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

Theater
Comedies

The cast of 'The Secretaries'
The Secretaries Photo: Courtesy of About Face Theatre

AMERICAN BEAUTY SHOP

Through 6/5 Chicago playwright Dana Lynn Formby puts audiences on the front lines of blue-collar life in this story of a beauty shop run by a single mom and her combative daughter. $13–$33. Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago. chicagodramatists.org

DEATH OF A STREETCAR NAMED VIRGINIA WOOLF: A PARODY

Through 7/10 Blanche DuBois and Willy Loman walk into a bar. That’s the wackadoodle premise of this Writers Theatre and Second City tandem, which sets the characters of Death of a Salesman, A Streetcar Named Desire, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and Our Town at odds. $35–$70. Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor, Glencoe. writerstheatre.org

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THOMAS JEFFERSON, CHARLES DICKENS, AND COUNT LEO TOLSTOY: DISCORD

5/6–6/12 Kimberly Senior directs this 85-minute play in which a Founding Father, a Victorian novelist, and a Russian revolutionary debate the existence of God. $25–$79. Northlight Theatre, 9501 N. Skokie, Skokie. northlight.org

THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES

Through 6/18 John Guare’s trippy comedy follows a New York songwriter, his crazypants wife, and a Hollywood producer as they prepare for the pope’s 1965 visit to Gotham. High jinks ensue in a city gone bananas over the Catholic in chief. $17–$39. Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark. raventheatre.com

MIKE MOTHER

5/2–6/4 Jessica Anne’s comedy riffs on Marsha Norman’s devastating drama ’Night, Mother in a mash-up of film, stagecraft, humor, and sadness. $10–$20. Neo-Futurists at Neofuturarium, 5153 N. Ashland. neofuturists.org

ONCE IN A LIFETIME

Through 6/4 The entertainment biz takes center stage in George Kaufman and Moss Hart’s 1930 comedy about vaudevillians taking on the nascent movie industry. $24–$28. Strawdog Theatre, 3829 N. Broadway. strawdog.org

ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS

5/12–6/12 Richard Bean plunks the 1743 comedy Servant of Two Masters into 20th-century England for an uproarious farce involving liars, lovers, clowns, and other commedia dell’arte types, all underscored by a live skiffle band. $38–$68. Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis. courttheatre.org

 

OTHELLO: THE REMIX

Through 5/8 The Q Brothers turn Shakespeare’s bleakest tragedy into a hilarious 90-minute rap. (Don’t worry: Everybody still dies.) $20–$45. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand. chicagoshakes.com

THE REALIZATION OF EMILY LINDER

Through 5/8 After foreseeing her own death, a woman calls on her reluctant children to plan her funeral and eulogy. Expect high-grade giggles from director Hans Fleischmann. $15–$35. Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr. redtwist.org

 

THE SECRETARIES

5/6–6/12 In this Chicago premiere by playwrighting team the Five Lesbian Brothers, Patty Johnson joins a secretarial pool of murderous, chainsaw-wielding woodswomen. The reliably marvelous Kelli Simpkins stars in a campy comedy blending The Stepford Wives with Twin Peaks. $20–$35. About Face Theatre at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. aboutfacetheatre.com

TRASH

Through 5/15 Johnny Drago’s pitch-black comedy follows Jinx Malibu, the fading star of the Rocketpussy movies. But her aimless days popping pills in a trash-filled doublewide may end with the arrival of a stranger promising a comeback. $20. New American Folk Theatre at Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee. newamericanfolktheatre.org

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