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

Theater
Dramas

A scene from ‘Agamemnon’
From left: Mark Montgomery as Agamemnon and Sandra Marquez as Clytemestra in Agamemnon Photo: Michael Brosilow
 

AGAMEMNON

11/5–12/6 Court launches part two of its multiyear Greek Cycle, with adapter Nicholas Rudall picking up where he left off last year in bringing the tragedy of the House of Atreus to the stage. Also returning: Sandra Marquez as the bereft, murderous Clytemnestra and Mark L. Montgomery as her equally heartless spouse, Agamemnon. $38–$48. Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis. courttheatre.org

ALL GIRL DRACULA

Through 11/14 The Chicago Mammals are back with the theater troupe’s fourth iteration of the All Girl Project. This year, the ladies bite into Bram Stoker’s 1815 creepfest, with Sarah Koerner leading the cast as the titular bloodhound. $25. Chicago Mammals at Zoo Studios, 4001 N. Ravenswood. chicagomammals.com

ASSASSINATION THEATER: CHICAGO’S ROLE IN THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY

Through 11/8 Investigative reporter Hillel Levin’s debut drama makes the explosive claim that the Chicago Mob ordered the assassination of JFK. Whether you think that’s a crackpot conspiracy theory or disturbingly likely, Levin’s premise has the potential to get people talking. $20–$49. Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 N. State. assassinationtheater.com

Charm

Through 11/8 Inspired by the true story of Gloria Allen and her work at the Center on Halsted, playwright Philip Dawkins delves into the intersections of sexuality, race, and gender identity through the lens of a youth group. BJ Jones directs a cast anchored by Dexter Zollicoffer as Mama. $20–$40. Northlight Theatre at Steppenwolf Garage, 1624 N. Halsted. steppenwolf.org

 

EAST OF EDEN

Through 11/15 Terry Kinney directs the sprawling World War I–era story of two intertwined families in California’s Salinas Valley, leading a cast that includes Kate Arrington, Francis Guinan, Tim Hopper, Alan Wilder, and Dan Waller. $52–$86. Steppenwolf, 1650 N. Halsted. steppenwolf.org

THE FIRESTORM

Through 11/29 If you’ve been racist in the past, is it possible to ever really change? Playwright Meridith Friedman’s new play poses that question and more in this tale of a would-be governor whose past participation in a college fraternity prank hits the news, jeopardizing his marriage to a black attorney and his burgeoning political career. $20–$30. Stage Left Theatre at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. stagelefttheatre.com

THE 4TH GRADERS PRESENT

Through 11/8 Sean Graney’s fearless, disturbing story tracks the legacy of a fourth grader who shoots himself and leaves a suicide note in the form of a play his classmates are forced to act out. Performed in collaboration with students from Senn Arts Magnet High School. $15. The Hypocrites at Den Theatre, 1329 N. Milwaukee. the-hypocrites.com

FULFILLMENT

11/6–12/13 See “Thomas Bradshaw Is in Pursuit of the Perverse.” $38–$48. American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron. atcweb.org

HELLCAB

11/6–1/10 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. $35–$40. Profiles Theatre, 4139 N. Broadway. profilestheatre.org

I FOUND MY HORN

Through 12/6 Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 3 is a beast of a composition, best left to virtuosos who’ve spent a lifetime honing their technique. It is also the piece a depressed 40-something amateur undertakes in Jasper Rees and Jonathan Guy Lewis’s one-man drama about the pursuit of improbable dreams. $55. Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted. theroyalgeorgetheatre.com

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

11/20–12/27 American Blues Theater’s charming radio play version of Frank Capra’s classic film returns for the 14th year. Also returning: John Mohrlein, whose magnificently evil Mr. Potter is a perennial highlight. $19–$49. American Blues Theater at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln. americanbluestheater.com

THE LONG CHRISTMAS RIDE HOME

Through 12/12 Director Josh Sobel takes on playwright Paula Vogel’s 90-minute drama for actors and puppets. Spanning years, the plot begins with a traumatic Christmastime drive and follows the three young siblings in the back seat to adulthoods indelibly marked by the year their parents veered toward tragedy. $15–$28. Strawdog Theatre, 3829 N. Broadway. strawdog.org

LOVE AND INFORMATION

Through 11/1 Acclaimed playwright Caryl Churchill crams 57 plays into this two-hour piece, most of them dealing with humankind’s insatiable lust for information. Shawn Douglass directs. $33–$58. Remy Bumppo at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln. remybumppo.org

THE MADNESS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE

Through 11/1 A macabre Halloween treat returns with David Rice’s eerie ode to the life and works of Edgar Allan Poe. $22–$39. First Folio Theatre at Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st, Oak Brook. firstfolio.org

