On stage: First Floor stages Chicago premiere of 'Sugar in Our Wounds'

  • Michael Turrentine, left, and Londen Shannon appear in First Floor Theater's Chicago premiere of "Sugar in Our Wounds," a Civil War set drama by Donja R. Love.

    Michael Turrentine, left, and Londen Shannon appear in First Floor Theater's Chicago premiere of "Sugar in Our Wounds," a Civil War set drama by Donja R. Love. Courtesy of Ian McLaren

Posted10/18/2019 6:00 AM

• While the Civil War rages, a young slave and his plantation family take in a stranger, an act that sparks an unexpected romance in "Sugar in Our Wounds" by Donja R. Love. First Floor Theater presents the Chicago-area premiere, which begins previews Saturday, Oct. 19, at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The show opens Oct. 24. See firstfloortheater.com.

• Lifeline Theatre's KidSeries returns Saturday, Oct. 19, with "Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile," adapted from Bernard Weber's children's book by ensemble member Christina Calvit, with music and lyrics by George Howe. Upon moving into their new home, the Primm family discovers a caviar-loving crocodile named Lyle in their bathtub, but not all their neighbors share their affection for the croc. The show opens Sunday, Oct. 20, at 6912 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago. (773) 761-4477 or lifelinetheatre.com.


• Current cast members from The Second City perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at Carmel Catholic High School auditorium, One Carmel Parkway, Mundelein. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the school fundraiser, which is open to audience members age 21 or older. Tickets are $75 and include food and one drink ticket. See carmelhs.org/secondcity.

Actor/playwright Keith A. Wallace brings his multicharacter solo show "The Bitter Game" to The DuSable Museum in Chicago.
Actor/playwright Keith A. Wallace brings his multicharacter solo show "The Bitter Game" to The DuSable Museum in Chicago. - Courtesy of Jim Carmody

• Playwright/actor Keith A. Wallace stages "The Bitter Game," his semi-autobiographical solo show examining an African-American man's experience in America. It centers on Jamel Smith, who witnesses a violent act as a child that later impacts his interaction with police. Wallace performs the show at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, at The DuSable Museum, 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago. Admission is free, but reservations are required. See thebittergame.com/tickets or dusablemuseum.org.

• Actor/writer David Payne channels celebrated British author C.S. Lewis in the solo show "An Evening With C.S. Lewis," which runs Tuesday, Oct. 22, through Sunday, Nov. 3, at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St., Chicago. Sitting in his living room with a group of American writers, Lewis recalls his youth, his friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien and his relationship with American wife and fellow writer Joy Davidman. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.

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• Pride Films and Plays hosts the ninth LezFest, a showcase of 13 "queer female and nonbinary artists" in disciplines ranging from poetry and music to burlesque and stand-up comedy, on Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 22-23, at 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago. In conjunction with the showcase, PFP presents staged readings of Funny Lesbian Plays (FLIP) on Oct. 29, Nov. 5, 12 and 13. (773) 857-0222 or pridefilmsandplays.com.

• Goodman Theatre's 16th annual New Stages Festival of new works begins Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. The two in-development plays running in repertory through Nov. 10 are Dave Harris' "Incendiary," about a woman attempting to break her son out of death row, and "In the Sick Bay of the Santa Maria," Rajiv Joseph's play about a young sailor on his way to the new world. The festival also includes staged readings of Charlayne Woodard's "The Garden," Calamity L. West's "Engines and Instruments of Flight: A Fantasia in Three Acts," "The Humanities" by Zayd Dohrn and "Fannie" by Cheryl L. West. There is also a work-in-progress showing of "(the) Fair" by Sandra Delgado and Sojourn Theatre Company. Admission is free, but reservations are required. (312) 443-3800 or goodmantheatre.org.

Writer/actor Ronnie Marmo plays the controversial funny man in his solo show "I'm Not a Comedian ... I'm Lenny Bruce" at the Royal George Cabaret Theatre.
Writer/actor Ronnie Marmo plays the controversial funny man in his solo show "I'm Not a Comedian ... I'm Lenny Bruce" at the Royal George Cabaret Theatre. - Courtesy of Doren Sorell

• Off-Broadway's "I'm Not a Comedian ... I'm Lenny Bruce" -- written by and starring Ronni Marmo as the controversial comedian -- begins previews Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the Royal George Cabaret Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St., Chicago. Directed by award-winning actor/director and Chicago native Joe Mantegna and produced in cooperation with Bruce's daughter Kitty Bruce, the play chronicles Bruce's personal and professional life including his obscenity arrest in 1962 and his 1966 death by overdose. The show opens Oct. 25. (773) 327-3778 or lennybruceonstage.com.


