Photo: Michael Brosilow
Through 8/25 Steppenwolf ensemble members Alena Arenas and Kate Arrington star in Amy Herzog’s troubling psychological thriller of young Americans living dangerously in Paris. $44–$78. Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N Halsted. steppenwolf.org.
BIG LAKE, BIG CITY
Through 8/11 David Schwimmer directs Keith Huff’s (A Steady Rain, House of Cards) noir-infused thriller about shady characters including crooked coroners, femmes fatales, and a guy with a screwdriver stuck in his head. With two area celebrities on the case, this is sure to be a local blockbuster. $22–$70. Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N Michigan. lookingglasstheatre.org.
BLOOD AND GIFTS
Through 7/28 An Afghan warlord and a CIA operative are entwined in the Soviet-Afghan war of the 1980s in the playwright J. T. Rogers’s cat-and-mouse drama crackling with spy vs. spy intrigue. $32–$42. TimeLine Theatre, 615 W Wellington. timelinetheatre.com.
7/18–8/11 Federico Garcia Lorca’s play echoes the symbol-laden tragedies of ancient Greece with its depiction of doomed lovers, a botched nuptial celebration, and a murder with long-term consequences. $18–$20. Pursuit Productions at Studio BE, 3110 N Sheffield. pursuitproductions.co.
7/11–7/28 The premiere of Andrew Swanson and Chance Bone’s drama takes audiences into the heart of the Cold War, where employees of a nuclear testing program grapple with the consequences of their findings. Jonathan Berry directs. $15. Jackalope Theatre at the Department of Cultural Affairs Storefront Theater, 66 E Randolph. jackalopetheatre.org.
DEATH AND HARRY HOUDINI
Through 8/11 The amazing Dennis Watkins reprises his stunner about the life and magic of Harry Houdini, complete with the master illusionist’s infamous water tank escape. $25–$40. House Theatre of Chicago at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W Division. thehousetheatre.com.
Through 7/28 The horror enthusiast Scott T. Barsotti (The Revenants, The Body Snatcher) applies his macabre sensibility to this tale of extreme plastic surgery gone wrong. $17. Ruckus Theater at the Athenaeum, 2936 N Southport. ruckustheater.org.
THE HALF–BROTHERS MENDELSSOHN
Through 7/20 The playwright Elizabeth Bagby crafted this tale about a time machine set to blast one of the titular siblings 20 years into the past in order to stop his mother from abandoning the family. $25. Strange Tree Group at Signal Ensemble Theatre, 1802 W Berenice. strangetree.org.
HOW TO MAKE A RAINBOW
7/25–8/18 The outsider artist Joseph Cornell was an autodidact whose interests in subjects as disparate as astronomy and literature influenced his work. The playwright Mike Brayndick explores Cornell’s vivid imagination in this dramatic rendering. Preview 7/25, $10. Regular run $20. $15 students, seniors. On the Spot Theatre Company at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N Lincoln. onthespottheatrecompany.weebly.com.
Through 8/11 It’s a fine, uneasy line between madness and reality in the Chicago premiere of Laura Marks’s contemporary thriller, in which a mother wonders whether her newborn is actually hers. Marti Lyons directs. $30. Gift Theatre, 4802 N Milwaukee. thegifttheatre.org.
MOJADA Critic’s Pick
7/12–8/11 Moving the action from ancient Greece to Pilsen, the playwright Luis Alfaro updates Euripides’s drama of a scorned woman and her doomed children. $30–$60. Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N Lincoln. victorygardens.org.
Through 7/13 Two love triangles unfold over half a century in Alexi Kaye Campbell’s time-shifting story of a trio of lovers and spouses navigating the sexual terrain of London from 1958 through 2008. $20–$30. About Face Theatre at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N Lincoln. aboutfacetheatre.com.
SIMPATICO Critic’s Pick
Through 8/25 Dado directs a killer cast that includes Guy Van Swearingen and Michael Shannon in Sam Shepard’s twisting noir of fixed horse races, false identities, blackmail, and other nefariousness. Previews 7/4–7, $15. Regular run $25–$30. A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N Wells. aredorchidtheatre.org.
Through 8/4 David Greig spins the story of Leila and Lee, a pair of Scottish teens who embark on a wild, violent trek across the highlands in search of Lee’s long-gone father. $35–$60. Writers Theatre’s Bookstore Space, 664 Vernon, Glencoe. writerstheatre.org.