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posted: 4/21/2017 6:00 AM

Theater events: Underscore debuts bluegrass musical with suburban talent

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  • Paige Daigle

    Paige Daigle

  • Demi Zaino

    Demi Zaino

 
 

Bluegrass tuner

Underscore Theatre Company premieres "My Name is Annie King," a new folk- and bluegrass-inspired musical by Aaron Albert and Katy Rea and book writer Krista Pioppi about a young man seduced by the members of a backwater religious cult. The almost all-female cast includes Palatine native Paige Daigle and Lake Zurich native Demi Zaino. Previews begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 21, at 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago. The show opens Tuesday, April 25. $15-$30. See underscoretheatre.org.

Homage to Chekhov

Citadel Theatre concludes its season with Christopher Durang's 2013 Tony Award-winning play "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," about three siblings of a certain age reflecting on missed opportunities and unfulfilled ambitions. Loyola University of Chicago's Mark Lococo directs the Anton Chekhov sendup. Previews begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, at 300 S. Waukegan Road, Lake Forest. The show opens April 28. $20-$38. (847) 735-8554 or citadeltheatre.org.

Squabbling soul mates

Lead artistic director Aaron Thielen helms Marriott Theatre's revival of "She Loves Me," the Jerry Bock-Sheldon Harnick musical set in the 1930s about a pair of bickering parfumerie shop clerks who don't realize they are each other's anonymous pen pal. Joseph Jefferson Award-winner Alex Goodrich and Elizabeth Telford star. Previews begin at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, at 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire. The show opens May 3. $50-$60. (847) 634-0200 or marriotttheatre.com.

Other theater events

• A psychiatrist attempts to help a troubled young man who inexplicably blinded six horses in "Equus," Peter Shaffer's 1973 drama inspired by a true crime story. MadKap Productions revives the play, which includes adult content and nudity, beginning Friday, April 21. Performances run through May 6 at Skokie Theatre, 7924 Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (847) 677-7761 or skokietheatre.org.

• Film noir, melodrama and high camp combine in Hell in a Handbag Productions' world premiere of "Lady X -- A Musical," adapted from the company's 2010 play about a nightclub hostess involved with a crime boss and the crusading prosecutor who wants to clean up the city. The adults-only show begins previews Friday, April 21, at Mary's Attic, 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago. It opens April 28. (800) 838-3006 or handbagproductions.org.

• Previews begin Friday, April 21, for "The Liar," David Ive's adaptation of Pierre Corneille's 17th-century mistaken-identity farce about a young man who cannot tell the truth and his servant who cannot lie. Ed Rutherford directs Promethean Theatre Ensemble's revival, which opens April 29 at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. (773) 935-6875 or prometheantheatre.org.

• A 19th-century Prussian prince hires an artist to produce paintings depicting the lives of the people living in a small Missouri town in "Prince Max's Trewly Awful Trip to the Desolat Interior," an examination into the oddball heart of America by Ellen Struve. Red Theater's production begins performances Saturday, April 22, at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. See redtheater.org.

• City Lit Theatre hosts its annual tea and silent auction beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at Edgewater Beach Cafe, 5545 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago. In addition to the silent auction, the fundraiser includes a reading of "The Story of Fianna of Ireland." (773) 293-3682 or citylit.org.

• Playwright Stephanie Liss discusses her latest work, "Sister Africa," from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday, April 23, as part of Genesis Theatrical Productions' celebration of women in theater. "Sister Africa" is about Liss' work in the Congo with Jewish World Watch. Musician/composer RebbeSoul, who created a score for the play, will also appear. The event takes place at Pride Arts Center, 4147 N. Broadway, Chicago. (773) 800-1703 or genesistheatricals.com.

• Performances begin Saturday, April 22, for Emerald City Theatre's premiere of "Mother Goose's Garden," a family-friendly show about Jack and Jill's search for Mother Goose. Performances take place at 2933 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. (773) 529-2690 or emeraldcitytheatre.com.

• A psychology professor shares stories of the made-up friends she's encountered over her career in "Dr. Fifi and Her Imaginary Friends," a one-woman show opening Sunday, April 23, at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. (773) 697-9693 or theannoyance.com.

• Barrel of Monkeys debuts its latest revue adapted from stories written by Chicago public school students. "That's Weird, Grandma: I Still Know What You Did Last Spring" begins previews Monday, April 24, at The Neo-Futurist Theater, 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago. The show opens May 1. (773) 506-7140 or barrelofmonkeys.org.

