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Curtain Call: ‘You Can’t Fake the Funk’ and more theater openings, previews July 19-25

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

Stuart Romeo is among the ensemble cast of “You Can’t Fake the Funk (A Journey Through Funk Music)” at Black Ensemble Theater.
Stuart Romeo is among the ensemble cast of “You Can’t Fake the Funk (A Journey Through Funk Music)” at Black Ensemble Theater.
Alan Davis

Looking to take in some live theater in Chicago? Here are some highlights of previews and openings in the week ahead:


“You Can’t Fake the Funk (A Journey Through Funk Music)”: Jackie Taylor’s Black Ensemble Theater takes a trip back in time where big Afro’s, flashy bellbottoms and groovy music reigned. Writer-director Daryl S. Brooks pays tribute to artists including Sly and the Family Stone, Ohio Players, Earth, Wind and Fire, Rufus and Chaka Khan, Rick James and George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. The cast includes Dwight Neal, Jayla Williams-Craig, Stewart Romeo, Blake Hawthorne, Lemond Hayes, Thera Wright, Vincent Jordan and Brandon Lavell. Previews begin July 20, opens July 28; to Sept. 8. Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N. Clark, $55, $65;

More openings and previews July 19-25:

Deeply Rooted Dance Theater: The company’s Summer Dance Intensive and Emerging Choreographers Showcase. July 19-20. Logan Center for the Performing Arts, 915 E. 60th, $25;

“Sleeping Beauty”: A musical retelling of the classic fairy tale. Opens July 19; to July 25. Chicago Kids Company at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell, Arlington Heights, $12, $14;

Recently opened:

“Les Miserables”: Cameron Mackintosh’s Tony Award-winning musical that’s a testament to the survival of the human spirit. To July 27. Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph, $35-$105;

Monica West (Marian Paroo) and Geoff Packard (Harold Hill) in Goodman Theatre’s production of “The Music Man,”  directed by Mary Zimmerman.
Monica West (Marian Paroo) and Geoff Packard (Harold Hill) in Goodman Theatre’s production ofThe Music Man,” directed by Mary Zimmerman.
Liz Lauren

“The Music Man”: Director Mary Zimmerman’s staging of Meredith Wilson’s marching band musical about charismatic con man Harold Hill who takes the town of River City on a wild ride of promises only to learn his own lessons of moral responsibility. To Aug. 18. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, $45-$142;

“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. To Aug. 17. American Blues Theater at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, $19-$39;

“True West”: Steppenwolf Theatre revisits the Sam Shepard play about two brothers who find themselves trapped in their mother’s house where their volatile relationship explodes; Randall Arney directs. To Aug. 25. Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted, $20-$96;

“The Wizard of Oz”: Musical version of L. Frank Baum’s classic tale of Dorothy and her pals’ journey down the Yellow Brick Road; directed by Brian Hill. To Aug. 25. Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand, $24, $38;

Mary Houlihan is a local freelance writer.