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posted: 5/11/2018 8:10 AM

Theater events: First floor premieres future-set 'Refrigerator'

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  • Nathaniel Andrew appears in First Floor Theater's world premiere of "Refrigerator" by Lucas Baisch.

    Nathaniel Andrew appears in First Floor Theater's world premiere of "Refrigerator" by Lucas Baisch.
    Courtesy of Sam Doyle Photography

 
 

• A Somali-American airport driver, struggling to make ends meet in Minneapolis, gets hired by a stranded teenager to take him to Chicago in "Damascus," by Bennett Fisher. Cody Estle directs Strawdog Theatre Company's world premiere of the thriller, which begins previews Friday, May 11, at 1802 W. Berenice Ave., Chicago. The show opens May 21. See strawdog.org.

• About Face Theatre invites supporters to dress as their favorite "Saturday Night Live" character for the theater's Wonka Ball fundraiser beginning at 8 p.m. Friday, May 11, at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 N. State St., Chicago. The party includes admission to the "Saturday Night Live" exhibit as well as food, cocktails, entertainment and dancing. A VIP reception begins at 7 p.m. and includes early access to the venue and silent auction. Tickets are $150, $200 for the VIP reception. Proceeds benefit the LGBTQIA ensemble. (773) 784-8565 or aboutfacetheatre.com.

• Shattered Globe Theatre hosts its fifth annual Shattered Soiree from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday, May 11, at the Ravenswood Event Center, 4043 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago. The event includes food, beverages, entertainment and an auction. Proceeds benefit SGT programming and outreach. Tickets are $125. (773) 770-0333 or sgtheatre.org.

• The Actors Gymnasium presents Kerry Catlin's circus adaptation of "The Odyssey," using Mary Zimmerman's adaptation of Homer's epic poem about Odysseus' efforts to return home after the fall of Troy. In this version, a young woman struggling to understand the poem is transformed into the goddess Athena, who helps Odysseus return to his family. Performances run Saturday, May 12, and Sundays, May 13 and 19, at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St., Evanston. (847) 328-2795 or actorsgymnasium.org.

• A 17-year-old girl who went missing six years earlier resurfaces in a Canada youth center with no memory of where she's been or what happened to her. Welcomed home by her mother and aunt, she struggles to adjust to her life in "Girl Found" by Barbara Lhota. Idle Muse Theatre Company premieres the play, which includes Mount Prospect native Kathryn Wolf, at The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway St., Chicago. Previews begin Saturday, May 12. The show, directed by Alison Dornheggen, opens Thursday, May 17. (773) 340-9438 or idlemuse.org.

• Rainn Wilson, a favorite from NBC's "The Office" currently starring in Steppenwolf Theatre's "The Doppelgänger (an international farce)," emcees the company's annual gala beginning at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 12, at 1340 N. Cherry Ave., Chicago. Comedian Chris Rock serves as guest auctioneer for the event, which includes dinner, a band and dancing followed by an after-hours party. Contact specialevents@steppenwolf.org.

• Stage 773 hosts a Comedy Prep School for young comedians ages 12 to 17 on Saturday, May 12, at 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Workshops in comedy writing, physical comedy and improvisation run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the theater. Admission is $100. To sign up, contact Tim Soszko at cps@stage773.com.

• Hershey Felder, currently starring as Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky in "Our Great Tchaikovsky" at Steppenwolf Theatre, hosts a Great American Songbook Sing-Along. It takes place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 12, at The Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St., Chicago. Tickets are $60 for the performance, which will include works by George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Stephen Sondheim, Rodgers and Hammerstein and others. (312) 988-9000.

• Previews begin Sunday, May 13, for First Floor Theater's premiere of Lucas Baisch's future-set drama "Refrigerator." At a time when most humans have disposed of their physical bodies and uploaded their consciousness to IceBox, IceBox employees are throwing a going-away party for a colleague while struggling with their own concepts of reality. The play, commissioned by Goodman Theatre as part of its 2016-2017 playwright's unit, is directed by artistic director Hutch Pimentel. It opens Wednesday, May 16, at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. See firstfloortheater.com.

• After a high school teacher is murdered at an annual education convention, his colleagues team up to solve the mystery in "Teacher of the Year," a new show opening Tuesday, May 15, at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Also at Annoyance, the sketch comedy review "Freshman Year of Life" opens Wednesday, May 16. "The Customer is Always Right?" -- an improv show rooted in awkward customer interactions -- runs Fridays through June 15, while Robert Bacon and Collin Dahlgren's improv show "Poster Boys" runs Wednesdays through June 6. (773) 697-9693 or theannoyance.com.

• The International Voices Project showcasing plays from Spain, Serbia, Poland, Syria, Finland, Canada, India and Germany continues at Instituto Cervantes, 31 W. Ohio St., Chicago. Akvavit Theatre presents "Internalized Theory of Love" by Finnish writer Vera Kiiskinen on Tuesday, May 15. A couple seeks therapy when the marriage collapses while they await the birth of their second child. Show time is 7 p.m. The festival runs through May 31. See ivpchicago.org for a schedule.

