OCTOBER THEATER PICKS (Kerry Reid)
The Brothers Size
Tarell Alvin McCraney, Oscar winner for Moonlight, first hit the spotlight at Steppenwolf in 2010 with his trilogy of connected one-acts, The Brother/Sister Plays. One of those pieces, The Brothers Size, has been revised by McCraney since that premiere and now takes the stage with Steppenwolf for Young Adults under the hand of rising director Monty Cole. Two brothers in the Louisiana bayou—one an ex-con, the other the owner of an auto shop—reexamine what their relationship means. Steppenwolf Theatre, October 4-19, steppenwolf.org
A Doll’s House
Henrik Ibsen‘s 1879 three-act drama shook the world when Nora Helmer, a young wife and mother, walked out on her family with the slam of a door. It’s been reimagined by Writers Theatre artistic director Michael Halberstam and Sandra Delgado in this one-act version (originally developed through Definition Theatre), directed by Lavina Jadhwani and starring Cher Álvarez as Nora. Writers Theatre, through December 15, writerstheatre.org
Oh Sh#t! It’s Haunted!
The merry pranksters at Factory Theater celebrate the season of the witch (and assorted other spooky creatures) with the world premiere of Scott OKen’s comedy about a lonely old man, a haunted house, polka music, and a Scooby-Doo-like band of kids trying to get to the bottom of it all. Factory Theater, through November 9, thefactorytheater.com
Immersive stagings? We’re soaking in them! But Millie Rose‘s play, presented by the Barrens Theatre Co., offers an intriguing historical twist. The audience roams various spaces throughout a church while learning about the infamous Elizabeth Bathory (played by Rose), a Transylvanian countess who allegedly drank the blood of virgins to maintain her youth, and then serves as Bathory’s jury at the end of the show. Epworth United Methodist Church, through November 16, the barrenstheatreco.com
New Stages Festival
The Goodman’s annual celebration of works in development includes two workshop productions running in repertory: Dave Harris’s Incendiary, about a mother trying to break her son out of death row, and Rajiv Joseph’s In the Sick Bay of the Santa Maria, in which a young man on Christopher Columbus’s ship to the “new world” has visions of sea monsters and angels—portents of things to come. There will also be four staged readings of new works by Charlayne Woodard, Calamity West, Zayd Dohrn, and Cheryl L. West. Goodman Theatre, October 23-November 10, goodmantheatre.org
OCTOBER DANCE PICKS (Irene Hsiao)
A Celebration of Lar Lubovitch
Two performances salute Chicago native Lar Lubovitch, whose New York–based company just hit the half-century mark last year and whose choreography has ranged from Broadway to Hollywood, from ballet companies to Olympic ice dancing. A Tony nominee, Lubovitch has been commissioned by companies worldwide, including American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey, and San Francisco Ballet. Lubovitch cofounded the Chicago Dancing Festival, which brought thousands to Millennium Park to experience free performances by major dance companies from 2007 through 2016. True to that tradition, an all-star lineup, including dancers from Martha Graham Dance Company, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, the Joffrey, and Ballet Austin, will perform works from the past dozen years of his long career. October 5-6, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, harristheaterchicago.org
Between Gestures Festival
The memory of the gesture is the starting point of inquiry for this ten-day-long festival that brings European artists and choreographers into dialogue with the city of Chicago. Cohosted by the Dance Center of Columbia College, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Poetry Foundation, the Stony Island Arts Bank, the School of the Art Institute, the Chicago Architecture Biennial, and the Chicago International Film Festival, Between Gestures invites participants to roam all over the city for a gripping series of conversations, film screenings, performances, and master classes, most offered free to the public. October 24-November 2, various locations, betweengestures.org
OCTOBER COMEDY PICKS (Brianna Wellen)
Kutti Gang & Rani Rage Radio
Pooja Reddy and Zubi Ahmed of the New York-based show Kutti Gang team up with Sonal Aggarwal of Rani Rage Radio to host a lineup of women, nonbinary, and queer South Asian comedians, including Sabeen Sadiq, Vikram Balaji, and more. Saturday, October 12, 8 PM Cards Against Humanity Theater, facebook.com/kuttigang,$15.
Whitney Chitwood and friends
Stand-up Whitney Chitwood celebrates the release of her new album, The Bakery Case, with some of the city’s funniest comedians.Thursday, October 17, 8 PM, the Newport Theater, newporttheater.com,$15, $10 in advance.
The Underculture With James Adomian
Comedian James Adomian shows off his impression skills on this podcast that imagines what conversations between figures like Sebastian Gorka and Ayn Rand or Elon Musk and Neil deGrasse Tyson would be like. This live show is part of the Chicago Podcast Festival. Thursday, October 17, 7 and 9 PM, Chicago Theater Works, facebook.com/ChicagoPodcastFestival, $20.