Garlin in Rosemont
Jeff Garlin, onetime house comedian at Zanies in Chicago, headlines the Rosemont club this weekend. Best known as Larry David's manager on HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm," Garlin currently plays Murray in ABC's "The Goldbergs."
8 p.m. Friday, April 4, and 7 p.m. Saturday, April 5, at MB Financial Park, 5437 Park Place, Rosemont. $25, plus a two item food or drink minimum. (847) 813-0484 or zanies.com.
Steel Beam Theatre presents "The Spitfire Grill," a homespun, country-flavored musical by writer/lyricist James Valcq and composer Fred Alley. Inspired by the 1996 film, it's about a young woman, just released from prison, who starts over as a waitress in a rural Wisconsin diner populated by a group of kindly, colorful characters.
Opens at 8 p.m. Friday, April 4, at 111 W. Main St., St. Charles. $23-$28. (630) 587-8521 or steelbeamtheatre.com.
BET playwrights fest
Black Ensemble Theater hosts its 9th annual Black Playwright's Festival showcasing four full-length plays and four playlettes developed through BET's Black Playwright's Initiative. Featured writers include Daryl Brooks, M. Shelly Conner, Wendell Etherly, Leonard Ferris and Ervin Gardner. In a prepared statement, artistic director Jackie Taylor said the festival reflects the company's commitment to helping develop new playwrights. "It is our mission to usher these talented black artists into the local and national spotlight," she said.
Begins at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, and runs through April 13, at 4450 N. Clark St., Chicago. Tickets are $15 per evening, $50 for the entire festival. (773) 769-4451 or blackensemble.org.
• Tympanic Theatre Company and The Side Project team up for the world premiere of "Sandalwood," a new "psycho-western" by Dan Caffrey about a father who attempts to stop the "trail of blood and destruction" his son has left across the American West. The show runs through April 20 at 1439 W. Jarvis Ave., Chicago. See tympanictheatre.org or thesideproject.net for more information.
• Albany Park Theater Project re-imagines its 2006 play "God's Work," about a young girl who escapes years of psychological abuse and punishment at the hands of her fundamentalist father, at Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. A collaboration between Albany Park Theater directors, designers and 22 teens ages 14 to 18, the play incorporates music and traditional Japanese puppetry. Performances begin Friday, April 4. (312) 443-3800 or goodmantheatre.org/godswork.
• The Mario video game series inspired New Millennium Theatre Company's latest production, "The Princess Peach Conspiracy." Company member Joseph White directs Megan Mackie's play about what happens after the battle ends and the princess has to manage reconstructing her kingdom with her hero Mario. Performances begin Friday, April 4, at Studio BE 3110 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago. See nmtchicago.org for more information.
• Light Opera Works honors acclaimed actor James Harms (Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare, Marriott theaters) during its annual spring benefit beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 5, at the North Shore Country Club, 1340 Glenview Road, Glenview. The event includes a cocktail reception, silent auction, dinner and musical program. Tickets range from $185 to $380. (847) 920-5360 or lightoperaworks.org/events.
• Adventure Stage Chicago concludes its season with the world premiere of "Spark: Chapter One of the Prometheus Project" beginning previews Saturday, April 5, at Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble St., Chicago. Written by artistic director Tom Arvetis, the play re-examines the myths of Prometheus and Pandora. In ASC's version, the sheltered Pandora discovers a world outside the "safe haven" in which she has always lived, separated from the mysterious outsiders, the Outliers. The production opens April 12. Also, Adventure Stage recently announced the appointment of Mary Kate Barley-Jenkins to the position of managing director. (773) 342-4141 or adventurestage.org.
• Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, hosts Thorpedo Productions' family-friendly improvised show titled "Build-A-Tale" at 2 p.m. Saturdays beginning April 5. (773) 598-4549 or gorillatango.com.
• The Chicago-area tour of Blair Thomas & Company's new music and puppet production "A Piano With 3 Tales" continues at 1 and 3 p.m. Saturday, April 5, at Broadway Armory Park, 5917 N. Broadway Ave., Chicago, and 2 p.m. Saturday, April 19, at Tuley Park, 1962 W. 95th St., Chicago. The free performances of this "classical piano recital masquerading as a puppet show" are suitable for ages 4 to 12. (312) 742-7529 or chicagoparkdistrict.com.
• Barrel of Monkeys presents the latest version of its show "That's Weird, Grandma," made up of sketches written by Chicago Public School students and adapted by company members. Previews begin Monday, April 7, at the Neo-Futurist Theater, 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago. The show opens April 14. (312) 409-1954 or barrelofmonkeys.org.
• The International Voices Project begins its fifth season showcasing playwrights from around the world at 7 p.m. Monday, April 7, with a staged reading of Austrian writer Ewald Palmetshofer's "living. under water" performed by Red Tape Theatre. That's followed at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, with Norwegian playwright Arne Lygre's "Man Without Purpose," produced in conjunction with Akavit Theatre. The readings are presented in collaboration with Chicago consulates and cultural institutions. They're performed at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 250-7055 or ivpchicago.com.
