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posted: 3/21/2014 6:00 AM

Theater events: 'Seven Homeless Mammoths' opens at Theater Wit

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  • Susaan Jamshidi stars in "Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England," which opened this week at Theater Wit in Chicago.

      Susaan Jamshidi stars in "Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England," which opened this week at Theater Wit in Chicago.
    Courtesy of Theater Wit

 
 

"Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England," an "academic sex comedy" by Madeleine George, opened this week at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Theater Wit artistic director Jeremy Wechsler directs the play about romance, academia and politics. The production runs through April 27. (773) 975-8150 or theaterwit.org.

• The owner of a collectibles store in Detroit finds his life upended by a woman who sells him some valuable items in "Salvage," a new drama by Joseph Zettelmaier. Melanie Keller and Tyler Rich star in First Folio Theatre's world premiere helmed by artistic director Alison C. Vesely. Previews begin at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 26, at 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook. The show opens March 29. $22-$27. (630) 986-8067 or firstfolio.org.

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• Director/choreographer Marc Robin, who directed Marriott Theatre's 2003 production of "Cats," one of the best-selling shows in the theater's history, returns for its latest revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. Heidi Kettenring plays Grizabella and Matthew R. Jones plays Old Deuteronomy in this production of the musical inspired by T.S. Eliot's "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats." Previews begin at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 26, at 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire. The show opens April 2. $40-$48. (847) 634-0200 or marriotttheatre.com.

• Fox Valley Repertory's production of "Cheaper By the Dozen" marks the largest acting ensemble in the company's history, says artistic director John Gawlik. The cast includes 11 youngsters from FVR's Performing Arts Academy. Vance Smith directs the comedy about a large family's trials and tribulations, inspired by the lives of efficiency experts Frank and Lillian Gilbreth who used their family as subjects for their studies. Previews begin at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 27, at Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles. The show opens April 5. $32, $42. (630) 584-6342 or foxvalleyrep.org.

• A white client hires a black attorney to represent him in a reverse discrimination suit in "Saviour?" an examination of race and class by Esther Armah. Jonathan Wilson directs eta Creative Arts Foundation's production, which opens Friday, March 21, at 7558 S. South Chicago Ave., Chicago. (773) 752-3955 or etacreativearts.org.

• The Actors Gymnasium presents The Invisible Circus Revealed, a look behind the scenes of the company's current production, "The Magical Exploding Boy and the Invisible Circus." The event begins at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 22, with libations and chocolate at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St., Evanston. A performance of the show follows at 7:30 p.m., and the evening concludes with a reception from 9 to 10:30 p.m. during which participants can explore the stage and talk with the creative team. Tickets cost $50. (847) 328-2795 or actorsgymnasium.org.

• Lost Note Theater Company, an ensemble that presents concert readings of forgotten musicals, presents "Carnival!" a 1961 musical inspired by the 1953 movie "Lili" and Paul Gallico's "Love of Seven Dolls" with music and lyrics by Bob Merrill and book by Michael Stewart. Based on material by Helen Deutsch, the musical centers on the orphan Lili, whose romantic fantasies about running off with the circus are confronted with a seedy reality when she's pursued by a lecherous magician and friendly puppets and their unseen puppeteer. Performances run from Saturday, March 22, through March 29, at Strawdog Theatre Company's Hugen Hall, 3829 N. Broadway, Chicago. See facebook.com/lostnotetheatrecompany.

• The members of Signal Ensemble Theatre host their second annual Signal Soiree titled The Red, Black & White Ball, beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 22, at the Omni Hotel, 676 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Tickets cost $75 in advance and $100 per person at the door and include dining, beverages, music and dancing. See signalensemble.com.

• Broadway in Chicago and Erth Visual & Physical Inc. bring "Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live" to the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St., Chicago, for a limited run. Created in Australia, the "experiential theater production" uses large dinosaur puppets to tell prehistoric history. Performances begin Tuesday, March 25. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.

• Previews begin Tuesday, March 25, for TUTA Chicago's world premiere adaptation of "The Jewels," French writer Guy de Maupassant's short story about a marriage. The show opens March 28 at The Storefront Theater, 66 E. Randolph St., Chicago. (312) 945-6398 or tutato.com or cityofchicago.org/dcase.

