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Here Are 33 Great Picks for Chicago Theatre This May

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark; The Misanthrope; The Glass Menagerie; and more

Tamberla Perry in ‘By the Way, Meet Vera Stark’

Photo: Liz Lauren

Tamberla Perry in By the Way, Meet Vera Stark

COMEDIES

BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS
Through 6/29 Cody Estle directs Neil Simon’s autobiographical comedy about coming of age amid a tight-knit Jewish family in New York City. Previews through 5/4, $22. Regular run $15–$36. Raven Theatre, 6157 N Clark. raventheatre.com.

THE LIAR
See “These Three New Plays Put New Twists on Extremely Old Tales.”

THE MISANTHROPE
See “These Three New Plays Put New Twists on Extremely Old Tales.”

THE MISS NEO-FUTURIST PAGEANT
5/16–6/22 Creator Megan Mercier deconstructs the American pageant tradition in a competition that puts a subversive spin on ideas of gender, beauty, and sociological norms. $10, $20. Neo-Futurists at the Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N Ashland. neofuturists.org.

REALITY CHECK
4/19–6/2 Marie Cisco and Kevin Douglas use comedy to explore how the lines of virtual and real worlds can be blurred in the uber-plugged-in era of iPhones and laptops. $15–$23. Mpaact at the Greenhouse Downstairs Studio Theater, 2257 N Lincoln. mpaact.org.

THE RULING CLASS
5/3–5/19 Earl, who thinks himself God, is introduced to a fellow nut. Then Jack the Ripper shows up. Goat Song Theatre explores Peter Barnes’s crazy-pants comedy. $15–$20. Goat Song Theatre at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N Southport. goatsongtheatre.org.

TARTUFFE
See “These Three New Plays Put New Twists on Extremely Old Tales.”

WOMAN IN MIND
Through 5/19 When an oppressed housewife gets hit in the head with a garden rake, her fantasies of a better life begin. $22–$28. Eclipse Theatre at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N Southport. eclipsetheatre.com.
 

DRAMAS

BLOOD AND GIFTS
Through 7/28 Nick Bowling helms a thriller centered on an Afghan warlord and a CIA operative entwined in the Soviet-Afghan war of the 1980s. Playwright J. T. Rogers’s cat-and-mouse drama crackles with spy vs. spy intrigue. Previews through 5/8, $22–$42. TimeLine Theatre, 615 W Wellington. timelinetheatre.com.

THE BRIG
Through 5/26 Kenneth Brown’s tale of a soldier spending 30 days in military prison. $20–$25. Mary-Arrchie Theatre, 735 W Sheridan. maryarrchie.com.

BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK *Critic’s Pick
Through 6/2 Tamberla Perry stars in the story of an African American actress who breaks into film in 1930s Hollywood. Chuck Smith directs an epic journey of the screen queen. $21–$81. Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn. goodmantheatre.org.

COMRADES MINE
Through 5/19 Playwright Maureen Gallagher mines the drama of Emma Edmonds, an unlikely American hero. $10–$28.50. City Lit Theater, 1020 W Bryn Mawr. citylit.org.

CREDITORS
Through 6/2 Linda Gillum stars in David Greig’s adaptation of August Strindberg’s portrait of a deadly psycho-sexual triangle. $27.50–$47.50. Remy Bumppo at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N Lincoln. remybumppo.org.

THE ELECTRIC BABY
5/16–6/22 Tara Mallen directs the Midwest premiere of this story about a group of disparate souls who come together to care for a strangely luminescent baby. $15–$30. Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N Ridge. rivendelltheatre.org.

FIGHT GIRL BATTLE WORLD
5/14–6/16 Mitch Golob directs Qui Nguyen’s sci-fi parody/punch-up saga about a prizefighter who becomes entangled with the last known woman in the galaxy. Previews through 5/16, $10. Regular run $25. $15 students, seniors. Infusion Theatre at Theater Wit, 1229 W Belmont. infusiontheatre.com.

GANESH VERSUS THE THIRD REICH
5/16–5/19 Australia’s Back to Back Theatre presents a tale performed entirely by actors with disabilities, tracing the adventures of the great Indian god Ganesh and his quest to reclaim the swastika. $22 MCA members, $28 nonmembers, $10 students. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago. mcachicago.org/performances/.

THE GLASS MENAGERIE *Critic’s Pick
5/22–6/30 Mary Arrchie remounts its stunning and revelatory take on Tennessee Williams’s classic. $32–$37. Mary Arrchie Theatre at Theatre Wit, 1229 W Belmont. maryarrchie.com.

