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The 13 Best Dramas at Chicago Theatres in January

Hedda Gabler opens tonight. Luna Gale and Seven Guitars start soon. See them—or 10 others—on a night out this month.

Hedda Gabler opens at the Writers Theatre in Glencoe on January 7.   Photo: Courtesy of Writers Theatre

Gidion’s Knot

1/17–3/9 In Johnna Adams’s wrenching two-hander, the suicide of a fifth grader leads to a combative confrontation between the grieving mother and the dead boy’s teacher—just the sort of unremittingly intense scene that Profiles excels at staging. $20. Profiles Theatre’s Alley Stage, 4147 N Broadway. profilestheatre.org

CRITIC’S PICK

Hedda Gabler

1/7–3/16 Director Kimberly Senior (due to make her Broadway debut this year) teams up with leading lady Kate Fry for Ibsen’s scathing, tragic, and relentlessly unblinking look at a master manipulator struggling with middle-class malaise. $35–44. Writers Theatre at Tudor Court, 325 Tudor Ct, Glencoe. writerstheatre.org

An Inspector Calls

Through 1/12 When a London working girl swallows disinfectant in a grisly suicide, the upper-crust Birling family finds itself under interrogation. David Darlow directs a strong cast, including Greg Matthew Anderson and Nick Sandys, in J. B. Priestly’s drama. $32.50–$52.50. Remy Bumppo at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N Lincoln. remybumppo.org

The Little Prince

Through 2/2 Whimsical acrobatics augment this Rick Cummins and John Scoullar adaptation of the classic French novella about a stranded pilot and a strange young royal. $35–$75. Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N Michigan. lookingglasstheatre.org

The Luck of the Irish

1/16–2/23 Kirsten Greenidge’s drama of real estate and racism begins in the 1950s, when an affluent African American couple hires a struggling Irish couple to pose as “ghost buyers” for a home the African American couple wants to purchase in an all-white neighborhood. Flash forward 50 years and the Irish folks claim the house is legally theirs. As Bruce Norris did in Clybourne Park, Greenidge jumps between eras to explore thorny issues of class, race, and gentrification. $25–$40. Next Theatre, 927 Noyes, Evanston. nexttheatre.org

CRITIC’S PICK

Luna Gale

1/18–2/23 A social worker (played by the phenomenal Mary Beth Fisher) makes a harrowing decision when she meets a pair of teenage addicts and their newborn baby in this world premiere by Rebecca Gilman (Boy Gets Girl, The Glory of Living). Robert Falls (King Lear, Measure for Measure) directs. $25–$81. Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn. goodmantheatre.org

Request Concert

1/22–2/2 An offering by F. X. Kroetz (see listing for Through the Leaves), this singular piece offers no plot and no dialogue as it follows (in real time) the mundane routine of a working-class woman as she comes home, prepares dinner, and goes to bed. But through this silent, seemingly conflict-free nonstory, Kroetz weaves an ultimately shocking twist. Meg Elliott takes on the challenge of the one-person show. $15. Side Project, 1439 W Jarvis. thesideproject.net

CRITIC’S PICK

Seven Guitars

1/9–2/9 Director Ron OJ Parson. Playwright August Wilson. An ensemble that includes Tony nominee Felicia P. Fields, Allen Gilmore, Kelvin Roston Jr., and Ebony Wimbs. You don’t need to know much more to understand that this is one of January’s absolute must-sees. But for the detail oriented: Wilson’s gripping, elegiac story traces the lives of a musically gifted group of friends mourning the death of a brilliant guitarist in 1948 Pittsburgh. PS: Watch for Gilmore to deliver one of Wilson’s most vivid and shocking monologues. $35–$65. Court Theatre, 5535 S Ellis. courttheatre.org

Sons of the Prophet

1/31–3/9 Incorporating chapter headings from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, the playwright Stephen Karam creates a portrait of troubled Lebanese American brothers left to care for their ailing uncle after their father dies in a car accident. $33–$43. American Theater Company, 1909 W Byron. atcweb.org

Strangers, Babies

1/23–3/1 Linda McLean penned this disturbing drama exploring the life of a woman who committed a heinous act as a child. $20–$22. Steep Theatre, 1115 W Berwyn. steeptheatre.com

Through the Leaves

1/5–2/2 If you’ve ever wanted to see a rabbit skinned onstage, now’s your chance. F. X. Kroetz’s drama about a 50-something butcher and her abusive lover poses the question: Can a woman who sells organ meat for a living find happiness with an insecure, sexist bully? Kroetz isn’t known for happy endings, so don’t count on it. $15–$20. Side Project, 1439 W Jarvis. thesideproject.net

Tom Jones

1/17–2/23 Presumably Jon Jory, the play’s adapter, reined in Henry Fielding’s magnum opus (almost 350,000 words spread over 18 volumes) to a manageable length. But even if he didn’t, you should see this production because the Jeff Award winner William Brown is directing it. Samuel Ashdown leads an ensemble that features standouts Molly Glynn, Melanie Keller, and Marcus Truschinski. $15–$75. Northlight Theatre, 9505 Skokie, Skokie. northlight.org

Tribes

Through 2/9 Nina Raine’s play about a deaf man who brings his girlfriend home to meet his hearing parents gets a Chicago premiere. Austin Pendleton directs a cast that includes his fellow Steppenwolf ensemble members Alana Arenas and Francis Guinan. $20–$82. Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N Halsted. steppenwolftheatre.org

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