As the world continues to adjust to an ongoing new normal, Chicago’s theater community is back with a generous lineup of live events and a few streamed offerings for the fall and winter months ahead.
There’s plenty to choose from, ranging from a pre-Broadway run to a collaboration with chef Rick Bayless to a stream of three short plays by Tracy Letts, and so much more.
Keep in mind, there are safety protocols in place at all venues, so visit the websites listed for individual theater’s updated information regarding COVID-19 vaccination and/or mask policies.
“Thirteen Days”: Brian Pastor’s adaptation of Robert F. Kennedy’s memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis is performed by an all-female cast; directed by Pastor. To Oct. 24. City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr, $32; citylit.org
“Brighton Beach Memoirs”: Neil Simon’s comedy about a teen who must cope with the mundane existence of his family life in Brooklyn. To Oct. 17. Citadel Theatre, 300 S. Waukegan, Lake Forest, $20-$45; citadeltheatre.org
“The World Goes Round”: John Kander and Fred Ebb’s musical that celebrates the duo’s songbook via tunes from “Cabaret!,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Funny Lady” and more. To Nov. 7. Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Dr., Lincolnshire, $50-$60; marriotttheatre.com
“The Golden Girls — The Lost Episodes, Vol. 5 - SEX!: The long-running parody of the television classic returns with a new show that explores the ladies’ naughty side; directed by Madison Smith. To Oct. 23. Hell in a Handbag Productions at Leather Archives and Museum, 6418 N. Greenview, $27-$45; handbagproductions.org
“Macbeth”: A new production of Verdi’s opera from Scottish director Sir David McVicar is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, a portrait of a power-hungry couple and their bloody ascent to the throne of Scotland. To Oct. 9. Lyric Opera, 20 N. Wacker, $39+; lyricopera.org
“Forever Plaid”: Stuart Ross and James Raitt’s musical revue packed with tunes from the 1950s. To Nov. 7. Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace, $59-$72; drurylanetheatre.com
“American Mariachi”: Jose Cruz Gonzalez’s comedy-drama about a young woman who comes up with a radical idea: create an all-female mariachi band; directed by Henry Godinez. To Oct. 24. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, $25+; goodmantheatre.org
“The Infinite Wrench”: The return of the Neo-Futurists’ ongoing and every-changing attempt to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes. The Neo-Futurists, 5153 N. Ashland, $10; neofuturists.org
“Songs for Nobodies”: Joanna Murray-Smith’s one-woman tour-de-force that celebrates the iconic work of Judy Garland, Patsy Cline, Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf and Maria Callas. Bethany Thomas stars; Rob Lindley directs. To Oct. 31, Northlight Theatre at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, $30-$89; northlight.org
“Songs for a New World”: Jason Robert Brown’s musical tells the stories of people facing a variety of life-changing crisis and features a score that blends pop, gospel and jazz. To Oct. 24. Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, 721 Howard, Evanston, $42-$54; theo-u.com.
“Sense & Sensibility”: Lifeline Theatre presents an audio adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel of two sisters searching for love. Streams to Oct. 31, Free; lifelinetheatre.com.
“Last Night in Karaoke Town”: Mike Beyer and Kirk Pynchon’s comedy set in one of Cleveland’s oldest karaoke bars that may have to close its doors when the new owner announces he wants to change it into a cider bar; directed by Kim Boler. To Nov. 6. The Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard, $10-$25; thefactorytheater.com
Destinos: Chicago International Latino Theater Festival: Teatro Tariakuri’s “La manera como luces esta noche” (To Oct., 17), a comedic fairy tale about a princess and the commoner who loves her; Casa de Teatro’s “Mal de Amores” (Oct. 8-10), a fusion of storytelling and song as an old man tells love stories and a woman sings boleros, baladas and rancheras; Urban Theater Company’s “Brujaja” (Oct. 9-10), which pairs theater, dance and drumming; Teatro Vista’s “Futurology presents: The Fifth World” (Oct. 10-11), a new serial audio play about a true crime producer who is entangled in myth’s as old as the world; Vision Latino Theatre’s “Y tu abuela, where is she?” (Oct. 11-24), about an interracial couple seeking to modify the genes of their unborn children; Agus, Sol y Sereno’s “Corazon de Papel” (Oct. 14-17), a depiction of post-Hurricane Puerto Rico told through puppetry; Aguijon Theater’s “La Gran Tirana: Descarga dramatica” (Oct. 15-Nov. 21), a new work inspired by La Lupe, the Queen of Latin Soul. Locations and prices vary; clata.org.
