Spotlight: TimeLine launches 25th season with world premiere of 'Relentless'

  • Jaye Ladymore and Ayanna Bria Bakari co-star in TimeLine Theatre's premiere of "Relentless" by Tyla Abercrumbie.

    Jaye Ladymore and Ayanna Bria Bakari co-star in TimeLine Theatre's premiere of "Relentless" by Tyla Abercrumbie. Courtesy of TimeLine Theatre

  • Chicago's Rootstock Puppet Company performs "TIMBER!" during the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, running Jan. 20-30.

    Chicago's Rootstock Puppet Company performs "TIMBER!" during the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, running Jan. 20-30. Courtesy of Rootstock Puppet Company

Posted1/14/2022 6:00 AM

TimeLine premiere

TimeLine Theatre launches its 25th season with the premiere of "Relentless," Tyla Abercrumbie's drama set during the Black Victorian Age and developed through the company's Playwrights Collective, established in 2013 to support Chicago-based playwrights. Ron OJ Parson directs the play about African American sisters who return to Philadelphia in 1919 to settle their mother's estate and discover her diaries revealing long-buried truths. Ayanna Bria Bakari and Jaye Ladymore star.


Previews at 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, Jan. 19-21, and Tuesday, Jan. 25; 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 23, at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show opens Wednesday, Jan. 26. $25-$57. COVID-19 precautions: Proof of vaccination and masking required. (773) 281-8463, ext. 6, or

BrightSide in concert

BrightSide Theatre resumes in-person performances with a staged concert version of "Promises, Promises," the Burt Bachrach/Hal David/Neil Simon musical based on "The Apartment," the 1960 comedy about an accountant who lends his apartment to his bosses for their illicit afternoon trysts. The score includes such Bachrach/David hits as "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" along with "I Say a Little Prayer" and "A House is Not a Home," which were added for the 2010 Broadway revival.

8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 14 and 21; 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15; 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 16; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, at the Madden Theatre, North Central College, 171 Chicago Ave., Naperville. $28, $33. COVID-19 precautions: Proof of vaccination or negative COVID test (at-home tests not accepted) and masking required. (630) 447-8497 or

The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, founded by Blair Thomas who serves as its artistic director, runs Jan. 20-30 in Chicago.
The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, founded by Blair Thomas who serves as its artistic director, runs Jan. 20-30 in Chicago. - Courtesy of Saverio Truglia
Puppet theater fest

Contemporary puppet artists from Chicago and around the country converge on the city for the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival consisting of more than 100 performances of bunraku, shadow puppetry, crankie scroll, pageant-style and other types of puppetry at venues throughout the city. Anchoring the 10-day festival is artist Robin Frohardt's The Plastic Bag Store, stocked with hundreds of items (fruits, vegetables and deli meats) handmade from New York City trash. Chicago artists' productions include: The Neo-Futurists' "I Object! 30 Puppet Plays in 60 Minutes"; Rough House Theater Company's "Invitation to a Beheading"; and Cabinet of Curiosity's "Sea Change," among others.

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Performances commence at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20, and run through Sunday, Jan. 30, at Chicago venues including The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland Ave.; the American Indian Center, 3401 W. Ainslie St.; Links Hall, 3111 N. Western Ave.; Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St.; the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 205 E Pearson St.; the Instituto Cervantes of Chicago, 31 W. Ohio St.; Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand Ave.; The Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan Ave.; DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place; and other venues. Free to $40. COVID-19 precautions: TBD. See

Schedule changes

The following productions have been postponed and/or canceled in response to the COVID-19 surge.

• redtwist theatre postponed its production of "Collected Stories" with no new dates announced.

• Babes With Blades announced the postponement of its premiere of "Plaid as Hell" with no new dates announced.

• Raven Theatre canceled its production of "Beautiful Things." It will resume performances May 4 with "The Luckiest."

• Court Theatre postponed its production of "The Lady from the Sea" to Feb. 25.

• "Blues in the Night" at Porchlight Music Theatre was postponed until Feb. 9. The reading of "Clear" and Porchlight Revisits' "Passing Strange" have been postponed until spring.


• The Joffrey Ballet postponed its production of "Don Quixote" until June 2.

• Steppenwolf Theatre postponed its young adults production of "1919" to fall 2022.

• Chicago Youth Shakespeare postponed its production of "Macbeth" with no new dates announced.

• The national Broadway tour of "Moulin Rouge! The Musical" has been postponed to March 19.

• "Hilarity Ensues" at Steel Beam Theatre has been postponed until April 1.

• Goodman Theatre's "The Outsiders" has been postponed with no new dates announced. "Swing State" premieres April 1, followed by "Life After" on June 11.

• Chicago Shakespeare Theater's premiere of "The Notebook" has been postponed until Sept. 6.

In other news

Check with theaters or venues regarding COVID-19 precautions.

• The national tour of director Daniel Fish's re-imagined, Tony Award-winning revival of "Oklahoma!" continues through Sunday, Jan. 23, at the CIBC Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St., Chicago. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masking required. (800) 775-2000 or

• Saint Sebastian Players presents Tom Stoppard's mystery farce "The Real Inspector Hound," about a pair of theater critics who become involved in the action of the whodunit they're reviewing. Performances begin Friday, Jan. 14, at St. Bonaventure, 1625 W. Diversey Ave., Chicago. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative COVID test and masking required. (773) 404-7922 or

• Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre hosts "Viva La Diva," a benefit for performer Amy Armstrong, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29, at 721 Howard St., Evanston. Proceeds from the cabaret performance will go toward Armstrong's medical expenses in her fight against cancer. Tickets range from $50 to $125. See

• Silk Road Rising announced it bid farewell to its longtime home at the First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple. In appreciation of the alliance, which dates back to 2003, the theater company donated equipment, furniture, risers and hardware to the church for its ministry needs, along with a cash gift, according to a statement from co-founders Jamil Khoury and Malik Gillani. Khoury and Gillani did not indicate where Silk Road Rising will next call home, but said the theater "continues unabated with exciting new projects and residencies in the works. The magic will continue to kindle in multiple locales."

• In advance of the Studebaker Theater scheduled reopening this spring, owners of Chicago's Fine Arts Building announced improvements that include new seating, a modernized audiovisual system, updated lobbies and a new third floor VIP lounge. The Carriage Hall, a multidisciplinary space, will open in late 2022. See for details.

• Victory Gardens Theater resident playwright Ike Holter ("Hit the Wall," "Exit Strategy"), Idris Goodwin, Paola Lázaro, Haruna Lee and Mike Lew are among 10 playwrights who received 2021 Steinberg Playwright Awards recognizing early- to midcareer writers. The $10,000 awards came courtesy of the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.

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