The fall theater season is packed with new shows both off-Loop and downtown; the list below charts a sampling of openings over the next three months, beginning September 14. What it doesn’t include are productions that are already under way–from the Rhinoceros Theater Festival (a sprawling showcase of fringe performance up through early November) to such long-running hits as Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, Blue Man Group, Late Nite Catechism, Shear Madness, Wicked, and Forbidden Broadway: Special Victims Unit. Many companies offer discounted season subscriptions, and most theaters offer cheap seats via the League of Chicago Theatres’ “Hot Tix” program; see



Ape | Raven Theatre

Dog & Pony Theatre Company premieres Paul Oakley Stovall’s play about a teenage boy obsessed with elephants, aliens, and his own body. | Through 10/14 |

‘night, Mother |

Theatre Building Chicago

Dorothy Tristan and Elaine Rivkin star in Marsha Norman’s drama about a woman justifying her suicidal intentions to her mother. | Through 11/18 |

Some Girl(s) | Profiles Theatre

Playwright-filmmaker Neil LaBute’s comedy, about a man’s odyssey across America to “right some wrongs” with five ex-girlfriends, opens Profiles’ season of LaBute scripts. | Through 10/28 |


Elmina’s Kitchen |

Chicago Center for the Performing Arts

Congo Square Theatre Company presents British writer Kwame Kwei-Armah’s drama about the troubled relationship of a black father and son in London’s crime-ridden Hackney borough. | Through 10/14 |

The Magnificents | Viaduct Theater

House Theatre of Chicago member Dennis Watkins stars in a “magical clown show” inspired by his late grandfather, a professional magician. Molly Brennan directs. | Through 11/3 |


Phantom | Theatre Building Chicago

Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit’s musical version of the classic mystery is presented by Porchlight Music Theatre. | Through 11/11 |

Suddenly, Last Summer |

Victory Gardens Greenhouse Theater

Shattered Globe Theatre revives Tennessee Williams’s gothic drama. | Through 10/27 |


The Busy World Is Hushed |

Next Theatre Company

Peggy Roeder stars in Keith Bunin’s drama about an Episcopal minister who arranges a romance between her son and a male writer. | Through 10/14 |

Jitney | Pegasus Players

This early play from Pulitzer Prize-winner August Wilson dramatizes the lives of black men working in a Pittsburgh taxi garage in the 1970s. | Through 10/28 |


Antic in Romantic |

Gorilla Tango Theatre

Nicholas Korn’s “modern-day commedia” concerns a woman who decides to break off her relationship with her lover on the day he plans to propose to her. | Through 9/26 |


A View From the Bridge |

Actors Workshop Theatre

Arthur Miller’s drama, about a tragic triangle among a longshoreman, his niece, and a young illegal immigrant, is staged in its rarely-seen original version. | Through 10/21 |


Happy Endings Are Extra |

Bailiwick Repertory

Midwest premiere of a drama by African playwright Ashraf Johaardien. | Through 10/28 |


The Crucible |

Steppenwolf Theatre Company

Arthur Miller’s politically charged drama about the Salem witch hunts. | Through 11/11 |


Passion Play: A Cycle |

Goodman Theatre

Sarah Ruhl’s new drama uses the traditional medieval re-enactment of Christ’s crucifixion to examine the political manipulation of religion in Elizabethan England, pre-World War II Germany, and Reagan-era America. | Through 10/21 |


Men of Steel |

Theatre Building Chicago

Theater Wit presents the Chicago premiere of Qui Nguyen’s action satire about a team of postmillennial superheroes. | Through 10/28

Spare Change | Stage Left Theatre

World premiere of Mia McCullough’s drama, about a man trying to help an apparently unstable young woman flee an abusive relationship. | Through 11/3 |


The Savannah Disputation

Writers’ Theatre

Evan Smith’s new comedy concerns two elderly southern sisters’ response to the arrival of a young door-to-door evangelist. | Through 11/25 |


Coronado | Steep Theatre Company

Novelist Dennis Lehane (Mystic River) penned this thriller about a father and son searching for a missing girl and a stolen diamond. | Through 11/3 |


Merchant on Venice |

Silk Road Theatre Project

Shishir Kurup’s reworking of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice employs Bollywood-style musical numbers while addressing Hindu-Muslim tensions in Los Angeles. | Through 11/4 |

MiLK | Victory Gardens Greenhouse Theater

Nambi E. Kelley’s drama, about three teenage girls growing up in a Chicago housing project, is directed by Chuck Smith for MPAACT. | Through 11/11

