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

Theater
Dramas

A scene from ‘The Glass Menagerie’
The Glass Menagerie Photo: Courtesy of the Hypocrites

ANIMALS OUT OF PAPER

1/14–2/27 When a divorced origami artist meets a calculus teacher with a young student for her to mentor, her life changes dramatically in this Rajiv Joseph play, which premiered in New York in 2008. $33. Shattered Globe Theatre at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. sgtheatre.org

BERNARDA ALBA AND HER HOUSE

Through 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

BRUISE EASY

1/7–2/14 The last time Dan LeFranc premiered a show at American Theater Company (The Big Meal), it became one of the biggest hits in the theater’s history. This time around, LeFranc points his pen at suburbia, where two estranged siblings reunite under duress at their childhood home. Joanie Schultz helms the proceedings. $38–$48. American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron. atcweb.org

BYHALIA, MISSISSIPPI

1/8–2/14 A black baby born to white parents sparks an exploration of race and racism in a small Southern town in Evan Linder’s (5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche) new drama. $15–$25. Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee. thenewcolony.org

THE DUCHESS OF MALFI

1/14–2/20 The ever-adventurous souls at Trap Door tackle John Webster’s 17th-century tale of a fiercely independent woman and the two brothers who are determined to control her sexually, financially, and politically. Christopher Marino oversees the sex and violence-ridden proceedings. $20–$25. Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland. trapdoortheatre.com

 

THE GLASS MENAGERIE

1/22–3/6 Hans Fleischmann’s reimagining of Tennessee Williams’s classic left audiences slack-jawed in 2013. The character of Tom became a homeless man tormented by personal demons and mental illness. As he recounts the tragedy that befell his cripplingly introverted sister and their domineering mother, the fragile Wingfield family shatters—like glass. $28–$36. Hypocrites Theatre at Den Theatre, 1329 N. Milwaukee. the-hypocrites.com

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

LONDON WALL

1/9–2/14 Griffin Theatre unearths John Van Druten’s (I Am a Camera) rarely produced drama about female typists working in 1930s London and their attempts to deal with sexual harassment. Robin Witt directs a romance that’s also an indictment of stultifying workplace conditions. $28–$36. Griffin Theatre at Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee. griffintheatre.com

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

 

MOTHERS AND SONS

1/22–2/28 The regional premiere of a work by playwright Terrence McNally (Master Class, Kiss of the Spider Woman) is always reason for anticipation. With director Steve Scott at the helm, doubly so. Scott takes on the story of a mother who lost a son to AIDS and meets up with her son’s former partner years afterward. $15–$68. Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie, Skokie. northlight.org

NO WAKE

1/6–2/7 Powerhouse performers Lia Mortensen and Raymond Fox team up for William Donnelly’s portrait of a long-divorced couple trying to navigate a shocking loss that unites them in their sorrow. Kimberly Senior directs. $35. Route 66 Theatre Company at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln. route66theatre.org

POSH

1/21–2/27 An elite English all-boys club dinner party devolves into a Lord of the Flies–esque nightmare in this 2010 Laura Wade play about what happens when the 1 percenters feel threatened. $25–$35. Steep Theatre, 1115 W. Berwyn. steeptheatre.com

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

SATCHMO AT THE WALDORF

1/7–2/7 Written by Wall Street Journal drama critic Terry Teachout, this one-man show traces the great Louis Armstrong’s career, from his beginnings in Chicago jazz clubs to his rapid rise to the best venues in New York, where blacks weren’t allowed to sit in the audience. $48–$68. Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis. courttheatre.org

SUNSET BABY

1/12–4/10 A long-imprisoned Black Power leader returns home to see the daughter he never really knew—and to acquire a cachet of valuable letters from which he could make a fortune. Ron OJ Parson directs. $38–$51. TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington. timelinetheatre.com

UPSTATE

1/14–2/28 Based on Kalisha Buckhanon’s young-adult novel, this drama follows two high school lovers in 1990s Harlem, one imprisoned for murdering his father, the other struggling to survive on the streets. $16–$25. Mpaact at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln. mpaact.org

WHAT I LEARNED IN PARIS

1/8–2/7 In 1973, Pearl Cleage was a speechwriter for Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first African American mayor. The playwright’s experiences as an activist at the heart of the civil rights movement and the sexual revolution helped shape this romance set during that time period. $35. Congo Square Theatre at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. congosquaretheatre.org

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