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HITTING FOR THE CYCLE: NINE SHORT PLAYS ABOUT BASEBALL
If one judged theater by the same criteria used for ball games, Famous Door’s lineup of nine baseball-related plays would be the best night game of the summer. Packed with action, emotionally riveting, unpredictable, and peppered with excellent performances, keen observations, and moments of sheer poetry (despite occasional strikeouts), the evening offers more entertainment value than anything going on at Clark and Addison or 35th and Shields. Alas, theater audiences are not as forgiving (or as drunk) as the crowds at baseball games, and for them the dim-wittedness of Quincy Long’s musical burlesque on the Pete Rose-Bart Giamatti controversy or the banality of Arthur Kopit’s observations on the aftermath of the baseball strike might spoil the rest of a clever, imaginative show. But those seeking a gloriously serene evening in the stands watching a couple home runs and a few good plays will no doubt be satisfied by the poetic charm of Heather McDonald’s Rain and Darkness, the grim wit of Howard Korder’s monologue Ted Williams, and Larry Neumann’s balanced and hilarious performance in Eric Overmyer’s Zen baseball monologue, The Dalai Lama Goes Three for Four. With better pacing and stronger all-around performances than last year, Famous Door’s show is the theatrical equivalent of a low-scoring, error-free ball game–not an all-star game, but after all we’re in Chicago. Famous Door Theatre Company, Jane Addams Center Hull House, 3212 N. Broadway, 773-404-8283. Through August 24: Fridays-Saturdays, 8 PM; Sundays, 7 PM. $14-$17.