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Chicago theater: ‘The Band’s Visit,’ ‘The Great Leap’ and more previews, openings Aug. 30-Sept. 5

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

Glenn Obrero stars in “The Great Leap” at Steppenwolf Theatre.
Glenn Obrero stars in “The Great Leap” at Steppenwolf Theatre.
Juli Del Prete Photo

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

Pick of the week:

“The Great Leap”: Playwright Lauren Yee had long heard stories about how her father, who played in a San Francisco Chinese-American basketball league, had traveled with the team to China as it was transitioning from the Cultural Revolution. She used this family lore as inspiration for this drama about a local star of Chinatown basketball courts who talks his way onto a college team traveling to Beijing for a “friendship” game during the tensions there in the late ‘80s. “I always thought that was so interesting: the experience of going to a country you’ve never been to, but at the same time, feel a deep connection towards because of what you look like, where your parents are from, and what that experience must be like; going in as the enemy, but also looking like the team you’re playing against,” Lee said in an interview with the Center for Asian American Media. The cast features Glenn Obrero, Deanna Myers, Keith Kupferer and James Seol; Jesca Prudencio directs. Previews begin Sept. 5, opens Sept. 15; to Oct. 20. Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted, $20-$89; steppenwolf.org.

More previews and openings:

“The Band’s Visit”: David Yazbek and Itamar Moses’ Tony Award-winning musical about an Egyptian police band stranded in a remote Israeli desert town; directed by David Cromer. Previews begin Sept. 3, opens Sept. 4; to Sept. 22. Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph, $39-$106; broadwayinchicago.com

“Be Here Now”: Deborah Zoe Laufer’s play about a woman searching for happiness and the meaning in modern life; directed by Sandy Shinner. Previews begin Sept. 5, opens Sept. 8; to Oct. 19. Shattered Globe Theatre at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont, $42; shatteredglobe.org

Deanna Reed-Foster (left) and Rebecca Jordan star in Shattered Globe Theatre’s Chicago premiere of “Be Here Now.”
Deanna Reed-Foster (left) and Rebecca Jordan star in Shattered Globe Theatre’s Chicago premiere of “Be Here Now.”
Joe Martinez

“His Shadow”: Loy A. Webb’s story of ambition and activism: Which will emerge the victor when the two collide; directed by Wardell Julius Clark. Previews begin Sept. 5, opens Sept. 12; to Oct. 12. 16th Street Theater, 6420 16th St., Berwyn, $18-$30; 16thstreettheater.org

“Holmes and Watson”: Jeffrey Hatcher’s mystery adventure asks the question: As three men claim to be Sherlock Holmes, did the great sleuth really die at Reichenbach Falls? Directed by Ron May. Preview Sept. 5, opens Sept. 6; to Oct. 6. Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell, Glen Ellyn, $42; btechicago.com

Patrick Mulvey and Chaon Cross star in the Greenhouse Theater Center and Proxy Theatre’s Midwest premiere of “Midsummer (A Play with Songs).” Photo by Christopher Semel.
Patrick Mulvey and Chaon Cross star in the Greenhouse Theater Center and Proxy Theatre’s Midwest premiere of “Midsummer (A Play with Songs).”
Christopher Semel

“Horse Girls”: Jenny Rachel Weiner’s drama infiltrates the world of preteens, their obsessions, their insecurities and their desperate need to find a place in the world; directed by Connor Baty. Opens Sept. 5; to Sept. 22. Exit 63 Theatre at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln, $20; greenhousetheatercenter.org

“Midsummer (A Play with Songs): David Greig’s musical comedy with a folk-pop score is a retelling of a seemingly mismatched couple’s lost weekend in the city of Edinburgh; directed by Randy White. Previews begin Sept. 4, opens Sept. 7; to Oct. 6. Proxy Theatre and Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln, $20-$25; greenhousetheatercenter.org

“Monty Python’s Spamalot”: The Tony Award-winning musical retells the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table with irreverent Monty Python glee; directed by Walter Stearns. Previews begin Aug. 30, opens Sept. 8; to Nov. 3. Mercury Theater Chicago, 3745 N. Southport, $40-$70; mercurytheaterchicago.com

The cast of “Newsies” at the Paramount Theatre, directed by Jim Corti.
The cast of “Newsies” at the Paramount Theatre, directed by Jim Corti.
Thomas J. King

“Newsies”: Alan Menken, Jack Feldman and Harvey Fierstein’s musical about newsboys who organize a strike against a news tycoon; directed by Jim Corti. Previews begin Sept. 4, opens Sept. 13; to Oct. 20. Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena, Aurora, $36-$74; paramountaurora.com

“The Second City’s 108th Mainstage Revue”: Ryan Bernier returns to direct his seventh production at the improv mainstay with Nick Gage on the piano. Previews begin Sept. 3, in an open run. The Second City, 1616 N. Wells, $38-$58; secondcity.com

Mary Houlihan is a local freelance writer.