On stage: Chicago Shakespeare stages 'A Man of Good Hope,' Steppenwolf revives 'Brothers Size'

  • As part of its WorldStage series, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents Isango Ensemble's "A Man of Good Hope," based on the book by Jonny Steinberg and adapted and directed by Mark Dornford-May.

    As part of its WorldStage series, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents Isango Ensemble's "A Man of Good Hope," based on the book by Jonny Steinberg and adapted and directed by Mark Dornford-May. Courtesy of Keith Pattinson

Updated 10/5/2019 7:20 AM

• The ensemble Mexico Beyond Mariachi brings its production of "Sugar Skull! A Dia de los Muertos Musical Adventure" to the McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage for one performance at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4. Recommended for ages 6 and older, the show is about a young girl and the candy skeleton who educates her on the meaning of the Day of the Dead. The MAC is located at 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. (630) 942-4000 or atthemac.org.

• For the first time since its 2010 Chicago premiere, Steppenwolf Theatre stages "The Brothers Size," the second part of ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney's ("Moonlight") trilogy "The Brother/Sister Plays." Presented as part of the company's young adults series, "The Brothers Size" is an examination of brotherhood through the eyes of hardworking Ogun Size and his younger brother Oshoosi Size, who has recently been released from prison. The preview is Friday, Oct. 4, at 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago. The show opens Saturday, Oct. 5. (312) 335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.

Patrick Agada, left, Manny Buckley and Rashaad Hall rehearse for Steppenwolf Theatre's young adults production of "The Brothers Size," by ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney.
Patrick Agada, left, Manny Buckley and Rashaad Hall rehearse for Steppenwolf Theatre's young adults production of "The Brothers Size," by ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney. - Courtesy of Lowell Thomas

• Performances begin Friday, Oct. 4, for Chicago Shakespeare Theater's WorldStage production of "A Man of Good Hope," courtesy of South Africa's Isango Ensemble. Adapted from Jonny Steinberg's novel, the coming-of-age play with music centers on orphaned Somali boy Asad Abdullahi, who fled his war-torn country and traveled thousands of miles through various African countries eventually winding up in South Africa working in an impoverished township. Performances run through Oct. 13 at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. (312) 595-5600 or chicagoshakes.com.

• Performances begin Friday, Oct. 4, for The Agency Theatre Collective's production of "Blonde Poison," a thriller by ensemble member Cindy Henkin based on the true story of Stella Kubler, a Jewish, blue-eyed blonde who made a deal with the Nazis to catch fellow Jews who were in hiding during the Holocaust. The production, directed by Sara Faye Richmond, runs through Nov. 3 at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. See wearetheagency.org.

• "Late Nite Catechism" co-creator Vicki Quade debuts her new interactive show "Holy Ghost Bingo: God Goblins & Games" Friday, Oct. 4, at the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St., Chicago. In this seasonal incarnation, former nun Mary Margaret O'Brien hosts the fictional fundraiser that incorporates Catholic humor, Halloween trivia, bingo and candy. Performances run through Nov. 10. (312) 988-9000 or nuns4fun.com.

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• The Dramatic Improv Festival takes place from Friday through Sunday, Oct. 4-6, at three Chicago locations: Laugh Out Loud Theater, 3851 N. Lincoln Ave.; Pendulum Space, 1803 W. Byron St.; and Rast Space, 1803 W. Byron St. Devoted to dramatic and narrative improvisation, the mini-fest includes 20 performances and 13 workshops. Tickets range from $5 to $15. See dramaticimprovfest.com.

• BrightSide Theatre hosts a Las Vegas-inspired fundraiser titled Let the Good Times Roll from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, at the Hyatt Regency Lisle, 1400 Corporetum Drive, Lisle. The evening includes cocktails, dinner, music, live and silent auctions and casino games. (630) 447-8497 or brightsidetheatre.com.

• Previews continue for The Barrens Theatre Company's premiere of "Bloody Bathory," an immersive/interactive thriller by Millie Rose about a 16th-century countess and serial killer who drinks the blood of virgins to keep herself young. The show opens Oct. 11 at the Epworth United Methodist Church, 5253 N. Kenmore Ave., Chicago. Taking its name from Stephen King's "It," The Barrens examines fear and how we cope with it. See thebarrenstheatreco.com.

• Theater residencies at Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago, continue Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4-5, with selections from Collaboraction Theatre Company's 2019 Peacebook Festival featuring theater, dance and spoken-word performances all about peace. Performances take place at Cloud Gate Plaza. Admission is free. See millenniumpark.org.

Yajaira Custodio, left, Jocelyn Sanchez, Daniela Martinez and Andreece Nikudinovski appear in Vision Latino Theatre and Jedlicka Performing Arts Center's co-production of the musical "In The Heights."
Yajaira Custodio, left, Jocelyn Sanchez, Daniela Martinez and Andreece Nikudinovski appear in Vision Latino Theatre and Jedlicka Performing Arts Center's co-production of the musical "In The Heights." - Courtesy of Gigi Wood

• Vision Latino Theatre and Jedlicka Performing Arts Center have teamed up for a revival of Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical "In the Heights," about the residents of the changing, New York City neighborhood Washington Heights over several sweltering summer days. Previews begin Saturday, Oct. 5, at The Jedlicka Performing Arts Center at Morton College, 3801 S. Central Ave., Cicero. The show, directed by Xavier M. Custodio, opens Monday, Oct. 7. (708) 656-1800 or jpactheatre.com.

