Black man in leather jacket and cap on left, white man in Blackhawks jacket and wool cap on right
Chiké Johnson and Dan Butler in When Harry Met Rehab Credit: Michael Brosilow

Based on stand-up and radio personality Harry Teinowitz’s own experiences in rehab and recovery, this sweet, good-natured play takes its protagonist, Harry, through his journey in rehab, from his denial-filled early days, when he thinks he can just do a few weeks and then resume his old life, to his dawning awareness that he needs to make deeper changes. Along the way we meet fellow rehabbers, all at various stages of getting it together, or not, led in group by a therapist who has her own story to tell about her addictions. 

When Harry Met Rehab
Through 1/30: Wed-Fri 8 PM, Sat 3 and 8 PM, Sun 3 and 7 PM; no show Sat 12/25 or Sat 1/1, Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-404-736,, $52-$85.

Without being particularly heavy, or depressing, or preachy, the play touches on some important truths. And more importantly, it avoids sugarcoating things. Harry is never “cured” and it is clear at the play’s end that there is still more work to be done. Teinowitz wrote this play with Spike Manton, with whom he worked at ESPN, and together they have penned a work that flows like a well-written sitcom but never sacrifices true feelings for a quick laugh. It helps that director Jackson Gay has assembled a strong cast, lead by two actors best known for TV work, Dan Butler (Frasier) and Melissa Gilbert (Little House on the Prairie), both of whom seem quite at home in live theater, without the benefit of microphones and multiple takes. I don’t want to slight the rest of the ensemble, all of whom turn in the kind of strong, confident performances that makes you forget all of Chicago theater was on lockdown for 18 months.