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updated: 5/16/2014 6:18 AM

Theater events: Improv Playhouse hosts family, adult comedy shows

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Nice, then naughty

Improv Playhouse welcomes comedy fans of all ages this weekend. The early improv show is suitable for the family. The later show, however, is geared for mature audiences who are welcome to bring their own adult beverages. 7:30 and 9 p.m. Saturday, May 17, at 735 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville. $8, $12. (847) 968-4529 or improvplayhouse.com.

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Chicago-area premiere

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble concludes its "Stirring the Pot" season with the Chicago premiere of "Eat Your Heart Out," a dramedy by Courtney Baron that premiered at 2012's Human Festival of New Plays. The play centers on six characters -- among them a couple eager to adopt a baby, a single mother trying to connect with her teenage daughter, and a young woman pining after a boy -- whose lives are intertwined. Steppenwolf Theatre's Hallie Gordon directs. Previews begin at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 22, at 5779 N. Ridge Ave., Chicago. The show opens May 31. $20, $30. (773) 334-7728 or rivendelltheatre.org.

Steel Beam's 'Baby'

Steel Beam Theatre concludes its season with Ken Ludwig's "Be My Baby." Rob Frankel stars as cranky Scotsman John, and JoAnn Smith stars as an uptight Brit named Maud who despise each other but must get along for the sake of family when they travel to California to bring home a young couple's adoptive child. Larry Boller, of Elgin, directs. Performances continue at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday through June 1 at 111 W. Main St., St. Charles. $23-$28. (630) 587-8521 or steelbeamtheatre.com.

Other events on the theater scene

• Performances continue through June 8 for the Chicago Commercial Collective's remount of The New Colony's 2011 cult hit, "5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche." Co-writers Andrew Hobgood and Evan Linder debuted the play in 2010 at Collaboraction's Sketchbook Festival. Set during 1956, the comedy unfolds during the annual meeting of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein annual quiche breakfast, which is disrupted by the revelation that their city may be the target of an atomic bomb. Performances are at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago. (773) 404-7336 or 5lesbianseatingquiche.com.

• Sideshow Theatre Company hosts its annual fundraising gala from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, May 17, at 1326 N. Cleveland Ave., Chicago. Tickets are $100 and include Irish music, food and drink and a silent auction. (773) 809-4782 or sideshowtheatre.org.

• Blair Thomas & Company, the music ensemble eighth blackbird and Lucky Plush Productions showcase their current theater and music projects at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 21, at the Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Titled "The Unexpected," the show features excerpts from Lucky Plush's play, "The Queue"; eighth blackbird's new arrangements of Ligeti's "Études"; and Blair Thomas' combination piano recital and puppet show. See creativepartnersarts.org.

• Previews begin Thursday, May 22, for The Neo-Futurists latest show combining Nazis and Kung Fu action titled "Haymaker." The show centers on a man named Trevor who decides to stage an action movie he wrote when he was 13, in which he plays a "grizzled maverick hiding out in 1930s Shanghai while evading the Nazis. The show opens May 26 at 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago. (773) 275-5255 or neofuturists.org.

• Collaboraction hosts its 14th annual Sketchbook festival featuring 17 world premieres ranging from under one minute to 20 minutes in length. Curated by Ike Holter ("Hit the Wall"), Sketchbook: 2049 features new works by Caitlin Parrish, The New Colony, Usman Ally, Seth Bockley and Holter. The pieces are split into two programs, which run about 90 minutes. Program A is titled "Reflection" and program B is titles "Echo." Performances begin Thursday, May 22, at the Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Single tickets are $30. All-access passes are $50. They're available at (312) 226-9633 or collaboraction.org.

"The Magic Parlour," starring magician and House Theater of Chicago ensemble member Dennis Watkins, adds Saturday performances and a special Father's Day matinee at 3 p.m. June 15 at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel, 17 E. Monroe St., Chicago. Regular performances are at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday, May 16, and June 6, 13, 20, 27 and July 18 and 25. Also, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, May 17, and June 7, 15, 21, 28 and July 12. See themagicparlourchicago.com.

• Profiles Theatre has extended its production of "Cock," Mike Bartlett's comedy about a man who takes a break from his longtime boyfriend and falls in love with a woman. Performances run through June 29 at 4139 N. Broadway St., Chicago. (773) 549-1815 or profilestheatre.org.

• Stage Left and Theater Seven of Chicago's collaboration "Principal Principle," about a woman who quits her corporate job to teach English in a Chicago public school, has been extended. Performances continue through Sunday, May 18, at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. (773) 975-8150 or theaterwit.org or stagelefttheatre.com.

• Gorilla Tango, 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, has reduced prices to its adults-only, burlesque shows from $35 to $25 per ticket. Shows includes "The Rack of Khan: A Star Trek Burlesque"; "Temple of Boobs: An Indiana Jones Burlesque"; "A Nude Hope: A Star Wars Burlesque"; "The Empire Brings Sexy Back: A Star Wars Burlesque"; and "Holy Bouncing Boobies: A Batman Burlesque." (773) 598-4549 or gorillatango.com.

