Theater events: 'Wizard of Oz' follows yellow brick road to Chicago Shakespeare Theater

  • Leryn Turlington plays Dorothy and Derby plays her faithful companion Toto in Chicago Shakespeare Theater's 75-minute adaptation of the musical "The Wizard of Oz."

    Leryn Turlington plays Dorothy and Derby plays her faithful companion Toto in Chicago Shakespeare Theater's 75-minute adaptation of the musical "The Wizard of Oz." Courtesy of Michael Brosilow

  • Ed Jones, left, and Kristopher Bottrall star in Hell in a Handbag Productions' premiere parody, "The Drag Seed."

    Ed Jones, left, and Kristopher Bottrall star in Hell in a Handbag Productions' premiere parody, "The Drag Seed." Courtesy of Rick Aguilar Studios

 
 
Posted7/4/2019 6:00 AM

• Hell in a Handbag Productions premieres "The Drag Seed," David Cerda's unauthorized parody of the 1956 psychological thriller about a seemingly perfect girl who's a coldblooded killer. In Cerda's version, the central character is a seemingly perfect boy with a penchant for drag who is determined to win a local pageant. Previews begin Friday, July 5, at Mary's Attic, 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago. The show opens July 12. (800) 838-3006 or handbagproductions.org.

• The circus and vaudeville duo Dashing and Darling present "Crimson Frolics: A Black and White Silent Circus," showcasing love in all its messy, painful, impassioned permutations. The production runs Friday through Sunday, July 5-7, at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport Ave., Chicago. See underthegun.theater.

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• Corn Productions' "Two Chicks Variety Hour" begins its summer run at 11 p.m. Friday, July 5, at The Cornservatory, 4210 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Additionally, "Stoopie Presents: Double Date," featuring improv by the duo Stoopie and a guest duo, begins at 11 p.m. Saturday, July 6. See cornservatory.org.

• Goodman Theatre hosts free readings of works by its 2018-2019 Playwrights Unit. They include "Portrait (holding a mirror)" by Georgette Kelly, "December" by Marisela Trevino Orta, "America v. 2.3: The Gospel of Simeon Samuels" by Stacey Rose and "Ruth" by Dianne Nora. The readings take place Friday through Sunday, July 5-7, at 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. Reservations required. (312) 443-3800 or goodmantheatre.org/playwrightsunitreadings.

Stephanie Monday plays Prospero, the Duke of Milan exiled to a nearly deserted island, in Midsommer Flight's production of "The Tempest," by William Shakespeare.
Stephanie Monday plays Prospero, the Duke of Milan exiled to a nearly deserted island, in Midsommer Flight's production of "The Tempest," by William Shakespeare. - Courtesy of Tom McGrath, TCMcG Photography

• Stephanie Monday takes on the role of Prospero, the exiled duke with magical powers who uses them to protect loved ones and punish enemies in William Shakespeare's "The Tempest." Midsommer Flight and the Chicago Park District team up for this outdoor production, which takes place Saturday and Sunday, July 6-7, and Aug. 24-25 at Lincoln Park, 2045 N. Lincoln Park West, Chicago. The rest of the schedule is as follows: July 12-14 and 20-21 at Gross Park, 2708 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago; July 27-28 and Aug. 17-18 at Touhy Park, 7348 N. Paulina; Aug. 3-4 and 10-11 at Chicago Women's Park and Gardens, 1801 S. Indiana Ave. Performances are at 6 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday except Aug. 10, which is an 11 a.m. performance. Admission is free and live music begins a half-hour prior to each performance. See midsommerflight.com.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• Previews begin Saturday, July 6, for Dandelion Theatre's premiere of "Bury Me" by Brynne Frauenhofer. Centered on soon-to-be parents Josh and Michelle who return to visit Josh's small Missouri hometown, it examines life's beginning and ending. It opens Tuesday, July 9, at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge Ave., Chicago. Ben Kaye directs. (773) 349-2342 or dandeliontheatre.com.

• Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents its 75-minute stage adaptation of the 1939 film classic "The Wizard of Oz," based on L. Frank Baum's novel with a score by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg. Leryn Turlington stars as Dorothy, who is whisked away from her Kansas home and dropped into the land of Oz. Performances begin Saturday, July 6, at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. (312) 595-5600 or chicagoshakes.com.

• Williams Street Repertory's Reading Series showcasing emerging playwrights and new scripts continues with a free reading at 7 p.m. Monday July 8, of George Sapio's "Viking Suicides." The play is about a viking-themed teenage group suicide, which sparks the formation of a new women's group. The reading is at the Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. (815) 356-9212 or rauecenter.org.

