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updated: 9/28/2017 7:12 AM

Theater events: Werewolf tale 'Man-Beast' opens at First Folio

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  • Elizabeth Laidlaw and Aaron Christensen star in First Folio Theatre's world premiere of "The Man-Beast," a werewolf tale by Joseph Zettelmaier.

    Elizabeth Laidlaw and Aaron Christensen star in First Folio Theatre's world premiere of "The Man-Beast," a werewolf tale by Joseph Zettelmaier.
    Courtesy of D. Rice

 
 

Flap over flop?

Citadel Theatre opens its season with a revival of Moss Hart's backstage comedy "Light Up the Sky." Set in 1948, the action takes place on the opening night of a play. At first, the actors, director, producer and assorted hangers-on are friendly and congratulatory. The mood turns sour when they begin to fear the show is a flop. Opens at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, at 300 S. Waukegan Road, Lake Forest. $37.50, $40. (847) 735-8554 or citadeltheatre.org.

Backstage reunion

Theater colleagues gather to reminisce about their hits and misses in A Red Orchid Theatre's 25th season opener "Evening at the Talk House" by actor/writer Wallace Shawn ("My Dinner With Andre," "Manhattan," "Toy Story"). Ensemble member Shade Murray directs the dark comedy, which he describes as the Algonquin round table meets "The Crucible." "In our jittery and uneasy time," he suggests, "words just might speak louder than actions." Previews begin at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, at 1531 N. Wells St., Chicago. The show opens Oct. 6. $15-$35. (312) 943-8722 or aredorchidtheatre.org.

Seasonal chills

Joseph Zettelmaier concludes his horror trilogy -- which began with the "Frankenstein"-inspired "The Gravedigger" and the Bram Stoker riff "Dr. Seward's Dracula" -- with a werewolf tale titled "The Man-Beast." First Folio Theatre premieres the play about a mysterious animal that has terrorized the French countryside, prompting King Louis XVI to put a bounty on its head. Elizabeth Laidlaw and Aaron Christensen star in the premiere, which is directed by Hayley Rice. Previews begin at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4, at Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook. The show opens Oct. 7. $25-$44. (630) 986-8067 or firstfolio.org.

Other theater events

Destinos, the inaugural Chicago International Latino Theater Festival, opens Friday, Sept. 29, at venues throughout the city. The monthlong festival features performances by Cuba's Ludi Teatro; Puerto Rico's Arte Boricua; Mexico's Teatro Linea de Sombra; along with Water People Theater, a Chicago ensemble; and Chicago's Teatro Vista, which presents the Midwest premiere of "Fade" by ensemble member and "How to Get Away With Murder" writer Tanya Saracho. Water People Theater opens the fest Friday with the U.S. premiere of Juan Jose Martin's "I, the Worst of All" about Mexico's scholar, poet and philosopher Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, a 17th-century nun and proto-feminist. That's followed on Thursday, Oct. 5, by Arte Boricua's version of "Medea" in its U.S. premiere. That day also marks the opening of Teatro Luna's "Lovesick," a collaborative piece about love's effects. Participating venues include: The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago; Steppenwolf's 1700 Theatre, 1700 N. Halsted St., Chicago; Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago; and the National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St., Chicago. Most tickets are $25. They're available at clata.org.

Christopher Meister plays an actor who takes his super hero role a little too seriously in Other Theatre's world premiere of "The Making of a Modern Folk Hero" by Martin Zimmerman.
Christopher Meister plays an actor who takes his super hero role a little too seriously in Other Theatre's world premiere of "The Making of a Modern Folk Hero" by Martin Zimmerman. - Courtesy of Carin Silkaitis

• Previews begin Friday, Sept. 29, for Other Theatre's premiere of "The Making of a Modern Folk Hero," Martin Zimmerman's comedic tale about a congressman who talks an actor into playing a superhero for a publicity stunt. The pretense goes awry when the actor "goes rogue." Produced in cooperation with Chicago Dramatists' Grafting Project, director Kelly Howe's production features actors and shadow puppets to produce what the company calls a graphic novel for the stage. It opens Thursday, Oct. 5, at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago. See theothertheatrecompany.com.

• The Second City debuts "She the People: Girlfriends' Guide to Sisters Doing It for Themselves," a new feminist-centered sketch comedy show written and performed by female ensemble members Carisa Barreca, Marla Caceres, Carly Heffernan, Tien Tran and Lauren Walker. Performances run at 8 p.m. Friday, 8 and 11 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday at UP Comedy Club, Piper's Alley, 230 W. North Ave., Chicago. (312) 337-3992 or upcomedyclub.com.

• Curious Theatre Branch revisits Rick Burkhardt's 2005 adaptation of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's "The Threepenny Opera" on Friday, Sept. 29, and Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston Ave., Chicago. The performances will benefit Curious Theatre Branch and its 2017-2018 season. (773) 742-5420 or curioustheatrebranch.com.

• Chicago Fringe Opera opens its fourth season with a preview of its Chicago premiere of "As One," a chamber opera by composer Laura Kaminsky and librettists Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed. A coming-of-age story about a transgender woman, the production gets a sneak preview Friday, Sept. 29, at Hydrate Nightclub, 3458 N. Halsted St., Chicago. Suggested donation for the preview is $25. The production opens in November at the Hoover-Leppen Theatre at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., Chicago. See chicagofringeopera.com.

"Cards Against Humanity," improv comedy inspired by the politically incorrect card game, returns to the Greenhouse Theater Center on Friday, Sept. 29. The adults-only performance is at 10 p.m. at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 404-7336 or greenhousetheater.org.

