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updated: 10/26/2017 12:42 PM

Theater events: City Lit Theater revives Bible tale 'J.B.'

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  • Stephanie Monday stars in the titular role of "J.B." at the City Lit Theater.

    Stephanie Monday stars in the titular role of "J.B." at the City Lit Theater.

 
 

Bible tale retold

Nine Chicago-area actresses "of a certain age" play 23 roles in City Lit Theater's revival of "J.B." a free-verse, morality play by poet/playwright Archibald MacLeish. A retelling of the biblical story of Job, the action unfolds in a circus tent where two vendors -- representing God and Satan -- wager that wealthy banker J.B. will renounce God if his fortune sours. Promethean Theatre Ensemble artistic director Brian Pastor helms the production, which stars Stephanie Monday in the titular role. Previews begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, at the Edgewater Presbyterian Church, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago. The show opens Nov. 5. $23-$32. (773) 293-3682 or citylit.org.

Halloween treat

The Improv Playhouse presents the radio play adaptation of Bram Stoker's "Dracula," performed in 1938 by Orson Welles and his Mercury Theater. David Cocks plays the titular character, a nobleman vampire with a taste for the blood of his young lawyer's comely fiancee in director David Brian Stuart's production. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at 735 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville. $5-$15. (847) 968-4529 or improvplayhouse.com.

James Leaming, founding member of American Blues Theater, returns to star in the solo show "This Wonderful Life," adapted from Frank Capra's 1946 classic "It's a Wonderful Life."
James Leaming, founding member of American Blues Theater, returns to star in the solo show "This Wonderful Life," adapted from Frank Capra's 1946 classic "It's a Wonderful Life." - Courtesy of Michael Brosilow
'Wonderful Life' solo

American Blues Theater founding ensemble member James Leaming stars in the company's Chicago premiere of "This Wonderful Life," Steve Murray's adaptation for a solo performer of Frank Capra's 1946 classic "It's a Wonderful Life." Ensemble member Carmen Roman, who is married to Leaming, directs. Previews begin at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, at The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway, Chicago. The show opens Nov. 5. $19-$49. (773) 654-3103 or americanbluestheater.com/.

Other theater events

• First Folio Theatre in Oak Brook recently announced additions to its administrative team including the hiring of Melanie Keller as associate artistic director. A First Folio artistic associate since 2005, Keller helmed the company's 2017 Joseph Jefferson Award-nominated production "Silent Sky." Kate Danziger, formerly First Folio's resident stage manager, returns after a hiatus from theater to take over as managing director. Also returning to the ensemble is Katie Cora Johnson. A former First Folio stage manger who worked as a child supervisor with Paramount, Drury Lane and other ensembles, Johnson will head up audience relations for the theater. firstfolio.org/.

• A new adaptation of Federico Garcia Lorca's poem "Yerma" marks the first collaboration between Theatre Y and Red Tape Theatre at their shared space The Ready, located at 4546 N. Western Ave., Chicago. The second of Lorca's rural tragedies, "Yerma" is about a woman trapped in a loveless marriage who becomes obsessed with having a child. Red Tape artistic director Max Truax directs this new adaptation by Theatre Y ensemble member Hector Alvarez. Performances begin Friday, Oct. 27. theatre-y.com.

• The Factory Theater opens its 25th season with its world premiere of "Captain Steve's Caring Kingdom." Written and directed by ensemble member Mike Ooi, the adults-only comedy goes behind the scenes at a children's TV show to uncover what the talking animals and puppets do when the host is not around. Previews begin Friday, Oct. 27, at 1623 W. Howard St., Chicago. The show opens Nov. 3. (866) 811-4111 or thefactorytheater.com.

• Magician and "Penn & Teller: Fool Us" winner David Parra returns to the historic Dawes House in Evanston with "Haunting History," a combination tour and Halloween-themed sleight-of-hand show. Performances run at 7, 8 and 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Oct. 27-29, at 225 Greenwood St., Evanston. The show is for ages 13 and older. Tickets cost $25. See davidparr.com.

• The fatal 1973 arson fire at the Upstairs Lounge, a gay nightspot in New Orleans, inspired Wayne Self's "Upstairs: The Musical." The adults-only show opens Friday, Oct. 27, at Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago. See upstairsthemusicalchicago.com.

• Inspired by the devastation she witnessed when she was stranded in Puerto Rico for 10 days during Hurricane Maria, Skokie Theatre executive director Wendy Kaplan has organized a fundraiser. No One is an Island -- A Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Fundraiser begins at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, at 7924 Lincoln Ave., Skokie. The evening includes entertainment and a raffle. Tickets are $50. Proceeds will go to the organizations United for Puerto Rico and the Hispanic Federation's Unidos Disaster Relief and Recovery Program. See skokietheater.org.

• "Cards Against Humanity," improv comedy inspired by the politically incorrect card game, returns to the Greenhouse Theater Center Friday, Oct. 27, and Dec. 1. The adults-only performances are at 10 p.m. at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 404-7336 or greenhousetheater.org.

• Libertyville's Improv Playhouse hosts a Halloween-themed, adults-only murder-mystery dinner "The Case of the Spooky Seance" beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Round Lake Beach Cultural and Civic Center, 2007 Civic Center Way, Round Lake Beach. Audience members will be assigned characters for this immersive show and will work with tablemates to solve the mystery. Tickets cost $62.50. (847) 958-4529 or improvplayhouse.com.

