This new chamber musical by composer Stephen Flaherty and director Frank Galati celebrates 20th-century literary lion Gertrude Stein and her lifelong love for Alice B. Toklas. Galati’s libretto, stitched together from Stein texts, conveys both her quirky charm and radical vision as an artistic innovator and queer pioneer, while his artful, elegantly designed staging conveys the gentility of a long-gone era. The folk, ragtime, jazz, and blues idioms in Flaherty’s lyrical, textured score bring out the innate melodiousness of Stein’s writing, with its childlike rhymes and flowing rhythms. And the cast in this About Face Theatre production is superb, headed by Cindy Gold and Christine Mild as the older and younger Gertrude and Jenny Powers as Alice. Their mellifluous speaking voices, clarion sopranos, and wonderful diction, at once caressing and crisp, are perfectly suited to a writer whose pleasure in the sounds of words is key to her work. Through 3/12: Wed-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 3 and 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM, Museum of Contemporary Art, theater, 220 E. Chicago, 312-397-4010, $28-$40.

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