• The Annoyance Theatre opens its adults-only Halloween show "You're a Good Man, Mary Shelly," which examines the ghost stories that lost out Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" as part of the 1816 competition between poets Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley to come up with the scariest tale. The show opens Saturday, Sept. 30, at 851 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Also at The Annoyance, "Striking Out," an LGBTQ musical about the first straight baseball player in a world where all the professional athletes are gay. It runs Sundays through Nov. 5. For ages 13 and older, Annoyance presents "Monster Club" about a young girl and her monster friends, which runs Sundays through Oct. 29. Additionally, the improv show "Nuggets" continues its extended run on Wednesdays and the adults-only "Sex Blob Attacks!" runs Thursdays through Oct. 26. (773) 697-9693 or theannoyance.com.

• The next installment of Pride Films and Plays late-night performance series "26," with 26 scenes inspired by each letter of the alphabet, opens Saturday, Sept. 30, at Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway Ave., Chicago. "Net-Flix and Kill" consists of horror and horror-comedy scenes. It runs through Oct. 28. (800) 737-0984 or pridefilmsandplays.com.

• The Metropolis Performing Arts Centre hosts its annual fundraising event Sunday Soiree from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1, at the Metropolis Ballroom, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights. Tickets are $55 and include hors d'oeuvres, beverages, entertainment and a gift bag. (847) 577-2121 or metropolisarts.com.

• The free writing and performance workshop Goodman Theatre and Alphawood Gallery collaborated on, held in conjunction with Alphawood's exhibition "Then They Came for Me: Japanese Americans During World War II and the Demise of Civil Liberties," concludes with a free performance at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1, at 2401 N. Halsted St., Chicago. The subject is what it means to be an American. See goodmantheatre.org/writingworkshops.

• Goodman Theatre honors the late actor Howard Witt, who died June 21 at age 85. Goodman's life celebration begins at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 2, at 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. Witt, who studied at the Goodman School of Drama (now the Theater School at DePaul University), appeared at Goodman in "Death of a Salesman"; "Boy Gets Girl"; "King Lear" and "Fish Men." He was also in the original Broadway production of David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross."

• "Motown the Musical," the jukebox tuner chronicling the history of the barrier-breaking Detroit record label that launched the careers of stars like Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder, returns to Chicago Tuesday, Oct. 3. Performances of the Broadway in Chicago production run through Oct. 8 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago. Speaking of Broadway in Chicago, the company recently announced The PrivateBank Theatre at 18 W. Monroe St., Chicago, has been renamed the CIBC Theatre. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.

• Lookingglass Theatre Company opens its 30th season with a revival of one of its signature productions, "Hard Times," in collaboration with Evanston's Actors Gymnasium. Adapted and directed by ensemble member Heidi Stillman from Charles Dickens' novel, the play is a critique of industrial society and utilitarian philosophy. Previews begin Wednesday, Oct. 4, at the Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. The show opens Oct. 14. (312) 337-0665 or lookingglasstheatre.org.

Daniel Shivelberg co-stars in the prison drama "Punk" in its world premiere at The New Colony.
Daniel Shivelberg co-stars in the prison drama "Punk" in its world premiere at The New Colony. -

• The New Colony concludes its season with the world premiere of "Punk," a prison drama by Michael Allen Harris beginning previews on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The drama centers on a group of gay, bisexual and transgender inmates housed in a special unit who are threatened when a lifer (Buffalo Grove native Daniel Shivelberg) convicted of killing a gay man, requests a transfer into the unit. The production, co-directed by Diana Raiselis and Katrina Dion, opens Oct. 10. See thenewcolony.org.

• The Factory Theater inaugurates its 25th season with a launch party for its upcoming premiere "Captain Steve's Caring Kingdom!" about what the animals on a children's TV show get up to when the human host is away. The fundraiser takes place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, at Chief O'Neil's, 3471, N. Elston Ave., Chicago. See thefactorytheater.com.

• Redtwist theater extends its revival of "Our Town," Thornton Wilder's homage to small-town life. Director James Fleming's production continues through Oct. 29 at 1044 Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago. (773) 728-7529 or redtwist.org.

• Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, has extended its acclaimed revival of Ivo van Hove's Tony Award-winning revival of "A View From the Bridge" by Arthur Miller. Performances run through Oct. 22. (312) 443-3800 or goodmantheatre.org.

• Permoveo Productions, in association with Pride Films and Plays, has extended its world premiere of "The Civility of Albert Cashier," the musical based on the true story of a transgender man who fought more than 40 battles during America's Civil War. Performances run through Oct. 22 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. See stage773.com or albertcashierthemusical.com.

• Court Theatre has extended its revival of "Five Guys Named Moe," a salute to the music of saxophonist and songwriter Louis Jordan. Performances run through Oct. 15 at 5535 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago. (773) 753-4472 or courttheatre.org.

• "Spamilton," the hit sendup of "Hamilton" and its creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, will close after seven months. Performances run through Oct. 8 at the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St., Chicago. (312) 988-9000 or theroyalgeorgetheatre.com or spamilton.com.

• Theater news: Broken Nose Theatre announced Echaka Agba, Rose Hamill, Martin Hanna and Johnard Washington have been named company members. The company also welcomed new artistic associates Kim Boler, JD Caudill, Devon Green, Ada Grey, Robert Koon, Adam Soule, Regina Whitehead Mays and Watson Swift. Stage 773 has initiated fundraising efforts dubbed The Homecoming Campaign to coincide with its 40th anniversary. Homecoming Weekend, held Oct. 6-7, at 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, includes "Homecoming Hellraiser," featuring performances by local theater artists, on Oct. 6. That's followed by the pub crawl along Belmont Avenue on Oct. 7. Proceeds will help pay for renovations that will turn Stage 773's largest space into a flex theater. See stage773.com/homecoming.

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