Curtain Call — ‘Sunset Boulevard,’ ‘Jane Eyre’ and more theater openings, previews Oct. 11-17

From comedy and drama to musicals and dance, Chicago’s stages are alive with vibrant productions.

SHARE Curtain Call — ‘Sunset Boulevard,’ ‘Jane Eyre’ and more theater openings, previews Oct. 11-17
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Hollis Resnik as Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard” by Porchlight Music Theatre.

Joe Mazza

Looking to take in some live theater in the week ahead? Here are some highlights of what’s playing on Chicago’s stages:

Pick of the Week

“Sunset Boulevard”: “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.” This is just one of the great lines uttered by Gloria Swanson as a deranged Norma Desmond in the Oscar-winning 1950 film “Sunset Boulevard.” Find all of this plus memorable songs in Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black and Christopher Hampton’s Tony Award-winning musical adaptation of Billy Wilder’s classic film. The Porchlight Music Theatre staging features Hollis Resnik as Norma, the washed-up silent film star who plots her return to the big screen; Billy Rude portrays Joe Gillis, the unsuccessful screenwriter who is drawn into her fantasy world. Michael Weber directs. Previews begin Oct. 11, opens Oct. 15; to Nov. 24. Porchlight Music Theatre at Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn, $39-$66; porchlightmusictheatre.org

Other previews, openings

Directors Haven 2019: Features work by three early-career directors: Caryl Churchill’s “This Is a Chair” directed by Lauren Katz, Sonia Sanchez’s “2 x 2” directed by Aaron Mays, and Dan Giles “How You Kiss Me Is Not How I Like To Be Kissed” directed by AJ Schwartz. Previews begin Oct. 14, opens Oct. 16; to Oct. 30. Haven Theatre at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee, $10; havenchi.org

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Daniella Pereira and Sam Hubbard in “The Effect” at Strawdog Theatre.

Jon Cole Media

“The Effect”: Lucy Prebble’s drama about two people taking part in a clinical trial for an antidepressant who may be falling in love; directed by Elly Green. Previews begin Oct. 13, opens Oct. 19; to Nov. 23. Strawdog Theatre, 1802 W. Berenice, $35; strawdog.org

“Exquisita Agonia”: Nilo Cruz’s drama about an opera singer who, after losing her husband in a car accident, pursues the recipient of his transplanted heart; directed by Marcela Munoz. Preview Oct. 17, opens Oct. 18; to Nov. 24. Aguijon Theater, 2707 N. Laramie, $10-$30; clata.org and aguijontheater.org

“Jane Eyre”: The Joffrey Ballet, in partnership with American Ballet Theatre, presents the Chicago premiere of choreographer Cathy Marston’s adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s classes novel. Oct. 16-27. Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr., $35-$199; joffrey.org

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Emjoy Gavino and Hannah Toriumi in “Kentucky” at The Gift Theatre.

Claire Demos

“Kentucky”: Leah Nanako Winkler’s dark comedy in which identity, religion and love collide in a coming-of-age story; directed by Chika Ike. Previews begin Oct. 17, opens Oct. 20; to Nov. 16. Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont, $42; thegifttheatre.org

“Luisa Miller”: The Lyric Opera launches a multi-year series of Giuseppe Verdi’s works with this opera about star-crossed love and violent jealousy. Opens Oct.12; to Oct. 31. Lyric Opera of Chicago, 20 N. Wacker, $39-$299; lyricopera.org

“The Merchant of Venice”: Shakespeare’s classic drama of revenge, justice and mercy now set in 1938 Italy when laws discriminated against Italian Jews during the rise of fascism; directed by Charles Askenaizer. Previews begin Oct. 17, opens Oct. 21; to Nov. 17. Invictus Theatre at The Buena, Pride Arts Center, 4147 N. Broadway, $25; invictustheatreco.com

“One Giant Leap — The Apollo 11 Moon Landing”: A staged reading of J.T. Rogers’ play that weaves together transcripts of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, news coverage and interviews of those involved in the landing; directed by PJ Powers. Oct. 14. TimeLine Theatre at Broadway Playhouse Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut, $25; broadwayinchicago.com

“Pounding Nails in the Floor with My Forehead”: In Eric Bogosian’s one-man play, Donterrio Johnson portrays 12 angry men, each trying to stop the noise in their head; directed by Jon Dambacher. Oct. 16, 30. The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, $20; Hundo4uproductions.com

“Soltera, Casada, Viuda y Divorciada”: Roman Sarmentero’s comedy finds four Latinas in different stations in life sharing their points of view on the topic of men. Performed in Spanish with English supertitles. Oct. 17-20. Destinos: Chicago International Latino Theatre Festival at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre, 1700 N. Halsted, $20-$25; steppenwolf.org

Mary Houlihan is a local freelance writer.

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