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The best things to do in Chicago this month,
selected by our culture criticsFebruary 2016

Theater
Comedies

The Last Defender
Michelle Alba and Brenda Barrie in The Last Defender Photo: Courtesy of the House Theatre of Chicago

THE CONSULTANT

Through 2/27 Layoffs have decimated the pharmaceutical company where Heidi Schreck’s comedy of corporate manners unfolds. Enter a naive 22-year-old consultant hired to coach a middle-aged ad exec to success and bring the company back into the black. $12–$23. Signal Ensemble Theatre, 1802 W. Berenice. signalensemble.com

 

DOMESTICATED

Through 2/7 Pulitzer Prize winner Bruce Norris’s scathing tale of a philandering politician is as shocking as it is hilarious. Norris (Clybourne Park) directs a cast of local standouts, including Mary Beth Fisher and Tom Irwin. $20–$89. Steppenwolf, 1650 N. Halsted. steppenwolf.org

THE EXPLORERS CLUB

Through 4/7 A female anthropologist threatens the status quo among a group of male scientists in this Nell Benjamin satirical farce set in 1879 London. $25–$55. Windy City Playhouse, 3014 W. Irving Park. windycityplayhouse.com

THE GILDED AGE: A STORY OF TODAY

Through 2/21 The only novel Mark Twain wrote with a collaborator (Charles Dudley Warner) unfolds after the Civil War, with a nouveau riche family caught in the middle of a high society murder trial. Paul Edwards adapts the salacious scandal. $10–$29. City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr. citylit.org

THE LAST DEFENDER

Through 3/13 DC Comics artist Chris Burnham, game designer Sandor Weisz, and House Theatre artistic director Nathan Allen team up to create a show billed as “part performance, part live-action game, and part puzzle hunt” set in 1960s Chicago. $20–$48. House Theatre at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division. thehousetheatre.com

MUTT

Through 2/14 In a bid to capture the presidency, the Republican Party of the near future hires a “race-impact consultant” who convinces the conservative powers that be to nominate a “safe” minority—i.e., an Asian American. That’s the setup in Christopher Chen’s political satire (directed by Vanessa Stalling), which takes aim at both the elephants and the donkeys. $20–$30. Red Tape Theatre with Stage Left Theatre at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. redtapetheatre.org

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