Janus examines 'Art'

Janus Theatre opens its 19th season with a revival of "Art," Yasmina Reza's three-hander examining the prickly, ever-shifting alliances between three longtime male friends. Directed by artistic director Sean Hargadon, who co-stars alongside Michael Wagman and Justin Schaller, "Art" centers around the falling-out that occurs after one of the men buys a pricey, all-white painting. The purchase befuddles the others, causing all three to rethink their friendship. Opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, at the Elgin Artspace Lofts, 51 S. Spring St., Elgin. $18. janusplays.com.

Marriott's Grimm tale

Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences presents Marc Robin's musical adaptation of "Sleeping Beauty," starring Elizabeth Telford as the slumbering Princess Amber, Meghan Murphy as the sorceress who has cursed her and Garrett Lutz as her would-be rescuer, Prince Hunter. Scott Weinstein directs and choreographs. Previews begin at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 10, at 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire. The show opens Nov. 18. $17.23. (847) 634-0200 or marriotttheatre.com.

'Earnest' revival

Writers Theatre revives "The Importance of Being Earnest," Oscar Wilde's comedy of manners examining morality, marriage and Victorian social rules. Alex Goodrich and Steve Haggard play upper-crust bachelors Jack and Algernon, who created fictional alter-egos to indulge their more libertine impulses and avoid inconvenient social obligations. Jennifer Latimore and Rebecca Hurd play their beloveds, Gwendolyn and Cecily. Shannon Cochran co-stars as Gwendolyn's formidable mother, Lady Bracknell, a role historically played by a male actor. Previews continue at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and 2 and 6 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday, Nov. 14. The show opens Wednesday, Nov. 15, at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. $35-$80. (847) 242-6000 or writerstheatre.org.

Other theater events

• "Tony n' Tina's Wedding" cast members will collect baby care items (bottles, clothing, diapers, etc.) to benefit needy expectant mothers before the 7 p.m. performance on Friday, Nov. 10. The proceeds will go to the charity Aid for Women. In exchange for donations, theatergoers will receive a buy-one ticket, get the second ticket half-off with a special code. Radio personality Showbiz Shelly of B96 will join the cast that night. Performances take place at Resurrection Church, 3309 N. Seminary Ave., Chicago, and at Chicago Theater Works, 1113 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. (312) 391-0404 or tonylovestina.com.

• Filament Theatre and Six Corners Association collaborate on a theatrical piece that chronicles the history of the Six Corners Shopping District located on Chicago's Northwest side. "Crossing Six Corners" runs Friday through Sunday, Nov. 10-12, at 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Tickets cost $20 except for the $50 opening-night performance Friday, which includes cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. See filamenttheatre.org.

Buffalo Grove native Leah Davis, left, Jaquelyne Jones, Liz Chidester and Camille Robinson star in Firebrand Theatre's inaugural production and Chicago-area premiere of the musical "Lizzie." Courtesy of Joe Mazza

• Firebrand Theatre, a new musical theater company "committed to employing and empowering women by expanding opportunities on and off the stage," presents its inaugural production "Lizzie," a musical about the woman suspected of murdering her parents with an ax in 1892. The tale is set to a rock score by Steven Cheslik-deMeyer and Alan Stevens Hewitt, with lyrics by Cheslik-deMeyer and Tim Maner. Liz Chidester stars as Lizzie in the production directed by Victoria Bussert. Previews begin Saturday, Nov. 11, at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The show opens Tuesday, Nov. 14. See firebrandtheatre.org.

• The Agency Theater Collective revives Will Kern's holiday favorite "Hellcab," about the frustrating, funny and frightening experiences of a Chicago taxi driver working his shift on the day before Christmas. Previews begin Saturday, Nov. 11, at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The show, starring character actress Rusty Schwimmer ("Louie," "The Sessions," "Runaway Jury"), opens Nov. 17. (773) 697-3830 or wearetheagency.org.