• Destinos, the 3rd Chicago International Latino Theater Festival continues with the sci-fi, Latino noir solo show "Aliens, Immigrants & Other Evildoers." Created by its star Jose Torres-Tama, the show examines anti-immigrant hysteria. Performances are at 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 5-6, at the National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St., Chicago. The festival also includes the Midwest premiere of "Daughter of a Cuban Revolutionary," a one-woman show by Marissa Chibas, co-produced with Goodman Theatre, about three important figures in her life: her father, who co-wrote the Cuban manifesto; her presidential candidate uncle Eddy and her Miss Cuba runner-up mother. Performances run Tuesday, Oct. 8, to Sunday, Oct. 13, at 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. (312) 631-3112 or clata.org.

• A live version of the long-running TV comedy series "Mystery Science Theater 3000" comes to the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago, for one performance. Star and creator Joel Hodgson hosts the 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, engagement, which includes a screening of the film "No Retreat, No Surrender" about a teen who masters martial arts under the tutelage of Bruce Lee's ghost. See mst3klive.com or broadwayinchicago.com.

• Barrel of Monkeys puts a spooky twist on its long-running show, whose sketches are adapted from stories by Chicago elementary school students. "That's Weird, Grandma: Goes Trick or Treating," which includes stories about ghosts and haunted orphanages, previews Sunday, Oct. 6, at 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago. The production opens Oct. 13 and runs through Nov. 3. (773) 506-7140 or barrelofmonkeys.org.

• Blue Man Group hosts its sixth annual autism-friendly performance at 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, at the Briar Street Theatre, 3133 N. Halsted St., Chicago. To that end, the lobby will feature bean bag chairs, dim lighting and quiet corners for people who need a sensory break. Sound levels during the show will be reduced and noise isolating headphones will be available upon request. Tickets are $44, with $5 from every ticket going to autism advocacy organizations including Autism Speaks and Naperville's Turning Pointe Autism Foundation. See blueman.com/chisensory.

• Hell comes to Chitown is how press materials describe WildClaw Theatre's new zombie western "Hell Followed With Her," Bill Daniel's horror tale about a vengeful woman who arrives in a small Texas town with the undead in tow. Previews begin Monday, Oct. 7, at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The show, directed by Josh Zagoren, opens Oct. 11. See wildclawtheatre.com.

• UrbanTheater Company premieres "Back in the Day," a "house music dancesical" by artistic director Miranda Gonzalez inspired by Jose "Gringo" Echevarria's memoir "The Real Dance Fever: Book One." Produced in association with Destinos, the 3rd Chicago International Latino Theater Festival, the play chronicles Chicago's urban dance and music scene during the 1980s. Performances begin Tuesday, Oct. 8, at Batey Urbano, 2620 W. Division St., Chicago. See urbantheaterchicago.org.

• Previews begin Wednesday, Oct. 9, for redtwist theatre's revival of Jane Martin's "Keely & Du," in which an anti-abortion rights activist kidnaps a pregnant rape victim leading to each of them confronting the circumstances and ideologies that separate them. Director Ted Hoerl's production, featuring ensemble member Jacqueline Grandt as Du, opens Oct. 14 at 1044 Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago. (773) 728-7529 or redtwist.org.

• The Chicago Magic Lounge continues its artist-in-residence series with magician Carisa Hendrix's new show, "Indulgence with Lucy Darling," a combination of magic, comedy and improv. It runs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, beginning Oct. 9 through Dec. 18, at 5050 N. Clark St., Chicago. Also at the venue, the Close-Up Show runs at 7:30 p.m. Mondays. (312) 366-4500 or chicagomagiclounge.com.

• A Red Orchid Theatre opens its season with the premiere of "Grey House," a horror tale by ensemble member Levi Holloway. In it, a couple involved in a car wreck in the Oregon mountains seeks shelter from a snowstorm in a cabin inhabited by four children who are not as innocent as they appear. Ensemble member Shade Murray directs. Previews begin Thursday, Oct. 10, at 1531 N. Wells St., Chicago. The show opens Oct. 19. (312) 943-8722 or aredorchidtheatre.org.

• "A Man of No Importance" is a musical by Stephen Flaherty, Lynn Ahrens and Terrence McNally about a Dublin bus driver and Oscar Wilde enthusiast determined to stage a production of Wilde's "Salome" with his community theater group. Pride Films & Plays' revival begins previews Thursday, Oct. 10, at 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago. The show opens Oct. 14. (773) 857-0222 or pridefilmsandplays.com.

• The ghostly cries of a murdered teenager haunt a group of friends, one of whom is responsible for her death, in "Language of Angels" by Naomi Iizuka. In keeping with the season, Three Crows revives the psychological whodunit beginning Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Piven Theatre Workshop, 927 Noyes St., Evanston. Performances run through Nov. 3. (312) 469-0274 or threecrowstheatre.com.

• Mercury Theater Chicago announced an extension of its production of "Spamalot," the hit musical inspired by the film comedy "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." Performances run through Dec. 29 at 3745 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. (773) 325-1700 or mercurytheaterchicago.com.

• In other theater news: Jason Geis, former artistic director for The pH Comedy Theater, has taken over as the artistic director of ComedySportz Chicago. James Yost, former co-artistic director of Interrobang Theatre Project, has been named the artistic director for Stage Left Theatre Company. Raven Theatre recently announced that its West Stage has been renamed the Sally and Mark Schwartz Stage in honor of the longtime donors whose support allowed the company to replace all 56 seats and update technical equipment in the space.

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