An old Yiddish axiom warns: "Man plans, God laughs." Sean Grennan adapted the saying as the title of "Making God Laugh," his domestic dramedy chronicling the ever-changing relationships between the members of a suburban family over 30 years of holidays. Steel Beam Theatre revives the play under director Richard Pahl. Opens at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, at 111 W. Main St., St. Charles. $23-$28. (630) 587-8521 or steelbeamtheatre.org.
'Rage' to stage
Underscore Theatre Company presents the world premiere of "Carrie 2: The Rage (An Unauthorized Musical Parody)," a rock sendup of Brian DePalma's 1976 horror-thriller inspired by Stephen King's novella about a bullied teenage girl who takes revenge on her cruel classmates. Demi Zaino, of Lake Zurich, stars as Rachel, who -- 10 years after Carrie's revenge -- displays the same telekinetic abilities. Previews begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, at The Arkham, 4609 N. Clark St., Chicago. The show opens Oct. 17. $20, $25. See underscoretheatre.org.
Elk Grove Village native Darci Nalepa co-stars in The Gift Theatre's world premiere of "A Swell in the Ground," Janine Nabers' time-hopping story the title of which refers to a line from Emily Dickinson's poem "Because I Could Not Stop for Death." Nalepa and fellow ensemble member Keith Neagle co-star along with guest artists Sydney Charles and Andrew Muwonge as four college friends who try to reconcile the lives they imagined they'd have with the lives they're living. Ensemble member Chika Ike directs. Previews begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, at 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The show opens Oct. 19. $30-$40. (773) 283-7071 or thegifttheatre.org.
Other theater events
• Performances continue for Writers Theatre's U.S. premiere of "Don Quixote: On the Conquest of Self," a contemporary riff on Miguel de Cervantes' seminal novel adapted by Monica Hoth and Claudio Valdes Kuri. Henry Godinez stars as the titular character who wonders whether it's possible for a person to act purely for the good of his or her fellow humans. Performances run through Dec. 17 at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. (847) 242-6000 or writerstheatre.org.
• Magician Stephen Hanthorn's "The Best Magic Show" opens Friday, Oct. 13, at the iO Theater, 1501 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago. Also at iO, performer Gina DeLuca examines adolescence, religion and family in her one-woman show, "Atrocious." It runs Fridays through Oct. 27. (312) 929-2401 or ioimprov.com.
• Previews begin Saturday, Oct. 14, for Black Ensemble Theater's world premiere of "Living the Black Renaissance (More Than a Moment in History)." Written and directed by artistic director Jackie Taylor, the show chronicles the experiences of African-American people combating racism in America. The show opens Oct. 22 at 4450 N. Clark St., Chicago. (773) 769-4451 or blackensemble.org.
• ShawChicago opens its 24th season with George Bernard Shaw's "The Devil's Disciple." Set during the American Revolution, it centers around Dick Dudgeon, who's mistaken for a rebel and sentenced to hang for a crime he did not commit. Performances begin Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. (312) 587-7390 or shawchicago.org.
• Tennessee Williams' latter years inspired "His Greatness," a play by Daniel Maclvor about a great artist "grappling with the loss of former glory and desperate for a return to form and success." Pride Films and Plays presents the play about the battles for love and power between the playwright, his assistant and a street hustler. Previews begin Saturday, Oct. 14, at 4147 N. Broadway St., Chicago. The show, directed by David Zak, opens Tuesday, Oct. 17. (800) 737-0984 or pridefilmsandplays.com.
• The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, celebrates its 30th anniversary on Saturday, Oct. 14, with a special performance of "Splatter Theater." Also in its 30th year, "Splatter Theater" is a sendup of slasher/horror films. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the performance begins at 8 p.m. Tickets include a complimentary champagne toast. Also at The Annoyance, the ensemble Huggable Riot opened "Queerly Beloved," which examines what it means to be an LGBTQ person today. The show runs at 8 p.m. Wednesdays. Lastly, The Annoyance has extended its country-western musical revue "Panic! at the Honky Tonk," which also runs at 9:30 p.m. Wednesdays. (773) 697-9693 or theannoyance.com.
• Brown Paper Box Co. hosts Last Midnight, an adult homecoming dance, from 9 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Vagabond School for the Arts, 4001 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago. Tickets for the 21-and-older fundraiser are $22 and include two beer tickets, pizza and dancing. See brownpaperbox.org.
• Barrel of Monkeys revives its Sunday matinee series "That's Weird, Grandma: Stories on Sunday Afternoons" beginning Sunday, Oct. 15, at 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago. The sketches are adapted by ensemble members from stories submitted by Chicago public school students. Showtime is 2 p.m. (773) 506-7140 or barrelofmonkeys.org.
