On stage: Hollis Resnik stars in Porchlight's 'Sunset Boulevard'

  • Hollis Resnik stars as Norma Desmond in Porchlight Music Theatre's revival of "Sunset Boulevard."

    Hollis Resnik stars as Norma Desmond in Porchlight Music Theatre's revival of "Sunset Boulevard." Courtesy of Joe Mazza

Posted10/11/2019 6:00 AM

• Hollis Resnik stars as faded film star Norma Desmond in Porchlight Music Theatre's season-opening production of the musical "Sunset Boulevard," adapted from the 1950 film. Billy Rude plays Joe Gillis, the struggling screenwriter who Norma entices to work on a screenplay that she's convinced will reignite her career. Previews begin Friday, Oct. 11, at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. The revival, directed by artistic director Michael Weber, opens Oct. 15. (773) 777-9884 or porchlightmusictheatre.org.

• Performances begin Friday, Oct. 11, for Third Eye Theatre Ensemble's production of "Darkling," composer Stefan Weisman and librettist Anna Rabinowitz's opera about a Jewish American woman who uncovers family mementos linking the family to the Holocaust. The production runs through Oct. 27 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. See thirdeyete.com.


• Otherworld Theatre hosts its 2019 Celestial Gala celebrating its seventh anniversary from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, at the Stan Mansion, 2408 N. Kedzie Blvd., Chicago. Magician David Parr, a winner on "Penn & Teller: Fool Us," hosts the gala, which includes dinner, beverages, dancing, magic, performance and a silent auction. Tickets are $125. See otherworldtheatre.org.

• Theater residencies at Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago, continue through Saturday, Oct. 12, with Free Street Theater's "Still/Here: Manifestos for Joy and Survival," a multiracial, multigenerational celebration of the city. Admission is free. See millenniumpark.org.

Strawdog Theatre Ensemble members Daniella Pereira and Sam Hubbard star in the company's Chicago premiere of "The Effect."
Strawdog Theatre Ensemble members Daniella Pereira and Sam Hubbard star in the company's Chicago premiere of "The Effect." - Courtesy of Jon Cole Media

• Previews begin Sunday, Oct. 13, for Strawdog Theatre Company's Chicago-area premiere of Lucy Prebble's "The Effect," about two people in a clinical trial for an antidepressant who are unsure if they're falling in love or reacting to the drug. The show opens Oct. 19 at 1802 W. Berenice Ave., Chicago. (773) 644-1380 or strawdog.org.

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• WildClaw Theatre has delayed the opening of its zombie-inspired western "Hell Followed With Her," Bill Daniel's tale about a vengeful woman who arrives in a small Texas town with the undead in tow. Previews continue through Saturday, Oct. 12, at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The show opens Monday, Oct. 14. See wildclawtheatre.com.

• Mark Larson discusses his new book, "Ensemble: An Oral History of Chicago Theater," with Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble member Francis Guinan and Tony Award winner Deanna Dunagan at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14, at the 1700 Theatre, 1700 N. Halsted St., Chicago. Admission is $10, $40 with a copy of the book. (312) 335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.

• Haven hosts its fifth Directors Haven showcasing up-and-coming directors from Monday, Oct. 14, through Oct. 30 at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Featured directors Lauren Katz, Aaron Mays and AJ Schwartz helm works by Caryl Churchill, Sonia Sanchez and Dan Giles. The plays run back-to-back Sunday through Wednesday. See havenchi.org.

• Mike Nussbaum, Janet Ulrich Brooks, Anish Jethmalani, Ora Jones and "Hamilton's" Miguel Cervantes are among the actors participating in a reading of "One Giant Leap" by J.T. Rogers ("Oslo"). The play consists of excerpts of interviews with people involved in the 1960 Apollo 11 mission. TimeLine Theatre Company's production takes place at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14, at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St., Chicago. (773) 281-8463, ext. 6, or timelinetheatre.com.


• Wits do battle Monday, Oct. 14, when the The Chicago Puntathlon, an adults-only pun competition, returns to The Call Bar, 1547 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago. Doors open at 7 p.m. The competition starts at 8. See subversionproductions.com.

