‘Seinfeld’s’ Jason Alexander makes local stage debut in Chicago Shakes’ premiere

Comedic crisis of faith

“Seinfeld” veteran and Emmy and Tony Award-winner Jason Alexander makes his Chicago stage debut in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s premiere of “Judgment Day” by Peabody Award-winning television writer Rob Ulin. Alexander plays Sammy Campo, a morally bankrupt lawyer facing eternal damnation after a near-death experience. In an effort to redeem himself, he teams up with a Catholic priest who’s having his own crisis of faith. Previews at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, April 23-27, and April 30, and 2 p.m. April 28 at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. $41-$113. The show opens May 1. (312) 595-5600 or

Tiffany Topol plays singer/songwriter and pop music master Carole King in Paramount Theatre’s production of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” Courtesy of Amy Nelson

A ‘Beautiful’ revival

Singer/songwriter actor Tiffany Topol stars as Carole King in Paramount Theatre’s production of the popular jukebox tuner “Beautiful, The Carole King Musical,” chronicling the early career of the music phenom responsible for such pop classics as “I Feel the Earth Move,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “So Far Away” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” Artistic director Jim Corti co-directs with Johanna McKenzie Miller in her Paramount directing debut. Previews at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, April 24-25 and May 1- 2; 8 p.m. April 26; 3 and 8 p.m. April 27; and 1 and 5:30 p.m. April 28 at 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. The show opens May 3. $28-$79. (630) 896-6666 or

Encounter on a bridge

Shattered Globe Theatre concludes its 33rd season with the Midwest premiere of “Jump,” Charly Evon Simpson’s play about Fay, a woman grieving the loss of her mother and her childhood home, who seeks solace on a bridge where she encounters Hopkins, who is dealing with his own grief. SGT associate artistic director AmBer Montgomery directs. Previews at 8 p.m. Friday, April 19; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 20; and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 21, at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show opens Monday, April 22. $10-$52. (773) 975-8150 or

Harry Lennix as August Wilson

Congo Square Theatre Company, with Broadway in Chicago, presents the local premiere of “How I Learned What I Learned,” an autobiographical show about Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson. Harry Lennix, temporarily on hiatus from Steppenwolf Theatre’s “Purpose,” plays Wilson in the show, which finds the writer recounting stories from his career and reflecting on the lessons he learned about being a Black artist in America. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 20, and run through May 5 at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St., Chicago. $45-$65.

A contemporary ‘Hamlet’

Red Theater’s contemporary production of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” unfolds in an intimate, in-the-round setting under director Wyatt Kent. Ashley Fox plays the titular prince. Previews at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, April 24-25, at The Edge off-Broadway, 1133 W. Catalpa Ave., Chicago. The show opens April 26. $10, $25.

Star-crossed lovers

After meeting at a party, romance blossoms between beekeeper Roland and physicist Marianne, but it doesn’t last. Later, after running into each other at a ballroom dance class, they rekindle their relationship and marry, but their happiness is short-lived in British writer Nick Payne’s “Constellations.” Bethany Mangum-Oles directs Kane Repertory Theatre’s revival of the two-hander. Performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 25-27 and May 2-4, and 2 p.m. April 28 and May 5 at Hunt House Creative Arts Center, 113 E. Main St., St. Charles. $35 adults, $20 students.

Audrey Francis, left, Tim Hopper, Nate Santana and Paloma Nozicka rehearse for Steppenwolf Theatre's Chicago premiere of “The Thanksgiving Play.” Courtesy of Joel Moorman

Satire that stings

Four well-intentioned theater artists try to create a Thanksgiving pageant for elementary school students that won’t offend anyone (but seems destined to offend everyone) in Larissa FastHorse’s social satire “The Thanksgiving Play” in its Chicago premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre. Jess McLeod directs ensemble members Audrey Francis and Tim Hopper, Nate Santana and Glenview native Paloma Nozicka. Previews at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, April 25-26, and May 1-3; 3 and 7:30 p.m. April 27 and May 4; and 3 p.m. April 28 at the Ensemble Theater, 1646 N. Halsted St., Chicago. The show opens May 5. Tickets start at $20. (312) 335-1650 or

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