Spotlight: Paramount's BOLD series stages coming-of-age tuner 'Fun Home'
Paramount Theatre's BOLD series continues with a revival of the Tony Award-winning chamber musical "Fun Home," a coming-of-age/coming-out story based on Alison Bechdel's autobiographical graphic novel. The story centers on Alison -- played at different ages by Emilie Modaff, Elizabeth Stenholt, and Maya Keane and Milla Liss (who alternate in the role of Small Alison) -- and her closeted father Bruce (Stephen Schellhardt), owner of the Bechdel Funeral Home, the Fun Home of the title. Artistic director Jim Corti co-directs the Copley Theatre production with Landree Fleming.
Previews are at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 3-4; 8 p.m. Aug. 5; 2 and 8 p.m. Aug. 6; and 1 and 5:30 p.m. Aug. 7 at the Copley Theatre, 8 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. The show opens Aug. 10 and 11. $67-$74. Proof of vaccination not required; masks recommended. (630) 896-6666 or paramountaurora.com.
Tyler Meredith, left, and Yuriy Sardarov co-star in TimeLine Theatre's premiere of "Campaigns, Inc.," a political romp by ensemble member Will Allan about the founding of "fake news."
- Courtesy of Joe Mazza, brave lux inc.
TimeLine Theatre inaugurates its 26th anniversary season with the premiere of ensemble member Will Allan's election comedy "Campaigns Inc.," inspired by real-life couple Clem Whitaker and Leone Baxter, who established the country's first political consulting firm. Known for derailing novelist Upton Sinclair's 1934 campaign for governor of California, the couple revolutionized politics and developed tactics like direct mail that are in use today. Associate artistic director Nick Bowling directs Tyler Meredith as Leone and Yuriy Sardarov ("Chicago Fire") as Clem, who create "one of the most spectacular, unbelievable, star-studded political smear campaigns ever" to ensure victory for their candidate, Frank Merrian.
Previews at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, Aug. 3-5; 4 p.m. Aug. 6; 2 p.m. Aug. 7; and 7:30 p.m. Aug. 9 at 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago. The show opens Aug. 10. $25-$57. Proof of vaccination and masks required. (773) 281-8463, ext. 6, or timelinetheatre.com.
In other news
Check with venues regarding their COVID-19 precautions.
• Comedian Daphnique Springs ("Jimmy Kimmel Live," BET's "Comedy Get Brown") headlines The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Springs performs at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 29-30. Tickets range from $20 to $40. Also at The Den Theatre, comedian/actor/writer Ron Funches ("The Goldbergs," "Black*ish," "New Girl," "Transparent") headlines at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 5. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination required. Masks are optional. (773) 697-3830 or thedentheatre.com.
• Theatre Y and multidisciplinary artist and performance poet Marvin Tate present "Laughing Song: A Walking Dream," a participatory, promenade-style piece of theater that investigates the science and nature of laughter. It was inspired by the life of former busker turned late-19th-century singer and sound recording artist George Washington Johnson. Performances run Saturday, July 30, through Aug. 28. They begin and end at the YMEN Center, 1241 S. Pulaski Road, Chicago. See theatre-y.com.
• Porchlight Music Theatre showcases "Follies," "Hello, Dolly!" "Jesus Christ Superstar," "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" and other 1971 Broadway hits during its New Faces Sing Broadway 1971 concerts at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1, at Space, 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston. There's also a performance at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3, at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., Chicago. (773) 777-9884 or porchlightmusictheatre.org.
• A Theater in the Dark debuts its new audio play, "A Matter of Red Herrings," on Thursday, Aug. 4. Written by Greg Garrison, with original music by Paul Sottnik, the mystery comedy is about the misadventures a pair of detectives have while hunting for a 1920s artifact. See atheaterinthedark.com.
• Thompson Street Opera Company concludes its season with "The Kamikaze Mind," composer Nicole Murphy's adaptation of Richard James Allen's novel about a man experiencing his final moments as a conversation between three parts of himself. Performances continue through Sunday, July 31, at PrideArts, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago. See thompsonstreetopera.org.
• Chicago Shakespeare Theater has extended its new musical "It Came From Outer Space," running through Sunday, July 31, at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. The show was 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. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masking required. (312) 595-5600 or chicagoshakes.com.
• "Hurricane Diane," Madeleine George's 2019 Obie Award-winning play, has been extended through Aug. 14 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The comedy is about a lesbian who may be the Greek god Dionysus who shows up to educate contemporary society on climate change. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masking required. (773) 975-8150 or theaterwit.org.
• Hell in a Handbag Productions has extended its premiere of "A Fine Feathered Murder: A Miss Marbled Mystery," a parody of Agatha Christie's novels. Performances run through Aug. 13 at The Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masking required. See handbagproductions.org.
• Evanston's Mudlark Theater, a youth theater company, received two grants to help Latino youngsters create theatrical performances inspired by their history. The grants will also fund Mudlark's efforts to help students in Evanston/Skokie Consolidated School District 65 use theater to address anti-racism and social justice.
• Steppenwolf Theatre Company, in partnership with the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America -- Illinois Division, raised more than $12,600 for humanitarian relief in Ukraine from collections taken during performances of its production of "Seagull." Established 50 years ago, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America -- Illinois Division promotes the preservation of the Ukrainian language, culture and traditions and advocates for strong bilateral relations between Ukraine and the United States. "We are grateful to Steppenwolf Theatre for their support during this horrific, unprovoked war by Russia against Ukraine," said UCCA -- Illinois Division President Dan Diaczun in a prepared statement. "In these stressful times, the financial contributions for humanitarian aid to Ukraine by the theater community and audiences restores our faith and hope in the better angels of our society."
• Goodman Theatre announced The Roy Cockrum Foundation, which provides grants to not-for-profit American theaters, will support outgoing artistic director Robert Falls' productions of Rebecca Gilman's "Swing State" and Anton Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard." The foundation bestowed its first grant in 2016 to support Goodman's production of "2666," which Falls co-adapted and co-directed with Seth Bockley. "It feels appropriate to conclude this longtime chapter as Goodman Theatre artistic director with bold works by two of my unequivocal favorite writers," said Falls in a prepared statement. "The Roy Cockrum Foundation, which is absolutely extraordinary in its understanding of the complex art of creating theater, makes it possible for artists to realize big dreams."
• Trap Door Theatre begins its 29th season Sept. 22 with the German play "The Ugly One," about a man who contemplates surgery after friends tell him he is ugly. That's followed by Polish playwright Witold Gombrowicz's "Princess Ivona" (Jan. 12-Feb. 18, 2023), a meditation on status and cruelty about a woman who becomes involved with court intrigue. Next up is "Jeanne et le Feu" (March 9-April 15, 2023), about the making of a martyr. The season concludes May 11, 2023, with "Bowie in Warsaw," Polish playwright Dorota Masłowska's drama about a strangler tormenting the women of Warsaw. Performances take place at 1655 W. Cortland St., Chicago. Season subscriptions range from $75 to $150. See trapdoortheatre.com.