“The Elixir of Love}: Donizetti’s comic opera is the story of a naïve waiter Nemorino who pines for the flirtatious Adina who also happens to be his boss; directed by Daniel Slater. To Oct. 8. Lyric Opera, 20 N. Wacker, $39+; lyricopera.org.
“Night Safari,” “The Old Country,” “The Stretch”: A trio of short plays from playwright Tracy Letts: Rainn Wilson performs a monologue which poses questions about animal behavior and human biology; William Petersen, Karen Rodriguez and Mike Nussbaum voice the puppets in a piece about two men in a diner waxing nostalgic; and Letts performs a monologue about a horse race that is not what it seems. Streams to Oct. 24, $20; steppenwolf.org.
“4000 Days”: Peter Quilter’s comedy-drama about a man who wakes up from a three-week coma and finds he remembers nothing from the past 11 years including his relationship with his partner; directed by Jay Españo. To Oct. 31. The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, $30; pridearts.org
“The Second City’s 109th Revue”: A comedic examination of how we’re all striving to find joy in a seemingly never-ending stream of apocalyptic change from conspiracy theories to social anxiety to navigating the current political landscape. Ongoing. The Second City, 1616 N. Wells, $29-$55; secondcity.com/chicago-shows/
“Holy Ghost Bingo: God, Goblins & Games”: Vicki Quade’s comedy examines Halloween traditions, scary movies, condemned board games, haunted churches, the best candy and the worst costumes. To Oct. 31. Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln, $35; greenhousetheater.org.
“Dracula: A Serial Audio Play”: The House Theatre of Chicago’s 10-part adaptation of the classic story streams with a new episode each week. Streams to Dec. 3. Free; thehousetheatre.com
“Kingdom”: Broken Nose Theatre presents an audio adaptation of Michael Allen Harris’ family drama about a couple who, after Florida legalizes same sex marriage, come to terms with their differing opinions on the necessity of getting married. To Oct. 24. Pay-what-you-can; brokennosetheatre.com
“Rent 25th Anniversary Farewell Tour”: Jonathan Larson’s Tony Award-winning musical follows a diverse group of artists and friends struggling to follow their dreams. Oct. 5-10. CIBC Theatre, 18 W. Monroe, $25+; broadwayinchicago.com.
“A Recipe for Disaster”: Chef Rick Bayless teams up with Windy City Playhouse for this immersive farce which revolves around a special event at a trendy restaurant where everything that could go wrong does. Audiences will sample tastes of cocktails, wine and food created by Bayless. David H. Bell directs. Oct. 6-ongoing. Club Level at Petterino’s, 150 N. Dearborn, $90-$130; windycityplayhouse.com
“As You Like It”: Daryl Cloran’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy is set in the ‘60s and infused with the music of The Beatles. Oct. 6-Nov. 21. Chicago Shakespeare at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand, $49-$90; chicagoshakes.com
“The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice”: Kelvin Roston Jr. stars in Shakespeare’s tragedy which sets the audience in the middle of the action; co-directed by Charles Newell and Gabrielle Randle-Bent. Oct. 7-Nov. 21. Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis, $56-$76 in person, $35-$50 streaming version; courttheatre.org
“The Humans”: Stephen Karam’s drama about a family holiday gathering that unravels into tantrums and unspoken secrets; directed by Steve Scott. Oct. 7-Nov. 14. Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr, $35+; redtwist.org
“House of the Exquisite Corpse”: A horror peepshow, puppet theater anthology where hallways, rooms and hidden doors unveil worlds that terrify and amaze. Oct. 7-30. Rough House at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, $21-$26; roughhousetehater.com
“Fields of Fire”: Cabinet of Curiosity presents an outdoor immersive experience, a choreographed event with story and music all orbiting a grand tree. Oct. 7-10. Boler Park, 3601 Arthington, $25, free for Lawndale residents; cocechicago.com
“Legally Blonde”: The musical based on the film follows Elle Woods transformation from sorority girl to Harvard law student. Oct. 7-Nov. 20. Metropolis Performing arts Centre, 111 W Campbell, Arlington Heights, $40; metropolisarts.com
“Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”: Joss Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon and Zack Whedon’s internet musical about a supervillain wannabe who shares his plans to crush his nemesis, win the woman of his dreams and join the Evil League of Evil; directed by Ed Rutherford. Oct. 8-Nov. 6. Black Button Eyes Productions at The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway, $30; drhorriblechicago.eventbrite.com