Noir | Building Stage

This stylized theater piece evokes the jazz-tinged, black-and-white world of film noir. | Through 11/3 |

Psycho Beach Party |

Athenaeum Theatre

The Easy Street Players perform Charles Busch’s campy spoof of 1960s drive-in movies. | Through 10/21 |

A Steady Rain | Chicago Dramatists

Keith Huff’s new drama about two policemen whose mishandling of a seemingly routine domestic disturbance call leads to disaster. | Through 10/28 |


A Murder of Crows |

Live Bait Theater

GroundUp Theatre presents Mac Wellman’s apocalyptic satire of America in the aftermath of the Gulf War. | Through 10/21 |

Thyestes | Court Theatre

The Roman playwright Seneca’s tragedy, about feuding brothers driven by a centuries-old desire for revenge, performed in Caryl Churchill’s translation. JoAnne Akalaitis directs. | Through 10/21 |


Desire Under the Elms |

Chopin Theatre

The Hypocrites revive Eugene O’Neill’s tragedy about a young woman who marries a middle-aged man–and then falls in love with his son. | Through 11/11 |

Fiction |

Victory Gardens Greenhouse Theater

The Remy Bumppo Theatre Company performs Steven Dietz’s drama about a married couple whose relationship is shaken when the wife reads her husband’s journal. | Through 11/4 |

Sounds So Good, Makes You Wanna Holler (Old School vs. New School) |

Black Ensemble Theater

This musical revue honors African-American pop artists from the heyday of Motown to rap. | Open run |



The Defiant Muse |

Victory Gardens Biograph Theater

World premiere of Nicholas A. Patricca’s drama about protofeminist 17th-century Mexican writer Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. | Through 10/28 |

Zanna, Don’t! | Bailiwick Repertory

Tim Acito’s off-Broadway hit takes place in a town where high-schoolers put on a musical about “the controversy over straights in the military.” | Through 11/4 |


The Siddhartha Project: A Down Home, Apocalyptic Avalanche of Beauty | Lumen

Collaboraction presents a collaborative, environmental work inspired by Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha. | Through 10/14 |

We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay! |

Stage Left Theater

Italian radical satirist Dario Fo’s farce about housewives on a looting spree is performed by Will Act for Food. | Through 11/7 |


The Sparrow | Apollo Theater

The House Theatre of Chicago remounts last season’s hit. | Through 12/31 |


The Horror | Cornservatory

Corn Productions presents a Halloween-season evening of comic takes on zombies, vampires, haunted houses, and serial killers. | Through 11/3 |


No Child |

Lookingglass Theatre Company

Nilaja Sun plays multiple characters in her one-woman show, which views the public school system through the eyes of an idealistic young teaching artist. This is the production’s first engagement following a long New York run. | Through 11/18 |


Altar Boyz | Drury Lane Water Tower Place

This witty off-Broadway hit takes the form of a concert by a fictional Christian hip-hop boy band to explore issues of religious, ethnic, and sexual identity. | Through 11/25 |

Completely Hollywood (Abridged) |

Royal George Theatre Center

See sidebar; runs in repertory with The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged). | Through 12/2 |


I Do! I Do! | American Theater Company

Heidi Kettenring and Stef Tovar star in Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt’s musical about a 50-year marriage updated to modern Chicago. | Through 11/11 |


The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged) |

Royal George Theatre Center

See sidebar; runs in rep with Completely Hollywood (Abridged). | Through 12/2 |


The Miser | Northlight Theatre

Moliere’s satire is directed by Mark Lococo. | Through 11/11 |

Passion | Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Ana Gasteyer and Kevin Gudahl star in director Gary Griffin’s stripped-down staging of Stephen Sondheim’s operatic musical. | Through 11/11 |


Around the Coyote Fall Arts Festival

This annual multidisciplinary event showcases the work of emerging artists, including theater groups, in various locations around Wicker Park and Bucktown. | Through 10/14 |


Aristocrats | Strawdog Theatre

Brian Friel’s drama about an upper-class Irish family’s reunion is directed by Steppenwolf member Rick Snyder. | Through 11/17 |

Jersey Boys | LaSalle Bank Theatre

The Broadway hit about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons comes to Chicago. | Open run

The Night of the Iguana |

Raven Theatre

An alcoholic preacher, a virginal painter, a bawdy widow, and a dying poet gather at a Mexican mountain retreat in Tennessee Williams’s poetic drama. | Through 12/8 |