• Previews begin Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 3502 N. Elston Ave., Chicago, for Prop Thtr's premiere of "I am Going to Die Alone and I am Not Afraid." Created by the ensemble, the play is an "examination of modern oppression through the legacy of the Holocaust" inspired by stories like that of Polish ballerina Franceska Mann, who reportedly shot a Nazi officer while on her way to the gas chamber. Anna H. Gelman directs the show, which opens Oct. 28. See propthtr.org.

• 16th Street Theater and Jedlicka Performing Arts Center collaborate on a free performance of "Los Tequileros," Dolores Diaz's play based on a Mexican folk ballad about three tequila smugglers killed by U.S. police during Prohibition. The performance, part of the Pop Ups 2019 New Play Series, takes place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, at JPAC at Morton College, 3801 S. Central Ave., Cicero. (708) 795-6704, ext. 107, or 16thstreettheater.org.

• Destinos, the 3rd Chicago International Latino Theater Festival, continues with the U.S. premiere of "Andares," woven together from myths, music and art by director Hector Flores Komatsu. The co-production with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, about the people who reside in Mexico's most remote quarter, runs Wednesday through Sunday, Oct. 23-27, at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. Also Repertorio Latino Theater Company premieres "Hotel-O," an "Othello"-inspired examination of gender violence running Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 24-27, at 3622 S. Morgan St., Chicago. (312) 631-3112 or clata.org.

• Theatre in the Dark, a new ensemble that stages productions in darkness, presents its inaugural show, "Three Stories Up," an immersive, noir mystery-thriller by Mackenzie Gordon. It's about Vancouver transit cop Beatrice whose police detective husband supposedly committed suicide. Beatrice believes otherwise and enlists her husband's informant to help her uncover the truth. Previews begin Thursday, Oct. 24, at The Church on Thorndale, 1244 W. Thorndale, Chicago. The show opens Oct. 27. (312) 285-0314 or theatreinthedark.com.

• The Cheney Mansion, at 220 N. Euclid Ave., Oak Park, is the setting for Oak Park Festival Theatre's production of "The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe: A Love Story." Adapted from Poe's stories and poems by First Folio Theatre co-founder and executive director David Rice, the play examines the life of the troubled playwright, who's haunted by the memory of his beloved wife, Virginia. First Folio ensemble member Christian Gray reprises the role he has played several times before. The preview is Thursday, Oct. 24. The show opens Oct. 25. (708) 300-9396 or oakparkfestival.com.

• "Paris! The Show," a celebration of popular French songs from the post World War II years, takes place at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. (773) 935-6875 or athenaeumtheatre.org.

• Lifeline Theatre has extended its production of "Whose Body?" adapted by ensemble member Frances Limoncelli from Dorothy L. Sayers' murder-mystery. It's about amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey investigating the case of a dead man found in a bathtub wearing only a pince-nez. Performances run through Nov. 10 at 6912 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago. No performances Oct. 31 or Nov. 3. (773) 761-4477 or lifelinetheatre.com.

• Porchlight Music Theatre extends its revival of "Sunset Boulevard," the Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black and Christopher Hampton musical adapted from the 1950 movie about a faded film actress who persuades a down-on-his-luck screenwriter to assist her with a screenplay to restart her career. Performances run through Dec. 8 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. (773) 777-9884 or porchlightmusictheatre.org.

• Founded in 1997 to help provide arts education in Chicago elementary schools, Barrel of Monkeys announced that while its long-running revue "That's Weird, Grandma," remains, the company will change its name to PlayMakers Laboratory Theatre. "Concerns about the name Barrel of Monkeys has periodically surfaced," said executive director Kemper Florin, program director Shá Norman and artistic director Brandon Cloyd in a prepared statement. "Use of monkey imagery and racial slurs is a well-documented tendency throughout American history, and as our organization has evolved to become a more diverse organization at all levels, consciousness of this issue has increased, resulting in a consensus that the time has come to change the name."

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