• Improvised Jane Austen celebrates its first year at iO Theater on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 1501 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago. The entire company will improvise a tale in the style of Jane Austen based on an audience suggestion. See improvisedjaneausten.com.

Donterrio Johnson plays 12 men in Eric Bogosian's one-man play "Pounding Nails on the Floor With My Forehead."
Donterrio Johnson plays 12 men in Eric Bogosian's one-man play "Pounding Nails on the Floor With My Forehead." - Courtesy of Greg Stephen Reigh

• Jeff Award winner Donterrio Johnson ("Spamilton," "Waitress") plays 12 unsettled men unhappy with their place in society in Eric Bogosian's one-man show "Pounding Nails in the Floor With My Forehead." It runs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16 and 30, at Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago. See hundo4uproductions.com.

• The folk duo The Bengsons, who composed the music for Raven Theatre's season opener "Sundown, Yellow Moon," play a benefit concert for the theater on Wednesday, Oct. 16. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago, and includes beverages, a buffet dinner and dessert. Tickets are $125. Proceeds benefit the company's main stage productions and education program. (773) 338-2177 or raventheatre.com.

Folk musicians Shaun and Abigail Bengson perform a benefit concert for Raven Theatre.
Folk musicians Shaun and Abigail Bengson perform a benefit concert for Raven Theatre. - Courtesy of Jenny Anderson

• Invictus Theatre Company presents William Shakespeare's tale of revenge and mercy "The Merchant of Venice," about money lender Shylock, who demands a pound of flesh from merchant Antonio as payment for a defaulted loan. Director Charles Askenaizer sets the play in 1938 Italy, when the government began disenfranchising Italian Jews. Previews begin Thursday, Oct. 17, at Pride Films and Plays, 4147 N. Broadway, Chicago. The show opens Oct. 21. See invictustheatreco.com.

• Destinos, the 3rd Chicago International Latino Theater Festival, continues with several premieres. Aguijon Theater Company presents the Midwest premiere of Nilo Cruz's "Exquisita Agonja" about an opera singer who pursues the patient who receives her late husband's heart. It runs Thursday, Oct. 17, to Oct. 27 at 2707 N. Laramie Ave., Chicago. Producciones Aragua Inc. presents the North American premiere of "Soltera, Casada, Viuda y Divorciada," a girls' night out comedy running from Thursday, Oct. 17, to Oct. 20 at Steppenwolf's 1700 Theatre, 1700 N. Halsted St., Chicago. (312) 631-3112 or clata.org.

• Otherworld Theatre has announced the remainder of its 2019-2020 season, which continues with a remount of last year's holiday show, the family-friendly "The Winter Wolf." That's followed by "The Legend of Merlin," inspired by the King Arthur myth in spring 2020. The season concludes in summer 2020 with "PUFFS," a comedy about overlooked students at a certain wizarding school. Dates to be announced. Performances take place at 3914 N. Clark St., Chicago. (773) 857-2116 or otherworldtheatre.org.

• Music Theater Works announced its 2020 season, the first under incoming producing artistic director Kyle A. Dougan. It opens with a revival of the ABBA musical "Mamma Mia!!" (June 6-14, 2020). That's followed by "Ragtime" (Aug. 22-30, 2020), the sprawling musical about America at the turn of the last century. Next up is the revue "Richard Rodgers' Greatest Hits, With Hammerstein Hart and Others" (Oct. 2-11, 2020). The season concludes with "Billy Elliot" (Dec. 26, 2020-Jan. 3, 2021) the warmhearted musical inspired by the 2000 film. All performances except the Richard Rodgers revue take place at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., Evanston. The revue takes place at the Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston. Subscriptions range from $99 to $316. (847) 920-5360 or musictheaterworks.com.

• James Beard Award-winning chef Rick Bayless teams up with Windy City Playhouse on a to-be-named theatrical project set to open during early 2021. Windy City artistic association Carl Menninger will collaborate with Bayliss on the immersive theatrical and culinary farce centered on a special event at a famous restaurant where what could go wrong, does go wrong.

• Emerald City Theatre executive director Karen Cardarelli, who co-founded the company with her husband, Alyn Cardarelli, in 1996, is stepping down after 23 years. During that time she helped establish outreach programs that provided free books and free plays to Chicago public school children.

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