MARIPOSA NOCTURNA

Through 11/1 Stephanie Diaz’s dreamy, melancholy triptych for puppets is a visually fascinating nonlinear meditation on life, death, friendship, and loss. $18. 16th Street Theater, 6420 16th, Berwyn. 16thstreettheater.org

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

 

MARVIN’S ROOM

Through 11/14 It’s been 25 years since Scott McPherson’s play about a caregiver thrown into turmoil when diagnosed with cancer debuted to rapturous reviews. McPherson died from complications of AIDS in 1992, but his brilliance lives on in this drama, which premiered at the Goodman in 1990. $15–$33. Shattered Globe Theatre at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. shatteredglobe.org

MY MAÑANA COMES

Through 11/8 Elizabeth Irwin focuses on the restaurant scene in her new play, centering the drama on a quartet of busboys hustling to meet the demands of high-maintenance customers and an ambitious dining room manager. Sandra Marquez directs. $25–$30. Teatro Vista at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln. teatrovista.org

NEVER THE SINNER

11/6–12/6 John Logan adapts the true tale of Leopold and Loeb with harrowing impact. Gary Griffin directs. $20–$60. Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln. victorygardens.org

1984

Through 11/15 Hallie Gordon directs Andrew White’s chilling adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian tale about a world where war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength, and Big Brother is always watching. $15–$20. Steppenwolf, 1650 N. Halsted. steppenwolf.org

 

NO BEAST SO FIERCE

Through 11/8 In a cross-gender twist, the mighty Katherine Keberlein plays Richard III, the legendary humpbacked serial-killer king of 15th-century England. Director Max Truax oversees a “dance theater” adaptation of Shakespeare’s bloody tale about Richard’s relentless ambition. (Read more about the casting.) Free. Oracle Productions at the Department of Cultural Affairs Storefront Theater, 66 E. Randolph. publicaccesstheatre.org

NO MORE SAD THINGS

11/15–12/20 A beach in Hawaii is a portentous meeting place in Hansol Jung’s drama about a boy who talks to falling stars and a girl who dreams of frogs. The characters’ paths converge in a surreal, music-infused story about changing one’s path. $20–$30. Sideshow Theatre at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln. sideshowtheatre.org

THE PLAY ABOUT MY DAD

Through 11/28 Marti Lyons directs playwright Boo Killebrew’s two-pronged drama about Hurricane Katrina and the dissolution of a marriage. $18–$42. Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark. raventheatre.com

POCATELLO

11/7–12/13 The manager of an all-you-can-eat-breadsticks Italian restaurant struggles with isolation in this Samuel D. Hunter (The Whale) drama directed by the prolific Jonathan Berry. $23–$36. Griffin Theatre at Signal Ensemble Theatre, 1802 W. Berenice. griffintheatre.com

 

THE PRICE

Through 11/22 In Arthur Miller’s blistering drama, decades of pent-up rage and sorrow explode as two long-estranged siblings try to figure out how to dispose of their late father’s belongings. Mike Nussbaum anchors the cast as a potential buyer. $38–$51. TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington. timelinetheatre.com

REPAIRING A NATION

11/13–1/3 Nikkole Salter looks at reparations and race in the story of a woman seeking compensation for losses incurred during the 1921 Tulsa race riot. $35. ETA Creative Arts Foundation, 7558 S. South Chicago. etacreativearts.org

ROBIN HOOD AND MAID MARIAN

11/28–12/29 Just in time for the season of giving, Strawdog unveils a new adaptation of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s take on the man who famously stole from the rich to give to the poor. $15. Strawdog Theatre at Hugen Hall, 3829 N. Broadway. strawdog.org

THE SEVEN-PER-CENT SOLUTION

Through 11/15 Terry McCabe adapts and directs Nicholas Meyer’s ode to Sherlock Holmes and the famous detective’s creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Fun fact: The solution in the title refers to Sherlock’s formula for cocaine. $24–$29. City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr. citylit.org

SHERLOCK HOLMES

11/24–29 Now here’s a bit of curious casting: David Arquette as Sherlock Holmes. The cocaine-loving sleuth created by Arthur Conan Doyle takes the stage in a murder mystery set in Victorian England with a few shout-outs to steampunk. $21–$66. Broadway in Chicago at Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph, sherlockholmesonstage.com

 

THE TEMPEST

Through 11/8 Play by Shakespeare, magic by Teller (of Penn and Teller), and music by Tom Waits? Yes, please. Larry Yando stars, and there’s mind-blowing sleights of hand, as well as choreography by Matt Kent of the sinewy, surreal dance troupe Pilobolus. $48–$88. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand. chicagoshakes.com

UNSPEAKABLE

Through 11/8 Sex, drugs, and humor take center stage in this play about Richard Pryor’s troubled life. Coauthor Rod Gailes directs. $32–$122. Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut. broadwayinchicago.com

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