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John Patrick Shanley’s thought-provoking, Pulitzer Prize-winning play, set in a Bronx Catholic school in 1964, dramatizes the dilemma faced by Sister Aloysius, the school’s crotchety, arch-traditional principal, who suspects the parish priest of molesting a 12-year-old boy–the school’s first black student. Aloysius, played by the superb Cherry Jones in this touring version of the 2005 Broadway hit, has no proof; all she has is the certainty that is the bedrock of her calling. Shanley illuminates the inclination of a male-dominated church to preserve priestly power by covering up sex abuse rather than confronting it. But he wisely keeps the audience in doubt about the priest’s guilt or innocence–and about whether Aloysius’s holy war is really driven by her resentment of patriarchal protocols and her mistrust of progressive policies that emphasize “welcoming kindness” over old-fashioned discipline. This is a play that will have viewers questioning their own assumptions about religion, sexuality, race, and class long after they leave the theater. a Through 1/28: Tue 7:30 PM, Wed 2 and 7:30 PM, Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 2 and 8 PM, Sun 2 PM, Sun 1/14, 2 and 7:30 PM, LaSalle Bank Theatre, 18 W. Monroe, 312-902-1400, $20-$72.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Craig Shwartz.