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posted: 2/21/2014 5:45 AM

Theater events: John O'Hurley comes to 'Chicago'

Theater events: John O'Hurley comes to 'Chicago'

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  • John O'Hurley returns to play the slick lawyer Billy Flynn in Broadway in Chicago's production of the hit musical "Chicago."

    John O'Hurley returns to play the slick lawyer Billy Flynn in Broadway in Chicago's production of the hit musical "Chicago."

 
 

• John O'Hurley ("Seinfeld's" J. Peterman) stars as Billy Flynn in the Broadway in Chicago tour of "Chicago." The musical by John Kander and Fred Ebb is about a nightclub dancer charged with murdering her lover, who hires high-profile lawyer Flynn who in turn makes her a media sensation. Performances begin Tuesday, Feb. 25, at the Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St., Chicago. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.

Steel Beam premiere
Estranged parents and onetime actors reunite at their daughter's engagement party in Richard Culliton's romantic comedy "The Bay of Portugal," opening at Steel Beam Theatre. Terry Domschke directs the world-premiere production starring Steel Beam founder and artistic director Donna Steele and Pat Able as the parents. Valerie Zawada of Geneva plays their daughter and Keith Compton of Schaumburg plays their son-in-law-to-be.
Opens at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, at 111 W. Main St., St. Charles. $25, $28. (630) 587-8521 or steelbeamtheatre.com.

Chicago improv
Comedian Pablo Francisco, whose pop culture-centered bits include riffs on Mexican music and telenovelas, headlines Schaumburg's Chicago Improv this weekend.
8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21; 7 and 9:15 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22; and 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23, at 5 Woodfield Road, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg. $24, plus a two-item minimum. (847) 240-2001 or chicago.improv.com.

'Seminar' in Chicago
Libertyville director Marti Lyons helms Haven Theatre Company's Chicago-area premiere of "Seminar" by Theresa Rebeck. The comedy is about four young novelists who sign up for writing lessons with a world-renowned professor (played by Tom Hickey of Elmhurst), whose unorthodox methods lead to tension and romantic entanglements.
Previews begin Thursday, Feb. 27, at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show opens March 3. $25, $32. (773) 975-8150 or haventheatrechicago.com.

• Performances begin Friday, Feb. 21, for The Brown Paper Box Co.'s production of the William Finn-James Lapine musical "A New Brain" at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge Ave., Chicago. Finn's semi-autobiographical musical is about a composer for a children's TV show who discovers a brain malformation that threatens his life and his legacy. Jason Richards plays the Finn stand-in, Gordon Schwinn. See brownpaperbox.org.

• MadKap Productions world premiere of "Corpus Delicti," by David Alex, begins previews on Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. The play is about a wrongfully convicted ex-con trying to rebuild his life, who discovers his boss is a murderer. Unfortunately, the police think he's the guilty party. The show opens Thursday, Feb. 27. (773) 404-7336 madkapproductions.com or greenhousetheater.org.

• Short Shakespeare, Chicago Shakespeare Theater's series of abridged plays for children, continues with director David H. Bell's 75-minute adaptation of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Performances begin on Saturday, Feb. 22, at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. (312) 595-5600 or chicagoshakes.com.

• Red Theater continues its season with Aaron Sawyer's "Three Soldiers (For Sisters)," a retelling of Anton Chekov's "Three Sisters." The story is told from the perspective of three soldiers who fall in love with modern versions of Chekhov's sisters in this play that asks "what are we willing to lose, to live the life we were promised?" The show opens Saturday, Feb. 22, at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. (773) 733-0540 or redtheater.org.

• Gorilla Tango Theatre presents benefit readings of "A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and A Prayer: Writings to Stop Violence Against Women" at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, and Feb. 28, at 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Edited by Eve Ensler ("The Vagina Monologues") and Mollie Doyle, the show is comprised of writings by Edward Albee, Maya Angelou and others. It's staged as part of Ensler's V-Day initiative to raise awareness to stop violence against women. To that end, 90 percent of the ticket proceeds go toward the Center for Advancing Domestic Peace Inc. Tickets cost $15 online, $20 at the door. (773) 598-4549 or gorillatango.com.

• Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, presents singer/songwriter/juggler/unicyclist Ryan Westwood in concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22. The performance is part of Filament's ongoing efforts to raise funds to build out their new home. (773) 270-1660 or filamenttheatre.org.

• Steel Beam Theatre commemorates Black History Month with a performance by Marcus Gentry in his one-man show, "I Have a Dream: A King's Journey," at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23, at 111 W. Main St., St. Charles. In the show, Gentry re-creates some of Dr. Martin Luther King's most memorable and influential speeches. (630) 587-8521 or steelbeamtheatre.com.

• Citadel Theatre hosts a talk-back with director Cody Estle and playwright Roger Rueff following the Sunday, Feb. 23, performance of Rueff's play "Hospitality Suite," at 300 S. Waukegan Road, Lake Forest. (847) 735-8554 or citadeltheatre.org.

