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



1/21–2/27 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 Photo: Saverio Truglio


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. $49–$86. Steppenwolf, 1650 N. Halsted. steppenwolf.org


1/27–3/20 A female anthropologist threatens the status quo among a group of male scientists in this Nell Benjamin satirical farce set in 1879 London. $35–$55. Windy City Playhouse, 3014 N. Irving Park. windycityplayhouse.com


Through 1/10 Noel Coward is at his wittiest in this play about two rich, bored housewives whose lives change when a man they both bedded shows up. Shannon Cochran directs a fine cast that includes Annabel Armour, Emjoy Gavino, and Eliza Stoughton. $33–$58. Remy Bumppo at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln. remybumppo.org


1/1–2/21 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

Actors in ‘The Heir Apparent’
Nate Burger as Eraste and Emily Peterson as Isabelle in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of The Heir Apparent Photo: Bill Burlingham


Through 1/17 Tony winner John Rando (Urinetown) tackles playwright David Ives’s saucy take on this Jean-François Regnard rhyming-couplet comedy. It’s about a handsome young chap whose rich uncle insists on bequeathing his fortune to someone else. $48–$88. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand. chicagoshakes.com


1/21–3/13 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. The audience must figure out how to unlock a top-secret government mystery and save the world from nuclear peril. $20–$50. House Theatre at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division. thehousetheatre.com


1/15–2/21 Marriage is at the heart of playwright Philip Dawkins’s new romance, which follows a commitment-shy gay man uncertain about how to act as wedding fever spreads through his circle of friends. Stephen Brackett directs the world premiere from the author of the acclaimed The Homosexuals. $20–$35. About Face Theatre at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. aboutfacetheatre.com


1/9–2/14 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


Through 1/10 Finnish playwright Okko Leo’s headbanging comedy follows a group of has-been rockers who stumble onto one last shot at stardom. Can the boys escape the world of “Hotel California” covers and rec center wedding receptions? Brad Akin directs. $10–$20. Akvavit Theatre at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge. akvavittheatre.org


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