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FALL THEATER PREVIEW Fall classics and revivals reflect diversity
by Mary Shen Barnidge

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Theatergoing audiences weary of the same young white het males lamenting their first-world problems will find a variety of demographics represented in this fall's roster of classic and revival plays, ranging from interethnic lovers rebelling against injust laws and angels rebelling against unjust deities to all-female ensembles of—um, advanced age.

Already running

Machinal, Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Sophie Treadwell's 1929 account of a housewife driven to murder her husband could have been written yesterday, so vividly does Heather Chrisler convey the anguish of our heroine's despair. ( through Sept. 24; )

Dierdre of the Sorrows, City Lit at Edgewater Presbyterian Church, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Irish playwright John Millington Synge died before he could complete his retelling of the war-crossed lovers Dierdre and Naoise, but Terry McCabe directs the first Chicago production since 1917. ( through Oct. 15; )

United Flight 232, House Theatre of Chicago at the Chopin, 1543 W. Division St. This environmental theater replication of the famous plane crash took the Outstanding Production Jeff in 2016 and you now have a second chance to see why. ( through Oct. 21; )

Our Town, Redtwist Theater, 1055 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Thornton Wilder's reminder to make the most of our time on this earth is given new urgency here. ( through Oct. 8; )

Opening soon

The Taming of the Shrew, Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier, 800 W. Grand Ave. An all-female cast framed in a suffragette meeting circa 1919 takes on new relevance in Shakespeare's couples-counseling comedy. ( Sept. 27-Nov. 12; )

A View from the Bridge, Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Short on scenery, but big on passion, Ivo Van Hove's direction imposes operatic dimensions on Arthur Miller's family drama. ( Sept. 18-Oct. 15; )

The Skin of Our Teeth, Remy Bumppo Theatre Company at the Greenhouse, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. An all-American family survives historical upheavals from ice age to holocaust in Thornton Wilder's seminal allegory. ( Oct. 9-Nov. 12; )

Hard Times, Lookingglass Theatre at the Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. Life is grim for the denizens of Charles Dickens' industrial towns in Lookinglass' repeat of their 2001 adaptation. ( Oct. 4-Jan. 14; )

J.B., City Lit at Edgewater Presbyterian Church, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. The 23 characters in Archibald MacLeish's sprawling 1958 play adapted from the Old Testament account of Job are played by nine female AARP-eligible actors in this innovative staging. ( Nov. 5-Dec. 10; )

Yerma, Theatre Y at the New Space, 4546 N. Western Ave. Max Truax directs Federico Garcia-Lorca's rarely performed tale of marital conflict leading to tragedy. ( Oct. 26-Dec. 10; )

Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White, The Artistic Home, 1376 W. Grand Ave. Pioneering African-American playwright Alice Childress recounts the struggles in 1916 of an interracial couple forbidden to marry. ( Oct. 29-Dec. 17; )

Becky Shaw, Windy City Playhouse, 3014 W. Irving Park Rd. The adage about feeding stray cats is illustrated in Gina Gionfriddo's sly comedy of good deeds gone awry. ( Sept. 28-Nov. 12; )

Breath, Boom, Eclipse Theatre Company at the Athenaeum, 2936 N. Southport Ave. Kia Corthron casts her critical eye on urban girl gangs. ( Nov. 5-Dec. 17; )

Marisol, Promethean Theatre Ensemble at Raven Theater, 6157 N. Clark St. When even the angels in heaven are revolting against an unjust God, what does author Jose Rivera expect a Puerto Rican girl in the Bronx to do? ( Oct. 28-Nov. 26; )

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Eclectic Full Contact Theatre at the Athenaeum, 2936 N. Southport Ave. We may know how the jury will decide in the trial of the New Testament's notorious betrayer, but what an array of witnesses! ( Sept. 25-Oct. 29; )

Splatter Theater, Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont Ave. For its 30th anniversary, Chicago's most outrageous comedy troupe brings back the slasher-film spoof that started it all. ( Sept. 23-Oct 31; )

In The Next Room, or The Vibrator Play, Timeline Theatre Company at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. The enigmatic Sarah Ruhl muses on the origins of what was to become a girl's best friend. ( Oct. 26-Dec. 17; )


Billy Elliott, Porchlight Music Theatre at the Ruth Page, 1016 N. Dearborn St. A teenage lad in coal country shocks his elders by his desire to dance ballet. ( Oct. 6-Nov. 19; )

Five Guys Named Moe, Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. The big-band jazz of Louis Jordan anchors this warm-hearted tale of hepcats that paved the way for rock-and-roll. ( Sept. 16-Oct. 18; )

Rock of Ages, Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oak Brook. Nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Rock of Ages features 28 classic '80s hits from legendary artists Bon Jovi, Journey, Styx, Pat Benatar, Poison, REO Speedwagon and others. ( Now through Oct. 15; )

Million Dollar Quartet, Paramount Theater, 23 E. Galena Blvd in Aurora. It ran for nearly eight years at the Apollo while finding time for a side trip to Broadway, and now it's only a short road trip away. ( Sept. 16-Oct. 29; )

42nd Street, Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oak Brook. The show must go on and the chorus girl comes back a star—you know the drill. ( Oct. 26-Dec. 21; )

Looking ahead to the holidays

Hellcab, Agency Theatre Collective at the Den, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. What would the holidays be without Will Kern's weary taxi driver discovering the spirit of the season in the most unexpected places. ( Nov. 17-Dec. 16; )

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