Horror Academy

North Lakeside Cultural Center

The all-female stage combat troupe Babes With Blades performs Halloween-themed sketches and monologues about vampires, cannibals, and zombies. | Through 11/4 |


Confessions of a Mormon Boy |

Bailiwick Repertory

No, it’s not about Mitt Romney. Solo performer Steven Fales recounts his experiences as a closeted gay Mormon family man. | Through 10/21 |


Emma | Trap Door Theatre

Howard Zinn’s dramatization of the life of Emma Goldman is directed by Kate Hendrickson. | Through 12/1 |


Creole | Storefront Theater

InFusion Theatre Company premieres Margaret Lewis’s drama about a southern plantation slave caught in the middle of a dangerous love triangle. | Through 11/18 |

El Camino | Chopin Theatre

Poland’s avant-garde Teatr Cogitatur presents a play by Witold Izdebski. | Through 11/4

Translations |

Lincoln Square Theatre

Brian Friel’s drama about a 19th-century British soldier who falls in love with an Irish woman is performed by Caffeine Theatre. | Through 11/18 |


The Island of Dr. Moreau |

Lifeline Theatre

H.G. Wells’s classic thriller, about a mad scientist who wants to turn animals into humans, is adapted by Robert Kauzlaric. | Through 12/2 |

Weapon of Mass Impact |

A Red Orchid Theatre

The premiere of Brett Neveu’s newest drama, about the lingering impact of 9/11 on the collective national consciousness. | Through 12/2 |


Chalk |

Chicago Cultural Center Studio Theater

The Right Brain Project premieres Brad Lawrence’s play, which puts a film noir spin on a classic tale. | Through 11/25 |

Vampire Lesbians of Sodom |

Athenaeum Theatre

The Easy Street Players perform Charles Busch’s gender-bending comedy. | Through 11/17 |

8th Annual Women’s Performance Art Festival–A Fierce Presence | Link’s Hall

The Stockyards Theatre Project presents a weekend of performance. | Through 10/28 |


The Cook | Goodman Theatre

Eduardo Machado’s drama, set in Havana on the night of Fidel Castro’s 1958 revolution, concerns a cook who safeguards an estate abandoned by her aristocratic employers when they flee the island. | Through 11/18 |



Casa de Muertos (Dead Folks Home) | Aguijon Theater Company

Colombian playwright Alberto Llerena’s dark comedy tells of a family whose home is invaded by ghosts. | Through 12/2 |


The Phantom of the Opera |

Cadillac Palace Theatre

Who was that masked man? Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway hit arrives in a touring edition. | Through 1/5 |


Mr. Fluxus | Neo-Futurarium

See sidebar | Through 12/8 |


The Waste Land |

Museum of Contemporary Art

Second City cofounder Bernard Sahlins directs this readers’ theater rendition of T.S. Eliot’s poem. Presented in cooperation with the Chicago Humanities Festival and the Poetry Foundation, the program stars veteran Chicago actor Nicholas Rudall. |

Wedding play |

Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Merle Reskin Garage Theatre

See sidebar | Through 12/2 |


A Park in Our House |

Victory Gardens Greenhouse Theater

Pulitzer Prize-winner Nilo Cruz penned this poetic drama about a family trapped in Castro’s Cuba. Victory Gardens Theater and Teatro Vista present a Chicago premiere. | Through 12/9 |


The Hysterical Alphabet |

Gene Siskel Film Center

Theater Oobleck presents a multimedia work about the “female malady” of hysteria by writer Terri Kapsalis, film collagist Danny Thompson, and sound artist John Corbett; part of the Outer Ear Festival of Sound. |

Machos | Chicago Dramatists

Based on 50 interviews with men around the country, Teatro Luna’s ensemble-created work features an all-female cast portraying male characters. | Through 12/23 |

Smart | Side Project

LA playwright Robert Fieldsteel’s drama is based on the case of a pair of high-school kids who murdered two Dartmouth College professors in 2002. | Through 12/16 |


Spukt | Viaduct Theater

Theater Oobleck premieres Dave Buchen’s comic take on Napoleon’s ventures into the Middle East to spread Western values. The production features live music led by composer Chris Schoen. | Through 12/22 |


Tesla’s Letters | TimeLine Theatre

Jeffrey Stanley’s drama concerns an American student who travels to war-torn Yugoslavia in 1997 to research the life of Serbian scientist Nikola Tesla. | Through 12/23 |