The International Voices Project, showcasing plays from Spain, Romania, Serbia, India, Wales and other countries, continues at the Instituto Cervantes, 31 W. Ohio St., Chicago. Finnish playwright Leea Klemola's "Jessika's Club" runs at 7 p.m. Monday, April 24. Romanian playwright Matei Visniec's "Migraaaants" runs at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 25. For the complete schedule, see ivpchicago.org.

• TimeLine Theatre Company concludes its season with the Midwest premiere of "Paradise Blue" by Dominique Morisseau with original music by jazz trumpeter/composer Orbert Davis. Set in 1949 Detroit, the drama centers around jazz musician and nightclub owner Blue, who's considering accepting a buyout from the city as part of its urban renewal efforts. Previews begin Wednesday, April 26, at 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago. The show, directed by Ron OJ Parson, opens May 3. (773) 281-8463, ext. 6, or timelinetheatre.com.

• Cavalia's "Odysseo," the combination equestrian and theatrical event, has been extended. Performances continue through May 7 under the white big top at Soldier Field South Lot, 1410 Museum Campus Drive, Chicago. (866) 999-8111 or cavalia.com.

• Underscore Theatre Company is accepting applications for the fourth annual Chicago Musical Theatre Festival showcasing in-development works. Apply online at cmtf.org by May 15. The festival is set for February 2018, to coincide with Chicago Theatre Week.

"Tony n' Tina's Wedding" added a new member to the wedding party. Concetta Rose, a member of the New York City and national tour casts, has taken over the role of Tina. The show has an indefinite run at Chicago Theater Works, 1113 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. (312) 423-6612 or tonylovestina.com.

• Black Button Eyes Productions opens its 2017-2018 season with the Chicago storefront premiere of the darkly comic "Shockheaded Peter" (Aug. 11-Sept. 17 at The Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave.). It's about a childless couple "whose fondest wish is granted in the most delightfully dreadful way," and naughty children and the "hilariously horrible fates" that befall them. It's followed by "Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe," a musical about the writer's final days that runs Jan. 5-28, 2018, at The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway, Chicago. Tickets for "Shockheaded Peter" are available at (773) 935-6875 or athenaeumtheatre.org. See blackbuttoneyes.com.

• Chicago Shakespeare Theater's 2017-2018 season marks the opening of The Yard, the company's new, flexible performance space that replaces Navy Pier's Skyline Stage. The season begins July 13 with the previously announced family musical "Madagascar -- A Musical Adventure," based on the DreamWorks film. The main stage season begins Sept. 16, with William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew," adapted and directed by artistic director Barbara Gaines with additional dialogue by Ron West. France's La Compagnie du Hanneton brings "The Toad Knew," which combines dancers, contortionists and high wire artists, to The Yard from Sept. 19-23 as part of CST's World's Stage series. Following the International Latino Theater Festival this fall (dates to be determined), CST presents Lilita Chakrabarti's "Red Velvet" (Dec. 1-Jan. 21, 2018), about a 19th-century African-American actor in London who was reportedly the first actor of color to play Othello on stage. The family-friendly "Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night's Dream" runs Jan. 24-March 10, 2018. Peter Oswald's adaptation of "Schiller's Mary Stuart" chronicling the conflict between Queen Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots, runs Feb. 21-April 15, 2018. That's followed by a new production of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" (April 25-June 24, 2018) directed by Aaron Posner and Teller of the comedy-magic duo Penn and Teller. The season concludes with Ireland's Druid Theatre, which brings Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" to CST for a brief run beginning May 23, 2018, as part of the World Stages series. Performances take place at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. Season subscriptions start at $180. (312) 595-5600 or chicagoshakes.com.

• This year marks Midsommer Flight's sixth season performing free Shakespeare in Chicago parks. The company kicks off its season with a bring-your-own lunch picnic from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. June 17 in Chicago's Lincoln Park. The program includes a combat demonstration and a panel discussion with the cast and crew of "Hamlet," which the company performs in an abridged version from July 8 to Aug. 27 in four city parks. The season concludes with "Twelfth Night," featuring original music by Elizabeth Rentfro and Alex Mauney. It runs Nov. 30 to Dec. 17 at the Lincoln Park Conservatory, 2391 Stockton Drive, Chicago. Tickets are free, but reservations are recommended. midsommerflight.com.

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