Spotlight: TimeLine stages Chicago premiere of 'The Chinese Lady'
En garde in Glencoe
A pair of high-achieving teens training for a national fencing title go from competitors to confidants in "Athena," a two-hander by Gracie Gardner in a revival at Writers Theatre. Aja Singletary plays Mary Wallace, a New Jersey girl, and Mary Tilden plays the titular character, a New York City native whose name isn't Athena. Jessica Fisch directs.
Previews at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 6, and Thursday, May 12; 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 7; 2 and 6 p.m. Sunday, May 8; 3 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 11, at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. The show opens May 13. $35-$90. Proof of vaccination and masking required. (847) 242-6000 or writerstheatre.org.
TimeLine Theatre concludes its 25th season with the Chicago-area premiere of "The Chinese Lady" by Lloyd Suh. Helen Young directs the play inspired by Afong Moy, the first Chinese female in America, who -- at age 14 -- was brought to the country by merchants who subsequently put her on display for curious Americans. Northwestern University graduate student Mi Kang plays Moy in the two-hander, which also stars Glenn Obrero.
Previews at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 8, and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, May 10-12, at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show opens May 13. $25-$57. Proof of vaccination and masking required. (773) 281-8463, ext. 6, or timelinetheatre.com.
Glenn Obrero co-stars in Lloyd Suh's two-hander "The Chinese Lady" at TimeLine Theatre.
In other news
Check with venues regarding COVID-19 precautions.
• The Artistic Home presents "The Pavilion," Craig Wright's drama about high school sweethearts who reunite after several decades to try to make things right. Performances are at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masking required. (773) 697-3830 or thedentheatre.com.
• The hit jukebox tuner "Jersey Boys," which tells the behind-the-scenes story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons from their early days through super stardom, runs through Sunday, May 8, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masking required. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.
• Previews continue for Raven Theatre's Chicago premiere of "The Luckiest," Melissa Ross' drama about a woman who, after receiving an earthshaking diagnosis, finds herself navigating between her best friend and her mother, each of whom have the best intentions for her. Director Cody Estle's production opens Monday, May 9. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masking required. (773) 388-2177 or raventheatre.com.
• Trap Door Theatre presents "Medea Material," translated and adapted by Sarah Tolan-Mee from Heiner Müller's examination of Euripides' "Medea" as a dance theater piece. Performances continue at 1655 W. Cortland St., Chicago. See trapdoortheatre.com.
• The Annoyance Theatre kicks off its 2022 season with "The Gala," a satire on the high-profile Met Gala hosted every year by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The show opens Friday, May 6, at 851 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Also at the Annoyance is "Spliff, Laugh, Love," a cannabis-themed sketch-comedy show produced in cooperation with Dispensary 33. Proof of vaccination required. (773) 697-9693 or theannoyance.com.
• The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, presents "Joe Mande: Hero," a solo show by Joe Mande, a writer for "The Good Place" and "Parks and Recreation," at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday, May 6. Former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Sasheer Zamata (ABC's "Home Economics" and Hulu's "Woke") headlines at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, May 7. Also headlining The Den Theatre is Neal Brennan, who brings his "Neal Brennan: Unacceptable Tour" to the theater Thursday through Saturday, May 12-14. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination required; masking optional, but recommended. (773) 697-3830 or thedentheatre.com.
• Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble hosts "Art. Heals," a curated performance and visual arts exhibition consisting of music, dance, theater, poetry and multimedia, taking place Friday, May 6, through May 14 at Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 1650 W. Foster Ave., Chicago. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masking required. See danztheatre.org.
• Comedian Erica Rhodes ("Modern Family," "Veep," "New Girl") headlines The Comedy Vault, 18 E. Wilson St., Batavia. Rhodes performs through Saturday, May 7. Masking required. (630) 454-4174 or comedyvaultbatavia.com.
• Previews begin Tuesday, May 10, for Underscore Theatre Company's premiere of "Notes and Letters," a musical by composer/lyricist/writer Annabelle Lee Revak inspired by letters from her great-grandfather detailing his 1917 journey from war-torn Prague to Williams Piano Shop in Chicago, where he befriended owner Charlie, his girlfriend Nora and composer Olivia. The foursome become inseparable until World War I when lives and relationships are tested. The show opens Thursday, May 12, at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masking required. (773) 871-3000, victorygardens.org or underscoretheatre.org.
• As the Third Reich crumbles, four women vie to be Adolf Hitler's secretary as he heads into his bunker in "The Secretaries," a play by First Floor Theater ensemble member Omer Abbas Salem, developed as part of Goodman Theatre's Future Labs initiative. Previews for First Floor Theater's premiere continue at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The show opens Thursday, May 12. See firstfloortheater.com.
