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  • Bartlett High School seniors Joe Butler and Mike O’Malley sing “Run Away Baby” in harmony at a recent talent show at the HS in Bartlett. They will be performing at the Hemmens at TalentFest 2014.

    U-46 students to shine in fourth annual TalentFestApr 4, 2014 12:00 AM
    Baton twirling. Dancing. Singing. Violin and ukelele playing. These are some of the acts that will be featured at TalentFest 2014, a showcase of some of the top high school talent in Elgin Area School District U-46. The competition will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, at the Hemmens, 45 Symphony Way, Elgin. The public is invited. Tickets are $5 and available at hemmens.org.

     
  • Melanie Keller plays a young woman seeking assistance from a collectibles expert played by Tyler Rich in First Folio Theatre's world premiere of Joseph Zettelmaier's dramedy “Salvage.”

    First Folio's 'Salvage' examines what we hold dearApr 4, 2014 12:00 AM
    During intermission opening night of First Folio Theatre's world premiere of Joseph Zettelmaier's “Salvage,” not everyone raced for refreshments and the restrooms. Instead, some audience members stood at the edge of the stage examining designer Angela Weber Miller and props master Cassy Schillo's meticulously realized set. While Traffic's “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” played quietly, they peered and pointed at the 1960s and 1970s action figures, games and tchotchkes on display in Hidden Treasures Collectibles, the lovingly maintained Detroit memorabilia shop where this gentle dramedy unfolds.

     
  • Theater events: Jeff Garlin heads to RosemontApr 4, 2014 12:00 AM
    Jeff Garlin headlines Zanies in Rosemont; Steel Beam Theatre revives the country-tinged musical "The Spitfire Grill"; and BET hosts its 9th annual Black Playwright's Festival.

     
  • Martha Plimpton appears as Brooke Wyeth in the Old Vic Theatre production of “Other Desert Cites” in London.

    Plimpton making West End debutApr 2, 2014 12:00 AM
    Martha Plimpton is an American in London, grappling with all that ails the United States. The Emmy Award-winning star of TV sitcom “Raising Hope” — whose theater credits include being an ensemble member of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre — is making her West End stage debut in Jon Robin Baitz’s “Other Desert Cities.” It’s an excoriating family drama about a clan of Reaganesque California Republicans.

     
  • Grace Courter, left, plays young Toad daughter, Lindsay Peters as Widow Toad, Maria Kantak as Toad son, carries off Bella Clarey playing Thumbelina.

    ‘Tiny Thumbelina’ takes the stage at Steel Beam TheatreApr 2, 2014 12:00 AM
    Steel Beam Children’s Theatre, 111 W. Main St., St. Charles, will present “Tiny Thumbelina,” a musical, beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 5, and running for four weekends.

     
  • “Sesame Street Live: Can't Stop Singing” plays the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates for seven shows between Friday, April 4, through Sunday, April 6.

    Weekend picks: Elmo's in trouble in 'Sesame Street Live'Mar 31, 2014 12:00 AM
    See what happens when furry Elmo gets his hands on Abby Cadabby's magic wand in “Sesame Street Live: Can't Stop Singing” at the Sears Centre Arena. Pop-punk rockers Against Me! will make a stop at Durty Nellie's in Palatine Friday. And you can sample plenty of fine wines and brews at DiCarlo's Spring Wine, Food & Craft Beer Festival in Mundelein.

     
  • Karey Burton and her niece, Elaina Burton, 3, both of Naperville, share a hug after Karey performed with other members of the GreatWorks Touring Theatre Company at the Vernon Area Public Library on Friday in Lincolnshire.

    Lincolnshire library hosts ‘Fractured Fairy Tales’Mar 28, 2014 12:00 AM
    Karey Burton of Naperville performs the roles of a chicken, a cow, a rabbit and a clothing designer — all in one-hour. Burton is one of eight members of GreatWorks Touring Theatre Company that performed six short children’s stories Friday at the Vernon Area Public Library in Lincolnshire.

     
  • Mary Lorenz is an ensemble member of Laugh Out Loud Theater. The Schaumburg-based comedy troupe is part of the 17th annual Chicago Improv Festival, and it will also host other short-form improvisers from around the country (and New Zealand) at the Woodfield Mall.

    Improv festival brings acts far and wide to Chicago, SchaumburgMar 28, 2014 12:00 AM
    Local residents have earned the right to be a bit smug when it comes to boasting about Chicago's impact on comedy. So it makes sense that the Chicago Improv Festival, now in its 17th edition from March 31 to April 6, can lure acts from across the globe. The majority of improv troupes audition to perform at the festival's dozen-plus intimate venues scattered around Chicago and in Schaumburg.

     
  • Theater events: Broadway star reprises role in Drury Lane’s ‘Les Mis’Mar 28, 2014 12:00 AM
    Ivan Rutherford, who played Jean Valjean in more than 2,000 performances of “Les Miserables” on Broadway and during the 20th anniversary revival and tour, stars in Drury Lane Theatre’s production. Plus, Writers Theatre presents the U.S. premiere of Conor McPherson's Strindberg adaptation and Metropolis Performing Arts Centre stages "The Diary of Anne Frank" for young audiences.

     
  • Broadway in Chicago seeks talented teen theater artistsMar 26, 2014 12:00 AM
    Broadway in Chicago celebrates the next generation of theater artists as part of its third annual Illinois High School Musical Theater Awards taking place April 25, at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place in Chicago.

     
  • Des Plaines Theatre owner Dhitu Bhagwakar says he's willing to entertain a variety of options regarding the future of the theater, including working with someone who could operate the venue.

