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posted: 4/25/2014 5:30 AM

Theater events: 'Churchill' comes to First Folio in brief run

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Keaton's 'Churchill'
Ronald Keaton brings his one-man show "Churchill" to First Folio Theatre for a brief run. The show is based on the life and writings of Winston Churchill, the British statesman famous for such axioms as: "Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts" and "Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all others."
Opens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 30, at Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook. $25. (630) 986-8067 or firstfolio.org.

'Henry V' revisited
For the first time since 1986, when the company staged its inaugural production on the roof of Chicago's Red Lion Pub, Chicago Shakespeare Theater revisits "Henry V." Harry Judge stars as the young monarch who consolidates his hold on England by asserting his claim to the French throne. CST's production marks the Chicago directorial debut of British director Christopher Luscombe.
Previews begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. The show opens May 7. $48-$78. (312) 595-5600 or chicagoshakes.com.

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Jobrani at the Improv
Iranian-American actor/comedian Maz Jobrani headlines Schaumburg's Improv this weekend. A native of Tehran, Jobrani grew up in San Francisco and was pursuing a Ph.D. in political science at UCLA when standup called. Jobrani co-founded and performed with "The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour" featuring comedians of Middle-Eastern ancestry. He also appeared on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "24," "13 Going on 30" and "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" among others.
8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday, April 25; 7 and 9:15 p.m. Saturday, April 26; and 7 p.m. Sunday, April 27, at 5 Woodfield Road, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg. $53, $33, plus a two-item minimum. (847) 240-2001 or chicago.improv.com.

What's new
• Trap Door Theatre opened "Vatzlav," by Slawomir Mrozek (translation by Ralph Manheim), this week at 1655 W. Cortland Ave., Chicago. The play is set on the island of enTRAPment where a genius pimps his daughter, vampires run corporations and blind, old Oedipus insists "in the dark, good is indistinguishable from evil." See trapdoortheatre.com.

• Citadel Theatre, at 300 S. Waukegan Road, Lake Forest, presents the John Kander-Fred Ebb musical "Cabaret," beginning Friday, April 25. See citadeltheatre.org for tickets.

• Saint Sebastian Players concludes its season with a triple bill of one-act comedies under the title, Death Defying Acts. Among them is David Mamet's "An Interview," in which a sleazy lawyer answers difficult questions. In Elaine May's "Hotline" a woman calls a crisis line and reaches an overworked counselor on his first night on the job. The last of the plays is Woody Allen's "Central Park West" in which a psychiatrist gets drunk and confronts her best friend who's having an affair with the woman's husband. Performances begin Friday, April 25, at St. Bonaventure 1625 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago. (773) 404-7922 or saintsebastianplayers.org.

• Previews begin Friday, April 25, for American Theater Company's revival of "Hair," the James Rado, Gerome Ragni and Galt MacDermot musical about a group of young hippies confronting love, racism and the realities of the Vietnam War in 1967 Greenwich Village. Artistic director PJ Paparelli directs the revival, which includes original material from the show's initial off-Broadway debut. Austin Cook serves as music director for the show which features Sky Seals as Berger and Zach Kenney as Claude. It opens May 5 at 1909 W. Byron St., Chicago. (773) 409-4125 or atcweb.org.

• Cory Goodrich, Susan Moniz, Mary Ernster and Michael Weber are among the Drury Lane, Marriott and Chicago Shakespeare Theater veterans appearing in the Lyric Opera of Chicago's production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The Sound of Music," beginning previews Friday, April 25, at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago. Broadway's Jenn Gambatese stars as Maria and film's Billy Zane stars as Captain Von Trapp in the production, which opens Sunday, April 27. (312) 827-5600 or lyricopera.org.

• Filament Theatre Ensemble presents "Cyrano," Jo Roet's family-friendly adaptation of Edmond Rostand's "Cyrano de Bergerac." Lindsey Dorcus, Nate Drackett and Andrew Marchetti play all the characters in this swashbuckler about the soldier-poet whose large nose impedes his pursuit of his true love. Performances begin Friday, April 25, at 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. (773) 270-1660 or filamenttheatre.org.

