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SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT What's new this summer
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times
2016-05-25

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With the promise of warmer weather this summer, Chicagoans can't be blamed for spending as much time outdoors. But Chicago-area theaters promise plenty of great reasons to stay indoors for live entertainment.

Below is a list of shows with LGBTQ content, plus a looks at world premieres and works new to the Windy City. All shows listed are chronological and located in Chicago unless otherwise noted.

Of LGBTQ interest

The Secretaries, About Face Theatre at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. The Five Lesbian Brothers ( one of whom is Fun Home Tony Award-winner Lisa Kron ) show that women can also do outrageous camp comedy in this 1990s Twin Peaks-influenced piece involving ritual lumberjack sacrifices. ( now to June 12; www.aboutfacetheatre.com )

The Boys Upstairs, Pride Films and Plays at Mary's Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. This is the Chicago premiere of Jason Mitchell's popular New York fringe show about modern gay guys and their dating habits. ( now to July 2; www.pridefilmsandplays.com )

The Irish Curse, Level 11 Theatre at Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Martin Casella's 2010 comedy about a support group for men with undersize penises finally comes to Chicago. ( now to June 12; www.level11theatre.org )

Rent, Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights. The late Jonathan Larson's 1996 Broadway rock updating of Puccini's opera La Boheme continues in a suburban run. ( now to July 3; www.metropolisarts.com )

Out of the Blue, Organic Theater Company at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Russian playwright Vladimir Zaytsev explores his country's violently repressive stance toward homosexuality in his modern drama centered on a teenager who comes out. ( May 31 through July 10 and in repertory with The Good Doctor; www.organictheater.org )

Xanadu, American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron Ave. The critically acclaimed 2007 Broadway musical adaptation of the campy 1980 film musical was one of the last projects scheduled by this company's former artistic director. So groove along to music by the Electric Light Orchestra as you pay tribute to the late PJ Paparelli. ( May 27 through July 17; www.atcweb.org )

The Divine Sister, Hell in a Handbag Productions at Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 1650 W. Foster Ave. Charles Busch's hilarious drag-filled 2010 comedy that mashes up all kinds of Catholic film references finally makes its Chicago debut. ( June 4 to July 10; www.handbagproductions.org )

Deathtrap, Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace. A married playwright concocts a scheme to steal a new play away from his handsome protege in Ira Levin's classic 1978 Broadway thriller. ( June 9 to Aug. 14; www.drurylanetheatre.com )

Make Me a Song, Eclectic Theatre Company at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave. This musical revue focuses on the ups and downs of Tony Award-winning composer/lyricist William Finn, who is best known for his scores to Falsettos and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. ( June 10 to July 10; www.eclectic-theatre.com )

MotherStruck! Solo Celebration at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Confrontational lesbian performance poet Straceyann Chin's recent off-Broadway show questioning her bad-ass credentials in the face of motherhood makes its Chicago premiere. ( June 11-July 17; www.greenhousetheater.org )

Star Whores: The Pride Awakens, GayCo at Playground Theatre, 3290 N. Halsted St. Chicago's oldest LGBTQ sketch comedy troupe performs two evenings of improvised material, along with stories from local sex workers as special guests. ( June 24-25; www.gayco.com )

Company, Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Ct., Glencoe. Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's influential 1970 Broadway meditation on the complexities of marriage and relationships is the first musical to play the company's new multimillion-dollar theater complex. ( June 15 to July 31; www.writerstheatre.org )

I Do Today, The Other Theater Company at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. World premiere solo piece by Sarah Myers looks at bisexuality, kabbalah and more in questioning modern marriage. ( Sept. 2 to Oct. 9; www.greenhousetheater.org )

World premieres

Prowess, Jackalope Theatre at Broadway Armory Park, 5917 N. Broadway St. Ike Holter ( Exit Strategy, Hit the Wall ) tackles the endemic violence of Chicago in a piece pitting heroism versus vigilante justice. ( now to June 25: www.jackalopetheatre.org )