    Des Plaines will solicit possible operators for historic theaterMar 23, 2014 12:00 AM
    The future of the Des Plaines Theatre could be determined over the course of the next several weeks, when city officials and the theater's current owner will be looking for someone who may be interested in running the historic showplace. “As long as the theater is run right and everybody is happy, I'm open to several different options,” the owner said.

     
  • Amanda Drinkall stars in Goodman Theatre’s Chicago-area premiere of “Venus in Fur.”

    Power play at heart of Goodman’s ‘Venus’Mar 21, 2014 12:00 AM
    Sexuality. Identity. Gender roles. The male-female dynamic. All of those issues play out in David Ives’ sly, satirical “Venus in Fur,” in a fine Chicago area premiere at Goodman Theatre. But they’re accessories, like the dog collar, stiletto boots, frock coat and handcuffs the characters don and doff. Dress it up any way you like, this sex dramedy is all about power: who’s on top (so to speak) in a relationship at any given time.

     
  • Andrew Pond plays a stay-at-home dad and Julie Partyka is his workaholic wife in “Half and Half,” the new drama at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights.

    ‘Half and Half’ contrasts marriage, family in 1970 vs. 2005Mar 21, 2014 12:00 AM
    It might be hard for young people to imagine that, just a generation ago, gender roles were quite rigid. Women were responsible for cooking, cleaning and raising the kids. Men went to work to support the family financially. Obviously, a lot’s changed. That transformation is the focus of James Sherman’s “Half and Half,” in a production at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights.

     
  • Susaan Jamshidi stars in “Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England,” which opened this week at Theater Wit in Chicago.

    Theater events: 'Seven Homeless Mammoths' opens at Theater WitMar 21, 2014 12:00 AM
    “Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England,” an “academic sex comedy” by Madeleine George, opened this week at Theater Wit in Chicago. TUTA Chicago presents "The Jewels," its world premiere adaptation of Guy de Maupassant's short story; Fox Valley Rep's artistic director John Gawlik directs Gift Theatre's "Thinner Than Water;" and About Face Theatre and Silk Road Rising collaboratie on "Brahman/i: A One Hijra Stand Up Comedy Show" this week in Chicago-area theater.

     
  • Self-described cat person Betty (Penny Slusher) brings a smile to the face of grieving dog-lover Dan (John Mahoney) in Christian O’Reilly’s “Chapatti,” in its world premiere at Northlight Theatre.

    John Mahoney, Penny Slusher a well-matched duo in ‘Chapatti’ Mar 19, 2014 12:00 AM
    Even the most ardent animal lovers recognize that all the love and affection pets provide sometimes isn’t enough. Humans need more, as evidenced by Dan (John Mahoney) and Betty (Penny Slusher), the good-hearted yet desperately lonely pet owners in “Chapatti,” Irish playwright Christian O’Reilly’s two-hander about late-in-life love playing the Northlight Theatre in Skokie.

     
  • ‘Anne Frank,’ ‘Doubt’ part of Writers new seasonMar 19, 2014 12:00 AM
    As work begins on Writers Theatre’s new home, officials from the Glencoe theater announced Wednesday the three plays of their new season. The productions will be split between the 50-seat Books on Vernon, 664 Vernon Ave., and the Glencoe United Church, 263 Park Ave.

     
  • Anika Nims portrays Emma and Joey McCall as Jekyll rehearse for Geneva High School’s musical, “Jekyll & Hyde.”

    Musical thriller ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ comes to Geneva High SchoolMar 19, 2014 12:00 AM
    It’s all a facade. Or so the song goes when Geneva Community High School showcases “Jekyll & Hyde,” a musical thriller that exposes the good and evil sides of human nature.

     
  • Tim Newell stars as comedian and Waukegan native Jack Benny in “Mr. Benny,” coming to Clockwise Theatre Jan. 30, 2015.

    Piven Workshop, Waukegan theater partner for classesMar 17, 2014 12:00 AM
    Waukegan’s Clockwise Theatre is bulking up its stage offerings, as well as announcing a partnership with the well-known Piven Theatre Workshop. The partnership with Piven, an Evanston-based theater and training center, will begin in the fall. Clockwise will hold after-school classes provided by Piven, whose alums include Jeremy Piven (son of the founders), John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Hope Davis, Jeff Garlin, Kate Walsh and Aidan Quinn.

     
  • Noel (Tosin Morohunfola), left, a struggling young man and new father, confesses to his mother (Jacqueline Williams) about what he’s done in a moment of desperation in Marcus Gardley’s “The Gospel of Lovingkindness,” in its world premiere at Victory Gardens Theater.

    ‘Gospel’ a wrenching portrait of violence and lossMar 14, 2014 12:00 AM
    “The Gospel of Lovingkindness” doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know about gun violence. Marcus Gardley’s elegiac drama — in a superbly acted world premiere at Victory Gardens Theater — examines the tragedy of a Chicago teen cut down in his prime. It shows us the after effects: the family’s profound grief; the community’s well-intentioned concern; and the politicians’ knee-jerk response.

     
  • Joseph (Ace Young), right, wins over Pharaoh (Ryan Williams) in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” coming to Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre.

    Theater events: Former 'Idol' contestants star in 'Joseph'Mar 14, 2014 12:00 AM
    "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" returns with a pair of former "American Idol" contestants in the leads at the Cadillac Palace Theatre starting Tuesday, March 18. Plus, Blair Thomas & Company debut a new puppet show inspired by Edward Gorey's works, and funny nerds take over Stage 773, this week in Chicago theater.

     
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