Theater events: Dark comedy at Broken Nose and a Civil Rights-inspired drama at TimeLine

  • Bradford Stevens, left, Bassam Abdelfattah, Salar Ardebili and Downers Grove native Bilal Dardai star in Broken Nose Theatre's Midwest premiere of "Language Rooms" by Yussef El Guindi.

    Bradford Stevens, left, Bassam Abdelfattah, Salar Ardebili and Downers Grove native Bilal Dardai star in Broken Nose Theatre's Midwest premiere of "Language Rooms" by Yussef El Guindi. Courtesy of Spenser Davis

 
 
Updated 4/19/2019 6:54 AM

• Broken Nose Theatre continues its seventh season with the Midwest premiere of "Language Rooms," a dark comedy by Yussef El Guindi about a patriot named Ahmed who does whatever is necessary to maintain his reputation after co-workers in the government question his loyalty to the U.S. Tickets are pay-what-you-can for this production, which features Downers Grove native Bilal Dardai. Previews begin Friday, April 19, at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The show, directed by Kaiser Zaki Ahmed, opens April 21. See brokennosetheatre.com.

• Upcoming LookOut events at Steppenwolf Theatre's 1700 Theatre at 1700 N. Halsted St., Chicago, include "Come Over," Maggie Kubley's multimedia performance incorporating music and stories at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 19-20. Also, comedian and storyteller Melissa DuPrey performs her solo show, "SEXomedy 2.0," detailing dating hassles at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 25-27. (312) 335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• After video game designer Katja has a falling out with her longtime friend Trent, he "marshals an army of internet trolls" against her in "Non-Player Character," Walt McGough's play about the games people play. Red Theater's production under director Beth Wolf opens Saturday, April 20, at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. See redtheater.org.

• "Rock of Ages," the jukebox tuner set against the backdrop of a Sunset Strip rock club, returns to Chicago for a brief run. Performances begin Tuesday, April 23, and run through Sunday, April 28, at the James M. Nederlander Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., Chicago. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com or rockofagesmusicaltour.com.

Evelyn (Ayanna Bria Bakari), right, is left behind when her husband, Bowzie (Jalen Gilbert), leaves to become a Freedom Rider in "Too Heavy for Your Pocket" by Jireh Breon Holder at TimeLine Theatre.
Evelyn (Ayanna Bria Bakari), right, is left behind when her husband, Bowzie (Jalen Gilbert), leaves to become a Freedom Rider in "Too Heavy for Your Pocket" by Jireh Breon Holder at TimeLine Theatre. - Courtesy of Kenny Nakai

• TimeLine Theatre presents the Chicago-area premiere of "Too Heavy for Your Pocket," a drama about the 1960s Freedom Rider movement by playwright Jireh Breon Holder. It centers on Bowzie, who plans to attend college until he gets a chance to combat racism as a Freedom Rider. Previews begin Wednesday, April 24, at 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago. The show, directed by company member Ron OJ Parson, opens May 1. (773) 281-8463, ext. 6, or timelinetheatre.com.

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• Emmy Award-winning actor/comedian Leslie Jordan (Fox's "The Cool Kids," "Will and Grace") performs his show "Exposed" Wednesday through Saturday, April 24-27, at Chicago Theater Works, 1113 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show consists of Jordan's memories about growing up in the South along with recollections from his stage and television career. See thelesliejordan.com or chicagotheaterworks.com.

Richard Cox plays Ahab in Chicago Opera Theater's Chicago-area premiere of "Moby-Dick."
Richard Cox plays Ahab in Chicago Opera Theater's Chicago-area premiere of "Moby-Dick." - Courtesy of Pat Kirk, Opera San Jose

• Chicago Opera Theatre presents "Moby-Dick," Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer's opera adaptation of Herman Melville's novel about the crew of the whaling ship Pequod and its captain's endless quest for revenge. Previously staged in Utah, Pittsburgh and San Jose, California, the opera stars Richard Cox as Captain Ahab and Aleksey Bogdanov as Starbuck. It runs Thursday, April 25, and Sunday, April 28, at the Harris Theatre for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St., Chicago. (312) 704-8420 or chicagooperatheater.org.

