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‘The Watsons Go to Birmingham’ and more theater previews, openings March 22-28

"The Watsons Go to Birmingham" stars Jeremiah Ruwe (from left), Jillian Giselle and Stephen Allen Jr. | photo attached | Cole Simon


“The Watsons Go to Birmingham —1963”: Ever since Chicago Children’s Theatre was founded, area teachers have begged the company to adapt Christopher Paul Curtis’ book about a family on a cross-country trip to visit relatives in Birmingham, Ala. Traveling from Flint, Mich., to the deep South the Watsons arrive in the tension-filled city during the height of the Civil Rights movement. The adaptation of the acclaimed young adult novel is by playwright Cheryl L. West with direction by Wardell Julius Clark and original music by Paris Ray Dozier. For ages 9 and up. Previews begin March 26, opens March 30; to April 28. Chicago Children’s Theatre, 100 S. Racine; $25-$41;

More previews, openings:

“Afterglow”: S. Asher Gelman’s drama exploring the emotional, intellectual and physical connections between three men; directed by David G. Zak. Previews March 22, opens March 27; to May 4. Pride Arts Center — The Buena, 4147 N. Broadway, $30, $40;

“Anastasia”: Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens’ musical about a young woman who sets out to discover the mystery of her past. Preview March 26, opens March 27; to April 7. Nederlander Theatre, 24 W. Randolph, $27-$98;

“The Doctor’s Dilemma”: In George Bernard Shaw’s drama, a doctor’s Hippocratic oath is forgotten when access to medical care is determined by arrogance and passion. Gary Alexander directs the final production for ShawChicago. Opens March 23; to April 15. ShawChicago Theater at Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn, $40;

“The Firestorm”: An interracial political power couple on the campaign trail is thrust into a conflict when a racially charged incident from his past surfaces; directed by Rachel Lambert. Previews begin March 27, opens March 30; to April 28. First Folio Theatre at Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st and Rt. 83, Oak Brook, $34-$44;

Giordano Dance Chicago: Performing “Flickers,” a new full-company work by choreographer Marinda Davis, plus other works from the company’s repertoire. March 22-23. Harris Theater, Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph, $15-$75;

Pilobolus: The modern dance company performs “Shadowland: The New Adventure,” which tells the story of the quest to save a magical bird. March 23. McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell, Glen Ellyn, $55-$65;

“Pinocchio”: The classic fairy tale of a little wooden boy who wishes to become human; directed by Chris Mathews. Previews begin March 28, opens April 7; to May 19. The House Theatre of Chicago at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, $30-$50;

Nichole Green stars in “The Ridiculous Darkness.”| Photo by Michael Tutin
Nichole Green stars in “The Ridiculous Darkness.”| Photo by Michael Tutin

“The Ridiculous Darkness”: Wolfram Lotz’s surreal satire is a fractured spin on “Heart of Darkness,” “Apocalypse Now” and the history of colonialism; directed by Ian Damont Martin. Previews begin March 24, opens March 28; to April 28. Sideshow Theatre at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln, $20-$30;

“Small World”: Jillian Leff and Joe Lino’s play about three people caught inside the Small World ride at Disney World. Will they find their way out? Directed by Andrew Hobgood. Previews begin March 27, opens April 1; to May 4. The New Colony at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee; $20;

Mary Houlihan is a local freelance writer.

“Small World” stars Patriac Coakley (from left), Stephanie Shum and Jackie Seijo. | Photo by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux