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

Theater
Musicals

AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’

11/14–12/20 Music director Austin Cook joins forces with director Brenda Didier for a lineup of jubilant, sassy toe tappers written by Fats Waller, including “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do,” and the irrepressible title tune. $30–$48. Porchlight Music Theatre at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont. porchlightmusictheatre.org

BLOOD BROTHERS

Through 11/15 Twin brothers are separated at birth in Willy Russell’s musical about siblings whose different life trajectories merge in adulthood with tragic results. Multiple Jeff winner Fred Anzevino directs the rarely produced show, with an assist from choreographer Maggie Portman. $29–$59. Theo Ubique at No Exit Cafe, 6970 N. Glenwood. theo-u.com

A CHRISTMAS STORY

11/25–1/13 Ralphie and his quest for a Red Ryder BB gun come to the Paramount. Nick Bowling directs the holiday classic of boozy Santas, last-minute Chinese food, and the ever-present threat that somebody’s gonna put an eye out. $41–$56. Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena, Aurora. paramountaurora.com

 

DIRECT FROM DEATH ROW: THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS

Through 11/14 The nine “boys” of Mark Stein and Harley White’s musical spent their lives trapped in an American nightmare, falsely convicted in the early 1930s of raping a white woman. Here, they recount their lives through soft-shoe, magic acts, ventriloquism, sketch comedy, and song. $18–$42. Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark. raventheatre.com

DYNAMITE DIVAS

11/28–1/12 Black Ensemble Theater’s executive director, Jackie Taylor, revises a show she debuted in 2001 and raises the roof with the music of Aretha Franklin, Nancy Wilson, Nina Simone, Gladys Knight, and Roberta Flack, among others. An updated score features additional divas, including Mariah and Beyoncé. $55–$65. Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N. Clark. blackensemble.org

ELF

Through 12/31 Marc Robin, the winner of too many Jeffs to count, returns to the Marriott to direct the daffy, warm-hearted adventures of Buddy, a human who was raised as an elf. Buddy leaves the North Pole for Manhattan on a quest to discover his true roots. $47–$52. Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, 10 Marriott, Lincolnshire. marriotttheatre.com

Artwork from ‘Treasure Island’
Treasure Island   Photo: Sean Williams

MY WAY: A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO FRANK SINATRA

11/27–1/10 Songs made famous by that skinny kid from New Jersey pack this revue from music director Jeremy Ramey and director Fred Anzevino. $20–$59. Theo Ubique at No Exit Cafe, 6970 N. Glenwood. theo-u.com

RIDE THE CYCLONE

Through 11/8 It’s the stuff of nightmares: There you are at the top of a roller coaster, steeling yourself for the downward hurtle, when something goes very wrong. That’s the story in this musical about a high school vocal ensemble silenced by a malfunctioning ride. Rachel Rockwell directs. $38–$48. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand. chicagoshakes.com

THE STORY OF A STORY: THE UNTOLD STORY

Through 11/8 Clichés are usually the enemy of good storytelling, but in this new musical by Peter Gwinn (book and lyrics) and Jody Shelton (music), intentionally lame phrases form the basis of a quirky plot involving a feisty band of “rebel clichés” and their quest to become fully-formed three-dimensional characters. $20. Underscore Theatre, 1543 W. Division. underscoretheatre.org

 

TREASURE ISLAND

Through 1/31 With director Mary Zimmerman’s stunning aesthetic and actor Lawrence DiStasi’s shape-shifting prowess, this new adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic promises to be one of the most rip-roaring experiences of the season. $50–$115. Lookingglass, 821 N. Michigan. lookingglasstheatre.org

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