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SUMMER THEATER SPECIAL Summer promises: Theater in and around the city
by Mary Shen Barnidge

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One might not believe it from the climate-change weather people are getting now, but summer is on its way and, with it, outdoor warm-weather picnic-welcome entertainment and no-brain indoor spectacles. ( Note: Asterisks indicate productions with no admission charge. )

Under suburban stars

Oak Park Festival Theatre, Austin Gardens, 167 Forest Ave., Oak Park: The highlight of the season is Carlyle Brown's historical drama, The African Company Presents Richard III, running July 28-Sept. 1; however, first, audiences can enjoy Kaufman and Hart's classic comedy, You Can't Take It With You, playing June 16-July 22; visit .

First Folio Theatre, Peabody Estate at Mayslake, 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook: David Rice and Lydia Heller's world-premiere musical adaptation of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, running from July 14-Aug. 19, is now titled Shrew'd and set in the 1930s, featuring a jazz-inspired score by Christopher Kriz and the co-adapters; .

Coming to parks near you

*Midsommer Flight at Lincoln, Gross, Touhy and, this year, Chicago Women's Park at 1801 S. Indiana Ave. The touring play for 2018 is The Two Gentlemen of Verona, starring David Goodloe and Chad Bay as the foolish young swains;

*Shakespeare's Motley Crew, Winnemac Park, 5100 N. Leavitt St. The resident mummers at this family-friendly neighborhood festival, playing weekends from Aug. 4-27, present Midsummer Mayhem: The Prophesies, featuring a mash-up of prognosticative scenes from Julius Caesar, Lear, Twelfth Night and the inevitable Scottish you-know-what;

*Chicago Shakespeare Theater. The prestigious Navy Pier company brings their trademark Short Shakespeare production of A Midsummer Night's Dream to parks on the North and South sides of the city; for complete schedules, contact .

*Theatre Hikes. Planned for 2018 is Arabian Nights at North Park Village ( July 14-15 and Horner Park July 21, but green promenades may be in short supply this year, so be sure to check the website before making plans;

Indoors in the city

Djembe!, Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave. A djembe is an African drum, and one is distributed to each audience member so they can hammer away like Boul Mich bucket-buskers to the music of Bob Marley, Angelique Kidjo and Prince ( among others ) from June 13-Sept. 2;

The Cher Show, Ford Oriental Theater, 24 W. Randolph St. It takes two vocalists to play the superstar born Cherilyn Sarkasian, but known to hoards of devoted fans ( and several husbands ) simply as Cher, in this revue donning its finishing touches from June 12-July 15 before opening on Broadway in December;

Wild Women of the Planet Wongo, Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St. This New York City musical import features spoofery of Sci-Fi B-movies, amazon warriors, purple and green cosplay, no chairs and Wongotini cocktails—all from June 8-July 14;

The Maids, Artistic Home, 1376 W. Grand Ave. Playwright Jean Genet said, himself, that he wanted men in drag to portray the two homicidal domestics in this thriller ( based on a true story ), so director Michael Conroy fulfills his wish by casting divas Patience Darling and Hinkypunk in this production running June 22-July 14;

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Lookingglass Theatre at the Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. Kareem Bandealy stars as the would-be master of the briny deep in this adaptation by Althos Low and David Kersner of Jules Verne's Victorian science-fiction fable, playing from June 2-Aug. 19;

Theater on the Lake continues to promise its re-opening, but no schedule had been announced as of press time. Interested theatergoers are advised to keep watch on its website at .

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