Spotlight: About Face Theatre streams its world premiere of 'Packing'
'Golden Girls' parody (finally)
After several delays, Hell in a Handbag Productions will begin streaming the latest version of its ongoing sitcom parody "The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes." Titled "Lockdown," artistic director David Cerda's show examines what happens when Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia are forced to quarantine after Blanche is exposed to Legionnaires' disease. Cerda, Grant Drager, Ed Jones and Ryan Oates star in director Spenser Davis' production. It begins streaming Friday, June 26, at stage773.com. Tickets are $20. See handbagproductions.org.
4 Chairs Theatre, a company founded by Metropolis Performing Arts Centre resident director Lauren Berman, livestreams "Cabaret Q: Pop Edition" at 7 p.m. Friday, June 27. The performance is a benefit for Circles and Ciphers, a restorative justice organization run by young people who've been exposed to violence. To access the performance, type 4 Chairs Theatre on YouTube.com.
Pride Films celebrates Pride Month
Pride Films and Plays presents an online reading of "The Last Sunday in June," Jonathan Tolin's look at gay life in the 1990s, at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 28. The reading takes place live on Zoom. PFP also presents a live online reading of "Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love," Bud Fraser's explicit, sexually charged thriller about people trying to negotiate their sexual frustration at a time when a serial killer is terrorizing the city. It takes place via Zoom at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 1. Tickets are $10 for each reading. They're available at pridearts.org. (773) 857-0222.
• About Face Theatre streams its world premiere of "Packing," artistic associate Scott Bradley's autobiographical show about family, addiction, survival and the search for self. Chay Yew directed the production, which streams through July 12 at aboutfacetheatre.com. Tickets are $15.
• Playmakers Laboratory celebrates Pride Month by streaming a version of its original sketch show retitled "That's Queer, Grandma." The show consists of stories by Chicago schoolchildren adapted for the stage by Playmakers ensemble members. Performances are streamed live at 8 p.m. Mondays through July 6. Donations are accepted. Proceeds will benefit Playmakers' arts education programs. See playmakerslab.org.
• Valhalla Media will stream a live performance of "Hansel and Gretel," 19th-century composer Engelbert Humperdinck's opera based on the Grimm Brothers fairy tale. Lyric Opera of Chicago's Emily Fons and Emily Pogorelc play the titular siblings in the production, which takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 27, at the Studebaker Theatre in Chicago without an audience and with performers and instrumentalists properly physically distanced. The suggested admission is $14.99. See valhallamedia.live for tickets.
Congrats Jeff winners
Red Tape Theatre received six non-equity Joseph Jefferson Awards during Monday's virtual broadcast for its production of "All Quiet on the Western Front," including best play, ensemble, new work, sound, lighting and choreography. BoHo Theatre earned awards for best musical, direction, musical direction and two supporting performers for its revival of "Big Fish." Jackalope Theatre's "P.Y.G. or The Mis-Edumacation of Dorian Belle" received awards for play directing, principal performer in a play and projection design. The non-equity Jeff Awards honor excellence in nonunion Chicago theater. See the complete list at jeffawards.org.
Hail and farewell
• Mercury Theater recently announced on social media that it will permanently close as a result of the three-month shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The onetime Chicago movie theater reopened as a live theater in 2011 under artistic director L. Walter Stearns. Over the last nine years, the company produced 25 musicals including four world premieres.
• Longtime improv theater iO Chicago has closed permanently, owner Charna Halpern announced in an open email shared last week on social media. Halpern, who co-founded the long-form improvisational theater with the late Del Close, said the COVID-19 pandemic had taken a financial toll that made it impossible for her to reopen the business.
Other theater news
• Season of Concern, an organization that provides financial assistance to unemployed theater artists facing illness, injury and other challenges, recently donated $175,000 to The Actors Fund. The Actors Fund is a national human services organization established to provide emergency financial aid to all Chicago-area theater artists unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Raven Theatre named Markie Gray its new managing director. The former associate director of marketing and communications for Yale Repertory Theater, Gray is a First Floor Theater ensemble member who has spent six years in Chicago as a producer, production manager, educator and performer.