Even in a staged reading ShawChicago does a great job of giving lively personalities to George Bernard Shaw’s rich characters. Alyson Green brims with idealistic hope and conviction as Major Barbara, a woman bent on saving souls via the Salvation Army. As her tough-minded mother, Kate Young is a force of nature and Shavian wit, and Tony Dobrowolski is equally engaging as Barbara’s scoundrel father, a millionaire munitions manufacturer. Belinda Bremner and Terence Gallagher are also fun as cynical sinners playing at being saved by the major. But all the fine performances aren’t quite enough to allay Shaw’s speechifying about war, religion, social propriety, and morality, which can grow wearisome over three hours. Through 11/12: Sat-Sun 2 PM, Mon 7 PM. Chicago Cultural Center, studio theater, 78 E. Washington (enter at 77 E. Randolph), 312-409-5605. Reservations required. Free.