Theater events: Otherworld presents 'Bring the Beat Back'; Christopher Titus tells tales

  • Otherworld Theatre presents "Bring the Beat Back," a sci-fi inspired, staged concert-style show by Derek Lee McPhatter about a man reconciling his faith and sexuality.

    Otherworld Theatre presents "Bring the Beat Back," a sci-fi inspired, staged concert-style show by Derek Lee McPhatter about a man reconciling his faith and sexuality.

  • "Next to Normal" at Writers Theatre in Glencoe has extended again to Sunday, June 30. The Pulitzer Prize-winning musical is about the troubled suburban Goodman family, and features from left: Kyrie Courter as Natalie, Keely Vasquez as Diana, David Schlumpf as Dan and Liam Oh as Gabe.

    "Next to Normal" at Writers Theatre in Glencoe has extended again to Sunday, June 30. The Pulitzer Prize-winning musical is about the troubled suburban Goodman family, and features from left: Kyrie Courter as Natalie, Keely Vasquez as Diana, David Schlumpf as Dan and Liam Oh as Gabe. Courtesy of Michael Brosilow/Writers Theatre

 
 
Posted6/14/2019 9:00 AM

• Comedian Christopher Titus (whose latest special "Amerigeddon" is available online) brings his show "Stories I Shouldn't Tell" to the Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. Titus performs at 8 p.m. Friday, June 14. Tickets range from $33 to $35. In other Raue Center news, the McHenry County venue received a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support its veterans program, which "strives to embrace, engage and encourage the local veteran community through the power of the arts." (815) 356-9212 or rauecenter.org.

• Performances begin Friday, June 14, for Otherworld Theatre's "Bring the Beat Back," a sci-fi, staged concert about a young man trying to reconcile his sexuality and his faith, by writer/composer Derek Lee McPhatter. Performances run through June 30 at 3914 N. Clark St., Chicago. Additionally, Otherworld opened its sci-fi themed escape room titled "Escape Otherworld," an immersive, theatrical role-playing event designed and created by Sam Kyker in which participants must eradicate the plague that has infected the crew of the spaceship Prosperity before it returns to earth. See otherworldtheatre.org.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• Third Eye Chicago, a company that stages new and rarely produced operas rooted in social justice issues, presents the U.S. premiere of the a cappella opera "Stitch" by composer Juliet Palmer and librettist Anna Chatterton. It stars Rena Ahmed, Angela Born and Mary Lutz Govertsen as workers in a clothing manufacturer's sweatshop. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 14-15, at Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston Ave., Chicago. See thirdeyete.com.

• Joan Jett Blakk, the inspiration for "Ms. Blakk for President," a new play by Tina Landau and Tarell Alvin McCraney about the first drag queen to run for president, speaks with Landau and McCraney at 10 p.m. Friday, June 14. The discussion is part of Steppenwolf's Theatre's Lookout series at the 1700 Theatre, 1700 N. Halsted St., Chicago. Additionally Blakk, the creation of activist Terence Smith, hosts "A Most Fabulous Live Entertainment Talk Show and Musical Potpourri" at 10 p.m. Saturday, June 15, at the 1700 Theatre. (312) 335-1650 or steppenwolf.org/lookout.

• Joseph Jefferson Award winner Donica Lynn channels the late Aretha Franklin in her solo show, "Aretha Franklin: Queen of Soul." Lynn performs at 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 15, at Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Indiana. Tickets range from $20 to $45. (219) 836-3255 or theatreatthecenter.com.

• In honor of Pride Month, singer Robert Rodi salutes writer/composer/actor and all-around bon vivant Noel Coward ("Private Lives," "Blithe Spirit") at a Sunday, June 16, concert titled "Mad About the Boy." It takes place at 7:30 p.m. at Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago. (773) 857-0222 or pridefilmsandplays.com.

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• Previews begin Wednesday, June 19, for the Artistic Home Theatre's Chicago-area premiere of "Ada and the Engine," by Lauren Gunderson ("Silent Sky," co-author "Miss Bennett -- Christmas at Pemberley"). Set at the beginning of Great Britain's Industrial Revolution, the play is about the relationship between Ada Byron Lovelace, the daughter of poet Lord Byron, and mechanical engineer and so-called father of the computer Charles Babbage. The production opens June 23 at 1376 W. Grand Ave, Chicago. (866) 811-4111 or theartistichome.org.

• UrbanTheater Company presents a work-in-progress "dancesical" about the Latino dance crews that performed in Chicago during the 1980s titled "Back in the Day." Written and co-directed by Miranda Gonzalez, it's adapted from Jose "Gringo" Echevarria's memoir "The Real Dance Fever: Book One." The production, co-directed by Raquel Torre, runs from Wednesday, June 19, through Aug. 3 at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago. The final version of the play premieres during the Chicago International Latino Theater Festival later this year. See urbantheaterchicago.org.

• Saint Sebastian Players showcase short works as part of the second annual 10-Minute Play Festival. The mini-fest runs from Thursday, June 20, to Sunday, June 30, at St. Bonaventure Church, 1625 W. Diversey Ave., Chicago. Featured works include: "In the Kitchen," Melinda "MJ" Deamon's play about discussions in the office kitchen; "nORml," Julian Colletta's play about a man in therapy; "The Ballad of Leslie," Lisa Dellagiarino Feriend's play about a woman who has her own chorus; "Coffee in Limbo," Ross Compton's play about friends celebrating a birthday; "Bughouse Square," Leigh Johnson's play about "soapbox speechifying"; "Masterpiece Theater," Ryan King's play about parents eager for a romantic evening alone; and "A Frog in the Vault," Michael Rossi's play about a student discussing test scores with a teacher. See saintsebastianplayers.org.

• Short Story Theatre presents true tales about phone booths, golf carts, Realtor open houses and girls playing Little League Baseball on all-boy teams at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 20, at Miramar Bistro, 301 Waukegan Ave., Highwood. Tickets are $10. Preshow dinner reservations are available. (847) 433-1078 or shortstorytheatre.com.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Diana (Keely Vasquez) speaks to her therapist, Dr. Madden (Gabriel Ruiz), in "Next to Normal" at Writers Theatre in Glencoe.  The Pulitzer Prize-winning musical directed by Tony Award winner David Cromer has extended again to Sunday, June 30.
Diana (Keely Vasquez) speaks to her therapist, Dr. Madden (Gabriel Ruiz), in "Next to Normal" at Writers Theatre in Glencoe. The Pulitzer Prize-winning musical directed by Tony Award winner David Cromer has extended again to Sunday, June 30. - Courtesy of Michael Brosilow/Writers Theatre

• Writers Theatre announced a final extension of director David Cromer's revival of "Next to Normal," the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical about the impact a woman's mental illness has on her family. Performances run through June 30 at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. (847) 242-6000 or writerstheatre.org.

• Northlight Theatre in Skokie received $927,500 from Illinois for the construction of its new theater in Evanston. The appropriation "confirms the economic impact that Northlight Theatre will bring to downtown Evanston," said executive director Timothy J. Evans in a prepared statement. "Our legislators understand the impact of the arts in our community -- not only economically but as a quality-of-life issue." Northlight recently signed an agreement to purchase a building at 1012-116 Church Street for the site of its new theater.

• Windy City Playhouse recently welcomed director/writer and Northwestern University professor David H. Bell, a regular at Lincolnshire's Marriott Theatre, as its newest artistic associate. Additionally, artistic associate director/writer Carl Menninger has been named the company's associate artistic director.

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