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FALL THEATER PREVIEW Multicultural world premieres dot fall theater season
by Mary Shen Barnidge

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"Yo, what's up, white people?" chirps a character in the first minutes of Qui Nguyen's Vietgone [running at Writers Theater through Sept. 23], reminding us that our world is occupied by a diversity of races, cultures and genders. Not only do the world premiere plays in Chicago's Fall season reflect this, but they also number too many to list here.

These are a few to start you off, but keep your eyes peeled if you want to see the rest before the crowd:

—Frankenstein: Nobody had planned a festival for the anniversary of Mary Shelley's greatest hit, so it came as a surprise when the 2018-19 season was found to include no less than four adaptations of the horror classic. In this first one, Rob Kauzlaric's introspective re-interpretation recounts a young woman's fancies as she grieves for her father, recreating the late sire in her imagination. Running Sept. 17-Oct. 28 at Lifeline Theater, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave. Info/tickets:; 773-761-4477

—Second Skin: Shivers and shocks are WildClaw Theatre Company's specialty, with both abundant in this fable of the sea-spawned selkies who walk among us in human disguise. Running Sept. 14-Oct. 13 at the Den, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Info/tickets:; 773-697-3830

—Lady in Denmark: Dael Orlandersmith champions cultural inclusion with her solo portrait of an immigrant Danish widow in Chicago recalling happier times triggered by the songs of Billie Holiday. Running Oct. 29-Nov. 18 at the Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Info/tickets:; 312-443-3800

—The Safe House: Chicago author Kristine Thatcher's exploration of intergenerational family secrets is only one of many plays by local playwrights ( among them, Ike Holter, Calamity West, Fin Coe, Spenser Davis and J. Nicole Brooks ) making their debut this fall. Running Nov. 2-Dec. 16 at City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Info/tickets:; 773-293-3682

—Truman and the Birth of Israel: A president nowadays nearly forgotten risks his legacy to support a minority in his own country. Running Oct. 15-Nov. 18 at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Info/tickets:; 773-404-7336.

—Plainclothes: Broken Nose Theatre, aka the company that brought you the Jeff-winning At The Table last year, now surveys the hazards of security duty at a sprawling mega-emporium. Running Nov. 12-Dec. 15 at the Den, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Info/tickets:; 773-697-3830

—Not For Sale: On the eve of Puerto Rican festival, the citizens of Guadalis del Carmen's neighborhood are invaded by newcomers proposing unwelcome changes in this you-are-there production by Urban Theater Company. Running Sept. 21-Oct. 20 at Batay Urbano, 2620 W. Division St. Info/tickets:

—Oxy, Ohio: Side Project playwright S.J. Spencer reveals why Dayton, Ohio, is the opiate-addiction capital of the United States and how it got that way. Running Sept. 30-Oct. 14 at the McKaw Theater, 1439 W. Jarvis Ave. Info/tickets:

—Downstate: Bruce Norris turns his social commentary on the question of whether some crimes are beyond redemption through remorse, punishment or exile. Running Sept. 30-Nov. 11 at Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. Info/tickets:; 312-335-1650

—Frankenstein: Manual Cinema's innovative puppetry takes up temporary residence of the Court Theatre stage to explore the connection between life, art, family, community and society. Running Nov. 10-Dec. 2 at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. Info/tickets:; 773-753-4472

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