Chicago’s 17 Best Dramas to See in October

On stage this month: Broadsword, Pullman Porter Blues, The Wheel, The Normal Heart, and more.

Photo: Joshua Longbrake

Broadsword, a heavy metal play, rocks the Gift Theatre this month.

BROADSWORD Critic’s Pick
Through 11/24 From the Sons of Anarchy scribe Marco Ramirez comes a gritty, hard-rocking drama about a failed New Jersey heavy-metal band. $32. The Gift Theatre, 4802 N Milwaukee. thegifttheatre.org.

COMPULSION
10/10–11/17 The playwright Rinne Groff explores the obsessive lengths that Meyer Levin, the man who helped bring The Diary of Anne Frank to America, endured to share the Holocaust victim’s story with the world. $25–$40. Next Theatre, 927 Noyes, Evanston. nexttheatre.org.

THE CROWNLESS KING
Through 10/20 The House Theatre unleashes the next installment of the trilogy that began with the King Arthur–influenced adventure epic The Iron Stag King. Also featuring the voice of Tracy Letts as an exiled black dragon. $15–$40. House Theatre of Chicago at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W Division. thehousetheatre.com.

CYRANO DE BERGERAC
Through 11/10 The actor Harry Groener and the director Penny Metropulos team up to tell the classic story of a well-intentioned nobleman with a preternaturally large nose. $48–$78. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E Grand. chicagoshakes.com.

FIRST CLASS
Through 10/22 Set on a bench in New York City gang territory, the playwright Cándido Tirado’s tale of hope and violence depicts brothers at odds about how to live their lives. $10–$20. 2628 W Division. urbantheaterchicago.org.

HAUNTING JULIA
10/31–12/8 The father of a musical prodigy attempts to find out what drove his brilliant daughter to suicide. $18–$28. Eclipse Theatre at the Athenaeum, 2936 N Southport. eclipsetheatre.com.

THE KILLER ANGELS
Through 10/27 The bloody battle of Gettysburg unspools with vision and violence in Karen Tarjan’s adaptation of Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel. $40. Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N Glenwood. lifelinetheatre.com.

THE LORD OF THE FLIES
10/16–11/10 Left to their own devices after a plane crash, English schoolboys devolve into savages in Nigel Williams’s chilling adaptation of William Golding’s hair-raising classic. $20. Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N Halsted. steppenwolf.org.

MASTER CLASS
10/11–11/24 Kelli Harrington follows up her Jeff Award–winning turn in last year’s Light in the Piazza by taking on the formidable role of the opera icon Maria Callas. $29–$34. Theo Ubique at the No Exit Cafe, 6970 N Glenwood. theo-u.com.

MOTORTOWN
10/3–11/9 Simon Stephens’s drama explores the fate of an English vet who returns home to heartbreak and violence. $20–$22. Steep Theatre, 1115 W Berwyn. steeptheatre.com.

THE NORMAL HEART
10/26–12/22 The acclaimed director Nick Bowling takes on Larry Kramer’s seminal drama about AIDS in the early 1980s. Starring David Cromer. $37–$50. Stage 773, 1225 W Belmont. timelinetheatre.com.

NORTHANGER ABBEY
Through 11/10 Joanie Schultz directs Remy Bumppo leading lady Annabel Armour in Jane Austen’s tale of a young woman whose habit of indulging in romantic literature leads her to suspect a murder has taken place. Previews through 10/6, $32.50–$52.50. Regular run $42.50–$47.50. Remy Bumppo at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N Lincoln. remybumppo.org.

THE OLD MAN AND THE OLD MOON
Through 11/10 Writers Theatre teams up with New York’s award-winning PigPen Theatre Co. for a piece that combines folk music, shadow puppetry, and live action. $35–$70. 325 Tudor Ct, Glencoe. writerstheatre.org.

PULLMAN PORTER BLUES Critic’s Pick
Through 10/20 The heroic history of Pullman porters takes center stage in Cheryl West’s multigenerational journey from Chicago to New Orleans. Read the review. $25–$75. Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn. goodmantheatre.org.

A RAISIN IN THE SUN Critic’s Pick
Through 11/17 Director Ron OJ Parson (The Mountaintop) helms a staging of Lorraine Hansberry’s hard-hitting classic, featuring the gifted actress Mildred Marie Langford (In Darfur). $22–$48. TimeLine Theatre, 615 W Wellington. timelinetheatre.com.

TO MASTER THE ART
Through 10/6 The ace director William Brown revisits his 2010 hit (written with Doug Frew) about the life of the culinary icon Julia Child and her beloved husband, Paul. $25–$75. Broadway Playhouse, 175 E Chestnut, broadwayinchicago.com.

THE WHEEL Critic’s Pick
Through 10/10 Joan Allen returns to Steppenwolf for her first local performance in more than 20 years, joining ensemble members Robert Brueler, Tim Hopper, Ora Jones, and Yasen Peyankov in a 19th-century-set Spanish epic that probes the heart of human cruelty—and goodness. $20–$82. Steppenwolf Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N Halsted. steppenwolf.org.

 

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Music: Classical, New Music, Opera | Music: Folk, Country, World, Jazz | Theatre: Musicals
Music: Classic Rock, Blues, Soul | Theatre: Dramas | Theatre: Comedies | Dance
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