The members of the all-female ensemble Improvised Jane Austen perform their Halloween-themed show "Vampires & Vanities: An Improvised Gothic Novel" this weekend.
The members of the all-female ensemble Improvised Jane Austen perform their Halloween-themed show "Vampires & Vanities: An Improvised Gothic Novel" this weekend. - Courtesy of Improvised Jane Austen

• Improvised Jane Austen, an all-female comedy ensemble that improvises plays in the style of the 19th-century novelist, performs "Vampires & Vanities: An Improvised Gothic Novel," at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29, at the McKaw Theater, 1439 W. Jarvis St., Chicago. See improvisedjaneausten.com.

• Previews begin Sunday, Oct. 29, for Nothing Without a Company's "Bobby Pin Girls" in partnership with the Chicago Mosaic School, an arts education organization. The play, by company member Janey Bell, tells the adults-only story of the burgeoning friendship between two roommates: an actress stuck in a show she despises and a visual artist dealing with her ex. Previews begin Sunday, Oct. 29, at The Chicago Mosaic School, 1101 W. Granville Ave., Chicago. The show opens Thursday, Nov. 2. See nothingwithoutacompany.org.

• The Neo-Futurists host "Red Wrench: Real Plays, Fake Blood" -- a collection of Halloween-centered short plays -- Monday, Oct. 30, at 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago. The 60-minute show starts at 8 p.m. (773) 878-4557 or neofuturists.org.

• The popular, percussive performance piece "Stomp" returns to the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. The performance is at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1. (630) 896-6666 or paramountaurora.com.

• "The School of Rock," the Broadway musical adapted from the hit film starring Jack Black, plays Chicago as part of its national tour. Performances begin Wednesday, Nov. 1, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.

• Joseph Jefferson Award-winner Kate Fry returns to Court Theatre to star in its season-opening revival of William Luce's "The Belle of Amherst," a solo show that chronicles the life of poet Emily Dickinson through her poems, diary entries and letters. Previews begin Thursday, Nov. 2, at 5535 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago. The play, directed by The Hypocrites' Sean Graney, opens Nov. 11. (773) 753-4472 or courttheatre.org.

Amanda Drinkall, from left, Tiffany Oglesby, Alex Weisman and Cassidy Slaughter-Mason appear in the About Face Theatre-Theater Wit Midwest premiere of "Significant Other."
Amanda Drinkall, from left, Tiffany Oglesby, Alex Weisman and Cassidy Slaughter-Mason appear in the About Face Theatre-Theater Wit Midwest premiere of "Significant Other." - Courtesy of Em Hall

• About Face Theatre and Theater Wit collaborate on the Midwest premiere of "Significant Other," a romantic comedy by Joshua Harmon. Previews begin Friday, Nov. 3, for the play about a single gay man (Alex Weisman) whose best female friends are all getting married. The show, directed by Keira Fromm, opens Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. (773) 975-8150 or aboutfacetheatre.com or theaterwit.org.

• Performances continue for Prop Thtr's production of Bertolt Brecht's unfinished play "The Last Days of the Commune," about the revolutionary government that briefly ruled Paris from March to May, 1871. The production, adapted and directed by Stefan Brun, includes live music. The show runs through Nov. 19 at 3502 N. Elston Ave., Chicago. (773) 742-5420 or propthtr.org.

• "Bloodlust," an original sketch revue by Reilly Willson and Shelby Quinn that pays "homage to all things horror and Halloween," runs through Saturday, Oct. 28, at iO Chicago, 1501 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago. (312) 929-2401 or ioimprov.com.

• Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, has extended its acclaimed Chicago-area premiere of "Fun Home," the Tony Award-winning musical by Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron based on Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir about coming out as gay and the relationship she had with her closeted father. Danni Smith stars in director Gary Griffin's production, which runs through Nov. 19. (773) 871-3000 or victorygardens.org.

• TimeLine Theatre Company has extended its Chicago-area premiere of Peter Morgan's "The Audience," a chronicle of the weekly meetings England's Queen Elizabeth had with her prime minister over more than 60 years. Performances run through Dec. 3 at 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago. (773) 281-8463, ext. 6, or timelinetheatre.com.

• Chicago Children's Theatre extended its musical "A Year With Frog and Toad," adapted from Arnold Lobel's children's series. Performances run through Nov. 12 at The Station, 100 S. Racine Ave., Chicago. (872) 222-9555 or chicagochildrenstheatre.org.

• The Artistic Home recently announced the appointment of Kayla Adams as associate artistic director. The company also announced Devon Carson, Reid Coker, Brookelyn Hebert, Annie Hogan and John La Flamboy as new ensemble members.

• Broken Nose Theatre announced its 2018 season will begin March 2, 2018, with the world premiere of resident playwright Michael Allen Harris' "Kingdom," about the members of an LGBTQ, African-American family who are thrown into turmoil when their home state of Florida legalizes same-sex marriage. That's followed by Sam Chanse's "The Opportunities of Extinction" (June 2-30, 2018), a drama inspired by climate change about three people who flee to the Mojave Desert to escape an increasingly hot world. Bechdel Fest 6 (summer 2018) will showcase new short plays that pass the Bechdel Test, which measures when in fiction two women discuss a subject other than men. The BNT season concludes Oct. 20, 2018, with the world premiere of ensemble member Spenser Davis' "Plainclothes." It's about the repercussions for loss prevention employees at a Chicago department store after an incident with a shoplifter goes awry. Performances take place at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Tickets are pay-what-you-can. brokennosetheatre.com.

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