• Prop Thtr has extended its premiere of "2 Unfortunate 2 Travel," adapted from Thomas Nashe's 16th-century novel "The Unfortunate Traveller" about the world travels of Jack Wilton and the famous people he encounters. Performances run through Saturday, April 20, at 3502 N. Elston Ave., Chicago. See propthtr.org.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• Cirque du Soleil announced it will add two weeks to its production of "Volta," rooted in unconventional street sports, which runs from May 18 to July 6 at the Soldier Field South Lot, 1410 Museum Campus Drive, Chicago. (877) 924-7783 or cirquedusoleil.com/volta.

• Lauren Yee's "Cambodian Rock Band," currently running at Chicago's Victory Gardens Theater, recently received the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award. The award recognized the best scripts that premiered outside New York City in 2018. Runners up includes Noah Haidle's "Birthday Candles" and Jen Silverman's "Witch," which premiered at Writers Theatre in Glencoe.

• TimeLine Theatre Company's 23rd season begins Sept. 18 with the Chicago premiere of J.T. Rogers' Tony Award-winning "Oslo," which will run at the Broadway Playhouse, 175 E. Chestnut St., Chicago. The play is a partly fictionalized account of the behind-the-scenes machinations that led to the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. TimeLine's subsequent productions take place at the company's home at 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago. They include the Chicago-area premiere of Githa Sowerby's "Rutherford and Son" (Nov. 14-Jan. 12, 2020), about three children who resist their father's efforts to pass on his glass works company to them and impose his expectations on their lives. That's followed by the Chicago-area premiere of "Kill Move Paradise" (Feb. 20-April 5, 2020), James Ijames' play inspired by the slayings of unarmed African-Americans in which four people find themselves in the afterlife, reviewing their past and facing an uncertain future. The season concludes with the premiere of company member Tyla Abercrumbie's "Relentless" (May 14-June 27, 2020), about a married Boston socialite and her single sister, a nurse, who uncover some long-hidden truths about their mother after they return to their Philadelphia home in 1918 to settle her estate. FlexPass subscriptions range from $97 to $235 and are available online or by phone. (773) 281-8463 or timelinetheatre.com.

• The North American premiere of "The King's Speech" is among Chicago Shakespeare Theater productions included in its recently announced 2019-2020 season, which begins July 6 with "The Wizard of Oz" inspired by the 1939 film. A neighborhood tour of William Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors" follows from July 19 to Aug. 18. Next up is "The King's Speech," David Seidler's tale about the newly crowned King George VI and the Australian speech therapist who helped him master his stammer. It runs Sept. 12 to Oct. 27. That's followed by a WorldStage musical from South Africa titled "A Man of Good Hope" (Oct. 4-13), about a Somali man who sets off for South Africa, which he believes to be the promised land. Next is the WorldStage production "Andares," from Mexico's Makuyeika Theatre Collective. The play examines the people who inhabit the country's most remote areas. Founder and artistic director Barbara Gaines directs "Romeo and Juliet" (Nov 1-Dec. 22) and "Emma" (Jan. 28-March 15, 2020), a musical adapted from Jane Austen's novel about a young woman determined to play matchmaker. The Royal Shakespeare Company returns in April 2020 with a to-be-announced production. A 1960s-set "As You Like It," Shakespeare's romantic comedy about refugees seeking refuge and romance in Arden Forest, is accompanied in this incarnation by The Beatles' tunes. It runs May 1 to June 21, 2020. The season concludes with the Jeanine Tesori-Tazewell Thompson musical "Blue." Produced with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, it tells the story of an African-American family, which includes a police officer father and a politically active son whose death by police ignites his father's rage. It runs from June 19-28, 2020. Most performances take place at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. Flexible season subscriptions will go on sale at a later date. (312) 595-5600 or chicagoshakes.com.

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