• An Indian intersex person, known as Hijra, contemplates history, gender roles and high school in "Brahman/i: A One-Hijra Stand Up Comedy Show" by Aditi Brennan Kapil. Andrew Volkoff directs this play/standup routine examining culture and identity in a co-production between About Face Theatre and Silk Road Rising. Previews begin Thursday, March 27, at Silk Road Rising, the Historic Chicago Temple Building, 77 W. Washington St., Chicago. The show opens April 3. (312) 857-1234, ext. 201, or aboutfacetheatre.com or silkroadrising.com.

• Fox Valley Repertory artistic director John Gawlik directs Gift Theatre's Chicago-area premiere of "Thinner Than Water." Melissa Ross' dramedy follows three half siblings whose individual and interpersonal issues come to a head during their father's illness. The responsible oldest sister has a disintegrating marriage, middle brother Gary smokes pot in his comic book store and youngest Cassie has had a series of jobs and relationships. The production marks the return to Gift's stage of artistic director Michael Patrick Thornton. Previews begin Thursday, March 27, at 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The show opens March 31. (773) 283-7071 or thegifttheatre.org.

• Performances continue for Forks & Hope Ensemble's "Best Beloved: The Just So Stories," adapted from Rudyard Kipling's children's tales. Performances are for ages 8 and older. They're at noon Sundays and 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays at Strawdog Theatre's Hugen Hall, 3829 N. Broadway St., Chicago. (866) 811-4111 or strawdog.org.

• The Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley recently awarded a capital improvement grant to Fox Valley Repertory, the theater announced recently. The grant allows the company to purchase eight frequency-based hearing devices to improve the quality of amplification for patrons, along with 10 wireless microphones. The Community Foundation is a philanthropic organization that distributes grants and scholarships to agencies that benefit Aurora, Tri-Cities and Kendall County residents.

• Strawdog Theatre Company has extended its world premiere of Philip Dawkins' "Miss Marx: Or the Involuntary Side Effects of Living." Performances of the play about Karl Marx's youngest daughter and her struggles against injustice in Victorian England run through April 5 at 3829 N. Broadway St., Chicago. (866) 811-4111 or strawdog.org.

• Court Theatre begins its 60th season collaborating with American Blues Theater for the world premiere of Nambi E. Kelley's adaptation of Richard Wright's "Native Son" (Sept. 11-Oct. 12), about a young, confused African-American man whose lapse in judgment seals his fate. It's followed on Nov. 6 by Euripides' "Iphigenia in Aulis," about Agamemnon wrestling with a goddess' demand that he sacrifice his daughter in return for victory over his enemy. Artistic associate Ron OJ Parson directs a revival of Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot," about a pair of vagabonds who wait for a man who never appears. Court presents the world premiere of Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare's "The Good Book" (March 19-April 19, 2015), about a teenage boy dreaming of becoming a priest and an adult biblical scholar struggling with a crisis of faith. The 2014-2015 season concludes with "The Secret Garden" (May 21-June 21, 2015). Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the musical centers on a 10-year-old orphaned girl living at her uncle's estate. Three-, four- and five-play subscriptions range from $90 to $280 and are available now at (773) 753-4472, courttheatre.org or at the box office at 5535 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago. Individual tickets will be available beginning Aug. 1.

• New works by resident playwrights Samuel Hunter and Marcus Gardley are among the plays that make up Victory Gardens Theater's 40th anniversary season, which begins Sept. 12 with the Midwest premiere of Hunter's "Rest," about the residents of an Idaho retirement community facing their mortality. That's followed by the Midwest premiere of Colm Toibin's solo play "The Testament of Mary" (Nov. 14-Dec. 14) in which Mary recounts the final days in the life of her son, Jesus. Lauren Yee's world premiere of "Samsara" -- developed through VGT's IGNITION series -- runs Feb. 6 to March 8, 2015. It's about an American couple having a baby with a surrogate from India. Gardley's "A Wonder in My Soul" is about a 1960s R&B group whose members reunite after 35 years to raise money for a Bronzeville community center. The world premiere runs April 3 to May 3, 2015. The season concludes with the Midwest premiere of "The Who and the What" (June 12-July 12, 2015), Ayad Akhtar's drama about a Muslim woman, whose book about women and Islam threatens to tear apart her traditional family. Subscriptions for a five-play season start at $80. They're on sale at the VGT box office at 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, (773) 871-3000 or victorygardens.org.

-- Barbara Vitello

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