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

Theater
Dramas

'In the Heat of the Night'
In the Heat of the Night Photo: Courtesy of Shattered Globe

BLOODY HAYMARKET

Through 5/28 May 4 is the 130th anniversary of America’s first dynamite bomb and the subsequent Haymarket Riots. Eric J. Coleman and David McGrath’s drama puts the audience at the center of the historic unrest. $20. Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox. bloodyhaymarket.com

CAUGHT

5/29–7/3 Before sitting down at this Christopher Chen play, audiences must walk through the art gallery of a Chinese dissident, then decide whether his depictions of unjust imprisonment are fictive. $10–$30. Sideshow Theatre at Victory Gardens Theatre, 2433 N. Lincoln. sideshowtheatre.org

CHIMERICA

5/3–7/31 The iconic image of a protester facing a Chinese military tank during the Tiananmen Square massacre is the setting for Lucy Kirkwood’s drama about the mysterious “tank man” and a U.S. journalist searching for him. $38–$51. TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington. timelinetheatre.com

 

DRY LAND

Through 5/28 Set primarily in a high school locker room, Ruby Rae Spiegel’s drama follows two star swimmers floundering in the shark tank of adolescence. When one gets pregnant, the pair form an alliance to attempt a harrowing DIY abortion. $25–$35. Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 N. Ridge. rivendelltheatre.org

EURIDYCE

5/12–6/12 In Wilmette native Sarah Ruhl’s inversion of Orpheus, a trio of stones replaces the Greek chorus and Euridyce descends to the afterlife in an elevator. $25. BoHo Theatre at Heartland Studio, 7016 N. Glenwood. bohotheatre.com

EVEN LONGER AND FARTHER AWAY

Through 5/15 Chelsea Marcantel ambles the Appalachian Trail in the story of a hiker who gets snowed in with strangers who know far too much about him. Thrisa Hodits helms the mountainous world premiere. $15–$25. New Colony at Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee. thenewcolony.org

FERAL

Through 5/29 In local playwright Shepsu Aakhu’s latest, violence erupts between the cops and a black street artist armed with a can of spray paint and his political ideals. $16–$33. MPAACT at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln. mpaact.org

THE FEW

Through 5/21 The Y2K bug looms large in Samuel D. Hunter’s drama about depressed truckers who fear the world will collapse with the dawn of the new millennium. Brad Akin directs. $10–$35. Steep Theatre, 1115 W. Berwyn. steeptheatre.com

THE FLICK

Through 5/8 Dexter Bullard helms Annie Baker’s Pulitzer Prize–winning story of a dying movie house and the three underpaid cinephiles whose passion transcends stale popcorn. $20–$89. Steppenwolf, 1650 N. Halsted. steppenwolf.org

IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT

Through 6/5 Louis Contey directs the classic about an African American cop asked to investigate a white man’s murder in the Jim Crow South. $20–$33. Shattered Globe at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. shatteredglobeseason.org

 

IN THE TIME OF THE BUTTERFLIES

Through 5/22 Caridad Svich’s adaptation of the Julia Alvarez novel follows the Mirabal sisters, the iconic “butterflies” who died trying to oust Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo. Alvarez herself has praised the adaptation. $20–$35. Teatro Vista at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln. teatrovista.org

JESUS HOPPED THE “A” TRAIN

Through 5/22 Rikers Island is the setting of Stephen Adly Guirgis’s visceral tale of two inmates—one a killer who has become a Christian, the other a bike messenger accused of slaying a cult leader. $20–$30. Eclipse Theatre at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. eclipsetheatre.com

 

JOHANNA FAUSTUS

5/20–29 Adaptors Sean Graney and Emily Casey strip Doctor Faustus down to its roots, aided by six actors who double as the show’s set designers. Bare-bones storytelling has worked beautifully for the Hypocrites in the past (12 Nights, Romeo and Juliet), making this take on a dame and the devil a hot ticket. $36. Hypocrites at Den Theatre, 1329 N. Milwaukee. the-hypocrites.com

 

MARY PAGE MARLOWE

Through 5/29 A world premiere from Tracy Letts, the author of August: Osage County, is reason enough to hightail it to the box office. $20–$89. Steppenwolf, 1650 N. Halsted. steppenwolf.org

THE NORTH POOL

5/27–6/26 Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph’s 90-minute drama plays out in real time as a high school vice principal interrogates a Middle Eastern transfer student about the contents of his locker. $12–$24. Interrobang Theatre Project at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. interrobangtheatre.org

THE SEAGULL

5/22–6/3 Chekhov’s classic follows an actress and her troubled son, an aspiring writer whose first play reveals a world where art is sacrificed at the altar of commerce. Cody Estle directs the Russian masterpiece. $20–$32. Artistic Home Theatre, 1376 N. Grand. theartistichome.org

 

SENDER

Through 5/29 Plot details are scant for this world premiere from Ike Holter—all we know is that it follows an undead Chicagoan intent on rectifying his life’s wrongs—but given the playwright’s stellar body of work, you’ll want tickets. $15–$35. A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells. aredorchidtheatre.org

THE SIGN IN SIDNEY BRUSTEIN’S WINDOW

Through 6/5 This rarely performed work by Lorraine Hansberry follows an intellectual, his aspiring-actress wife, and a tight circle of friends in 1964 Greenwich Village. $25–$75. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn. goodmantheatre.org

 

SOUPS, STEWS, AND CASSEROLES: 1976

5/21–6/19 Rebecca Gilman’s much-anticipated new drama tracks the fallout in a small Wisconsin town after its biggest employer is bought by a massive Chicago corporation. Tony winner Robert Falls directs. $10–$40. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn. goodmantheatre.org

SPINNING

5/25–7/3 Divorce was illegal in Ireland until 1995, and the years following its decriminalization saw thousands of newly dissolved marriages. That’s the setting for Deirdre Kinahan’s story of an ex-con whose divorce sends him down a dark path. $12–$26. Irish Theatre of Chicago at Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee. irishtheatreofchicago.org

TASTE

Through 5/22 When Terry and Vic meet for their first date, the dinner plans are shocking: Vic is the main course. Inspired by a 2001 case in which a man was cooked by his online sweetheart, Benjamin Brand’s bad romance isn’t for the squeamish. Free. Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr. redtheater.org

 

TUG OF WAR: FOREIGN FIRE

5/12–6/12 Barbara Gaines launches the first of two six-hour installments of her adaptation of six of Shakespeare’s history plays. $100. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand. chicagoshakes.com

THE WOMEN OF LOCKERBIE

Through 5/8 On December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York exploded over Scotland, killing everyone on board. In this drama, the victims’ families search Lockerbie’s hills for clothing, remains, and closure. $12–$20. AstonRep at Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark. astonrep.com

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