Theater events: Williams Street Rep's 'Love Letters' for Valentine's Day
Williams Street Repertory commemorates Valentine's Day with a revival of A.R. Gurney's "Love Letters." Through letters, the two-hander chronicles the lifelong friendship and romance between an uptight man and a free-spirited woman. Robin M. Hughes, resident director at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights, directs Shannon Mayhall and Frank Gaughan. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 9-10, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, at 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. $15. (847) 356-9212 or rauecenter.org or wsrep.org.
Courtesy of Adam Blaszkiewicz
A love letter
A woman leaves her job and ends her failing relationship after she finds herself unexpectedly pregnant in "Breach: a manifesto on race in america through the eyes of a black girl recovering from self-hate," Antoinette Nwandu's comedy about friendship, family and motherhood. Lisa Portes directs Victory Gardens Theater's production starring Caren Blackmore as Margaret, who gets support from a sassy aunt and a new friend. Previews at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9; 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10; 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11; and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13-15 at 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. The show opens Feb. 16. $15-$60. (773) 871-3000 or victorygardens.org.
An eccentric French countess battles corrupt businessmen who plot to dig up the streets of Paris so they can access oil they believe lies beneath them in "The Madwoman of Chaillot," a 1945 satire by Jean Giraudoux that still resonates today. Joseph Jefferson Award-winner Elaine Carlson plays the titular role in Promethean Theatre Ensemble's production directed by artistic associate John Arthur Lewis. Previews at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 9-10; 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11; and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15-16 at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. The show opens Feb. 17. $17-$27. (773) 935-6875 or prometheantheatre.org.
Other theater events
• Mercury Theater Chicago salutes the late, great comedic actress Gilda Radner with "Bunny, Bunny: Gilda Radner -- A Sort of Love Story" adapted from the book by former "Saturday Night Live" co-writer Alan Zweibel chronicling their longtime friendship. Dana Tretta (who appeared at Marriott, Paramount and Writers theaters) stars as Gilda opposite Jackson Evans (a Marriott and Drury Lane Theatre veteran) as Alan. Performances begin Friday, Feb. 9, at 3745 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. (773) 325-1700 or mercurytheaterchicago.com.
• The members of a high school girls soccer team ponder topics grand and insignificant in "The Wolves," an off-Broadway hit by Sarah DeLappe in its Chicago-area premiere at Goodman Theatre. Vanessa Stalling makes her Goodman directing debut with the play, which begins previews Friday, Feb. 9, at 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. The show opens Feb. 20. (312) 443-3800 or goodmantheatre.org.
• Previews begin Friday, Feb. 9, at Collaboraction Studios, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, for Chimera Ensemble's world premiere of "Cam Baby." Jessica Moss' comedy centers on blogger Clara and her boyfriend Tim, whose roommates set the couple up to be the unwitting subjects of online voyeurs. Jesse Roth directs the show, which opens Saturday, Feb. 10. During the run, Chimera Ensemble will collect clothing and monetary donations for The Grateful Garment, an organization that assists victims of sexual assault. See chimeraensemble.com.
• Eta Creative Arts Foundation celebrates activist icon Bayard Rustin, who championed Civil Rights for people of color and members of the LGBTQ community in "Eye of the Storm," a new musical by McKinley Johnson and Marshall Titus recommended for ages 15 and older. Performances begin Friday, Feb. 9, at 7558 S. South Chicago Ave., Chicago. (773) 752-3955 or etacreativearts.org.
• Connie Oshana and Sarah Magnuson, known collectively as Night Moves, host their adults-only variety show "Nightcap" at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, through March 2 at the Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Also at the Annoyance, Zack Mast's satirical "American Carnage: A Solo Reading of Select Screenplays by Stephen K. Bannon" runs at 8 p.m. Mondays through Feb. 19. Lastly, "The Deerfield Inn," a one-act dark comedy about pals tasked with dropping off a TV at a mysterious motel, runs at 8 p.m. Wednesdays through March 14. (773) 697-9693 or theannoyance.com.
• The Gift Theatre hosts a family-friendly, 1950s-inspired Cupid Ball fundraiser beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, at St. Patrick's High School, 5900 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Tickets are $85 for couples, $50 for singles. The event includes dancing and desserts. Proceeds benefit Gift programming, new play development and arts education. See thegifttheatre.org.
• Otherworld Theatre Company, founded in 2012 to theatricalize science fiction and fantasy tales, presents "Moon, Prism, Power! A Sailor Moon Parody," a musical adaptation of the Japanese manga series centered on a superheroine. Performances run Saturday, Feb. 10, through Sunday, Feb. 18, at Nox Arca Theatre, 4001 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago. See otherworldtheatre.org.
• Chicago Opera Theater stages "Elizabeth Cree," an opera set in Victorian London and based on Peter Ackroyd's "The Trial of Elizabeth Cree," from Saturday, Feb. 10, through Sunday, Feb. 18, at the Studebaker Theater, 410 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. The opera, by composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell, tells the story of a woman on trial for murdering her husband. Katherine Pracht stars in the titular role. David Schweizer directs. (312) 704-8414 or chicagooperatheater.org.
• Hiccup Cabaret hosts Dark Desires, an alternative, adults-only St. Valentine's Day cabaret and wine tasting at 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, at the Uptown Underground, 4707 N. Broadway St., Chicago. See uptownunderground.net.
• A literary salon featuring authors Rosellen Brown, Janet Burroway and Stuart Dybek and hosted by Sideshow Theatre Company examines the role of the storyteller in politically charged times. Why Story Matters Now: Fiction in a Time of Political Chaos takes place at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, at 2664 N. Greenview Ave., Chicago. Tickets are $150 ($100 tax-deductible) and include light refreshments and a reception with the panelists. Proceeds benefit the theater. See sideshowtheatre.org/story.
• Previews begin Wednesday, Feb. 14, for redtwist theatre's production of "Surely Goodness and Mercy," Chisa Hutchinson's drama about a young man who befriends his school's cranky lunch lady who's battling Multiple Sclerosis. Redtwist is participating in the National New Play Network's rolling world premiere of the drama, which opens Feb. 17 at 1044 W. Bryn Mawr, Chicago. Wardell Julius Clark directs. (773) 728-7529 or redtwist.org.
• Steppenwolf Theatre Company presents the world premiere of "The Burn," Philip Dawkins' examination of high school bullying against the backdrop of a student production of "The Crucible." Presented by Steppenwolf for Young Adults, the play runs from Wednesday, Feb. 14, through March 3 at 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago. Public performances are Feb. 17, 23 and 24 and March 2 and 3. The production is appropriate for ages 9 and older. (312) 335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.
• "Love Never Dies," Andrew Lloyd Webber's sequel to "The Phantom of the Opera," comes to Chicago. Set 10 years after the original, it finds the Phantom living in Coney Island, New York, and still pining for his protégé, Christine. The national tour plays the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago, from Wednesday, Feb. 14, through March 4. Gardar Thor Cortes plays The Phantom opposite Meghan Picerno's Christine. (800) 775-2000 or loveneverdies.com or broadwayinchicago.com.
• Scenes created by some of The Second City's most famous African-American alumni -- including Keegan-Michael Key, Sam Richardson and Amber Ruffin -- will be featured during "The Second City's Black History Month Show." It runs at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14, 21 and 28, at the E.T.C. Theater, Piper's Alley, 230 W. North Ave., Chicago. (312) 337-3992 or secondcity.com.
• Pride Films and Plays celebrates Valentine's Day with "My Dear Boy: Gay Love Letters Through the Centuries," consisting of performers reading letters taken from Rictor Norton's 1997 anthology. The performance takes place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14, at 4147 N. Broadway St., Chicago. See pridefilmsandplays.com.
• Just in time for Valentine's Day, horror theater ensemble WildClaw Theatre Company presents "Open Heart Surgery 2: Invasive Procedures A Salon of Medical Horrors" on Feb. 14. An examination of matters of the heart, lungs and liver, the WildClaw show is part of Steppenwolf Theatre's LookOut Series at 1700 Theatre, 1700 N. Halsted St., Chicago. Showtime is 8 p.m. (312) 335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.
• The iO Comedy Network presents Movie Night, a new series showcasing video sketches from the Chicago and Los Angeles ensembles on the second Wednesday of the month, beginning at 10 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14, at 1501 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago. (312) 929-2401 or ioimprov.com.
• Genesis Theatrical Productions presents two one-woman musicals celebrating iconic actress Greta Garbo and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper written by Jillann Gabrielle with Michael Termine. Gabrielle stars in "Hedda! A Musical Conversation" and "The Garbo The Musical" -- cabaret-style musicals that will run in repertory beginning Thursday, Feb. 15, at The Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. "Hedda" chronicles the writer's life and "Garbo" unfolds in the 1970s as the aging former star obsesses over two former lovers. (773) 935-6835 or athenaeumtheatre.org.
• The League of Chicago Theatre's Theatre Thursday series continues Thursday, Feb. 15, at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, with a performance of "Breach: a manifesto on race in america through the eyes of a black girl recovering from self-hate." Tickets are $15 for the event, which includes a post-show discussion with Planned Parenthood examining women's health care rights. See chicagoplays.com.
• The New Colony has extended its world premiere of "The Light," Loy Webb's romantic drama about a newly engaged couple forced to confront a secret. Performances run through Feb. 25 at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. See thenewcolony.org.
• Court Theatre has extended its revival of Arthur Miller's "All My Sons" directed by artistic director Charles Newell and starring Kate Collins, John Judd and Timothy Edward Kane. Performances run through Feb. 18 at 5535 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago. (773) 753-4472 or courtheatre.org.
• Buffalo Theatre Ensemble announced the addition of two new ensemble members: actor Kelli Walker ("Good People") and composer/sound designer Christopher Kriz, who wrote the music and designed sound for BTE's current production of "Time Stands Still." BTE also announced the company received a $20,000 grant from the DuPage Foundation to support its current production and the upcoming "Outside Mullingar" (May 3-June 3).
• Sideshow Theatre Company announced the playwrights for the Freshness Initiative, the company's commissioning and new play development program, now in its fourth year. The 2018 program features "Pro-Am" by Brynne Frauenhoffer and "Lorca Play" by Ariel Zetina. Free readings take place in July at Victory Gardens Theater. Sideshow also welcomed new ensemble members, actor Katy Carolina Collins and director Elly Green, as well as new artistic associates: company manager and casting director Brittany Ducksworth, composer Michael Huey, actor/director Ian Martin, director/dramaturg Gabrielle Randle and production manager Ellen Willett.