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Theater spotlight on Victory Gardens' A Jewish Joke, Critics' Picks
2017-03-15

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Theater spotlight

A Hollywood comedy writer in the 1950s faces a crisis of conscience when he's asked to name names before Sen. Joe McCarthy's House Committee on Un-American Activities in A Jewish Joke. The comic drama, by Marni Freedman and writer/actor Phil Johnson, was first seen locally at Victory Gardens Theater and now appropriately returns in another time of heightened anti-Semitism and xenophobia. ShPIeL—Performing Identity's production of A Jewish Joke plays 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 16; 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 18; and 2 and 7 p.m.on Sunday, March 19, at the Skokie Theatre, 7924 Lincoln Ave., Skokie. Tickets are $28; $23 for students; visit SkokieTheatre.com or AJewishJoke.com for more information.

Caption: Phil Johnson in A Jewish Joke, at the Skokie Theatre. Photo by Rin Ehlers Sheldon

Critics' Picks

Bootycandy, Windy City Playhouse, through April 15. Author/director Robert O'Hara effectively disguises a serious, satirical play—about sex, Black culture and race relations, among other things—with lots of laughs, exaggerated acting and comic strip style. It works, but it ain't for prudes or the faint-of-heart. Sissies, yes! JA

High Fidelity, Refuge Theatre Project, extended through March 25. Audiences just can't get enough of this rock-and-roll musical romcom set in "the last real record store on earth." MSB

Off the Paddy-Wagon: A Drinking Game Performance, Corn Productions at the Cornservatory, through March 18 and Flanagan's Wake, Chicago Theater Works, through April 29. 'Tis the season to be celebrating Ireland's two most famous national products—strong drink and hearty laughter. MSB

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Paramount Theatre, Aurora, through March 19. Director Jim Corti delivers a gloriously grandiose staging of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's macabre musical masterpiece. The staging would feel right at home in any opera house. SCM

—By Abarbanel, Barnidge and Morgan


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