• Newspaper reporter Mitch Albom's story about reconnecting with his favorite college professor who's battling Lou Gehrig's disease inspired "Tuesday's With Morrie," adapted for the stage by Jeffrey Hatcher. MadKap Productions presents this play about a man's search for the meaning of life. It begins Friday April 25, at the Skokie Theatre, 7924 Lincoln Ave., Skokie. (847) 677-7761 or skokietheatre.org.

• Chicago Children's Theatre welcomes to the Chicago area the Mermaid Theatre of Novia Scotia and its production of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favorites." The triple bill features music, puppetry and visual effects to tell the tale of a tiny caterpillar who eats his way through a variety of foods on his transformation into a butterfly. Also on the bill is a story about a little cloud that transforms itself into various shapes it observes and a bored chameleon who embarks upon a trip to the zoo. Performances take place Friday, April 25, and Saturday, April 26, at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 W. Skokie Blvd., Skokie. (847) 673-6300 or northshorecenter.org. The show moves to the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, for a five-week run beginning Tuesday, April 29. (872) 222-9555 or chicagochildrenstheatre.org.

• "Hang Your Hat at Mister Kelly's," Three Cat Productions musical revue examining the famed Chicago supper club through the eyes of a former employee, has its world premiere at the Berger Park Coach House Theater, 6205 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago. Previews begin Friday, April 25. The show opens Sunday, April 27. (312) 970-9840 or threecatproductions.com.

• A young man rises from window washer to chairman of the board in the Frank Loesser musical "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," which concludes Porchlight Music Theatre's season. Former newsman Bill Kurtis supplies the "Voice of the Book" for director Rob Lindley's revival, which stars Tyler Ravelson as J. Pierrepont Finch. Previews begin Saturday, April 26, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show opens Tuesday, April 29. (773) 327-5252 or porchlightmusictheatre.org.

• The Chicago-area tour of Blair Thomas & Company's new music and puppet production "A Piano With 3 Tales" continues at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at Tuley Park, 1962 W. 95th St., Chicago, and at 1 and 3 p.m. May 3 at Indian Boundary Park, 2500 W. Lunt 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.

• Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, hosts its final installment of this season's live panel show "Just the FAQs: A Comedy Panel Show of Facts & Falsehoods" at 8 p.m. Sunday, April 27. See stage773.com.

• Teatro Vista debuts its latest series Late Night Teatro Vista featuring music, improv, true stories and new plays from its company as well as Teatro Luna and Salsation Theatre Company. Performances take place Monday, April 28, and Tuesday, April 29, May 5, 6, 10, 11, 16 and 17, at the Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 871-1300 or victorygardens.org or teatrovista.org.

• The International Voices Project fifth season showcasing playwrights from around the world continues with a staged reading of Egyptian playwright Ahmed Serag's "The Castle and The Sparrows," translated by Fouad Teymour, at 7 p.m. Monday, April 28, and Chilean playwright Claudia Hidalgo's "That Thing I Never Shared with You," translated by William Gregory, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 29. Performances take place at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 250-7055 or ivpchicago.com.

• Signal Ensemble Theatre concludes its 11th season with "The Next Thing," an original musical by co-artistic director Ronan Marra (book) and Jon Steinhagen (music and lyrics). Spanning six years, several films and at least two significant others, the show is about Kate and Conor, Hollywood actors who can't stand each other but find themselves working together in several films. Previews begin Thursday, May 1, at 1802 W. Berenice Ave., Chicago. The show, directed by Marra, opens May 3. (773) 698-7389 or signalensemble.com.

• The New Colony's cult hit "5 Lesbians Eating Quiche" returns in a remount courtesy of the Chicago Commercial Collective. The original off-Broadway cast returns. The show, cowritten by Andrew Hobgood and Evan Linder, is about five women gathering in 1956 for the annual breakfast of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein whose fear of an atomic bomb attack leads to some surprising confessions. Previews begin Thursday, May 1, at the Chopin Theater, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago. The show opens May 6. (773) 404-7336 or 5lesbianseatingquiche.com.