Soups, Stews, and Casseroles: 1976, Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Rebecca Gilman ( Boy Gets Girl, The Glory of Living ) looks at how a Chicago corporation's takeover of a cheese factory upends a small Wisconsin town. ( now to June 19; www.goodmantheatre.org )

Northanger Abbey, Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave. Jane Austen's 1817 comic novel of a young woman navigating the treacherous world of high society is transformed into a musical with a score by George Howe and a book by Robert Kauzlaric. ( May 27 to July 17; www.lifelinetheatre.org )

Thaddeus and Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure, Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan Ave. Kevin Douglas explores the fraught intersection of race, entertainment and friendship in this historical and slapstick-filled drama set in 1908 Chicago. ( June 1 to Aug. 14; www.lookingglasstheatre.org )

A Small Oak Tree Runs Red, Congo Square Theatre at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave. The historical figures of Mary Turner and Sidney Johnson meet up in a purgatory of sorts in Lekethia Dalcoe's new drama. ( June 3 to July 3; www.congosquaretheatre.org )

The SpongeBob Musical, Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St. Lesbian director Tina Landau helms this big Broadway-aimed musical inspired by the beloved Nickelodeon animated series. Big-name rock stars and bands provide the eclectic score. ( June 7 to July 10; www.broadwayinchicago.com )

The Ben Hecht Show, Grippo Stage Company at Piven Theatre, 927 Noyes St., Evanston. Written and performed by James Sherman, this show aims to be a 1940s guide sharing the views of its title renaissance-man writer on topics ranging from show business to anti-Semites. ( June 10 to July 17; www.grippostagecompany.com )

The House that Will Not Stand, Victory Gardens Theater, N. Lincoln Ave. A world premiere historical drama by Marcus Gardley ( An Issue of Blood, The Gospel of Lovingkindness ) exploring what happens to an African-American wife and mother in New Orleans when her white husband mysteriously disappears. ( June 10 to July 10; www.victorygardens.org )

The Way She Spoke: A Docu-mythologia, Solo Celebration at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Karen Rodriguez explores the frightening and upsetting facts about the missing and murdered women of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in this new solo piece. ( June 10 to July 10; www.greenhousetheater.org )

The Seedbed, Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. An 18-year-old woman introduces her much-older new fiancé to her very wary parents in Bryan Delaney's modern Irish drama. ( June 18 to July 17; www.redtwist.org )

War Paint, Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. The artistic team behind the acclaimed Broadway musical Grey Gardens reteam for this musical exploration of the rivalry between cosmetics titans Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden. Two-time Tony Award-winners Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole star. ( June 28 to Aug. 14; www.goodmantheatre.org )

Kin Folk, The New Colony at Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. A small girl retreats to a world of fantasy when her parents plan to move their family to Chicago in this new drama by William Glick. ( July 8 to Aug. 14; www.thenewcolony.org )

Eroica, Azusa Productions at Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Protests against the Vietnam War figure prominently in this 1960s-set drama by David Alex. ( July 9 to Aug. 7; azusaprod.weebly.com )

The Portrait, Solo Celebration at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Susan Padveen writes and directs this portrait of the iconic Viennese painter Gustav Klimt in his early years. ( July 15 to Aug. 14; www.greenhousetheater.org )

Douglass, the american vicarious at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Christopher McElroen's multimedia work looks at race and politics from the abolitionist movement up to today. ( July 21 to Aug. 14; www.theaterwit.org )

good friday, Oracle Productions, N. Broadway St. Kristiana Rae ColÃ"n's drama involves five feminist academics facing down a campus shooting. ( Aug. 13 to Sept. 17; www.publicaccesstheatre.org )

Distance, Strawdog Theatre Company at Factory Theater, 1621 W. Howard St. A woman battles with Alzheimer's disease in this new drama by Jerre Dye ( Cicada ). ( Aug. 25 to Oct. 1; www.strawdog.org )

