St. Patrick's Day doesn't officially roll around until Monday, but there's no need to wait when you can celebrate all weekend long with Irish plays, lively parades, high-stepping dancers and a whole lot more.
Here's a look at what's going on in the city and suburbs:
Irish-inspired theater and dance
• John M. Synge's Irish comedy "The Playboy of the Western World" notoriously spurred riots during its 1907 Dublin premiere. Factions were either outraged by its plot involving the embrace of patricide, or the mention of women's undergarments. Things should be considerably calmer at the Raven Theatre, where the landmark Irish work is being revived through Saturday, April 5, at 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday with 3 p.m. matinees on Sunday. Tickets cost $36, $31 for seniors, $15 for students. Call (773) 338-2177 or visit raventheatre.com.
• Die-hard fans of the famed Irish step-dancing spectacular "Riverdance" won't want to miss its producers' latest music and dance revue "Heartbeat of Home," now making its U.S. debut at the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., Chicago. Remaining performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 14; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 15; and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 16. Tickets cost $27-$82. Call (800) 775-2000 or visit broadwayinchicago.com.
• Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble member and "Frasier" star John Mahoney works again with Penny Slusher for Christian O'Reilly's world-premiere comedy "Chapatti." It's about an aging Dublin dog owner who crosses paths with a woman who owns 19 cats. This collaboration with the Galway Arts Festival plays at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. The benefit opening is 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 14, with performances continuing through April 13. Tickets cost $25 to $75, $15 for students (subject to availability). (847) 673-6300 or northlight.org.
• "Flanagan's Wake" returns for another round of interactive comedy where you, the audience, get to sing songs, listen in on gossip and more at a faux Irish wake full of crazy characters. The show returns at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 15, to Fox Valley Repertory at Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles. Tickets cost $32. (630) 584-6342 or foxvalleyrep.org.
• The 4th Annual Barrington Celtic Fest kicks off at 4 p.m. Friday, March 14, and runs through St. Patrick's Day on Park Avenue, just east of South Cook Street, in a large heated tent and at McGonigal's Pub. Live music, Irish dancers, bagpipers and others will perform, and food and drinks will be available for purchase. The tent is open from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Ages 21 and older only after 6 p.m. Monday's events are at the pub, 105 S. Cook St., Barrington. Daytime admission is free, with a $10 requested donation Friday and Saturday nights; a portion of the proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life. www.mcgonigalspub.com.
• Berwyn's a bit far, but you can see a long list of performers at FitzGerald's for $15, or $5 for children 12 and younger. Doors open at 1 p.m. for the 33rd Annual St. Patrick's Day celebration Saturday, March 15. The lineup includes Fred Eaglesmith's Traveling Steam Show, The Westies, The Dooley Brothers, Cannonball and The Shannon Rovers. Plus, food and beer will be available for sale in heated tents. FitzGerald's is at 6615 W. Roosevelt Road, Berwyn. (708) 788-2118.
• If you are downtown for the parade Saturday, head over to the Irish American Heritage Center for more St. Patrick's fun. Live entertainment -- as well as other activities -- runs from 1 p.m. to midnight March 15 at the center, 4626 N. Knox, Chicago. Tickets cost $15 for adults; children 12 and younger admitted free.
Adults-only festivities also run Sunday, March 16, with additional programs planned for Monday. Call (773) 282-7035 or go to www.irish-american.org for details.
• Celtic Woman -- the all-female Irish music ensemble -- plays a 3 p.m. concert Sunday, March 16, at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N State St., Chicago. Tickets cost $61.50 to $75.50. (800) 745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com.
• Crystal Lake native Megon McDonough and South Sider Susan O'Halloran celebrate St. Patrick's Day with "Pot of Gold: Irish Stories and Songs From Two of Chicago's Own" at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 16, at Space, 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston. The women sing Irish classics as well as share stories about growing up Irish American. Tickets cost $18-$32. (866) 777-8932.
Select suburban St. Paddy's parades
Naperville: The West Suburban Irish's St. Patrick's Day Parade begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 15, starting at Naperville North High School, 899 N. Mill St. The parade proceeds south to Jefferson Avenue, then moves east to Main street and south to Water Street, with dispersal near the Naperville Municipal Center. Visit wsirish.org for information.
East Dundee: The Thom McNamee Memorial St. Patrick's Day Parade begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 15, on Water Street in East Dundee. It travels south to Barrington Avenue, then east to River Street and ends at Bandito Barney's at 10 N. River St., East Dundee. The night before at 7:30 p.m., there are fireworks planned at the Footbridge at North and Water Street on the East Side and at Lincoln Avenue near 5th Street on the West Side. For information, visit dundeestpats.com or banditobarneysbeachclub.com.
Palatine: The parade begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 15, at the corner of Wood and Oak streets in downtown Palatine and continues west to Brockway, then south to Wilson. Visit stpatspalatine.com for details.
Lake Villa: The Lake Villa parade begins at noon Saturday, March 15, starting at Peter J. Palombi School, 133 McKinley Ave. A corned beef and cabbage meal with entertainment follows at the Lake Villa VFW, 130 E. Grand Ave. Tickets cost $4 to $8 and are available at the door. (847) 356-6100.
St. Charles: The 2014 St. Patrick's Parade kicks off at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 15, on Main Street/Route 64 in downtown St. Charles. Preceding the parade at 10 a.m. is a St. Patrick's Dance show featuring students of local dance studios at the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles. $1 suggested donation. Call (630) 443-3967 or visit downtownstcharles.org for details.
McHenry: The Rotary Club of McHenry-Sunrise presents its fifth annual St. Patrick's Day Parade at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 16, as "A Tribute to All Area Service Organizations." The parade route starts at McHenry High School-East Campus, 1012 N. Green St., McHenry. It then goes west on Waukegan Road, north on Green Street to Pearl Street, then east to Veterans Park, 1450 N. Court St., McHenry. For information, visit stpatsparade.weebly.com.
• Even if the Chicago River is still filled with chunks of ice on Saturday, the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers plan to go ahead and dye it green at 10 a.m. as a prelude to the St. Patrick's Day parade. Suggested viewing spots are along the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive. Visit chicagostpatsparade.com for more information.
• Chicago's 2014 St. Patrick's Day Parade kicks off at noon Saturday at the corner of Balbo Avenue and Columbus Drive, proceeding north to Monroe Street. This year's parade features president and CEO of the 2013 Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks, John McDonough, as the grand marshal. Visit chicagostpatsparade.com for information.
• The 2014 South Side Irish Parade steps off from 103rd Street and proceeds down Western Avenue to 115th Street in Chicago at noon Saturday. For details, visit southsideirishparade.org.
• The 2014 Northwest Irish Parade kicks off at noon Sunday from William J. Onahan School, 6634 W. Raven St., Chicago. The official after party is at Immaculate Conception Recreation Center, 7211 W. Talcott Ave., Chicago. Call (773) 209-0402 or visit northwestsideirish.org for information.