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2015 Fall Culture Preview

Fall’s 10 Most Anticipated Plays

From left: Larry Yando in The Tempest and Felicia Fields in Gem of the Ocean   Photos: Photos: (The Tempest) Bill Burlingham; (Gem of the Ocean) Joe Mazza/Brave Lux

1 The Tempest

Chicago Shakespeare Theater

A score by Tom Waits + magic by Teller + Larry Yando as Prospero = a perfect storm of theatricality. Aaron Posner directs. Through November 8. $48 to $88. chicagoshakes.com

2 East of Eden


Frank Galati’s 1988 adaptation of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath was pure theater alchemy. The director is at it again with Steinbeck’s tale of two interlocked families that sprawls over half a century and across a continent. Through November 15. $49 to $89. steppenwolf.org

3 Pilgrim’s Progress

A Red Orchid Theatre

Boardwalk Empire’s Michael Shannon stars as the patriarch of a dysfunctional Midwestern family in this world premiere from playwright Brett Neveu (The Opponent). November 4 to December 13. $30 to $35. aredorchidtheatre.org

4 Agamemnon

Court Theatre

Aeschylus’s indelible story of Greek royals who follow a decadelong war with a battle against each other, courtesy of director Charles Newell and U. of C. professor emeritus of classics Nicholas Rudall. November 5 to December 6. $38 to $68. courttheatre.org

5 The Revel

House Theatre of Chicago

Euripides’s The Bacchae gets an Appalachian makeover in Damon Kiely’s take on Dionysus’s quest for respect. Through October 25. $15 to $35. thehousetheatre.com

6 Funnyman

Northlight Theatre

The world premiere of Bruce Graham’s comic drama teams George Wendt (Cheers) as an aging vaudevillian and Tim Kazurinsky (Police Academy) as the agent who hopes to resurrect his client’s flailing career. Through October 18. $15 to $68. northlight.org

7 Gem of the Ocean

Court Theatre

With six August Wilson plays under his belt, Ron OJ Parson may well be the perfect person to direct the late playwright’s story of race, murder, and redemption in 1904 Pittsburgh. Through October 11. $38 to $68. courttheatre.org

8 Treasure Island


Director Mary Zimmerman’s stunning aesthetic and actor Lawrence Di Stasi’s shape-shifting prowess ensure that this new adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic will be one of the most rip-roaring experiences of the season. October 7 to January 17. $30 to $80. lookingglasstheatre.org

9 Direct from Death Row: The Scottsboro Boys

Raven Theatre

The tragedy of the Scottsboro Boys doesn’t exactly scream out for soft-shoe and ventriloquism.But those vaudevillian staples are precisely what playwright Mark Stein and composer Harley White Jr. use to tell the story of nine young black men who were falsely accused of raping two white women in 1931. Through November 14. $18 to $42. raventheatre.com

10 Disgraced

Goodman Theatre

After a successful two-year run on Broadway, Ayad Akhtar’s blistering Pulitzer-winning drama about a dinner party gone bad returns to Chicago, where it premiered at American Theater Company in 2012. Kimberly Senior directs. Through October 18. $25 to $82. goodmantheatre.org

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