Theater events: "Imitation of Life" a parody of 1959 film

Updated 3/30/2018 11:14 PM
  • Robert Williams, left, and Ed Jones co-star in Hell in a Handbag's "L'imitation of Life," a parody of the 1959 melodrama "Imitation of Life."

    Robert Williams, left, and Ed Jones co-star in Hell in a Handbag's "L'imitation of Life," a parody of the 1959 melodrama "Imitation of Life." Courtesy of Rick Aguilar Studios

  • David Sajewich plays a confirmed bachelor contemplating marriage in Mercury Theater Chicago's revival of "Company."

    David Sajewich plays a confirmed bachelor contemplating marriage in Mercury Theater Chicago's revival of "Company."

• The Chicago Latino Theater Alliance and the Poetry Foundation showcase Latino artists during Lorca Alma Presente -- Lorca Forever, an evening of poetry and music inspired by Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca. Iraida Tapia, artistic director of Water People Theater, adapted and directed the event, which includes selections from "Blood Wedding," "Yerma," "Doa Rosita the Spinster" and other works. Actors and musicians from Aguijon Theater, Teatro Vista, Urban Theater and Water People participate in the event, which begins at 7 p.m. Friday, March 30, at 61 W. Superior St., Chicago. (312) 631-3112 or

• Previews begin Saturday, March 31, for Hell in a Handbag Productions "L'Imitation of Life," a parody of "Imitation of Life," a 1959 film about two mothers: a Caucasian woman determined to make it on Broadway whose daughter feels neglected and her African-American housekeeper whose light-skinned daughter tries to pass for white. Ricky Graham and Running with Scissors adapted the screenplay. The show opens April 7 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. (773) 327-5252 or

• Adventure Stage Chicago presents the world premiere of "Roots in the Alley" by Lucas Baisch. Developed in cooperation with the company and inspired by Baisch's own Guatemalan roots, the play is about sisters Honey and Blanca who discover their heritage through an online game. Previews begin Saturday, March 31, at Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble St., Chicago. The show opens April 7. (773) 342-4141 or

• Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, debuts its new quarterly Artists Professional Development Series beginning Monday, April 2. Hosted by Stage 773's young professionals board, the series consists of open forums for members of the public and theater artists to discuss inclusion and diversity, arts education and arts business. (773) 327-5252 or

• Chicago Kids Company brings its production of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Ugly Duckling" to the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights. Performances run Tuesday, April 3, through April 13. Also at the Metropolis, the interactive comedy "Late Nite Catechism" in which Sister instructs her students in church dogma, heaven and hell. The performance takes place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 5. Ticket are $30. (847) 577-2121 or

• Previews begin Tuesday, April 3, for Nothing Without a Company's production of "Cornerstone." Conceived by ensemble member Jake Fruend and written by Kevin Sparrow, this immersive production unfolds as a motivational and group awareness workshop during which the true intentions of the organization emerge. The show opens Thursday, April 5, at ArtSpace 8, 900 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. See

• Mercury Theater Chicago marks the opening of its renovated Venus Cabaret Theater with a revival of Stephen Sondheim's modern relationship musical "Company." Previews begin Thursday, April 5, at 3745 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. The production, directed by L. Walter Stearns with music direction by Eugene Dizon, opens April 13. It stars David Sajewich as confirmed bachelor Bobby, who uses the occasion of his 35th birthday to contemplate his single status and the pros and cons of marriage. (773) 325-1700 or

• Otherworld Theatre premieres D. Matthew Beyer's future-set drama "Down the Rocky Road and All the Way to Bedlam," about a family coping with the inevitable death of a daughter. The preview is Thursday, April 5, at Nox Arca Theatre, 4001 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago. The show opens April 6. See

• A new adaptation of J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan" titled "Neverland" opens Prop Thtr's 2018-2019 season. The show begins previews Oct. 25. It's followed on Jan. 12, 2019, with the 30th incarnation of the Rhinoceros Theatre Festival. Co-produced with Curious Theater Branch, Rhinofest showcases new and experimental works by local and national theater artists. Next up is "Behold, A Pale Horse" (March 8-April 7, 2019) devised by Prop Thtr's ensemble. Inspired by Peter S. Beagle's tale, it chronicles the final journey of a unicorn who is transformed into a human until someone recognizes who she really is. The season concludes March 15, 2019, with "2 Unfortunate 2 Travel," which imagines Thomas Nashe's 16th-century picaresque novel "The Unfortunate Traveller" -- about a man's encounters with people from history -- as a late-night cabaret performance. Performances take place at 3502 N. Elston Ave., Chicago. For subscription information, call (773) 742-5420 or see