Playwrights Unit Readings: “The Madness of Mary Todd” by Terry Guest, “La Fuente De Cascabeles” by Exal Iraheta, “Expatriate” by Steve Pickering, “Rust” by Nancy Garcia Loza, “You Deserve to Be Here” by Alex Lubischer, “Boxing Play” by Marisa Carr and “Rack Up” by Eliza Bent. Oct. 9-Nov. 4. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, Free; goodmantheatre.org
“This Wide Night”: Chloe Moss’s drama about two formerly incarcerated women who test their friendship outside prison walls; directed by Georgette Verdin. Oct. 11-Nov. 13. Shattered Globe Theatre at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont, $45; sgtheatre.org
“The Relocation of Nokwsi”: A virtual puppet production inspired by author Robert Hicks Jr.’s grandfather’s journey away from his people — the Cherokee, Paiute, Yakama, and Shoshone — to live and work in Chicago. Streams Oct. 11-Nov. 11, free with suggested donation; chicagochildrenstheatre.org
“The Jigsaw Bride: A Frankenstein Story”: Joseph Zettelmaier’s gothic horror tale where something or someone lies in the ruins of Dr. Frankenstein’s castle; directed by Hayley Rice. Oct. 13-Nov. 14. First Folio Theatre at Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st and Rt. 83, Oak Brook, $49, $59; firstfolio.org
“Born Yesterday”: Garson Kanin’s classic play about an uneducated young woman who goes in search of an education; directed by Sean Michael Barrett. Oct. 15-Nov. 7. Saint Sebastian Players at St. Bonaventure, 1625 W. Diversey, $25; saintsebastianplayers.org
“Fannie, The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer”: E. Faye Butler stars as the famed civil rights activist in Cheryl L. West’s biographical play which defines what it means to be a true revolutionary; directed by Henry Godinez. Oct. 15-Nov 14. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, $25+; goodmantheatre.org
“The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe: A Love Story”: David Rice’s immersive play follows the writer as he grapples with love and madness after the death of his beloved wife. Oct. 15-Nov.7. Oak Park Festival Theatre at Pleasant Home, 217 Home, Oak Park, $44; oakparkfestival.com
“Hamlet”: Shakespeare’s classic tragedy; Charles Askenaizer directs and performs the role of Hamlet. Oct. 21-Nov. 21. Invictus Theatre, 1106 W. Thorndale, $30; invictustheatreco.com
“Eurydice”: Sarah Ruhl’s take on the ancient myth is told from the perspective of Eurydice rather than Orpheus; directed by Kathy Scambiatterra. Oct. 23-Nov. 21. The Artistic Home at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee, $34; theartistichome.org
“What the Constitution Means to Me”: Heidi Schreck’s play breathes new life into the U.S. Constitution and imagines how it will shape the next generation of American women; directed by Oliver Butler. Oct. 26-Nov. 21. Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut, $30+; broadwayinchicago.com
“An Evening with Groucho”: Frank Ferrante’s Groucho laugh-filled portrait of Groucho Marx celebrates the style and spirit of the comedian. Oct. 26. Spiegeltent ZaZou, Cambria Hotel, 32 W. Randolph; $39.50-$59.50; eveningwithgroucho.com
“The Last Pair of Earlies”: The world premiere of Joshua Allen’s drama about a married couple who face a life-altering question: Are we still enough for each other? Directed by Wardell Julius Clark. Oct. 27-Dec. 12. Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark, $40; raventheatre.com
“Ragtime”: Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens musical based on E.L. Doctorow’s novel about the search for the American Dream; directed by Stacey Flaster. Oct. 28-Nov. 7. Music Theater Works at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, $20-$108; musictheaterworks.com
“Love in the Time of Jonestown”: The New Coordinates’ radio play stream of Omer Abbas Salem’s drama, which explores the splendid ache of acceptance and the profound bliss of betrayal; directed by Sophiyaa Nayar. Streams Nov. 18-Dec. 12, $15; thenewcoordinates.org
“Hit ‘Em on the Blackside”: Congo Square Theatre’s sketch comedy series returns for 12 new online episodes. Streams Oct. 29-Dec. 10, free; congosquaretheatre.org
“War of the Worlds”: A Theatre in the Dark’s virtual audio version of H.G. Wells’ Martian invasion tale. Streams Oct. 29-3, $15 donation; atheatreinthedark.com