• Hell in a Handbag presents Quinceanera, its annual benefit held to commemorate the company's 15th anniversary. It takes place from 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15, at The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway Ave., Chicago, and includes a Mexican buffet, cocktails, games, a raffle, live and silent auctions and performances of scenes from the company's past productions. Tickets are $75 in advance and $85 at the door. See handbagproductions.org.
• The third season of Williams Street Repertory's series of staged readings of new works kicks off Monday, Oct. 16, with Germaine Shames' "The Degenerates." It's about a Paris art dealer and a Berlin art student's attempt to save the life of a condemned Jewish artist during World War II. The free reading takes place at 7 p.m. at the Raue Center, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. (815) 356-9212 or wsrep.org.
• Directors Haven 2017, Haven Theatre's third showcase of emerging Chicago-area directors, runs Monday, Oct. 16, through Nov. 1 at The Den Theater, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The plays will run back-to-back on select dates. They include Václav Havel's political satire "The Protest" about an activist seeking the release of a jailed musician, directed by Kristen Johnson. "The Toilet," Amiri Baraka's examination of love, race and masculinity set in a high school restroom during the early 1960s, is directed by Ian Martin. "The Departure," Rachel Dubose's drama about women attending an Escape Room-themed bachelorette party, is directed by Lexi Saunders. Tickets are pay-what-you-can. See haventheatrechicago.com.
• "Amarillo" comes to Chicago Shakespeare Theater's new venue The Yard as part of the International Latino Theater Festival. Devised by Mexico's Teatro Linea de Sombra (and performed in Spanish with English subtitles), it reconstructs the journey of a Mexican immigrant who heads for Amarillo, Texas, to fulfill his dreams but never arrives at his destination. Performances run from Tuesday, Oct. 17, through Oct. 29 at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. (312) 595-5600 or chicagoshakes.com.
• The Chicago Latino Theater Alliance has canceled the U.S. premiere of "The Mirror" after actors performing in Cuban theater company Ludi Teatro's production were unable to obtain visas. Tickets will be refunded for the production, which was part of the Chicago International Latino Theater Festival and was scheduled to run Oct. 19-22 at Steppenwolf's 1700 Theatre. In other festival news, Urban Theater Company's world premiere of Marco Antonio Rodriguez's "Ashes of Light," about an estranged Dominican mother and her son, opens Thursday, Oct. 19, at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. For more information and to purchase tickets, see clata.org.
• Theater Oobleck presents a Halloween-inspired, "immersive theater installation" titled "A Memory Palace of Fear" examining how one's home transforms from a refuge to a menace. Running Thursday, Oct. 19, through Oct. 31 at Silent Funny, 4106 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, the installation consists of 30-minute tours and is recommended for ages 11 and older. See theateroobleck.com.
• Performances continue through Nov. 11 for Steep Theatre's "The Invisible Hand," Ayad Akhtar's drama about an American banker taken hostage in Pakistan who tries to trade his financial expertise for his release. Performances take place at 1115 W. Berwyn Ave., Chicago. (773) 649-3186 or steeptheatre.com.
• Rivendell Theatre Ensemble has extended its world premiere of "Alias Grace." Adapted by Jennifer Blackmer from Margaret Atwood's novel, it recounts Canada's 1843 case of a 16-year-old girl charged with murdering her employer and his housekeeper. But the girl insists she has no memory of the murders. Director Karen Kessler's production runs through Nov. 4 at 5779 N. Ridge Ave., Chicago. (773) 334-7728 or rivendelltheatre.org.
• The American Theatre Wing, which hands out the Tony Awards, awarded a $10,000 grant to Chicago Children's Theatre, recognizing it as one of the country's most promising emerging theater companies. The organization also awarded a $10,000 second-time support grant to Chicago's Congo Square Theatre Company.
• Music Theater Works announced its 2018 season will begin June 9, 2018, with a production of Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Pirates of Penzance." That's followed on Aug. 18, 2018, with the Cole Porter musical "Anything Goes." Skokie resident Angela Ingersoll brings her show "Judy Garland: Come Rain or Come Shine" to the Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, Oct 5-14, 2018. The season concludes with Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods," beginning Dec. 22, 2018. Except for Ingersoll's show, performances take place at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., Evanston. Season subscriptions are available. (847) 920-5360 or musictheaterworks.com.
• Flying Elephant Productions has announced its inaugural season in Chicago. It begins Jan. 26, 2018, with the world premiere of the politically themed show by composer/lyricist Leo Schwartz and writer Sean Chandler titled "We the People -- Songs of the Resistance" inspired by the 2016 election. That's followed by "Defacing Michael Jackson," Aurin Squire's satire on hero worship, identity and blackness. According to executive director Schwartz, the company intends to showcase and promote works by "nontraditional voices." Performances take place at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. See flyingelephantproductions.com.