Our city has become a worldwide destination for premiering plays ( if Mark Larson's new book on the history of show biz in Chicago is correct ), but there's still room for second-look and better-late-than-never theatergoing experiences in a season crammed with possibilities.
Bona fide classics:
Richard III: Don't put away your daggers and poison yet, all you Game of Thrones fansEclectic Full Contact Theatre presents Shakespeare's most charming villain making with the royal mischief. It runs Oct. 1-Nov. 3 at the Athenaeum, 2936 N. Southport Ave. Info/tickets: Eclectic-Theatre.com, 773-935-6875
Romeo and Juliet: More than 400 years of teenage emancipations, elopements and suicides have been attributed to Shakespeare's romantic tragedy, so what can we expect from a production whose publicity depicts an interracial couple clasping hands? It runs Oct. 31-Dec. 22 at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave. Info/tickets: ChicagoShakes.com, 312-595-5600
Rutherford and Son: Githa Sowerby's critique of filial strife in 1912 industrial England may have been eclipsed by male contemporaries like Ibsen and Shaw, but this forgotten proto-feminist finally gets her due over a century later from Timeline Theatre. It runs Nov. 6-Jan. 12 at Baird Hall, 615 W. Wellington Ave. Info/tickets: TimelineTheatre.com, 773-281-8463
Oedipus Rex: Sophocles' account of the abandoned child who tried to escape his destiny, freshly translated by Nicholas Rudall for this Court Theatre production, premiered in 429 BCyou can't get much more classic than that. It runs Nov. 7-Dec. 8 at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. Info/tickets: CourtTheatre.org, 773-753-4472
Whose Body? Playgoers who missed Frances Limoncelli's 2002 adaptation of Dorothy Sayers' flagship mystery starring blue-blooded crimesolver Lord Peter Wimsey can now see the play that inaugurated Lifeline Theatre's most successful series. It runs Sept. 16-Oct. 27 at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave. Info/tickets: LifelineTheatre.com, 773-761-4477
King Hedley II: This ninth in the late August Wilson's ten-play trilogy reintroduces characters from earlier chapters to explore hard times in the Pittsburgh Hill District during the recession of 1985. It runs Sept. 12-Oct. 13 at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. Info/tickets: CourtTheatre.org 773-753-4472
Equivocation: If you weren't taking notes at the 2012 Victory Gardens production of Bill Cain's fact-packed historic drama about the Gunpowder Rebellion, religious wars, art as propaganda, grief therapy and how Macbeth came to be written, Idle Muse offers you a chance to repeat the course. It runs Sept. 23-Oct. 20 at the Edge Off-Broadway, 1133 W. Catalpa Ave. Info/tickets: IdleMuse.com, 773-340-9438
Equus: Peter Shaffer's exploration of repressed adolescent sexuality and pagan totemic worship gone awry is being marketed by Aston Rep as a "thriller" so prepare yourself for images of violence ( animal-lovers, especially ). It runs Sept. 28-Oct. 27 at the Edge Theatre, 5451 N. Broadway. Info/tickets: AstonRep.com 773-828-9129
The Brothers Size: Steppenwolf's Theatre for Young Adults series features this first in Tarrell Alvin McCraney's trilogy, drawing on Yoruba and Louisiana bayou myths to recount the fortunes of two dissimilar siblings. It runs Oct. 4-Oct. 19 at Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. Info/tickets: Steppenwolf.org, 312-409-1650
The Hound of the Baskervilles: James Sparling and Adam Bitterman return to portray Holmes and Watson for the third time since assuming the roles, following Terry McCabe's 2007 premiere adaptation for City Lit of the supersleuth's most famous case. It runs Oct. 6-Nov. 20 at City Lit Theatre in the Edgewater Presbyterian Church, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Info/tickets: CityLit.org, 773-293-3682
Hoodoo Love: It's not exactly a musical, but Katori Hall's torchy tale of Beale Street blues musicians during the Depression brings plenty of Memphis soul to stave off pre-holiday chill. It runs Nov. 4-Dec. 15 at Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St. Info/tickets: RavenTheatre.com, 773-338-2171
Tricks and treats:
Seventy Scenes of Halloween: Cajun-country Theatre L'acadie makes its Chicago debut with Jeffrey M. Jones' fable of a marriage gone spooky on the eeriest night of the year. It runs Sept. 26-Oct. 13 at the Athenaeum, 2936 N. Southport Ave. Info/tickets: TheatreLacadie.com, 773-935-6875
Blue Man Group: Since taking up Chicago residence in 1997, the enigmatic azure aliens with the splashy drums and spitting vests have been mystifying all-ages audiences with their geeky stunts. There's an open run at the Briar Street Theatre, 3133 N. Halsted St. Info/tickets: BlueMan.com, 773-348-4000.