HENRY VIII
Through 6/16 Barbara Gaines directs Shakespeare’s rarely produced drama of the infamous monarch who famously took to bedding and then beheading his serial wives. $48–$78. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E Grand Ave. chicagoshakes.com.

HEAD OF PASSES
Through 5/9 One of Chicago’s rising stars, Tarell Alvin McCraney reteams with director Tina Landau for a reenvisioning of the book of Job, set in Mississippi in the “distant present.” $20–$78. Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N Halsted. steppenwolf.org.

HOMECOMING 1972
5/16–6/23 Kimberly Senior directs as the playwright Robert Koon delves into the psychological travails of a Vietnam vet trying to adjust to postwar life in his small Midwestern hometown. $15–$32. Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W Chicago. chicagodramatists.org.

IN A GARDEN
Through 5/19 East meets West in Howard Korder’s drama of an architect hired to create a garden for a Middle Eastern politico. $15–$30. A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N Wells. aredorchidtheatre.org.

IN THE COMPANY OF MEN
5/10–6/30 Two piggish executives decide to vent their frustrations by pulling a cruel prank on a hearing-impaired female coworker. $35–$40. Profiles Theatre, 4147 N. Broadway. profilestheatre.org.

IVYWILD
Through 6/16 From playwright Jay Torrence, a tale of 1908 Chicago, the infamously corrupt politicos Hinky Dink Kenna and Bathhouse John Coughlin, and a drunken elephant named Princess. $28. The Hypocrites Theatre at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division. the-hypocrites.com.

JAR THE FLOOR
Through 5/12 Sparks fly and secrets are revealed in Cheryl West’s drama as four generations of women gather for the 90th birthday of their family matriarch. $15–$30. ETA Creative Arts, 7558 S South Chicago. etacreativearts.org.

THE KNOWLEDGE
Through 5/25 Jonathan Berry directs the U.S. premiere of John Donnelly’s exploration of bullies and an abused teacher at a London private school. $20–$22. Steep Theatre, 1115 W Berwyn. steeptheatre.com.

THE LAKE EFFECT
Through 5/26 Family secrets unfurl in a world premiere from the playwright Rajiv Joseph that takes place in a restaurant as a blizzard rolls over Cleveland. $38. Silk Road Rising, Chicago Temple Building, 77 W Washington. silkroadrising.org.

LASCIVIOUS SOMETHING
5/2–6/8 In Sheila Callaghan’s Euripides-inspired, Dionysian drama, an American expat with a passion for wine finds his revels interrupted when a former lover shows up on the island he calls home. Previews 5/2–4, $10. Regular run $15, $20. Signal Ensemble Theatre, 1802 W Berenice. signalensemble.com.

MEASURE FOR MEASURE
Through 5/19 The St. Sebastian Players take on Shakespeare’s problem play of unjust execution, tyrannical oppression, and sexual hypocrisy. $15 general admission. $10 seniors, $7 students. St. Bonaventure Church, 1625 Diversey Pkwy. saintsebastianplayers.org.

NEXT FALL
Through 5/25 Challenges abound when the Biblically named Adam and Luke—an atheist and a devout Christian—fall in love and are forced to examine their beliefs. $10–$20. Aston Repertory at the Heartland Studio, 7016 N Glenwood. astonrep.com.

SPOON RIVER ANTHOLOGY
5/1–6/16 Edgar Lee Masters paints a detailed portrait of American life through the lens of small-town folk and how they experience war, poverty, and religion. Timothy Gregory directs. $10–$32. Provision Theater, 1001 W Roosevelt Rd. provisiontheater.org.

STELLA & LOU
5/3–6/9 B.J. Jones directs Bruce Graham’s new work, in which a neighborhood pub brings two kindred spirits together for some philosophizing. $25–$64. Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd. northlight.org.

STILL ALICE
Through 5/19 Christine Mary Dunford’s adaptation of Lisa Genova’s novel about a neuroscientist coping with early-onset Alzheimer’s is at once heartbreaking and fascinating. $20–$70. Water Tower Water Works, 821 N Michigan. lookingglasstheatre.org.

A STUDY IN SCARLET
5/3–6/1 Paul Edwards adapts the very first Sherlock Holmes mystery, where Holmes explains that there is a “scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it.” $12–$22. Promethean Theatre at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N Southport. prometheantheatre.org.

YELLOW MOON
Through 7/14 David Greig spins the story of Leila and Lee, a pair of troubled Scottish teens who embark on a wild, violent trek across the highlands in search of their long-gone father. $35–$60. Writers Theatre’s Bookstore Space, 664 Vernon. writerstheatre.org.
 

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