Bourbon at the Border |

Victory Gardens Greenhouse Theater

Eclipse Theatre concludes its season of plays by Pearl Cleage with a revival of the playwright’s drama about the “Freedom Summer” of 1964. | Through 12/16 |

Butt Nekkid | Side Project

Laura Jacqmin’s new play concerns a Jewish woman who rebels against her parents by dating a black music producer. | Through 12/16 |


Defiance | Next Theatre Company

John Patrick Shanley’s drama about racial tension on a marine base in 1971 North Carolina stars Steve Pickering. | Through 12/9 |


Seven Brides for Seven Brothers | Circle Theatre

Stage version of the classic movie musical about romance in the Wild West. | Through 12/30 |


It’s Only the End of the World | Chopin Theatre

TUTA Theatre Chicago presents Jean Luc Lagarce’s comedy about a terminally ill artist who returns home after a long absence to tell his family that he is dying. | Through 12/16 |


Old Wicked Songs | Chopin Theatre

Jon Marans’s drama, about an aging Austrian music professor’s turbulent relationship with an American piano virtuoso, is performed by the Signal Ensemble Theatre. | Through 12/15 |


What the Butler Saw |

Court Theatre

Sean Graney directs British playwright Joe Orton’s kinky satire of the psychiatric establishment. | Through 12/9 |


Dog Sees God: The Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead |

Oracle Theatre

Burt Royal’s dark comedy is “an unofficial parody” of the Peanuts cartoon strip. | Through 12/15 |

A Wonderful Life |

Theatre Building Chicago

Porchlight Music Theatre presents Sheldon Harnick and Joe Raposo’s musical version of the classic film. | Through 12/30 |


The Philadelphia Story |

Victory Gardens Greenhouse Theater

Remy Bumppo Theatre Company revives Philip Barry’s classic romantic comedy. | Through 1/6 |


Farewell Umbrella (Au Revoir Parapluie) |

Chicago Shakespeare Theater

French circus-theater artist James Thierree–grandson of Charlie Chaplin–headlines a visual spectacle featuring acrobatics, mime, dance, and music. | Through 12/1 |


Red Light Winter |

Athenaeum Theatre

The Easy Street Players present Adam Rapp’s drama about two American friends involved in a love triangle with an Amsterdam prostitute. | Through 12/15 |

The Santaland Diaries |

Theatre Building Chicago

Theater Wit presents David Sedaris’s comic monologue. | Through 12/29


A Christmas Carol |

Goodman Theatre

The Goodman presents its 30th annual staging of the holiday classic. | Through 12/29 |

I Am Who I Am: The Teddy Pendergrass Story |

Black Ensemble Theater

Writer-director Jackie Taylor’s musical pays tribute to the late soul star. | Open run |


A Christmas Story |

Theatre Building Chicago

Theater Wit’s stage version of Jean Shepherd’s novel about a boy in 1940s Indiana who wants a BB rifle for Christmas. | Through 12/29

A City Lit Christmas |

City Lit Theater Company

Terry McCabe directs an eclectic program of holiday chestnuts and rarities. | Through 12/30 |

wednesday 28

The Turn of the Screw |

Writers’ Theatre at Books on Vernon

Jessica Thebus directs Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of Henry James’s ghost story. | Through 3/30 |


Good Black |

ETA Creative Arts Foundation

Rob Pen/ny’s drama about a young man who falls in love with an older single mother. | Through 1/20 |


Lord Butterscotch and the Curse of the Darkwater Phantom |

Storefront Theater

Blindfaith Theatre premieres a collaboration by local playwrights Lisa Dillman, Rebecca Gilman, and Brett Neveu–a spoof of aristocratic British comedy. | Through 1/6

Rudolph, the Red-Hosed Reindeer | Bailiwick Repertory

Hell in a Handbag Productions’ risque musical parody of the animated children’s TV special turns the title character into a cross-dresser. | Through 12/30 |

A Red Orchid Theatre 1531 N. Wells | 312-943-8722 |

Actors Workshop Theatre 1044 W. Bryn Mawr | 773-728-7529 |

Aguijon Theater Company 2707 N. Laramie | 773-637-5899 |

Annoyance Theatre 4830 N. Broadway | 773-561-4665 |

Apollo Theater 2540 N. Lincoln | 773-935-6100 |

Athenaeum Theatre 2936 N. Southport | 312-902-1500 |

Bailiwick Repertory Bailiwick Arts Center | 1229 W. Belmont | 773-883-1090 |

Berger Park Cultural Center 6205 N. Sheridan | 773-761-0376

Black Ensemble Theater Uptown Center Hull House | 4520 N. Beacon | 773-769-4451 |