• The Den Theatre will open a new 200-seat, street-level theater space later this year at 1329 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The new space will be home to The Hypocrites, who inaugurate the space in August with "All Our Tragic," a 12-hour adaptation of all 32 surviving Greek tragedies. "This new main stage space allows us to bring The Den Theatre's storefront aesthetic to a much larger audience while maintaining its intimacy, versatility and creativity," said Den artistic director Ryan Martin in a prepared statement. See thedentheatre.com or the-hypocrites.com.

• Sideshow Theatre Company begins its 2014-2015 season on August 15 with the Midwest premiere of "Stupid (expletive) Bird." Aaron Posner's examination of "what drives us to make art and find love" is loosely adapted from Anton Chekhov's "The Seagull." Anne Carson's "Antigonick," freely adapted from Sophocles' tragedy about a woman struggling to reconcile her moral principles with her duties as a citizen, follows on March 1, 2015. The season concludes with the world premiere of Walt McGough's "Chalk" (May 24-June 28, 2015). Co-produced with Boston's Fresh Ink Theatre, the post-apocalyptic tale centers on Maggie, who's trapped in an abandoned building and waiting for the monsters to leave when her daughter reappears. Except that something's not quite right. Performances take place at the Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Tickets are available now through Victory Gardens' membership program, which allows patrons to reserve a seat for every Sideshow production (and many other productions at Victory Gardens) for $15 per month. Single tickets will go on sale at a later date. (773) 871-3000 or victorygardens.org or sideshowtheatre.org.

• Theatre Hikes, an ensemble that combines theater and exercise, announced its 2014 season. It begins with an adaptation of "Alice in Wonderland" on June 29 at Ravenswood Manor Park in Chicago; July 5-27 at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle; Aug. 26 and 27 at North Park Village Nature Center in Chicago; and Aug. 9 and 10 at Chicago's Pullman State Historic Site in Chicago. "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown," the musical about America's favorite round-headed boy, runs July 26 and 27 at North Park Village Nature Center and Aug. 2-31 at the Morton Arboretum. Next up is "Enchanted April," about four British ladies vacationing in Italy, running Aug. 23 and 24 at Ravenswood Manor; Aug. 30 and 31 at North Park Village Nature Center; and Sept. 6-21 at the Morton Arboretum. The season concludes with the Halloween-inspired "Resurrected: Grave Chicago Tales" Oct. 4-26 at the Morton Arboretum and Oct. 25 and 26 at the Pullman State Historic Site. For information, see theatre-hikes.org.

• Against the Grain is the title of Stage Left Theatre's 33rd season, which begins Aug. 30 with the Midwest premiere of "The Coward," a comedy by Nick Jones ("Trevor"). Set in the 1790s, it's about a cowardly young gentleman who hires a criminal to fight his duels with surprisingly comic results. That's followed by the world premiere of Penny Penniston's "Keys of the Kingdom" (Jan. 10-Feb. 15, 2015), about an assistant to the celebrity pastor of a mega church, who's surprised when the pastor commissions an atheist lesbian to paint a church mural. Stage Left's 2014-2015 season continues with William Shakespeare's "All's Well That Ends Well" (April-May 2015) and concludes with the company's 12th annual new play festival, LeapFest (summer 2015). Most performances take place at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, except for LeapFest, which will take place at a venue to be named later. Season subscriptions are $60 and include admission to all three main stage productions, guaranteed seating, discounted admission to LeapFest and subscriber-only events. (773) 883-8830 or stagelefttheatre.com.

• Profiles Theatre's 26th season includes a world premiere, several Midwest premieres, a 20th anniversary production of David Mamet's "Cryptogram" and the return of Will Kern's seasonal favorite, "Hellcab." The 2014-2015 season begins Aug. 22 with the Midwest premiere of resident artist Neil LaBute's "Reasons to be Happy," at the main stage at 4139 N. Broadway St., Chicago. A companion to LaBute's 2009 play, "Reasons to be Pretty," it's about Steph and Greg who consider reuniting after a contentious breakup, even though Steph's married to someone else and Greg's involved with her best friend. That's followed by Mamet's "Cryptogram," about a young boy who realizes the world is a dangerous place while he awaits the arrival of his father for a planned camping trip. Previews begin Sept. 26 at The Alley Stage, 4147 N. Broadway St., Chicago. "Hellcab," Will Kern's chronicle of a long, Christmas Eve day in the life of a Chicago cabdriver, returns to the main stage Nov. 7. Previews begin Feb. 13, 2015, for the Midwest premiere of Sharr White's "The Other Place" (main stage) about a successful scientist confronting an illness that upends her life. Next up is "Genius" (March 13-May 3, 2015, The Alley Stage), Kate Walbert's examination of the secrets, alliances and secret alliances of two couples from different generations who meet at a dinner party. Profiles' sixth production will be announced later. A five ticket flex pass is $125, a 10-ticket pass is $200, if purchased before Aug. 31. Tickets can be used in any quantity and date throughout the season with advance reservations. Single tickets are also available. (773) 549-1815 or profilestheatre.org.

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