Spotlight: Cirque Italia brings pirate-themed spectacle to Aurora

  • Yovany Mendez performs in Cirque Italia's pirate-themed water circus playing in Aurora Thursday, June 23, through July 4.

    Yovany Mendez performs in Cirque Italia's pirate-themed water circus playing in Aurora Thursday, June 23, through July 4. Courtesy of Deeliteful Photography

 
 
Posted6/17/2022 6:00 AM

'Choir boy'

Steppenwolf Theatre stages ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney's drama with music "Choir Boy," about a prep school senior determined to be the best leader of its prestigious choir and the compromises he makes to do so. Kent Gash directs the revival featuring five Steppenwolf newcomers.

 

Previews at 8 p.m. Friday, June 17 and 24, and Wednesday and Thursday, June 22-23, and 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 18-19, at 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago. The show opens June 25. $44-$94. Proof of vaccination and masking required. (312) 335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.

Choreographer Byron Easley, center, leads cast members Gilbert Domally, left, Richard David, Sheldon D. Brown and Tyler Hardwick in a rehearsal for Steppenwolf Theatre's production of "Choir Boy" by ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney.
Choreographer Byron Easley, center, leads cast members Gilbert Domally, left, Richard David, Sheldon D. Brown and Tyler Hardwick in a rehearsal for Steppenwolf Theatre's production of "Choir Boy" by ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney. - Courtesy of Joel Moorman
Pirate time in Aurora

Cirque Italia returns to the suburbs with a new, pirate-themed water circus. The family-friendly spectacle begins with Rafinha the clown fishing and snagging a bottle with a treasure map stuffed inside. His pursuit of the treasure takes him on a high-seas journey where he encounters pirates, mermaids and more.

7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, June 23-24; 1:30, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. June 25; 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. June 26, through July 4, under the blue and white big top at 1650 Premium Outlet Blvd., Aurora. $10-$50. Masks recommended. (941) 704-8572 or cirqueitalia.com.

Handbag premiere

Hell in a Handbag Productions premieres its latest sendup, "A Fine Feathered Murder: A Miss Marbled Mystery," by artistic director David Cerda and inspired by Agatha Christie's fictional female sleuth Miss Jane Marple. In this satirical whodunit, Ed Jones plays the titular Miss Marbled, who is pressed into solving a murder that takes place during the Fine Feathered Ball held on the estate housing England's largest poultry farm. Cheryl Snodgrass directs.

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Previews at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 17-18, at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago. The show opens Sunday, June 19. $24-$62. Proof of vaccination and masking required. handbagproductions.com.

Ed Jones plays Miss Jane Marbled in Hell in a Handbag Productions' premiere of "A Fine Feather: A Miss Marbled Mystery," a sendup of Agatha Christie's famous female sleuth.
Ed Jones plays Miss Jane Marbled in Hell in a Handbag Productions' premiere of "A Fine Feather: A Miss Marbled Mystery," a sendup of Agatha Christie's famous female sleuth. - Courtesy of Rick Aguilar Studios
In other news

Check venues and theaters for COVID-19 precautions.

• "Hurricane Diane," Madeleine George's 2019 Obie Award-winning play, touches down at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Jeremy Wechsler directs the comedy about a lesbian who may be the Greek god Dionysus who shows up to educate contemporary society on climate change. Previews begin Friday, June 17. The show opens June 27. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masking required. (773) 975-8150 or theaterwit.org.

• Metropolis Performing Arts Centre artistic director Robert Gretta and executive director Brookes Ebetsch will join Huntley radio host Rikki Lee Travolta for "It's Showtime with Rikki Lee" at 3 p.m. Friday, June 17, on 101.5 FM WHRU. Gretta and Ebetsch will discuss Metropolis' upcoming season, including the opening production of "Cabaret," which will mark Gretta's directorial debut at the Arlington Heights theater.

• "Million Dollar Quartet" veteran Brandon Bennett channels the king of rock 'n' roll in "Elvis My Way," the next in the Artists Lounge Live series at Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire. Bennett performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 18, and 3 p.m. Sunday, June 19. Tickets are $55. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination required; masking optional. (847) 634-0200 or artistsloungelive.com.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• About Face Youth Theatre premieres "Gayme Changers," an interactive comedy about climate change that unfolds against a reality TV series in which participants compete to be the next Social Justice Superstar. The show runs Saturday, June 18, through June 24 at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination required; masking optional. (773) 697-3830 or aboutfacetheatre.com.

• "Planets of Pride," Otherworld Theatre's "nerdy, sexy, Pride variety show," continues at 9 p.m. Saturday, June 18 and 25, at 3914 N. Clark St., Chicago. See otherworldtheatre.org.

