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Curtain Call: ‘Ghost Quartet’ and more theater openings, previews July 12-19

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

Amanda Raquel Martinez (from left)Alexander Ellsworth and Rachel Guth with (back) TJ Anderson in “Ghost Quartet.”
Cole Simon

Looking to take in some live theater in the week ahead? Here are some suggestions to consider:

Pick of the Week

“Ghost Quartet”: Black Button Eyes Productions is known for presenting works in which fantasy and the surreal invade the real world. Dave Malloy’s “Ghost Quartet” fits right into the company’s wheelhouse. In this song cycle about love, death and whiskey, Malloy (also the composer of “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812”) finds inspiration in murder ballads, horror movies and the sounds of the supernatural. As four friends gather, drink and unwind four interwoven tales that span centuries, the music moves from gospel, folk ballads and honky tonk to jazz and doo-wop. TJ Anderson, Alex Ellsworth, Rachel Guth and Amanda Raquel Martinez star; Ed Rutherford directs. Previews begin July 12, opens July 19; to Aug. 17. Black Button Eyes Productions at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont; $30;

More previews and openings

“20/20”: The About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble presents a dive into recent queer history; co-directed by Megan Carney and Donny Acosta. Preview July 12, opens July 13; to July 28. The Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted, $20 or pay-what-you-can;

“And Then There Were None”: Agatha Christie’s play about 10 strangers on a remote island who each hold a murderous secret; directed by Jessica Fisch. Previews begin July 12, opens July 25; to Sept. 1. Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace, $50-$65;

“Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story”: The story of the singer’s meteoric rise to fame; directed by Joe Keefe. Previews begin July 18, opens July 25; to Aug. 24. Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell, Arlington Heights, $40;

“The Comedy of Errors”: Shakespeare’s riotous comedy; directed by David H. Bell. Opens July 18; to Aug. 18. Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, various neighborhood parks, free;

“Junie B. Jones, the Musical”: Live a day in the life of the ever lovable and outspoken first grader; directed by Johanna McKenzie Miller. Previews begin July 12, opens July 20; to Aug. 11. Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott, Lincolnshire, $18.23;

Monty Cole (from left), Arti Ishak, Salar Ardebili and Cassidy Slaughter-Mason in Haven’s Chicago premiere of “Kiss.”
Joe Mazza/Brave Lux

“Kiss”: Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderon’s drama about two couples who meet for a weekly soap opera viewing party which starts to feel like its own soap opera; directed by Monty Cole. Previews begin July 18, opens July 23; to Aug. 18. Haven at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee, $35;

“Love, Chaos & Dinner”: Teatro ZinZanni’s show combines cirque, cabaret, spectacle, live music, comedy and fine dining. Opens July 18, to Sept. 29. The Spiegeltent ZaZou, Cambria Hotel Chicago, 14th floor, 32 W. Randolph, $99-$189;

Millennium Park Theatre Series: “The Adventures of Peter Rabbit” by Emerald City Theatre (July 18-20), “Belly of the Whale” by Chicago Dance Crash (July 26-27), CircEsteen (July 26-28), Barrel of Monkeys (Aug. 5-10), “La gran tirana: Descarga teatral (The Great Tyrant: A Theatrical Descarga)” (Aug. 13-14, 17), “I Protest” by eta Creative Arts Foundation (Sept. 16-21), “The Moonlight Parade” by Chicago Full Moon Jam (Sept. 17, 19, 21), “The Book of Peace” by Collaboraction Theatre (Oct. 4-6), “Still/Here: Manifestos for Joy and Survival” (Oct. 6-12), Family Fun Festival with Lookingglass Theatre (June 24-Aug. 9). For times and locations, go to

“My Life on a Diet”: Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna’s autobiographical play in which the actress looks back on her life spent in Hollywood and on Broadway. Opens July 16; to Aug. 4. North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie; $45-$92;

“Pomona”: In Alistair McDowall’s play, a young girl’s search for her missing sister takes her to a bleak island in the middle of a scarred city; directed by Robin Witt. Previews begin July 13, opens July 18; to Aug. 24. Steep Theatre, 1115 W. Berwyn, $27, $38;

“Roast”: Harry Wood’s drama follows the friends and family of a young comedian, who has taken his own life, as they fulfill his last request: a roast instead of a traditional funeral; directed by Derek Bertelsen. Previews begin July 18, opens July 20; to Aug. 18. The Comrades at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln, $15-$20;

“The Spitfire Grill”: James Valeq and Fred Alley’s musical adaptation of the film about a feisty parolee who follows her dreams to a small Wisconsin town where she finds a place for herself at the local diner; directed by Tammy Mader. Previews begin July 12, opens July 19; to Aug. 17. American Blues Theater at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, $19-$39;

Staging the Stans Festival: Staged readings of plays by Central Asian and Eurasian playwrights: “The Store” by Olzhas Zhanaydarov, “Uzbeck” by Talgat Batalov, “The Izmailovo Studio” by Emilia Kazumova and Zarema Zautdinova. July 12-15. Silk Road Rising, Historic Chicago Temple Building, 77 W. Washington, $13;

Mary Houlihan is a Chicago freelance writer.