• The Raue Center, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake, hosts the dance ensemble Ballets with a Twist at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11. The group performs "Cocktail Hour: The Show" featuring numbers inspired by classic cocktails. (815) 356-9212 or rauecenter.org or balletswithatwist.com.

• The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, celebrates the holidays with its annual Christmas pageant. The two-act show pairs family-friendly classics "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." In the former, Charlie seeks the true meaning of Christmas amid seasonal commercialization and in the latter, a young runaway reindeer learns that "it's OK to be different from the pack." The pageant opens at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11. Also at The Annoyance, the adults-only, holiday version of "Burlesque is More Presents: Nice N' Naughty" opens Saturday, Nov. 11. (773) 697-9693 or theannoyance.com.

• Performances begin Sunday, Nov. 12, for Emerald City Theatre's Chicago premiere of "Ken Ludwig's 'Twas the Night Before Christmas" at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St., Chicago. Ludwig's family-friendly twist on the classic tale centers on the efforts of a young girl, an elf and a pair of dancing mice to locate Santa's missing "Naughty or Nice" list. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.

• A Red Orchid Theatre hosts its 25th anniversary celebration and fundraiser from 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12, at Germania Place, 108 W. Germania Place, Chicago. The event honoring founding ensemble member Michael Shannon and board member Christian Chadd Taylor includes dinner, dancing, and live and silent auctions. Tickets are $250. (312) 943-8722 or aredorchidtheatre.org.

• Porchlight Revisits, Porchlight Music Theatre's series devoted to rarely revived musicals, opens its fifth season with "Woman of the Year," the John Kander and Fred Ebb musical based on the Katharine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy film. The opposites-attract plot centers on a pair of wildly different newspaper reporters (she covers foreign affairs, he's a sports writer) whose commitment to their work and independent spirits make for a rocky romance. Meghan Murphy and Brandon Dahlquist star in the staged concert directed by Michael Weber. It runs Tuesday through Thursday, Nov. 14-16, at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. (773) 777-9884 or porchlightmusictheatre.org.

• Previews begin Wednesday, Nov. 15, for redtwist theatre's Chicago-area premiere of "I Saw My Neighbor on the Train and I Didn't Even Smile" by Suzanne Heathcote. The dysfunctional family drama centers on three generations of women who "disrupt each other's lives, then drastically change each other's worlds." The show, directed by Erin Murray, opens Nov. 18 at 1044 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago. (773) 728-7529 or redtwist.org.

• Citadel Theatre premieres "Scrooge and the Ghostly Spirits," a new musical by writer/composer Doug Post adapted from Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." Frank Farrell stars as Ebenezer Scrooge in the production directed by Citadel artistic director Scott Phelps. Previews begin Wednesday, Nov. 15, at 300 S. Waukegan Road, Lake Forest. The show opens Nov. 17. See citadeltheatre.org.

• The Neo-Futurists celebrate their 10,000th play during a fundraiser from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, at CH Distillery, 564 W. Randolph St., Chicago. Tickets are $25 for 10,000 Proof: A New-Futurist Happy Hour & Celebration, which includes music, performances, food and cocktails. See neofuturists.org.

• For the 16th year, American Blues Theater presents its production of "It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!" a radio play adaptation of Frank Capra's beloved film about a small-town man who discovers how large he looms in the lives of his family and friends. Gwendolyn Whiteside directs the production, which begins previews Thursday, Nov. 16. The show, which incorporates Foley effects, original music and classic holiday carols, opens Nov. 18 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. (773) 327-5252 or americanbluestheater.com.

• "Crystal," an examination of ice by Cirque du Soleil featuring skating and acrobatics, begins performances Thursday, Nov. 16, at the Sears Centre Arena, 5333 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates. Performances run through Nov. 19. (888) 732-7784 or searscentre.com.