• Congo Square Theatre hosts a free, family-friendly "Festival on the Square" in celebration of Juneteenth from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, June 19, at the Zhou B Art Center, 1029 W. 35th St., Chicago. The festival includes performances from Congo Square ensemble members, including staged readings of works by 2022 Samuel G. Roberson Next Up Fellowship winner; a performance by blues artist Melody Angel; and demonstrations from Ayodele Drum and Dance, among others. Following the festival, Congo Square hosts its 2022 Vision Benefit, a fundraiser honoring theater artists Luther Goins, Jacqueline Williams and Rueben Echoles, which will include a performance of "Hit 'em on the Blackside" and a dance party. Tickets are $250. See congosquaretheatre.org/fos and congosquaretheatre.org/visionbenefit.

• TimeLine Theatre announced on-demand remote viewing for its Chicago-area premiere of "The Chinese Lady" by Lloyd Suh will be available through Sunday, June 19, in cooperation with Broadway on Demand. Prices range from $35 to $50. See timelinetheatre.com.

• Previews begin Wednesday, June 22, for the new musical "It Came From Outer Space" at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. The show, adapted by Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair from the 1953 sci-fi film of the same title about an amateur astronomer who becomes a laughingstock after he reports an alien spaceship landed outside his small town, was commissioned by CST and directed by Laura Braza. It opens June 30. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masking required. (312) 595-5600 or chicagoshakes.com.

• Redtwist theatre stages a modern interpretation of Sophocles' "Antigone," adapted by Anne Carson and directed by Christine Freije. In the tragedy, Antigone is determined to give her brother a proper burial even though the law forbids her to do so. Previews begin Thursday, June 23, at 1044 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago. The show opens June 26. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masking required. (773) 728-7529 or redtwisttheatre.org.

• Chicago Public School students collaborated with librettist Christine Steyer to create the opera "Future Perfect," about a curious young person named Miranette who leaves a grim society in search of a better one. Performances take place Thursday through Sunday, June 23-26, at the Kehrein Center for the Arts, 5628 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago. See workinginconcert.org/futureperfect.

• Performances begin Thursday, June 23, for 16th Street Theater's premiere of "The Billboard Play," Natalie Y. Moore's examination of reproductive rights set at a Chicago women's clinic where a city council candidate puts up a billboard that characterizes abortion as genocide within the Black community. In response, the head of a Black woman's health initiative counters with a billboard that insists Black women have the right to make decisions for their families and their bodies. Performances run through July 17 at Abbott Hall at Northwestern University, 710 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. (708) 795-6704 or 16thstreettheater.org.

• Broadway veteran and cabaret artist Liz Callaway brings her show "Broadway and Beyond" to the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights, for one night. Callaway, who provided the singing voice for female characters in animated films including "Anastasia," "The Lion King II: Simba's Pride" and "The Swan Princess," performs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 23. Tickets are $40 and $45. Masks required. (847) 577-2121 or metropolisarts.com.

• The Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, hosts a "Stand Up for Kids Comedy Night," a fundraiser for children and their families who are clients of Kids Above All, an organization that provides foster care, housing and counseling for young people and their families. Chris Barnes, Gwen La Roka and Vince Maranto perform at 8 p.m. Thursday, June 23. The doors open at 7 p.m. for a cocktail hour. Tickets are $60. See kidsaboveall.org/standup.

• Comedian, writer and podcaster Hari Kondabolu, a veteran of "Jimmy Kimmel Live," "Conan" and "Late Night with David Letterman," performs Thursday through Saturday, June 23-25, at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. (773) 697-3830 or thedentheatre.com.

• Strawdog Theatre named ensemble member Paul Cook as its new managing director and Donna "Dante" Gary as production manager. Additionally, Strawdog announced its 35th season, titled "Propellant," will commence in December with a remount of its popular seasonal production, "Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins," adapted from Erik Kimmel's book by Michael Dailey, with music and lyrics by Jacob Combs. It will run at The Edge Theater Off-Broadway, 1133 W. Catalpa Ave., Chicago. Next up is "Yoga Play" (April 2023 at Bramble Arts Loft, 5545 N. Clark St., Chicago.). Dipika Guha's comedy is about a woman hired to stabilize a giant yoga apparel manufacturer following a major scandal whose risky proposal could make or break the company. The season concludes with Oscar Wilde's satire on Victorian conventions, "The Importance of Being Earnest," about a couple of young men who make up fictitious men in order to avoid social obligations. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. See strawdog.org.

• Mercury Chicago Theater announced Kristi J. Martens will be its new managing director. Martens has served as production stage manager for the last 10 years. "As a stage manager, I have been working side-by-side with the countless artists and administrators through the years and I look forward to supporting them with the administrative leadership needed to continue the artistry and community at Mercury Theater Chicago," said Martens in a prepared statement.

• Mandala South Asian Performing Arts took up residence last month in its new home at 2642 W. Devon Ave., Chicago, which will be used for performances, rehearsals and community classes. It will also be the site of the Mandala Makers Festival, showcasing music, dance, storytelling, drag and interdisciplinary performances. The festival runs outdoors June 16-26. See makersfestival.mandalaarts.org.

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