Actress/writer Anu Bhatt brings her one-woman show "Hollow/Wave" to Silk Road Rising for a brief run.
Actress/writer Anu Bhatt brings her one-woman show "Hollow/Wave" to Silk Road Rising for a brief run. -

• Anu Bhatt wrote and stars in the one-woman show "Hollow/Wave," about a South-Asian American woman confronting depression, body image and sexual abuse. Performances begin Thursday, May 17, and run through May 27 at Silk Road Rising, at the Historic Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington St., Chicago. (312) 857-1234 or silkroadrising.org.

• Previews begin Thursday, May 13, for Death & Pretzels' production of "The Book of Maggie," Brendan Bourque-Sheil's dark comedy about Judas Iscariot and Pontius Pilate, who are offered redemption in exchange for helping two mortal women Maggie and Joan. The production opens May 19 at Nox Arca Theatre, 4001 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago. See deathandpretzels.com.

• The 6th Annual Chicago Nerd Comedy Festival runs Thursday through Sunday, May 17-20, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Standup comedian Tamale Sepp performs on Friday, May 18, along with WGN radio host Patti Vasquez. Other featured performers include the musical sketch comedy group Clown Car to Sicily, Improvised Jane Austen, Stuntmen, Wig Bullies and others. Individual tickets are $15. All-festival passes are $100 and day passes range from $30 to $60. (773) 327-5252 or stage773.com.

• The next installment of Short Story Theatre features co-founder Rick Leslie and founder of Highland Park Poetry, Jennifer Dotson. They and other area storytellers share their tales at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 17, at Miramar Bistro, 301 Waukegan Ave., Highwood. $10. Dinner reservations available. (847) 433-1078 or shortstorytheatre.com.

• "The Rosenkranz Mysteries: Physician Magician" featuring Dr. Ricardo Rosenkranz, a faculty member at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, has been extended. Performances run through May 27 at the Royal George Theatre Cabaret, 1641 N. Halsted St., Chicago. (312) 988-9000 or theroyalgeorgetheatre.com.

• Porchlight Music Theatre has extended for the second time its hit production of "Memphis," a musical about a Caucasian DJ in 1950s Memphis who wants to introduce the world to R&B and an African-American nightclub chanteuse looking for her big break. Performances run through June 16 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. (773) 777-9884 or porchlightmusictheatre.org.

• Rivendell Theatre Ensemble has extended its Midwest premiere of "The Cake" by Bekah Brunstetter. The play is about Jen, a woman from a small North Carolina town who wants her mother's best friend to bake her wedding cake. However, the baker balks when she learns the cake is for a same-sex couple. Performances run through June 2 at 5779 N. Ridge Ave., Chicago. (773) 334-7728 or rivendelltheatre.org.

• In other theater news: Theo Ubique has canceled Last Call at No Exit, a cabaret retrospective of the company's 13-year tenure at the No Exit Cafe. Instead the company will focus on preparations to open its new home at 721 Howard St., Evanston, in November. The last No Exit performance of Theo Ubique's "Sweeney Todd" revival will be on May 20. Remy Bumppo Theatre Company announced it will move from its longtime home at the Greenhouse Theater Center to Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, in advance of its 22nd season. The season begins Oct. 11 with Nick Dear's adaptation of "Frankenstein." Also relocating is A Dead Whale Productions, which will present its second season at Nox Arca Theatre at 4001 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago. Ovation and Comcast named Collaboraction Theatre Company the recipient of a $10,000 Stand for the Arts Award. According to the prepared statement, Collaboraction was recognized for "its original productions and community engagement work, which has had an impact on critical social issues and incited change in the communities the company serves."

• Adventure Stage Chicago announced it will dedicate its 2018-2019 season to hunger in its various incarnations. Adrian Danzig (500 Clown) directs a two-handed production of "The Adventures of Robin Hood," which chronicles the battle between the haves and the have-nots. In winter 2019, ASC partners with Rough House Theater for "The Stranger and the Shadow," inspired by the story of "The Golum of Prague." The season concludes in spring 2019 with "Fast Food," a re-imagining of the hare and tortoise tale set in Chicago and centered on an aspiring teenage chef and his sister. Performances take place at 1012 N. Noble St., Chicago. Memberships are $36 and include three tickets to performances along with other perks. Tickets are available at (773) 342-4141 or adventurestage.org.

• Steppenwolf for Young Adults, the company's teen series, begins Oct. 5 with "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime." Adapted by Simon Stephens from Mark Haddon's book, it's the story of a teen with autism who tries to solve the murder of a neighbor's dog. The season concludes March 2, 2019, with the premiere of Matthew-Lee Erlbach's "Radical." Inspired by Christian Picciolini's book "White American Youth," this examination of race and representation centers on the reaction a diverse group of students have to the discovery of a spray-painted swastika at their school. Performances are at 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago. Student tickets are $15 with a school ID. (312) 335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.

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