Larry Shue grew up in Glen Ellyn, graduated from Glenbard West High School, and was on his way to a high-profile career as an actor and playwright when he died in a commuter plane crash in 1985. On his plate at the time: a Disney option on his play The Foreigner, a Broadway role in a Joseph Papp show, and a New York production of his early farce The Nerd. The Theatre of Western Springs can’t resurrect Shue, but they are bringing The Nerd to life this weekend and next. Dramaturge Craig Mahlstedt, who knew Shue when both were theater majors at Illinois Wesleyan University, says the play has some autobiographical elements. The central character is a Vietnam vet (like Shue) who feels a serious sense of obligation to a man who saved his life. When this hero subsequently shows up for a visit and turns out to be a “scary, bizarre eccentric,” the scene is set for comedy. “The guy is like a head cold you can’t get rid of,” Mahlstedt says. The Nerd features Terry Locke of Hinsdale in the title role and Jack Calvert of Western Springs as the besieged host. Theatre of Western Springs artistic director Tony Vezner directs. Performances are at 8 Thursdays through Saturdays and 2:30 Sundays through September 17. There will also be performances at 7:30 Sunday, September 10, and at 2:30 Saturday, September 16. Tickets are $15 to $18. The theater is located at 4384 Hampton Avenue in Western Springs. Call 708-246-3380.

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