Chicago-area premieres

The Distance, Haven Theatre Company at Raven Theatre, N. Clark St. While spending a night on the town in Brighton, England, a group of friends is upset by the changes in their long-absent Bea in Deborah Bruce's contemporary British drama. ( now to June 26; www.haventheatrechicago.com )

One Man, Two Guvnors, Court Theatre, S. Ellis Ave. Richard Bean's hit 1960s updating of Goldoni's Italian farce The Servant of Two Masters helped to alert producers to the talents of late night TV talk show host James Corden. ( now to June 12; www.courttheatre.org )

Spinning, Irish Theatre of Chicago at Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. This is a U.S. premiere of Deirdre Kinahan's contemporary Irish drama that focuses on a bond between a former prisoner and a woman who is grieving the loss of her teenage daughter. ( now to July 3; www.irishtheatreofchicago.org )

Constellations, Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. Nick Payne's award-winning drama exploring higher physics and grief stars Broadway veterans John Michael Hall ( Superior Donuts ) and Jessie Fisher ( Once ). ( now in previews; through July 3; www.steppenwolf.org )

The North Pool, Interrobang Theatre Project at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave. Midwest premiere of Rajiv Joseph's drama vice principal who keeps a student named Khadim after school for detention, though accusations of a larger crime are later revealed. ( May 27 to June 26; www.interrobangtheatre.org )

Caught, Sideshow Theatre at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. A recent play by Christopher Chen questions the truths spouted by a Chinese dissident detailing the abuses he's suffered under his country's communist regime. ( May 29 to July 3; www.sideshowtheatre.org )

Voice Lessons, Steppenwolf 1700 Theatre, 1700 N. Halsted St. Emmy Award-winner Laure Metcalf stars in this recent comedy by Justin Tanner about a deluded community theater star and her vocal coach. ( May 31 to June 11; www.steppenwolf.org )

World Builders, First Floor Theater at Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave. Two people in a drug trial for schizophrenia medication question their love for other in Johnna Adams' drama. ( June 3 to July 2; www.firstfloortheater.com )

Human Terrain, Broken Nose Theatre at Voice of the City, 3429 W. Diversey Ave. Benjamin Brownson's award-winning drama about an anthropologist working alongside the American military in Iraq. ( June 10 to July 9; www.brokennosetheatre.com )

Between Riverside and Crazy, Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. Stephen Adly Guirgis' Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about a reclusive African-American former cop who refuses to take an offer on his place by a gentrifying New York developer. ( June 23 to Aug. 21; www.steppenwolf.org )

Wastwater, Steep Theatre, 1115 W. Berwyn Ave. This storefront theater's love affair with Tony Award-winning British playwright Simon Stephens continues with the U.S. premiere of this work exploring three relationships on the cusp of a defining decision. ( July 7 to Aug. 13; www.steeptheatre.com )

Squeeze My Cans, Solo Celebration at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Cathy Schenkelberg's one-woman show shares what she found out when she explored becoming a Scientologist. ( July 14 to 24; www.greenhousetheater.org )

Mother ( and Me ), Solo Celebration at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Kimberly Senior directs Melinda Buckley's one-woman show about a Broadway veteran and her Hungarian stage mother who is slowly slipping into dementia. ( Aug. 4 to 14; www.greenhousetheater.org )

Bloodshot, Solo Celebration at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Simon Slater stars in Douglas Post's imported one-man murder mystery about a photographer who witnesses the killing of a showgirl in 1957 London. ( Aug. 10 to Sept. 10; www.greenhousetheater.org )

Sister Cities, Chimera Ensemble at Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Four estranged sisters face the sudden death of their mother in Colette Freedman's drama which will soon be a feature film. ( Aug. 19 to Sept. 18; www.chimeraensemble.com )

Rose, Solo Celebration at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Steve Scott directs Laurence Leamer's off-Broadway portrait of 79-year-old Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy just after the tragedy at Chappaquiddick involving her son, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. ( Aug. 19 to Sept. 25; www.greenhousetheater.org ) .


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