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The best things to do in Chicago this month,
selected by our culture criticsNovember 2015

Theater
Comedies

Barefoot in the Park 

Through 11/1 Neil Simon’s 1963 rom-com about newlyweds Corie and Paul Bratter is somewhat dated. It’s also packed with classic comic characters, from the crazed “Bluebeard of 48th Street” who lives upstairs to the pearl-clutching mother-in-law who passes out from shock after eating “ethnic” food. Michael Driscoll directs the high jinks. $26. Step Up Productions at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. stepupproductions.org

Chapter Two 

Through 12/20 Jessica Thebus directs the tale of a man who vows never to date again after the death of his wife—a solemn promise that a gorgeous, single soap star upends. $25–$45. Windy City Playhouse, 3014 W. Irving Park. windycityplayhouse.com 

The Cheats 

Through 11/7 Actor Hamish Linklater (The Newsroom, The New Adventures of Old Christine) turns to playwriting with a comedy that sounds like it’s part Rear Window, part Desperate Housewives, and part Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? $25–$35. Steep Theatre, 1115 W. Berwyn. steeptheatre.com

The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence 

Through 11/14 Madeleine George’s quirky time-tripper tells a tale of four Watsons: a modern-day techno-dweeb named Watson; the IBM computer that appeared on Jeopardy in 2011; Thomas A. Watson, the Bell Labs innovator of the 1900s; and Dr. Watson, intrepid assistant to Sherlock Holmes in Victorian England. $18. Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. theaterwit.org

Design for Living  

Through 11/22 With humor as dry as a perfectly mixed martini, the quasi-autobiographical plot (penned by Noel Coward) tracks the tempestuous three-way love story of a drop-dead-gorgeous interior designer, a witty playwright, and an urbane artist as they move from gay Paree to glittery Manhattan. $22–$27. Pride Films & Plays at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge. pridefilmsandplays.com

The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls 

Through 11/21 Nicole Wiesner directs a piece that merges monologues, conventional dialogue, and story-theater techniques for a coming-of-age story. $20–$25. Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland. trapdoortheatre.com

Fallen Angels  

11/25–1/10 Noel Coward is at his witty best in this play about two rich, bored housewives whose lives get upended when a guy they both bedded returns. 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

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

The Heir Apparent 

11/29–1/17 Tony winner John Rando (Urinetown) tackles playwright David Ives’s saucy take on Jean-François Regnard’s rhyming-couplet comedy about a handsome young chap bedeviled by a rich uncle who insists on bequeathing his fortune to someone else. $48–$88. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand. chicagoshakes.com

Holidaze

11/20–12/20 Step Up Productions presents its annual series of new works that celebrate and skewer the holiday season. Watch stagings of pieces by Mia McCullough (Temperance vs. Tolerance), Steven Simoncic (Later in the Strange), and others. $14–$26. Step Up Productions at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. stepupproductions.org

My American Cousin

11/19–22 Writer and comedian Jameeleh Shelo brings her one-woman sketch show to Silk Road and offers a glimpse into the life of an Arab American Muslim woman raised on the South Side of Chicago. Little is off-limits in Shelo’s comedic culture clash: The show touches on arranged marriages, 9/11, and Ramadan. $12–$15. Silk Road Rising in the Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington. silkroadrising.org  

The Terrible  

Through 11/21 Plot details are scant for the world premiere of Morgan McNaught’s pitch-black comedy. It begins when a performance artist wakes up dead, in a room empty but for a psychiatrist, a rake, another dead man, and a singer. The strangers (and the rake) must work together to prevent something terrible from happening. $15–$20. New Colony at Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee. thenewcolony.org 

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