The temperature has dropped, parkas abound, and outdoor entertainment is less that desirable. Luckily, a number of Chicago theaters' fall seasons have spilled into the untimely winter, and there are quite literally more shows than you could possibly see in one weekend—all closing Sunday. Here are five to catch before Christmas Carol takes over.
Watch on the Rhine at Artistic Home
Plot: A German engineer and his American wife seek refuge in America after battling fascism in a war–torn Germany.
Critic's Take: "Lillian Hellman issued a prescient warning against the Nazi threat in this proudly interventionist political drama, which premiered on Broadway in April 1941—eight months before the United States entered World War II…the final showdown between idealism and self-interest remains stirring and relevant."—Zac Thompson, Chicago Reader.
Go: Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m. The Artistic Home Theatre, 13 76 W. Grand. Tickets: $20–$32.
The Night Alive at Steppenwolf
Plot: A Dublin man saves a bloodied woman from a nearby park and takes her into his hoarder's flat.
Critic's Take: "Henry Wishcamper's production plays out on a beautiful setting by Todd Rosenthal, an expansive design blending nature and the unnatural, heaven and hell and carefully capturing one crucial theme of the play: that, as the book of John observes, 'in my father's house are many mansions.' All are inhabited by the imperfect, as the record shows and McPherson understands better than any other working playwright of whom I can think." —Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune.
Go: Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m. Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted. Tickets: $67–$72.
Welcome to America at Theater Wit
Plot: A fictional Christina Marie Riggs—the Arkansas woman sentenced to death after murdering her two children—recounts her road to death row.
Critic's Take: "In a disturbing, raw, and surprisingly sympathetic performance from Carrie Hardin, Riggs is anything but one-dimensional." – Marissa Oberlander, Chicago Reader.
Go: Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Sunday at 3 p.m. Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. Tickets: $12–$15.
Jane Eyre at Lifeline
Plot: Same as it ever was: Jane's life unspools while you watch.
Critic's Take: "…one of the startling elements of [playwright Christina] Calvit's adaptation is how she physicalizes Jane's interior demons, even as small and purportedly plain Jane (played by decidedly not plain Anu Bhatt) retains a sturdy and calm resilience in the face of emotional cataclysms." —Kerry Reid, Chicago Tribune.
Go: Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sunday at 4 p.m. Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Gleenwood. Tickets: $40.
Sweeney Todd by Porchlight at Stage 773
Plot: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street slits his customers' throats, drops them down a chute, and bakes them into meat pies. Musically!
Critic's Take: "The chief reasons to see this Sweeney are its two leads. Rebecca Finnegan, reprising the role she played in a separate Porchlight production a decade ago, eschews the cartoonish histrionics that are often associated with it (see Carter, Helena Bonham). Hers is the most grounded and credible take on Mrs. Lovett I've seen—sympathetic, even, despite her monstrous actions."—Kris Vire, Time Out Chicago.
Go: Tonight at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.,, Sunday at 2 p.m. Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont. Tickets: $15–$45.