• Lifeline Theatre hosts "You-Nite," its annual gala benefit from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Thursday, May 1, at the Mayne Stage, 1328 W. Morse St., Chicago. The event includes a buffet, excerpts from performances over the past 31 seasons and a live auction. Tickets are $100 in advance and $125 at the door. (773) 761-4477 or lifelinetheatre.com.

• The Theatre at the Centre concludes its 2014 season with Tom Dudzick's comedy "Miracle on South Division Street." The play is about a man who has a religious vision in 1943 and builds a shrine to the Virgin Mary to commemorate it, and his wife's efforts 70 years later to get the Pope to approve it. Previews begin Thursday, May 1, at 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Ind. The show opens May 4. (219) 836-3255 or theatreatthecenter.com.

• Silk Road Rising and About Face Theatre have extended their collaboration "Brahman/i," Aditi Brennan Kapil's examination of what it's like to be an intersex person in India. Performances continue through May 4 at The Historic Chicago Temple Building, 77 W. Washington St., Chicago. See silkroadrising.org.

• Steppenwolf Theatre Company recently welcomed its newest ensemble member, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Bruce Norris ("Clybourne Park," "The Pain and the Itch"), who's had a half dozen of his plays premiere at Steppenwolf. His play "The Qualms" opens in July at 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago. See steppenwolf.org for more information.

• The Hypocrites begin their 2014-2015 season in August with the world premiere of co-founder Sean Graney's "All Our Tragic," a theatrical event several years in the making which consists of a 12-hour adaptation of all the surviving Greek tragedies. The cast numbers 23. The season continues in December 2014 with a world premiere of the company's re-imagined version of "H.M.S. Pinafore." the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta will run in repertory with "The Mikado" and "The Pirates of Penzance." Those productions are followed in 2015 by Samuel Beckett's absurdist, post-apocalyptic drama "Endgame" and Anton Chekhov's "Three Sisters," about siblings who believe their drab, unhappy lives will brighten if they could just get to the big city. Ticket and venue information will be announced shortly. See the-hypocrites.com for more information.

• Saint Sebastian Players announced it will begin its 34th season Oct. 28 with the world premiere of "Lotto Fever in the Sucker State," by ensemble member Leigh Johnson. Set at a central Illinois cafe in 1988, the play chronicles the residents of a small town struggling to stay afloat during hard times. They include a family whose members have been playing the lottery hoping to win enough to save their farm, a couple of federal agents searching for a marijuana growing operation and the diner's new owner who's too "citified" for these folks. That's followed by Aphra Behn's "Emperor of the Moon" (Feb. 20-March 15, 2015), about the romantic adventures of Bellemante and Elaria, the daughter and niece of amateur astronomer Doctor Baliardo, who convince him their new boyfriends are visitors from the moon. The season concludes with a revival of Wendy Wasserstein's "The Sisters Rosensweig" (April 24-May 17, 2015) about romance, recriminations and reconciliations among three siblings. Performances take place at St. Bonaventure, 1625 W. Diversey, Chicago. Subscription packages start at $40. (773) 404-7922 or saintsebastianplayers.org.

• Emerald City Theatre, a family-friendly company now in its 19th year, announced its 2014-2015 season earlier this month. It begins with George Stiles and Anthony Drewe's musical "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" (Oct. 4-Jan. 3, 2015). That's followed by David Wood's adaptation of Roald Dahl's book "The B.F.G. (Big Friendly Giant)," about a lonely orphan who's whisked away on an adventure by a friendly giant. In January 2015, Emerald City presents the Chicago premiere of "Fancy Nancy: The Musical" (Jan. 31-May 17, 2015). Based on the books by Jane O'Connor and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser, the play is about a girl assigned to play a tree in her very first dance recital who tries to bring some "fancy flair" to the role. The season concludes with Dave Morgan's adaptation of Judy Schachner's book, "Skippyjon Jones" (Feb. 14-May 16, 2015). This marks the Chicago premiere of this show about a Siamese kitty -- with grand ears large enough to match his imagination -- who dreams of becoming El Skippito, "the greatest Chihuahua in all of Old Mexico." Performances take place at the Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Season subscriptions start at $55. (773) 529-2690 or emeraldcitytheatre.com.

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