• Promethean Theatre Ensemble marks its return to in-person performances with William Shakespeare's epic tragedy "Richard III," featuring Cameron Feagin (who played John F. Kennedy in City Lit Theater's all-female production of "Thirteen Days") as Richard. Former Goodman Theatre artistic associate Steve Scott directs the production, which features 15 actors playing more than 30 characters. Previews begin Thursday, May 12, at The Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard St., Chicago. The show opens May 19. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masking required. See prometheantheatre.org.
• A Black teenager trying to cope with racism, homophobia and toxic masculinity discovers love letters in his late grandfather's belongings that hint at a forbidden love in "The Magnolia Ballet," a Southern gothic fable by Terry Guest. About Face Theatre presents the Chicago premiere beginning previews Thursday, May 12, at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The show opens May 20. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masking required. (773) 697-3830 or aboutfacetheatre.com.
• Invictus Theatre Company's revival of Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" begins previews Thursday, May 12, at the Reginald Vaughn Theatre, 1106 W. Thorndale Ave., Chicago. WGN radio personality James Turano and Andrea Upling play George and Martha, the dysfunctionally married couple who parade their confounding, codependent relationship before George's younger colleague Nick (Keenan Odenkirk) and his wife, Honey (Rachel Livingston). Artistic director Charles Askenaizer directs the production, which opens May 16. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masking required. See invictustheatreco.com.
• Saint Sebastian Players concludes its 40th anniversary season with the premiere of "The Shady Lady," a corporate satire by Kara Poe Atnip and ensemble member Lisa Dellagiarino Feriend about an executive for an environmental nonprofit who buys an expensive yacht using the nonprofit's funds. When a reporter uncovers the embezzlement, he and his staff scramble to cover it up to avoid going to prison. Performances run through May 22 at St. Bonaventure Church, 1625 W. Diversey Ave., Chicago. (773) 404-7922 or saintsebastianplayers.org.
• Goodman Theatre has extended its remount of TimeLine Theatre's "Relentless," Tyla Abercrombie's drama about African American sisters who return to their Philadelphia home in 1919 to settle their late mother's estate and find her diaries, which portray a woman different from the one they knew. Performances run through Sunday, May 8, at 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. (312) 443-3800 or goodmantheatre.org.
• Congo Square Theatre has extended its production of "What to Send Up When it Goes Down," Aleshea Harris' series of vignettes examining racialized violence and the loss of Black lives. Performances run through Saturday, May 7, at the Stony Island Arts Bank, 6760 S. Stony Island, Chicago. See congosquaretheatre.org.
• Porchlight Music Theatre has extended its revival of the coming-of-age musical "Spring Awakening." Performances continue through June 2 at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. (773) 777-9884 or porchlightmusictheatre.org.
• Otherworld Theatre has extended its production of "Murder on Horizon," a sci-fi, noir, immersive murder-mystery. Performances run through May 15 at 3914 N. Clark St., Chicago. See otherworldtheatre.org.
• TimeLine Theatre named Chicago native Mica Cole as its new executive director, guiding the company's strategic and financial direction and board and staff development, among other duties. In addition to serving eight seasons as the Repertory Producer at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Cole served as executive director of Free Street Theater and director of education and engagement at Writers Theatre.
• Chicago Shakespeare Theater announced the initial lineup of its 2022-2023 season will include the premiere of "The Notebook" (Sept. 6-Oct. 16), a musical by Ingrid Michaelson and Bekah Brunstetter adapted from Nicholas Sparks' novel and the 2004 film about the decadeslong romance between a wealthy woman and a blue-collar man. That's followed by William Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure" (Oct. 21-Nov. 27) directed by Henry Godinez. The World Stage at Chicago Shakespeare series resumes with an adaptation of Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" (Jan. 26-Feb. 19, 2023), about the tempestuous love story between the orphaned Heathcliff and the socially ambitious Catherine. Barbara Gaines' final production as CST artistic director, "The Comedy of Errors," Shakespeare's comedy about two sets of identical twins separated at birth, runs March 10 through April 16, 2023. A final production will be announced later. Throughout the upcoming season, CST will mark the 400th anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare's First Folio (the first printed edition of his works) with a series of events and programs. Performances take place at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. A flexible "Bard card," consisting of six ticket credits to be used at any performance, is available for $300. (312) 595-5600 or chicagoshakes.com.
• Refracted Theatre Company announced its inaugural season will begin with a launch party and salon on July 14 at Guild Row, 3130 N. Rockwell St., Chicago. The season begins Sept. 15 with the premiere of "St. Sebastian," about a couple intending to flip a house in a Black neighborhood, at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Also part of the company's debut season is the Refraction Lab for emerging playwrights. The lab will be held from June through February 2023. For details, see refractedco.com.