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posted: 6/13/2014 5:00 AM

Theater events: BrightSide takes on 'Cabaret'

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Kander-Ebb classic
BrightSide Theatre concludes its third season with John Kander and Fred Ebb's classic, "Cabaret." Inspired by Christopher Isherwood's stories and John van Druten's play and set against the Nazis' rise to power, the musical centers on an aspiring American writer's doomed affair with a British cabaret chanteuse in 1930s Berlin. David Geinosky of Elk Grove Village plays the charismatic emcee in director Jeffrey Cass' production. Opens 8 p.m. Friday, June 13, at Meiley-Swallow Hall, North Central College, 31 S. Ellsworth Ave., Naperville. $20, $24. (630) 637-7469 or brightsidetheatre.com.

VGT revival
Sandra Oh ("Grey's Anatomy," "Sideways") stars in Victory Gardens Theater's revival of Ariel Dorfman's 1991 revenge drama "Death and the Maiden." Oh plays Paulina, a woman living in a new democracy, whose husband is in charge of investigating the crimes of the former regime. When he brings home a man who assisted him after his car breaks down, Paulina recognizes him as the man who tortured and raped her in a military facility years earlier. Chay Yew directs. Previews begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 13, at 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. The show opens June 20. $20-$60. (773) 871-3000 or victorygardens.org.

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How do you spell fun?
Drury Lane Theatre presents "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," a charming musical comedy by composer/lyricist William Finn and writer Rachel Sheinkin about six overachieving adolescents competing in a spelling contest. Scott Calcagno directs the revival, which features music direction from Ben Johnson.
Previews begin at 8 p.m. Thursday, June 19, at 1000 Drury Lane, Oak Brook. The show opens June 26. $40-$50. (630) 530-0111 or drurylane.com.

Other theater events

"The Raven and the Messenger: Jim Jones vs. Father Divine," a dark musical comedy that re-imagines a confrontation between cult leader Jim Jones and black spiritual leader Father Divine that took place in the 1960s, opened recently at The Annoyance Theatre's new main stage at 851 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Performances run through Aug. 1. (773 697-9693 or theannoyance.com.

• Previews begin Friday, June 13, for the world premiere of the irreverent musical "Orville and Wilbur Did It!" Algonquin native Eric Svejcar composed the music and David Zellnik (off-Broadway's "Yank!") wrote the book and lyrics for this musical about the romantic trials and tribulations of five actors and a stage manager traveling the country performing a children's musical about the Wright Brothers. New Colony co-artistic director Andrew Hobgood directs the production, which opens June 17 at Signal Ensemble Theatre, 1802 W. Berenice Ave., Chicago. See thenewcolony.org.

• BoHo Theatre, which last produced Adam Guettel's "Floyd Collins" two years ago, has crafted an original narrative for the composer's rarely-produced song cycle "Myths & Hymns." The musical is about a recently married couple who respond quite differently to major life events. While the young man finds meaning in his individual accomplishments, the young woman relies on her Christian faith. Previews begin Friday, June 13, at The Heartland Studio, 7016 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago. The show opens Saturday, June 14. (866) 811-4111 or bohotheatre.com.

• Kokandy Productions concludes its 2014 season with Stephen Sondheim's "Assassins," an examination of what motivated America's presidential murderers. Previews begin Friday, June 13, at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show opens Saturday, June 14. 2014. Jeff Award winner Kory Danielson serves as music director. Eric Lindahl plays John Wilkes Booth. (773) 975-8150 or theaterwit.org or kokandyproductions.com.

• The Bridge, a newcomer to the Chicago theater scene located in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood, presents its inaugural production, an original adaptation of Anton Chekhov's "The Seagull" titled "The Golf Ball" by Kestutis Nakas. Set in modern-day Chicago, "The Golf Ball" tells the story of a young writer named Ian and his passion for budding actress Sheena. Sheena falls for the older, more successful writer Ray, who is having an affair with Ian's mother. Performances begin Friday, June 13, at 643 W. 31st St., Chicago. (312) 307-5194 or brownpapertickets.com.

• MadKap Productions and Nuns 4 Fun Entertainment collaborate on "Movie Bingo: Good, Bad or Condemned?!" running at 8 p.m. Friday, June 13 and July 11, at the Skokie Theatre, 7924 Lincoln Ave., Skokie. Written by Vicki Quade, co-creator of "Late Nite Catechism," the show centers on a former nun Mary Margaret O'Brien who substitutes for Father Murphy at the parish's movie bingo night. (847) 677-7761 or skokietheatre.org.

• The Second City brings its "Happily Ever Laughter" revue to the Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Indiana. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday, June 13, and Saturday, June 14. (219) 836-3255 or theatreatthecenter.com.

• The Brown Paper Box Co. celebrates Pride Month with "Proud at Mary's: A June Cabaret," featuring music by William Finn, Carole King, Stephen Sondheim, Stevie Wonder and Andrew Lippa, among others. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 13, and Saturday, June 14, at 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago. See brownpaperbox.org for more information.