• A high school pot dealer skips his prom to crash a reunion of three flight attendants who are old enough to be his mother in Marisa Wegrzyn's "Mud Blue Sky." A Red Orchid Theatre presents the Chicago premiere of the comedy, which stars ensemble members Kirsten Fitzgerald, Mierka Girten and Natalie West. Shade Murray directs. Previews begin Wednesday, April 9, at 1531 N. Wells St., Chicago. The show opens April 13. (312) 943-8722 or aredorchidtheatre.org.
• (re)discover theatre presents E.L. Dagenfield's new, updated adaptation of Aristophanes' "Lysistrata," about Greek women withholding sex to get men to cease making war. Director Janet Howe's production opens Thursday, April 10, at The Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. See rediscovertheatre.com for more information.
• Lebanese artists Rabih Mroue and Lina Saneh bring their work, "33 rounds and a few seconds," to the Museum of Contemporary Art stage, at 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, from Thursday, April 10, to Saturday, April 12. The partial docudrama pieces together the events surrounding a young man's suicide from information conveyed through television, his computer and the answering machine in his now vacant Lebanon apartment. (312) 397-4010 or mcachicago.org.
• Profiles Theatre extended its Midwest premiere of "Cock," Mike Bartlett's comedy about a man who breaks up with his longtime boyfriend and finds himself falling in love with a woman. Performances continue through May 25, at 4139 N. Broadway, Ave., Chicago. (773) 549-1815 or profilestheatre.org.
• Chicago favorite Mike Nussbaum makes his TimeLine Theatre debut during the company's recently announced 2014-15 season, which consists entirely of Chicago area premieres. The season begins Aug. 23, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, with Aaron Posner's adaptation of Chaim Potok's "My Name is Asher Lev," about a young Jewish painter who must decide between his faith and his artistic passion. That's followed on Sept. 23, at 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago, by Dominic Orlando's "Danny Casolaro Died For You," based on the true story of investigative reporter Casolaro, who was found dead in a Virginia motel room after uncovering examples of corruption in the Reagan/Bush Justice Department. Nussbaum makes his TimeLine debut in Richard Nelson's "That Hopey Changey Thing" and "Sorry," the first and third plays from Nelson's four-play series examining politics and family dynamics. "Hopey Changey" unfolds as the polls close on Election Night 2010 and "Sorry" takes place on the morning of the 2012 presidential election. They'll run in repertory beginning Jan. 20, 2015, at Wellington Avenue. The season concludes May 13, 2015, at Wellington Avenue, with Michele Lowe's "Inana," about an Iraqi museum curator who attempts to save from destruction his country's antiquities -- including a statue of the mother goddess Inana -- as the U.S. prepares its 2003 invasion of Baghdad. TimeLine also announced it will open its 2015-16 season with Arthur Miller's "The Price," starring Nussbaum, as part of a nationwide commemoration of Miller's centennial. Four play, FlexPass season subscriptions are available from $86 to $198. Subscribers who wish to see all five plays may purchase tickets for the fifth production at a discount. (773) 281-8463 or timelinetheatre.com.
• Larry Yando stars as the aging monarch who foolishly divides his kingdom in Chicago Shakespeare Theater's 2014-2015 season opener, "King Lear" (Sept. 9-Nov. 9), directed by Barbara Gaines. Next up is "Pericles" (Nov. 30-Jan. 18, 2015), Shakespeare's romance about a man confronting good and evil over the course of a globe-spanning voyage. CST remounts "Short Shakespeare! Macbeth" Jan. 15-Feb. 14, 2015. That's followed by a joint production from the National Theatre of Scotland and the Royal Shakespeare Company titled "Dunsinane" (Feb. 26-March 22, 2015), David Greig's examination of what happens after Macbeth is murdered and the English army sweeps through Scotland. The season concludes with Paul Gordon's musical adaptation of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" (April 18-June 7, 2015), directed by Barbara Gaines. Season subscriptions and individual tickets are available at the box office at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, online at chicagoshakes.com or by phone at (312) 595-5600.
• Filament Theatre Ensemble begins its spring season on April 25, with "Cyrano," Joe Roet's adaptation of Edmond Rostand's play about the poet-warrior whose extra large nose prevents him from expressing his true feelings to the beautiful Roxane, who is herself captivated by the good-looking young recruit, Christian. Next up is Nicola McCartney's "Lifeboat" (May 23-June 8), about two teenage British girls who are the only survivors of a World War II U-boat attack on their Canada-bound ship. Performances take place at 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The mini-season concludes June 28 with "The Bike Show," an original work created by the company consisting of a bicycle ride through Chicago's Portage Park. (773) 270-1660 or filamenttheatre.org.
• "Sacred Stages: a Church, a Theatre, a Story" -- a new documentary produced by Silk Road Rising and the First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple -- can be seen online at silkroadrising.org/video-plays/sacred-stages-a-church-a-theatre-a-story. The film chronicles the relationships between one of Chicago's oldest Christian congregations and the theater company established in response to the attacks of Sept. 11 and dedicated to producing plays by Asian and Middle Eastern writers.