• TimeLine Theatre Company announced its 22nd season will include a partnership with Firebrand Theatre on Firebrand's fall musical production. Meanwhile, TimeLine's season begins Aug. 30 with Barbara Lebow's "A Shayna Maidel" about sisters trying to reconnect after being separated during the Holocaust. Ensemble member Janet Ulrich Brooks stars in a revival of Terrence McNally's "Master Class" (Oct. 25-Dec. 9 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago), a portrait of aging opera diva Maria Callas framed by the master classes she conducted for young singers. Previews being Jan. 17, 2019, for TimeLine's Chicago-area premiere of Hansol Jung's "Cardboard Piano," about the daughter of American missionaries and a Ugandan teenage girl whose romantic union is threatened by the war waging around them. The season concludes with the Chicago-area premiere of Jireh Breon Holder's "Too Heavy for Your Pocket" (May 2-June 29, 2019). Set during the 1960s Civil Rights movement, the play examines what happens when a scholarship student leaves college and his family to become a Freedom Rider in the South. Performances, except for "Master Class," take place at 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago. Subscriptions range from $88 to $204. They're available at (773) 281-8463, ext. 6, or online at

• Chicago Shakespeare Theater recently announced the 14 productions making up its 2018-2019 season. The main stage season begins Sept. 20 with the North American premiere of "Nell Gwynn," Jessica Swale's comedy about a 17th-century actress who becomes the mistress of a king. That's followed by "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (Dec. 6-Jan. 27, 2019), helmed by Guthrie Theater's Joe Dowling, who directed the play for CST in 1999. Next up is the National Theatre of Great Britain's production of J.B. Priestley's mystery thriller "An Inspector Calls" (Feb. 19-March 10, 2019). CST artistic director Barbara Gaines revisits "Hamlet" beginning April 17, 2019. Director/choreographer Rachel Rockwell returns May 30, 2019, for the world premiere of "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" adapted from the Walt Disney film about children evacuated from London during World War II's Blitz who wind up at the home of a witch-in-training. The production includes music by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman from the original score and new songs by Neil Bartram. A sixth production will be announced later. CST's WorldStage series begins Sept. 12 with Belgian theater company SKaGen's production of "BigMouth," a solo performance that pays tribute to 2000+ years of oration. That's followed on Oct. 23 by "Fight Night," about candidates vying for votes, from Belgian theater collective Ontroerend Goed. Rounding out CST's salute to Belgian theater is "Us/Them" (Jan. 22-Feb. 3, 2019), an examination of the 2004 Breslan school siege by Chechen separatists by the Brussels company BRONKS. CST partners with the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival for Compagnie Non Nova's "L'apres Midi d'un foehn" (Jan. 24-27, 2019) combining puppetry, juggling, mime and dance. "Two Pints" in which two men discuss life and loss over a beer runs March 5-31, 2019, in the theater's pub and "Peter Pan, A Musical Adventure" tours Chicago's parks from June 27-Aug. 19, 2018. The Q Brothers ad-rap-tation of Charles Dickens' holiday classic "Q Brothers Christmas Carol" runs Nov. 20-Dec. 31, 2018. Lastly, Libertyville native Marti Lyons directs "Short Shakespeare! Macbeth" from Feb. 23-March 16, 2019. Performances take place at The Courtyard Theater, the Upstairs Theater and The Yard on Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. (312) 595-5600 or

• Goodman Theatre's upcoming season includes five world premieres, three New Stages shows, the 41st annual "A Christmas Carol" and David Sedaris' "The Santaland Diaries." The season begin Sept. 15 with the world premiere of "We're Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time," David Cale's solo show documenting his childhood and the influence of his mother. The 15th annual New Stages Festival consisting of staged readings of three in-development productions runs Sept. 19 to Oct. 7. That's followed by the premiere of Dael Orlandersmith's "Lady in Denmark" (Oct. 19-Nov. 18) about a Danish-American woman coping with the death of her husband with help from Billie Holiday's music. Larry Yando returns for his 11th season playing Ebenezer Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol" (Nov. 17-Dec. 30). Retired Goodman associate producer Steve Scott returns to helm "The Santaland Diaries" chronicling David Sedaris' job as a Macy's elf, which runs in tandem with "A Christmas Carol." Four artists struggle with the personal and professional lives in the premiere of "How to Catch Creation" (Jan. 19-Feb. 24, 2019) by Christina Anderson. Goodman premieres Rebecca Gilman's "Twilight Bowl," about four young women facing adulthood, beginning May 5, 2019. That's followed by the Chicago-area premiere of Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning "Sweat" (March 9-April 15, 2019) about how factory layoffs affects a group of co-workers and friends. Ike Holter's "Lottery Day," about a woman's plans to revitalize her neighborhood runs May 25-June 24, 2019. Artistic director Robert Falls helms William Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale" (May 4-June 9, 2019) and the season concludes with Mary Zimmerman's revival of Meredith Willson's "The Music Man" (June 29-Aug. 4, 2019). Performances take place at 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. Five-play subscriptions start at $100. Single tickets will be available beginning in August. (312) 443-3800 or

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