Jonathan Wilson and Samantha Attaguile star in Chicago Fringe Opera's "As One." Courtesy of Wendy Alas

• Chicago Fringe Opera presents the Chicago-area premiere of composer Laura Kaminsky's coming-of-age opera "As One," about a transgender woman. Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed wrote the libretto for the 2014 opera. Baritone Jonathan Wilson and mezzo-soprano Samanta Attaguile star in the production, which runs Thursday, Nov. 16, through Nov. 19 at the Hoover-Leppen Theatre at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., Chicago. (773) 472-6469 or chicagofringeopera.com.

• Storyteller Mike Daisey returns to Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, for a brief run. Daisy performs "This is Not Normal," a meditation on the nation's current political and cultural state, on Thursday, Nov. 16. He examines "The End of Journalism" on Nov. 17 and concludes his stay by unpacking "The White Man's Burden" on Nov. 18. Performances are at 8 p.m. (773) 975-8150 or theaterwit.org.

• New Millennium Theatre Company hosts a fundraiser beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Tickets are $30 and include refreshments, a raffle and a performance of "Deadpool Andronicus," by writer/director Alex B. Reynolds, who imagines the comic book antihero narrating William Shakespeare's tale of murder and revenge. See nmtchicago.org.

• A rotating cast of iO Chicago improvisers perform the new, improvised one-act play "Three-Way: Date Night," which the actors perform three times in a row until "all hell breaks loose or someone finds a happy ending." The show runs at 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Nov. 29 at 1501 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago. Also at iO, the return of the adults-only "Youth Group: A Skit Comedy Show," about a pair of earnest pastors who perform skits to teach moral lessons to their youth group. The show runs at 10:30 p.m. Saturdays through Nov. 25. (312) 929 2401 or ioimprov.com/chicago.

• The Annoyance Theatre presents "Iggy and Bowie in Berlin," a comedy riff on David Bowie and Iggy Pop's time in West Berlin in 1976, when they shared a flat and experimented with synthesizers. It runs at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Dec. 28 at 851 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. (773) 697-9693 or theannoyance.com.

• Pride Films and Plays announced the extension of "His Greatness," Daniel MacIvor's fictionalized account of Tennessee Williams near the end of his life, when his loyal assistant and a street hustler vie for power and the playwright's love and loyalty. Performances run through Nov. 18 at 4147 N. Broadway, Chicago. (800) 737-0984 or pridefilmsandplays.com.

• A Red Orchid Theater has extended its production of "Evening at the Talk House," playwright Wallace Shawn's dark dystopian comedy about a group of theater artists who reunite 10 years after an unsuccessful production, in a world where live theater has all but vanished. Performances run through Nov. 26 at 1531 N. Wells St., Chicago. (312) 943-8722 or aredorchidtheatre.org.

• About Face Theatre seeks submissions for 2018's Out Front Series, its annual workshop series showcasing in-development works examining LGBTQ themes with an emphasis on LGBTQ women-identified playwrights. The submission deadline is Dec. 31. To apply, email full scripts and bios to literary@aboutfacetheatre.com with "Babes on Stage" in the subject line followed by the play's title and the author's name. Writers can also mail submissions to About Face at 5252 N. Broadway St., Chicago, IL 60640. See aboutfacetheatre.com.

• Raven Theatre announced the appointment of associate artistic director and nine-year Raven veteran Cody Estle as the company's new artistic director. Estle, former artistic assistant at Northlight Theatre in Skokie, replaces co-founders Michael Menendian and JoAnn Montemurro, who led the company since founding it in 1983. Estle has "an intimate knowledge of the theater's long history, as well as an unmatched enthusiasm for theater's ability to tell the important stories of our times and of our communities," said Raven Theatre board president Walter Pophin in a prepared statement.

• Court Theatre announced executive director Stephen J. Albert has stepped down after more than eight years with the company. During that time Court added world premieres of new adaptations to its schedule, expanded the budget by 50 percent and expanded community engagement. "I am very proud with what Charlie, the Court's staff and board and the University of Chicago, working together have achieved at Court Theatre over the past years. There is a generational transfer in leadership taking place in theatres across the country and this is my time," said Albert in a prepared statement."