“Pump Boys & Dinettes”: The musical set in a North Carolina dinette and filled with toe-tapping music; directed by Robert Reddrick. Oct. 30-Dec. 12. Porchlight Music Theatre at Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn, $45-$74; porchlightmusictheatre.org
“Paradise Square”: The pre-Broadway run of a new musical set in 1863 in the Five Points area of Lower Manhattan where Irish immigrants settle alongside free-born Black Americans and those who escaped slavery; directed by Moises Kaufman with choreography by Bill T. Jones. Nov. 2-Dec. 5. Nederlander Theatre, 24 W. Randolph; broadwayinchicago.com
“Beautiful — The Carole King Musical”: The musical chronicles the career of the pop singer-songwriter and features her hit songs. Nov. 2-Nov. 7. CIBC Theatre, 18 W. Monroe, $31+; broadwayinchicago.com
“The Magic Flute”: Mozart’s opera in which a prince and princess triumph over obstacles in their search for wisdom, enlightenment and love. Nov. 3-37. Lyric Opera, 20 N. Wacker, $49+; lyricopera.org
“Remember This — The Lesson of Jan Karski”: Academy Award nominated actor David Strathairn stars in Clark Young and Derek Goldman’s solo play about the World War II hero who risked his life to carry the first eyewitness reports of the Holocaust to the White House where his warnings were met with inaction and disbelief. Nov. 4-14. The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand, $43-$75; chicagoshakes.com
“Sister Act”: The musical comedy about a disco diva who witnesses a murder and is disguised as a nun and put in protective custody; directed by Reneisha Jenkins. Nov. 5-Jan. 9. Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport, $35-$85; mercurytheaterchicago.com
“Hundred Days”: The Bengsons and Sarah Gancher’s new musical explores the question: “How do we make the most of the time that we have?; directed by Lucky Stiff. Nov. 7-Jan. 9. Kokandy Productions at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, $38; kokandyproductions.com
“Cinderella”: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s enchanting musical adaptation of the classic fairy tale; directed by Brenda Didier. For ages 5 and up. Nov. 10-Jan. 9. Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena, $36-$74; paramountaurora.com
“Bug”: Tracy Letts’ searing, paranoid drama returns with the actors from the production that was shut down in March 2020 — Carrie Coon, Namir Smallwood and Randall Arney; David Cromer directs. Nov. 11-Dec. 12. Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted, $20-$110; steppenwolftheatre.org
“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”: Clark Gesner, Michael Mayer and Andrew Lippa’s musical in which the entire Peanuts gang explore life’s great questions. Nov. 11-Dec. 23. Citadel Theatre, 300 S. Waukegan, Lake Forest, $20-$45; citadeltheatre.org
“The Snow Queen”: Lanise Antoine Shelley’s adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s beloved fable; directed by Amber D. Montgomery. Nov. 12-Jan. 2. House Theatre of Chicago at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, $20-$50; thehousetheatre.com
“God of Carnage”: Yasmina Reza’s play uncovers what happens when two couples meet for a civilized discussion about a playground altercation between their two young sons; co-directed by Derek Bertelsen and Robert Tobin. Nov. 12-Dec. 12. AstonRep Theatre at The Edge Theatre, 1133 W. Catalpa; astonrep.com
“Florencia in the Amazon”: Mexican composer Daniel Catan’s opera, about a glamorous diva on a life-changing adventure on the Amazon, is suffused with magical realism. Nov. 13-28. Lyric Opera, 20 N. Wacker; $39+; lyricopera.org
Fighting Words Festival: Readings of new plays: “Phantom Queens” by Jessica Johnson, “Child’s Play” by Frank Garland” and “The Mark” by Jillian Leff. Nov 13-14. Babes with Blades at The Factory Theatre, 1623 W. Howard, free, stream also available; babeswithblades.org
“Kiss Me Kate”: The musical follows the hijinks as a married couple battle on stage and off during a production of “The Taming of the Shrew.” Nov. 17-Jan. 16. Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Dr., Lincolnshire, $50-$60; marriotttheatre.com
“Love Actually? The Unauthorized Musical Parody”: Bob and Tobly McSmith’s parody of the iconic romantic comedy follows nine quirky couples looking for love; directed by Tim Drucker. Nov. 17-Jan. 2. Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln, $29-$59; ticketmaster.com
“Frozen”: The musical adaptation of the popular Disney film. Nov. 19-Jan. 22. Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph, $33; broadwayinchicago.com
“Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn”: The musical based on the classic film features a hit parade of Berlin’s songs including “White Christmas.” Nov. 19-Jan. 9. Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace, $54-$74; drurylanetheatre.com
“Mr. Dickens’ Hat”: The world premiere of Michael Hollinger’s play with music about a pair of bumbling thieves who attempt to steal a hat said to have been worn by the famous author and the young girl out to foil their plan and free her father from debtor’s prison; directed by David Catlin. Nov. 26-Jan. 2. Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, $30-$89; northlight.org
“A Christmas Carol”: Larry Yando returns as Ebenezer Scrooge in the annual staging of Charles Dickens classic holiday story; directed by Jessica Thebus. Nov. 20-Dec. 31. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, $25+; goodmantheatre.org
“Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins”: A stage adaptation of the classic children’s holiday book by Eric Kimmel. Nov. 20-Dec. 12. Strawdog Theatre, 1802 W. Berenice; strawdog.com
“When Harry Met Rehab”: Spike Manton and Harry Teinowitz’s comedy features Dan Butler (“Frazier”) in a humorous yet poignant look at an alcoholic on the edge of clueless annihilation; directed by Jackson Gay. Nov. 24-Jan. 30. Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln, $42-$85; whenharrymetrehab.com
“Stove Toucher”: Kurt Naebig performs his solo show about getting everything you wanted and then watching it all fall apart. Nov. 26-Dec. 19. Buffalo Theatre Ensemble at McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell, Glen Ellyn; $42; atthemac.org
“The Second City Holiday Revue”: Seasonal holiday fun with the comedy troupe. Nov. 26-Dec. 23. Copley Theatre, North Island Center, 8 E. Galena, $37; paramountaurora.com
“Christmas Dearest”: David Cerda returns as actress Joan Crawford who has lost sight of what the holidays really mean until she’s visited by three ghosts who set her straight; directed by Derek Van Barham. Nov. 27-Dec. 31. Hell in a Handbag Productions at Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 1650 W. Foster, $32; handbagproductions.org
“This Ability”: Chicago Children’s Theatre’s virtual play about a young autistic person who comes to the rescue when a celebrity cat goes missing; directed by Daniel Carlton. Streams Dec. 3-Jan. 3, Free with donation; chicagochildrenstheatre.org
“8-Track: The Sound of the ‘70s”: A fast-paced musical journey through the decade; directed by Jamal Howard. Dec. 3-Jan. 23. Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, 721 Howard, Evanston; theo-u.com.
“The Play That Goes Wrong”: A classic murder mystery set during the opening night of a play where everything that can go wrong does. Dec. 14-Jan. 30. Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower, 175 E. Chestnut; broadwayinchicago.com
“Q Brothers Christmas Carol”: A hip-hop reinterpretation of the holiday classic; directed by GQ and JQ and developed with Rick Boynton. Dec. 8-23. The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand, $38-$56; chicagoshakes.com
“Dishwasher Dreams”: Comedian Alaudin Ullah takes a journey from colonial India in the 1930s to Spanish Harlem in the 1970s to present day Hollywood in a complex story of searching for the American Dream; directed by Chay Yew. Dec. 9-Jan. 22. Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor, Glencoe, $35-$90; writerstheatre.org
“Miracle on 34th Street”: Lance Arthur Smith’s musical adaptation of the classic holiday film. Dec. 10-19. BrightSide Theater at Meiley-Swallow Hall, North Central College, 31 S. Ellsworth, Naperville; brightsidetheater.com
“Christmas Karol: An Uptown Holiday Celebration of Diversity”: Jay Espano’s devised play about a jaded cafe owner and former social worker who faces the night she dreads the most: the annual Christmas carol concert at her cafe. Dec. 11-Jan. 2. The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway; pridearts.org
“Pretty Woman — The Musical”: The musical based on the popular movie features a score by Grammy-winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance and a book by the movie’s director Garry Marshall and screenwriter J.F. Lawton. Dec. 14-19. CIBC Theatre, 18 W. Monroe; broadwayinchicago.com
“Billy Elliot the Musical”: Elton John and Lee Hall’s Tony Award-winning musical about a young boy’s desire to express himself through dance; directed by Kyle A. Dougan. Dec. 23-Jan. 2. Music Theater Works at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, $20-$108; musictheaterworks.com
Compiled by Mary Houlihan