Building Stage 412 N. Carpenter | 866-811-4111 |

Cadillac Palace Theatre 151 W. Randolph | 312-902-1400 |

Chicago Center for the Performing Arts 777 N. Green | 312-733-6000 |

Chicago Cultural Center | studio theater 78 E. Washington | 312-742-8497 |

Chicago Dramatists 1105 W. Chicago | 312-633-0630 |

Chicago Shakespeare Theater Navy Pier | 800 E. Grand | 312-595-5600 |

Chopin Theatre 1543 W. Division | 773-278-1500 |

Circle Theatre 7300 W. Madison | Forest Park | 708-771-0700 |

City Lit Theater Company Edgewater Presbyterian Church | 1020 W. Bryn Mawr | 773-293-3682 |

Cornservatory 4210 N. Lincoln | 312-409-6435 |

Court Theatre 5535 S. Ellis | 773-753-4472 |

Drury Lane Water Tower Place 175 E. Chestnut | 312-642-2000 |

ETA Creative Arts Foundation | ETA Square 7558 S. South Chicago | 773-752-3955 |

Ford Center for the Performing Arts | Oriental Theatre 24 W. Randolph | 312-902-1400

Gene Siskel Film Center 164 N. State | 312-846-2600 |

Goodman Theatre 170 N. Dearborn | 312-443-3800 |

Gorilla Tango Theatre 1919 N. Milwaukee | 773-598-4549 |

LaSalle Bank Theatre 18 W. Monroe | 312-902-1400 |

Lifeline Theatre 6912 N. Glenwood | 773-761-4477 |

Lincoln Square Theatre Community Arts Center | Berry Memorial United Methodist Church | 4754 N. Leavitt | 773-275-7930 |

Link’s Hall 3435 N. Sheffield | 773-281-0824 |

Live Bait Theater 3914 N. Clark | 773-871-1212 |

Lookingglass Theatre Company Water Tower Water Works | 821 N. Michigan | 312-337-0665 |

Lumen 839 W. Fulton Market | 312 733 2222 |

Museum of Contemporary Art 220 E. Chicago | 312-397-4010 |

Neo-Futurarium 5153 N. Ashland | 773-275-5255 |

Next Theatre Company | Noyes Cultural Arts Center | 927 Noyes | Evanston | 847-475-1875 | ext. 2 |

North Lakeside Cultural Center 6219 N. Sheridan | 773-743-4477 |

Northlight Theatre | North Shore Center for the Performing Arts | 9501 Skokie Blvd. | Skokie | 847-673-6300 |

Oracle Theatre 3809 N. Broadway | 773-244-2980 |

Pegasus Players O’Rourke Performing Arts Center | Truman College | 1145 W. Wilson | 773-878-9761 |

Profiles Theatre 4147 N. Broadway | 773-549-1815 |

Prop Thtr 3502 N. Elston | 773-539-7838 | |

Raven Theatre 6157 N. Clark | 773-338-2177 |

Royal George Theatre Center 1641 N. Halsted | 312-988-9000 |

Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church 621 W. Belmont | 773-525-0844

Side Project Theatre 1439 W. Jarvis | 312-973-2150 |

Silk Road Theatre Project Chicago Temple | First United Methodist Church | Pierce Hall | 77 W. Washington | 312-857-1234 |

Stage Left Theatre 3408 N. Sheffield | 773-883-8830 |

Steep Theatre Company 3902 N. Sheridan | 312-458-0722 |

Steppenwolf Theatre Company 1650 N. Halsted | 312-335-1650 |

Steppenwolf Theatre Company | Merle Reskin Garage Theatre 1624 N. Halsted | 312-335-1650 |

Storefront Theater Gallery 37 Center for the Arts | 66 E. Randolph | 312-742-8497 |

Strawdog Theatre Company 3829 N. Broadway | 773-528-9696 |

Theatre Building Chicago 1225 W. Belmont | 773-327-5252 |

Viaduct Theater 3111 N. Western | 773-296-6024 |

Victory Gardens Biograph Theater 2433 N. Lincoln | 773-871-3000 |

Victory Gardens Greenhouse Theater 2257 N. Lincoln | 773-871-3000 |

Village Players Theatre 1010 Madison | Oak Park | 866-764-1010 |

Writers’ Theatre 325 Tudor Ct. | Glencoe | 847-242-6000 |

Writers’ Theatre Books on Vernon | 664 Vernon | Glencoe | 847-242-6000 |