Theater events: Interrobang Theatre Project revives "Grace"

  • Laura Berner Taylor, left, Joe Lino and Evan Linder star in Interrobang Theatre Project's revival of "Grace," Craig Wright's drama about faith and love.

    Laura Berner Taylor, left, Joe Lino and Evan Linder star in Interrobang Theatre Project's revival of "Grace," Craig Wright's drama about faith and love. Courtesy of Salar Ardebili

 
 
Posted5/7/2018 6:50 AM

• William Golding's "Lord of the Flies," about a group of British schoolboys stranded on an island whose attempt to govern themselves ends violently, inspired "Flies! The Musical!" by writer/lyricist Larry Todd Cousineau and composer Cindy O'Connor. Pride Films and Plays presents the world premiere directed by Michael Driscoll. Previews run through Thursday, May 10. The show opens May 11 at 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago. (800) 737-0984 or pridefilmsandplays.com.

• Interrobang Theatre Project concludes its season-long examination of truth with Craig Wright's drama "Grace." Co-artistic director Georgette Verdin helms the play about a young couple who relocate to Florida with the dream of opening a chain of evangelically themed motels. Their faith is challenged by their recently widowed, badly injured neighbor who disdains evangelism. Previews begin Friday, May 4, at The Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. The play opens Monday, May 7. (773) 935-6875 or interrobangtheatre.org.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• Steel Beam Theatre hosts Sentimental Journey, its annual gala and fundraiser beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 4, at the Eagle Brook Country Club, 2288 Fargo Blvd., Geneva. Tickets are $50 and include dinner, a cash bar, entertainment and a silent auction. Proceeds benefit Steel Beam's artistic mission and education outreach. Email margesbt1@gmail.com for tickets or information. Also, Steel Beam has established a new initiative to accommodate young theatergoers with special needs, including autism. To that end, the St. Charles theater will offer performances featuring lower sound levels, lights that remain on in the theater during the performance and designated quiet areas. Also during select performances, audience members may talk and leave their seats. The first such performance is the May 12 performance of the "The Tale of Peter Rabbit: Into the Wicked Woods" at noon. The second sensory-friendly performance -- the musical revue "Best of the Best: The Evolution of Broadway," performed by the youth ensemble -- is on June 23. Performances take place at 111 W. Main St., St. Charles. See steelbeamtheatre.com.

Ensign Nellie Forbush (Samantha Hill), center, and her fellow nurses sing "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair" in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific" at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace.
Ensign Nellie Forbush (Samantha Hill), center, and her fellow nurses sing "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair" in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific" at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace. - Courtesy of Brett Beiner/Drury Lane Theatre

• Drury Lane Theatre, in conjunction with its revival of "South Pacific," hosts writer Todd S. Purdum, author of "Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway Revolution," at a reception beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, May 4, at 100 Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace. Tickets start at $55 and include dinner at Lucille Restaurant, followed by a "South Pacific" performance. In his book, Purdum examines Rodgers and Hammerstein's personalities, their relationship and the innovations they brought to musical theater. (630) 530-0111 or drurylanetheatre.com.

• The Comedy Dance Collective -- comprised of current, former and almost dancers -- returns to iO Theater on Friday, May 4, with its new movement-based comedy show "Comedy Dance Collective 4-D." It runs Fridays through June 8 at 1501 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago. (312) 929-2401 or ioimprov.com or comedydancecollective.com.

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• Brown Paper Box Co. hosts its "Existential Cabaret" Friday, May 4, and Saturday, May 5, at Mary's Attic, 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago. Performances inspired by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' "Everybody" will examine life, love and death. See brownpaperbox.org.

• Previews begin Saturday, May 5, for Black Ensemble Theater's bio-musical "A New Attitude: In Tribute to Patti LaBelle." Written and directed by Rueben D. Echoles, the show chronicles LaBelle's early life in Philly to her emergence as one of R&B's favorite divas. Dawn Bless and Cherise Thomas star in the production, which opens May 13 at 4450 N. Clark St., Chicago. (773) 769-4451 or blackensemble.org.

• Director Lavina Jadhwani moderates a discussion with Charles Coleman, programmer at Facets Cinematheque, on farce in cinema as part of Steppenwolf Theatre's events accompanying the premiere of Matthew-Lee Erlbach's "The Doppelgänger (an international farce)." The discussion takes place at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 6, at the 1700 Theatre, 1700 N. Halsted St., Chicago. That's followed on May 20 by a behind-the-scenes tour of the production. "The Doppelgänger" has been extended through June 2 at 1650 N. Halsted Ave., Chicago. (312) 335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.

• It ain't your granny's church Bingo, reads the announcement for Stage Left Theatre's "Hambingo Mary's" fundraiser. It includes Bingo and cocktails from 8 to 10 p.m. Monday, May 7, at Hamburger Mary's, 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago. A Bingo booklet is $15 for 10 games. See stagelefttheatre.com. In other Stage Left news, co-artistic directors Jason A. Fleece and Amy Szerlong and co-literary manager Zev Valancy have departed the company to pursue other opportunities. Stage Left is currently workshopping Shaulee Cook's "Cercle Hermaphrodites," developed through the company's Downstage Left play-development program, for a reading later this month. The company, which was founded in 1982, is searching for new leadership, according to a prepared statement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• The stage adaptation of the 1939 MGM film "The Wizard of Oz" plays The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., Chicago. The national tour stars Kalie Kaimann as Dorothy, Chris Duir as Scarecrow, Christopher Russell as Tin Man and Victor Legaretta as Lion. The production runs Tuesday, May 8, through Sunday, May 20. See chicagotheatre.com or wizardofoztour.com for tickets and information.