• About Face Theatre's celebration of Pride Month continues with Bixby Elliot's "Abraham Lincoln was a (expletive)," which examines the repercussions if the country's most loved president was gay. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 13, and Saturday, June 14, at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago. The celebration concludes at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 17, at American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron St., Chicago, with Steven Strafford's solo show "Methacular!" about his three-year run as a meth addict in Chicago. Tickets are $10, and $15 respectively. See aboutfacetheatre.org for more information.

• Stage Left Theatre partners with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events to present LeapFest 11, the company's annual new play festival beginning Saturday, June 14, at the Storefront Theater, 66 E. Randolph St., Chicago. Featured plays include Jenni Lamb's "12th and Clairmount," about the relationship between an up-and-coming singer and his Polish seamstress in 1967 Detroit, directed by Fox Valley Repertory artistic director John Gawlik, and Meridith Friedman's "The Firestorm," about an interracial political couple whose future is threatened by an incident from the husband's past. Also scheduled is Carolyn Kras' "Mine and Yours," about a foreclosure loophole that forces new owners and former owners to share a home; and David Valdes Greenwood's "Raggedy And," about a lesbian poet whose invitation to be the inaugural poet may expose a dark secret. Performances run through June 28. Tickets are $10. A LeapPass to all performances is $20. (773) 883-8830 or stagelefttheatre.com.

• Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, hosts a fundraiser titled The Fun House, from 3 p.m. to midnight Saturday, June 14. The fundraiser features family entertainment from the Jesse White Tumblers, Internet's Team StarKid, sketch comedy group Bri-Ko along with games and a puppet show. Adult entertainment, featuring The Cupid Players and Vaudezilla among others, begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10, free for anyone under 15. (773) 327-5252 or stage773.com/funhouse.

• Chicago Shakespeare Theater hosts a fundraising gala beginning at 5:30 p.m. Monday, June 16, at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. The event includes cocktails, dinner and a performance and concludes with the presentation of the fourth annual Spirit of Shakespeare Award to Mike Nussbaum. Proceeds benefit CST's Shakespeare in the Parks program. For ticket prices and information, call Katie Grogan at (312) 667-4947.

• Theater Oobleck continues its Tuesday residency at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, Chicago. The June 17 performance features fictional talk show host Marty Grosbeck interviewing fictional folk singer Jewboy Cain. The June 24 performance consists of a musical celebration of a new book by John Shaw, a founding member of the company, titled "This Land That I Love." Shaw and fellow ensemble members Terri Kapsalis and David Isaacson will read from the book. See theateroobleck.com.

• Previews begin Wednesday, June 18, at 1376 W. Grand Ave., Chicago, for The Artistic Home's Chicago premiere of Sam Shepherd's "The Late Henry Moss." The play centers on a reunion between estranged brothers Ray (Tim Musachio) and Earl (David Vogel) following the death of their violent, drunken father Henry (Frank Nall). Artistic Home ensemble member Kaiser Ahmed, who's also the associate artistic director for Jackalope Theatre, directs the show. It opens June 22. (312) 243-3963 or theartistichome.org.

• Actors from The Second City Training Center's house ensembles, iO Chicago, Brouhaha, Goodman Theatre and Child's Play perform as part of Child's Play Touring Theatre's annual benefit. The night of comedy improvisation takes place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 18, at 1608 N. Wells St., Chicago. Writer/director Adam McKay ("Anchorman," "Anchorman 2") and Black Ensemble Theater Company founder and artistic director Jackie Taylor will be honored during the event which includes hors d'oeuvres, cash bar, silent auction and entertainment. Tickets range from $20 to $150. (773) 235-8911 or cptt.org.

• Magician Christian Cagigal reprises his family-friendly magic show "Obscura" as part of Oracle Productions B*Sides series. The show, which pairs fairy tales and fables with close-up magic, runs Thursday, June 19, to Monday, June 23, at 3809 N. Broadway St., Chicago. Admission is free but reservations are recommended and donations are accepted. See publicaccesstheatre.org. Also, the League of Chicago Theatres recently named Oracle Productions the winner of its 2014 Broadway in Chicago Emerging Theater Award.

• Oracle Productions took top honors at the annual non-equity Joseph Jefferson Awards ceremony held earlier this month in Chicago. Oracle, a free theater, earned all five of its awards for its production of "The Mother," including best play, ensemble, lead actress Katherine Keberlein, adapter Steve Gooch and composers Jonathan Guillen and Nicholas Tonozzi. Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre received four awards for its revival of Stephen Sondheim's "Passion," including best musical, actresses Danni Smith and Colette Todd and music director Kory Danielson. Lighting designer Diane D. Fairchild received an award for Lifeline Theatre's "A Tale of Two Cities" and sound designer Stephen Ptacek received one for the company's remount of "The Killer Angels." Griffin Theatre received a special award for its dedication to provocative theater and for its touring company. Raven, Red Tape and Strawdot theaters each received multiple awards.

• Broadway in Chicago announced Chicago dates for "N -- The Queen of Paris" -- a musical re-imagining of Emile Zola's novel about a 19th century courtesan who corrupts every man she encounters. The show premieres in Toronto in September 2015 and comes to Chicago's Bank of America Theatre in November 2015. Group tickets for 10 or more are available at (312) 977-1710. Individual tickets will go on sale at a later date. See broadwayinchicago.com or nthemusical.com.

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