• The 2017 revival of "Les Miserables," which replaced the original revolving stage with projections and scenery inspired by Victor Hugo's paintings, returns to Chicago. The musical inspired by Hugo's tales of impoverished 19th-century Parisians desperate for justice and liberty runs from Tuesday, July 9, through Saturday, July 27, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• Childhood friends Teeny and Lena dream of moving to the big city but never leave their rural town. Years later, the friendship between town sheriff Teeny and single mom Lena is tested after Lena's daughter turns up dead in "Strange Heart Beating," an examination of small-town prejudices written by Cloudgate Theatre artistic director Kristin Idaszak. Cloudgate's premiere begins previews Tuesday, July 9, at The Frontier, 1106 W. Thorndale, Chicago. Director Addie Gorlin's production opens July 13. See cloudgatetheatre.com.

• First Folio Theatre marks its 23rd season of Shakespeare under the stars with a production of "Henry V." Diana Coates stars as the titular monarch, who consolidates his rule by fighting for the French throne he believes is rightfully his. Hayley Rice directs the production, which begins previews Wednesday, July 10, at Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 31st St., Oak Brook. (630) 986-8067 or firstfolio.org.

• "Now and Then" is a new musical that traces the relationship between aspiring country singer Daniel and aspiring stand-up comedian Greg over four decades. The show is by composer/lyricist Dennis Manning and writer/director Ronnie Larsen, who based the tuner partly on his own life. Previews for the Chicago-area premiere begin Wednesday, June 10, at Pride Films and Plays, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago. The show opens July 12. See nowandthenthemusical.com.

• Collaboraction announces The Light, a Chicago youth theater festival showcasing new theater, music, dance and spoken word works created by Chicago artists age 21 and younger. The festival, which runs Thursday through Sunday, July 11-14, at 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, includes 16 premieres, which address topics ranging from young love, racism and violence to assimilation and instant gratification. Festival passes are $45. Single tickets range from $15 to $30. Free tickets are available to audience members under 21 who make a social media post about The Light and commit to a second post reflecting on their experience at the festival. (312) 226-9633 or collaboraction.org.

• The New Colony showcases plays developed in cooperation with the theater company as part of Uncharted, a two-week festival that runs Thursday, July 11, to Saturday, July 20, at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Participant playwrights include co-artistic director Fin Coe, Grace McLeod, Michael Turrentine, Mario (Mars) Wolfe, Christina Renee Jones, Patriac Coakley and Evan Linder. See thenewcolony.org.

• Theatre at the Center revives Tom Dudzick's semi-autobiographical "Over the Tavern," a comedy set in 1959 and centered on the Pazinski family who live in a small apartment above the neighborhood bar they own. Previews begin Thursday, July 11, for director Ericka Mac's production. It opens July 13 at 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Indiana. (219) 836-3255, (800) 511-1532 or theatreatthecenter.com.

• Steppenwolf Theatre has extended its premiere of "Ms. Blakk for President," Tina Landau and Tarell Alvin McCraney's fact-based play about the country's first drag queen presidential candidate Joan Jett Blakk. Performances run through July 21 at 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago. (312) 335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.

• Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago, has extended Phil Timberlake's adaptation of Jane Austen's "Emma." Emma Sipora Tyler stars as the young woman who inserts herself into the love lives of her friends and acquaintances. Performances run through July 28. (773) 761-4477 or lifelinetheatre.com.

• The Den Theatre's production of "Four Places," Joel Drake Johnson's family drama about siblings who learn their elderly parents may be a threat to each other, has been extended. Performances run through Sunday, July 7, at 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. (773) 697-3830 or thedentheatre.com.

• Trap Door Theatre has extended its revival of Eugene Ionesco's "The Killer," about a man who discovers a serial murderer is drowning the residents of a city. Performance run through July 13 at 1655 W. Cortland Ave., Chicago. (773) 384-0494 or trapdoortheatre.com.

• In other theater news, redtwist theatre artistic director Michael Colucci announced he was stepping away from the company he founded and handing the artistic leadership over to incoming artistic director Charlie Marie McGrath. "Charlie's vision for the future is exemplified by her thrilling 2019-2020 season, which includes plays and playwrights that have been on the artistic shortlist for years, as well as exciting new work that will guarantee white hot drama in our little black box," said Colucci in a message on the company's website, which also included the announcement that Steve Scott and Ted Hoerl have joined the ensemble.

• Raven Theatre recently announced the promotion of director/producer Cole von Glahn, the company's former production manager, to the newly created position of artistic producer.

• Award-winning composer Larry Grossman ("Minnie's Boys," "Goodtime Charlie") has joined Porchlight Music Theatre's advisory board, which includes theater artists E. Faye Butler, Hollis Resnik, Chuck Smith and Maury Yeston among others.

• TimeLine Theatre Company selected HGA, a multidisciplinary design firm founded in 1953, as the architect for the company's new home at 5033-35 N. Broadway Ave., Chicago. "We are thrilled to partner with HGA to design TimeLine's new home," said TimeLine Artistic Director PJ Powers in a prepared statement. "They have demonstrated a passionate connection with our mission, and their depth of experience and body of work with performing arts venues and renovations of historic buildings distinguished them among the impressive field of architecture firms that were under consideration."

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