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The best things to do in Chicago this month,
selected by our culture criticsDecember 2015

Theater
Dramas

A scene from ‘Agamemnon’
From left: Mark Montgomery as Agamemnon and Sandra Marquez as Clytemestra in Agamemnon Photo: Michael Brosilow
 

AGAMEMNON

Through 12/6 Court launches part two of its multiyear Greek Cycle, with adapter Nicholas Rudall picking up where he left off last year in bringing the tragedy of the House of Atreus to the stage. Also returning: Sandra Marquez as the bereft, murderous Clytemnestra and Mark L. Montgomery as her equally heartless spouse, Agamemnon. $29–$68. Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis. courttheatre.org

ANIMALS COMMIT SUICIDE

Through 12/12 J. Julian Christopher looks at “bug chasing,” the dangerous, disturbing practice of seeking out HIV-positive sexual partners in hopes of catching the virus. Director Hutch Pimentel shapes the story of antihero Chance Stevens as he moves through a world of sex, lies, and addiction. $20. First Floor Theater at Flatiron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee. firstfloortheater.com

BERNARDA ALBA AND HER HOUSE

12/5–1/3 Robert Eric Shoemaker’s adaptation moves Federico García Lorca’s dark masterpiece from Spain to the Louisiana swamps. The drama focuses on a domineering widow, the daughters she sequesters from the world, and the secrets that emerge with the arrival of a strange man. $15–$20. Poetry Is Productions in association with Redtwist Theatre at Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr. redtwist.org

Christmas Carol Goodman
A Christmas Carol   Photo: Liz Lauren

A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Through 12/27 Now in its 38th season, Tom Creamer’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’s holiday ghost story gets a resplendent staging at the Goodman and a quintessential Ebenezer Scrooge in Larry Yando. $20–$102. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn. goodmantheatre.org

FULFILLMENT

Through 12/13 Playwright Thomas Bradshaw has made a career out of provocation. In his latest drama, a black attorney repeatedly passed over for promotion wonders if racism is the reason. $38–$48. American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron. atcweb.org

HELLCAB

Through 1/10 Profiles returns, for the fourth consecutive year, to Will Kern’s tale of a taxi in Chicago. Through the eyes of a besieged cabby on Christmas Eve, the audience becomes privy to the joys and tragedies that make up life in the big city. $20–$40. Profiles Theatre, 4139 N. Broadway. profilestheatre.org

INCIDENT AT VICHY

Through 12/27 Detained by France’s Vichy government for murky reasons, the men of Arthur Miller’s World War II–set story await a life-or-death inspection in this one-act drama examining the nature of unchecked evil. $15–$35. Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr. redtwist.org

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

Through 12/27 American Blues Theater’s charming radio play version of Frank Capra’s classic film returns for the 14th year. Also returning: John Mohrlein, whose magnificently evil Mr. Potter is a perennial highlight. $19–$49. American Blues Theater at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln. americanbluestheater.com

THE LISBON TRAVIATA

Through 12/20 Veteran director Steve Scott brings Eclipse Theatre Company’s season of Terrence McNally to its finale with this drama about a group of gay opera aficionados in 1980s New York, dealing with romantic strife as the threat of AIDS looms large. $30. $20 students, seniors. Eclipse Theatre at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. eclipsetheatre.com

THE LONG CHRISTMAS RIDE HOME

Through 12/12 Director Josh Sobel takes on playwright Paula Vogel’s 90-minute drama for actors and puppets. Spanning years, the plot begins with a traumatic Christmastime drive and follows the three young siblings in the back seat to adulthoods indelibly marked by the year their parents veered toward tragedy. $15–$28. Strawdog Theatre, 3829 N. Broadway. strawdog.org

MARJORIE PRIME

Through 2/28 In Jordan Harrison’s drama, an 86-year-old former violinist grapples with the effects of old age. Kimberly Senior directs. $35–$70. Writers Theatre at Books on Vernon, 664 Vernon, Glencoe. writerstheatre.org

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET: A RADIO PLAY

12/3–20 A department store Santa Claus claims he’s the real Kris Kringle in this dramatization of the classic 1947 film. $15 suggested donation. Artistic Home Theatre, 1376 W. Grand. theartistichome.org

NEVER THE SINNER

Through 12/6 Playwright John Logan turns the true tale of genteel 20th-century murderers Leopold and Loeb into a harrowing drama. Gary Griffin directs. $15–$60. Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln. victorygardens.org

NO MORE SAD THINGS

Through 12/20 A beach in Hawaii serves as a portentous meeting place in Hansol Jung’s drama about a boy who talks to falling stars and a girl who dreams of frogs. The characters’ paths converge in a surreal, music-infused story about changing one’s path. $20–$30. Sideshow Theatre at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln. sideshowtheatre.org

REPAIRING A NATION

Through 1/3 Nikkole Salter looks at reparations and race in the story of a woman seeking compensation for losses incurred during the 1921 Tulsa race riot. $15–$35. ETA Creative Arts Foundation, 7558 S. South Chicago. etacreativearts.org

ROBIN HOOD AND MAID MARIAN

Through 12/29 Just in time for the season of giving, Strawdog unveils a new adaptation of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s take on the man who famously stole from the rich to give to the poor. $15. Strawdog Theatre, 3829 N. Broadway. strawdog.org

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