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posted: 8/15/2014 6:00 AM

On stage: Strawdog presents 'Arsonist'; Ronald Funches plays Zanies

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  • Scott Danielson stars in Strawdog Theatre Company's production of "The Arsonists," which starts previews Friday, Aug. 15.

      Scott Danielson stars in Strawdog Theatre Company's production of "The Arsonists," which starts previews Friday, Aug. 15.
    Courtesy of Strawdog Theatre

 
 

Comic comes home
Chicago native Ronald Funches headlines Zanies in Rosemont this weekend. A regular on the NBC sitcom "Undateable," about guys having trouble finding relationships, Funches has appeared on Fox's "New Girl" and "The Conan O'Brien Show" on TBS.
8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 15, and Saturday, Aug. 16, at MB Financial Park, 5437 Park Place, Rosemont. $22 plus a two-item food/beverage minimum. (847) 813-0484 or zanies.com.

Abbie Fest 2014
Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company hosts its annual "Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins Theater Festival," a three-day showcase of between 40 and 50 off-Loop ensembles and individual performers, including comedians, improvisers, musicians and mimes. Among them are Factory Theater, Her Story, Hobo Junction, City Lit and Clock Theater. Mary-Arrchie established the showcase to commemorate the anniversary of the legendary Woodstock Music and Art Fair.
Opens at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 15, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 17, at Angel Island, 731 W. Sheridan Road, Chicago. $10 one-day pass; $25 three-day pass. See ticketweb.com for tickets and maryarrchie.com for a performance schedule.

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Chekhov revisited
Sideshow Theatre Company begins its 2014-2015 season with the Midwest premiere of "Stupid (expletive) Bird," Aaron Posner's "sort-of adaptation" of Anton Chekhov's "The Seagull." Jonathan L. Green directs the play about two generations of Russians struggling to make art and find love. Or is it the other way around?
Previews begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16, at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. The show opens Aug. 21. $15-$25. (773) 871-3000 or victorygardens.org or sideshowtheatre.org.

What's new
• Strawdog Theatre Company opens its 27th season with "The Arsonists," Swiss writer Max Frisch's post World War II play that originated with one of Frisch's diary entries and was originally titled "The Firebugs." Robert Kauzlaric, of Lifeline Theatre, plays a businessman living in a city where mysterious fires have flared. He offers shelter to two strangers who may be the men responsible for the blazes. Previews begin Friday, Aug. 15, at 3829 N. Broadway St., Chicago. The show, under director Matt Hawkins, opens Aug. 25. (866) 811-4111 or strawdog.org.

• Ensemble members of Chicago Slam Works, an organization dedicated to promoting performance poetry, announce the first production in their inaugural theater season. "One Day When We Are All Robots," written by the ensemble members, opens Friday, Aug. 15, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. J.W. Basilo and Reggie Eldridge direct the play, which incorporates spoken words, music and sketch comedy to examine how humans seek connections in a digital world. See stage773.com or chicagoslamworks.com.

• 16th Street Theater presents "Mariposa Nocturna: A Puppet Triptych," from Friday, Aug. 15, through Sunday, Aug. 17, at the North Berwyn Park District, 6420 16th St., Berwyn. Conceived and created by puppeteer Stephanie Diaz, "Mariposa Nocturna" centers on a child's wish for her dying grandmother to have "good sleep." The 55-minute production is recommended for ages 8 and older. (708) 795-6704 or 16thstreettheater.org.

• Actor/playwright Steven Strafford drew upon his three years as a crystal meth addict for his solo play "Methtacular!" The comic and harrowing chronicle of addiction makes its Chicago premiere at About Face Theatre and begins previews Thursday, Aug. 21, at Theater Wit, 1220 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show opens Aug. 24. (773) 975-8150 or aboutfacetheatre.com.

• Previews begin Thursday, Aug. 21, for British playwright Mike Leigh's "Ecstasy," the inaugural production from newcomer Cole Theatre. Leigh's dark comedy from 1979 is about working-class Brits living in a ratty flat in a rundown London neighborhood and their dark night of the drunken soul. Shade Murray directs the show, which opens Aug. 24 at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells St., Chicago. (773) 747-6821 or coletheatre.org.

• Redtwist theatre has extended its world premiere of "Geezers," resident playwright Tommy Lee Johnston's comedy about a group of retirement home residents who serve as mentors for a shy, 30-year-old man who works there. Performances continue through Sept. 7 at 1044 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago. (773) 728-7529 or redtwist.org.

• The 2014-2015 flexible subscription passes for Rogers Park companies including BoHo, Lifeline, Raven, side project and Theo Ubique theaters are available this weekend during the 13th Annual Glenwood Avenue Arts Festival running Saturday, Aug. 16, and Sunday, Aug. 17, in the 6900-7100 blocks of Glenwood Ave., in Chicago. The five-show flex-pass -- good for one admission to an adult or kids show -- can be used between Sept. 1, and Aug. 31, 2015, at the five aforementioned venues. The pass is $45 during the arts festival, $50 after Aug. 17. Passes are available for purchase at the Lifeline Theatre box office at, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago. For information on the festival call (773) 761-4477, ext. 701, or see glenwoodave.org. Featured shows include BoHo Theatre's "Ordinary Days" and "Scotland Road" and Lifeline's main stage shows "Jane Eyre," "One Came Home," "Soon I will Be Invincible," and children's shows "The Velveteen Rabbit," "Lions in Illyria" and "The One and Only Ivan." Other featured shows include Raven Theatre's "All My Sons," "Dividing the Estate, "The Birdfeeder Doesn't Know" and "Beast on the Moon." Side projects shows are "Jet Black Chevrolet," "We Three," "Push Button Murder" and the third annual Festival of Storytelling, plus one show to be named. Lastly, Theo Ubique shows are "A Kurt Weill Cabaret," "Always ... Patsy Cline," "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "A Marvin Hamlisch Songbook." Flex pass purchasers also receive between a 10 and 15 percent discount on orders at area restaurants including The Heartland Cafe, No Exit Cafe, Bullhead Cantina, The Pub at Mayne Stage, R. Public House and Towbar when they show their passes.

• TimeLine Theatre named Dan McArdle, former managing director with the Neo-Futurists, to the newly created position of general manager. The company also named new artistic associates: Jeff Award-winning actress Danica Moore and director Kimberly Senior, who helms TimeLine's fall production, "My Name is Asher Lev." For information about the season see timelinetheatre.com.

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