Pride Films and Plays stages "The Days are Shorter" by Evanston resident Corinne J. Kawecki.
Pride Films and Plays stages "The Days are Shorter" by Evanston resident Corinne J. Kawecki. -

• "The Days are Shorter," by Evanston resident Corinne J. Kawecki, begins previews Tuesday, May 8, at Pride Films and Plays, 4147 N. Broadway, Chicago. The play is about 53-year-old Julia, who attempts to recapture her youth with help from her younger lover, a female magician. The show, directed by Iris Sowlat, opens Thursday, May 10. (866) 811-4111 or pridefilmsandplays.com.

• In conjunction with its Chicago-area premiere of "Once," Paramount Theatre -- in partnership with the Fox Valley Music Foundation and Aurora Public Art -- offers free songwriting workshops on Tuesday, May 8 and 15, at 20 E. Downer Place, Aurora. Reserve a space at paramountaurora.com/education/#dive-deeper-programs.

• The International Voices Project showcasing plays from Spain, Serbia, Poland, Syria, Finland, Canada, India and Germany continues at Instituto Cervantes, 31 W. Ohio St., Chicago. Trap Door Theatre presents "Made in Poland," Polish writer Przemysław Wojcieszek's play about a rebellious young man in post-communist Poland on Tuesday, May 8. That's followed on Thursday, May 10, by Syrian playwright Riad Ismet's "Mihbaj." Staged in collaboration with Columbia College Chicago, it's about a widow struggling to keep her sons together in Isis-occupied northern Syria. Show times are 7 p.m. The festival runs through May 31. See ivpchicago.org for a schedule.

• Court Theatre presents the Chicago-area premiere of John Strand's "The Originalist," about a Harvard Law School graduate clerking for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, whose strict constructionalist views differ from her own. Edward Gero and Jade Wheeler star in director Molly Smith's production, which begins previews Thursday, May 10, at 5535 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago. The show opens May 19. (773) 753-4472 or courttheatre.org.

• The League of Chicago Theatres' next Theatre Thursday event takes place Thursday, May 10, at TimeLine Theatre Company, 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago. The company is premiering Brett Neveu's "To Catch a Fish" about a guy working for a discount warehouse in Milwaukee whose bosses make demands that test his relationships. Tickets are $20 for the event, which begins at 6:30 p.m. with a Q&A with Neveu followed by a 7:30 p.m. performance. See chicagoplays.com and use the access code THTH.

• Performances run through May 13 for Exit 63 Productions' production of Steve Yockey's play "very still and hard to see" about a haunted hotel and the people ensnared in it. Performances take place at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2926 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. See athenaeumtheatre.org or facebook.com/exit63theatre.

• Among the shows running at the Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, is "Bicycle Day" about Dr. Albert Hofmann's first documented acid trip. It runs at 8 p.m. Thursdays through May 24. "Striking Out: A Gay Baseball Musical," about the first straight baseball player in a world where all the pro athletes are gay, runs at 8 p.m. Saturdays through June 16. Lastly, Huggable Riot's sketch-comedy show "Honest is the Best Fallacy" runs at 8 p.m. Wednesdays through June 6. (773) 697-9693 or theannoyance.com.

• Nothing Without a Company has extended its production of "Cornerstone," about the true mission of an organization that motivates people to become "architects of their own lives." Performances run through Sunday, May 6, at Artspace 8, 900 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. See nothingwithoutacompany.org.

• Chicago's pay-what-you-can Broken Nose Theatre will receive Broadway in Chicago's 2018 emerging theater award recognizing League of Chicago Theaters members who have been incorporated for at least three but no more than 10 years and have demonstrated "artistic excellence, fiscal responsibility, community leadership and potential for future growth." The award is accompanied by a cash prize, marketing support and an advertising package. Broken Nose develops and stages new works "that amplify underrepresented voices, cultivates empathy ... and provides opportunity for a diverse array of artists," according to a prepared statement from the League of Chicago Theatres. The award will be presented at the league's annual gala May 21 at the Four Seasons Hotel, 120 E. Delaware Place, Chicago. The gala will also honor Lifeline Theatre's Dorothy Milne and Goodman Theatre's Steve Scott with lifetime achievement awards. (312) 554-9800 or chicagoplays.com.

• Chicago Dramatists has named six emerging playwrights as Tutterow Fellows. The two-year fellowship was established in honor of the late Russ Tutterow, who served as Chicago Dramatists' artistic director for 30 years. Fellows take classes, participate in workshops and receive a new play commission. Selected playwrights include: Mallory Raven-Ellen Backstrom, Kimberly Dixon-Mays, Levi Holloway, Siena Marilyn Ledger, Nancy Garcia Loza and Riley Mondragon.

• In other news, Lucky Plush Productions will make its Kennedy Center debut in May 2019 with "Rooming House," a dance/theater whodunit that played Steppenwolf Theatre's 1700 Theatre last fall. Speaking of Steppenwolf, ensemble member Tracy Letts' play "Linda Vista," which premiered here in April 2017, plays Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum from Jan. 9 to Feb. 17, 2019, as part of the Center Theatre Group's season.

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