• TimeLine Theatre Company and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events host visiting Australian playwrights on Sunday, Feb. 23, at the Chicago Cultural Center, 76 E. Washington St., Chicago. The free event begins at 11 a.m. with a panel discussion featuring Reg Cribb, Tom Holloway, Lally Katz, Maxine Mellor and director Marcus West. That's followed at noon by a reading of Holloway's "Forget Me Not" about a 60-year-old man meeting his mother for the first time since he was 3. A reading of Katz's "A Golem Story" about a Rabbi who creates a man of clay in medieval Prague to avenge the evil occurring there, begins at 1:45 p.m. Call TimeLine at (773) 281-8463, ext. 6, for details.

• The next installment of "Just the FAQs: A Comedy Panel Show of Facts and Falsehoods" returns to Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, on Sunday, Feb. 23. The show is hosted by ComedySportz Chicago member Steven Lyons and features two teams competing on trivia. See facebook.com/justthefaqs.

• Pride Films and Plays presents "Sochi: Three Short Plays About Gay Athletes" at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24, at The Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., Chicago. They include DC Cathro's "Commemorative Edition" about a young man connecting with his father while watching the Olympics; Rich Espy's "Hoya Saxa" examining two football players in a locker room and George Smart's "Olympic Fever" about a young skater about to depart from Chicago for the Sochi games. (800) 838-3006 or pridefilmsandplays.com.

• Steppenwolf Theatre Company hosts an evening with Sting discussing his Broadway-bound musical "The Last Ship" -- which plays in Chicago this summer -- and performing songs with cast member Jimmy Nail and pianist Rob Mathes, The benefit for Steppenwolf's artistic development fund takes place at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24, at 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago. Tickets cost $250. (312) 335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.

• Trailblazers, Adventure Stage Chicago's youth mentoring program for ages 11-15, presents an original work titled "Push Play" examining the effect of violence in the media on young people. Mentors and participants wrote and developed the script, which they'll perform at 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 24-25, at Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble St., Chicago. (773) 342-4141 or adventurestage.com.

• A riff occurs within a trio of video-game aficionados when one of them lands a job at the National Security Agency launching drones and missiles in Deborah Zoe Laufer's coming-of-age drama "Leveling Up," the next in Steppenwolf Theatre's young adults series. Hallie Gordon directs the drama about what happens when games turn deadly. Previews begin Wednesday, Feb. 26, at 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago. The show opens March 1. (312) 335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.

• Hubris Productions present Muffy and her Good Time Galz in their adults-only cabaret taking place the second and fourth Saturday of every month at The Call Bar, 1547 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago. See hubrisproductions.com.

• The Jeff Award Committee recently announced that musicals at Aurora's Paramount Theatre will be eligible to be judged by the Jeff Awards Committee beginning in 2014. The theater, now in its third season, will be eligible in the equity/large tier category next season. "I am overwhelmed, proud and grateful for the honor of Paramount Theatre now being recognized among Chicago's best, an honor earned by the dedication of our artists, technicians and staff and our ever-growing audience," said artistic director Jim Corti in a prepared statement. For information, call (630) 896-6666 or see paramountaurora.com.

• First Folio Theatre has announced additional matinees for its jolly production of the Tom Stoppard comedy "Rough Crossing." The newly added performances are at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, 3 p.m. Feb. 27, and 4 p.m. March 1 at the Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook. (630) 986-8067 or firstfolio.org.

• 16th Street theater, 6420 16th St., Berwyn, has extended its world premiere of Laura Jacqmin's "Do-Gooder" about a couple who purchase a greystone two-flat intending to rent one apartment to a low-income black family, which means displacing their current white tenants. Performances continue through March 1. (708) 795-6704 or 16thstreettheater.org.

• TimeLine Theatre recently announced it has established a playwright's collective as part of its continuing commitment to the development of new works. Playwrights named to the first collective include: Alice Austen, Aaron Carter, John Conroy, Emily Dendinger, Wendell Etherly, Frances Limoncelli, Susan McLaughlin Karp and Brett Neveu. Each season, Timeline will invite eight emerging and/or established writers to participate in the program, which will include readings of the in-development works that may be considered for production at the theater. Also, Timeline recently named new associates artists. They include actor Behzad Dabu; sound designer and composer Mikhail Fiksel; actor/director Ron OJ Parson and set designer Collette Pollard.

• The producers of the hit show "Old Jews Telling Jokes," now in its fifth month at the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St., Chicago, announced new "guest jokesters." Joining the cast on Sunday, Feb. 23, is chef Laura Frankel, in a benefit for the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. Poet Kevin Coval takes the stage on Wednesday, Feb. 26, to benefit Young Chicago Authors. Michigan theater owner David Fink performs on March 6 to benefit Michigan's Harbor Arts. He's followed by Chicago broadcaster Mike Leiderman on March 13, whose appearance benefits the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. Restaurant owner and professional wrestler Lisa Marie Varon appears on March 20. For details, call (312) 988-9000 or see oldjewstellingjokesonstage.com.

• Red Tape Theatre recently announced it was leaving its home of eight years at St. Peter's Episcopal Church for a space that better suits the physical needs of the theater company. The company has not indicated where it will stage future productions. See redtapetheatre.org.

-- Barbara Vitello

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