tango Bucktown, 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Also at the Bucktown location, the variety revue "The Plucky Show," hosted by Plucky herself (Alisa Rosenthal), runs at 9 p.m. the second Thursday of every month beginning Thursday, March 13. (773) 598-4549 or gorillatango.com.

• AlphaBet Soup Productions brings its 60-minute, musical version of "Aladdin" to the Neuqua Valley High School auditorium, 2360 95th St., Naperville, for a 1 p.m. show on Saturday, March 8. The show is recommended for children in preschool through 5th grade. Tickets cost $5. (630) 932-1555 or abcproductions.com.

• Silk Road Rising presents staged readings of Saadallah Wannons' "Rituals of Signs and Transformations" translated from Arabic by Nada Saab and Robert Myers and directed by Sahar Assaf. An examination of ambition, fundamentalism and hypocrisy, it's set in Damascus during the late 19th century and centers on two rival clerics whose feud threatens the community. The readings are at 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 8, and 4 p.m. Sunday, March 9, at The Historic Chicago Temple Building, 77 W. Washington St., Chicago. Silk Road also hosts a panel discussion about contemporary Arab theater that explores the legacy of playwright Wannous at 7 p.m. Monday, March 10. Admission is free, but registration is required. Lastly, artistic director Jamil Khoury's play "Precious Stones" is included in the recently released anthology: "Four Arab American Plays: Works by Leila Buck, Jamil Khoury, Yussef El Guindi and Lameece Issaq and Jacob Kader." Khoury also wrote the afterword titled "Toward an Arab American Theatre Movement." (312) 857-1234, ext. 201, or silkroadrising.org.

• Previews begin Saturday, March 8, at the Greenhouse Theater, 2247 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, for Buzz22 Chicago's world premiere of Laura Jacqmin's latest, "Ghost Bike." Sara Sawicki directs the myth-inspired play about Ora and Eddie, a couple who "fell in love with Chicago on their bikes." But after Eddie is hit by a car, Ora refuses to let him go and rides beneath the city to retrieve him. The show opens March 13. (773) 404-7336 or buzz22chicago.com.

• Amanda Drinkall and Rufus Collins star in David Ives' two-hander "Venus in Fur," beginning previews Saturday, March 8, at the Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. The hit Broadway play is about an audition that unfolds as a cat-and-mouse game between an actress and the writer/director she's auditioning for. Joanie Schultz directs Goodman's Chicago-area premiere, which opens March 16. (312) 443-3800 or goodmantheatre.org.

• A family-friendly reworking of "1,001 Arabian Nights" titled "Sarazad and the Monster-King" begins its second run at Gorilla Tango Theatre, 7924 Lincoln Ave., Chicago, on Saturday, March 8. It's about 9-year-old Sarazad who is whisked away to the realm of the Monster-King who she distracts with a series of stories. (847) 677-7761 or gorillatango.com.

• Storyteller Ben Kemper shares some of his favorite folk tales and myths during a family-friendly performance at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. (773) 270-1660 or filamenttheatre.org.

• The Chicago League of Lady Arms Wrestlers perform at CLLAW XVIII beginning at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at the Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie Ave., Chicago. All proceeds benefit host Sideshow Theatre Company and its partner charity, The Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. See cllaw.org for more information.

• InFusion Theatre Company presents the Midwest premiere of "Ithaka" by Andrea Stolowitz, beginning previews on Sunday, March 9, at The Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago. The play incorporates video to recount the Odyssean journey of Marine Captain Elaine Edwards who is returning home after her latest tour in Afghanistan. InFusion artistic director Mitch Golob directs the show, which opens Wednesday, March 12. (800) 838-3006 or infusiontheatre.com.

• Red Theater Chicago showcases, in a staged reading, a play by Sarah Saltwick, winner of its second annual playwriting competition. Saltwick's "Tender Rough Rough Tender" is about two people getting to know each other during the hottest summer on record. The reading takes place at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 9, at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The event also includes readings of selected scenes from runners up: "The Aleph Complex" by Deborah Yarchun, "Blind" by Susan Ferrara and "Uncertainty/Principle" by Jacob Marx Rice. (773) 733-0540 or redtheater.org.

• Previews begin Tuesday, March 11, for Raven Theatre's revival of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's "Good Boys and True." Ensemble member Cody Estle directs this examination of class and sexual identity in which a scandalous sex video makes the rounds of an elite boys' prep school, upending the lives of the members of one privileged family. The show opens March 16. Also at Raven Theatre, and just in time for St. Patrick's Day, a revival of Irish playwright J.M. Synge's "The Playboy of the Western World," running through April 5. (773) 338-2177 or raventheatre.com.

• Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents "Road Show," the second production in its Stephen Sondheim double-bill directed by associate artistic director Gary Griffin. John Weidman wrote the book for the musical, which stars Michael Aaron Lindner and Andrew Rothenberg as brothers reinventing themselves as they wheel and deal their way across America. Previews begin Thursday, March 13, at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. The show opens March 20. (312) 595-5600 or chicagoshakes.com.

• Porchlight Music Theatre's rousing production of the Fats Waller revue "Ain't Misbehavin'" has added a 6 p.m. performance on Sunday, March 9, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. (773) 327-5252 or porchlightmusictheatre.org.

• The children's theater company Brain Surgeon Theater announced it will take up residency at Gorilla Tango Bucktown, 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, starting in June. (773) 757-6206 or brainsurgeontheater.org.

• Collaboraction announced community partners for its world premiere "This is Not a Cure for Cancer," an examination of how we treat and live with cancer by Anthony Moseley and Sarah Illiatovitch-Goldman. Gilda's Club Chicago, American Cancer Society, The Heartwood Foundation Women and Cancer Program, Merz Apothecary, A Silver Lining Foundation and Rainbow Hospice are among the organizations whose representatives will attend performances of the show, which runs through March 30 at the Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. (312) 226-9633 or collaboraction.org.

• According to the League of Chicago Theatres and Choose Chicago, tickets sales for the second annual Chicago Theatre Week totaled more than 7,200, a 17 percent increase from the previous year. The weeklong event included 344 performances of 100 productions.

-- Barbara Vitello

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