Ten Fall Shows to Buy Seats for Now
The Anticipation Index: Ten fall shows to buy seats for now, in order of expectation
By Catey Sullivan
1. Fedra: Queen of Haiti
Sept. 30–Nov. 15
Lookingglass Theatre, 312-337-0665, lookingglasstheatre.org
J. Nicole Brooks takes the tragic myth of a Greek woman who falls for her stepson and sets it in Haiti, casting herself in the title role.
2. The Addams Family
Nov. 13–Jan. 10
Broadway in Chicago at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, 800-775-2000, broadwayinchicago.com
Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth as Gomez and Morticia equal a must-see for any self-respecting fan of musical theatre. The pre-Broadway tryout based on Charles Addams’s cartoon family also features music by Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party) and a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice (Jersey Boys).
Oct. 21–Nov. 1
The Hypocrites at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 312-397-4010, the-hypocrites.com
Sean Graney directs a cast of four in Mary Shelley’s tale of the world’s most troubled father-son relationship. A promenade production means the audience is onstage for the multimedia telling—as is footage from the Boris Karloff film version.
4. Mistakes Were Made
Through Oct. 18
A Red Orchid Theatre, 312-943-8722, aredorchidtheatre.org
Oscar nominee Michael Shannon takes a break from Hollywood to return to his roots in Craig Wright’s tale of a producer willing to use any means necessary to get his show off the ground.
5. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Sept. 29–Dec. 6
Writers’ Theatre, 847-242-6000, writerstheatre.org
Tom Stoppard inverts Shakespeare’s Hamlet, relegating the Dane and his dysfunctional family to the background while putting R. and G. front and center. Hamlet’s school chums are still doomed, but their elevation to leading men is a triumph for unsung little guys the world over.
Oct. 14-Nov. 29
Remy Bumppo Theatre, 773-244-8119, remybumppo.org
More Stoppard, this time as the translator of Gerald Sibleyras’s eloquent, moving story of three World War II vets and a scheme to escape the veterans’ home where they’re slowly dying. Director James Bohnen consistently dazzles when it comes to illuminating humanity amid layers of wit both overt and subtle. We expect no less here.
Sept. 24–Oct. 31
The Neo-Futurists, 773-275-5255, neofuturists.org
We love the idea of a play that taps into Edgar Allan Poe’s buried-alive classic “The Fall of the House of Usher” unfolding in a theatre above a funeral home. And we trust the Neos to instill haunted- house-type fun into a show that mines literary horrors.
8. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Sept. 17–Oct. 18
Court Theatre, 773-753-4472, courttheatre.org
Ron OJ Parson—who knows his way around August Wilson plays—directs the story of blues, race, and a bisexual diva colliding in one white-hot Roaring Twenties recording session.
9. Yeast Nation
Sept. 10–Oct. 18
American Theater Company, 773-409-4125, atcweb.org
More than three-quarters of PJ Paparelli’s ensemble walked out in March, and his board president resigned in August. Can the company survive? Yeast Nation—an ambitious new musical from the authors of Urinetown—could prove the tipping point.
10. The Marvelous Wonderettes
Sept. 17–Oct. 25
Northlight Theatre, 847-673-6300, northlight.org
Author Roger Bean directs the musical tale of a 1958 girl group’s evolution into a 1968 woman group. The killer quartet of Cat Davis, Dina DiCostanzo, Tempe Thomas, and Laura Taylor means the Wonderettes should sound, well, marvelous.