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Curtain Call: ‘Ada and the Engine’ and more theater openings, previews June 14-20

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

Brookelyn Hebert stars as Ada Lovelace in “Ada and the Engine” at The Artistic Home.
Steven Townshend

Looking to take in some live theater in Chicago? Here are some highlights for the week ahead


“Ada and the Engine”: Playwright Lauren Gunderson delves into the interesting life of Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), the only legitimate daughter of the poet Lord Byron, in this math-and-music fueled historical drama. At a young age, Lovelace was encouraged to continue her studies in mathematics and logic. Today she is known for seeing the potential in her friend Charles Babbage’s mechanical machine, the Analytical Engine (the first computer), and publishing the first algorithm intended for the machine. The cast features Brookelyn Hebert as Lovelace and John Mossman as Babbage; Monica Payne directs. Previews begin June 19, opens June 23; to Aug. 4. The Artistic Home, 1376 W. Grand, $34;

More previews and openings:

“Back in the Day”: Miranda Gonzalez adapts Jose “Gringo” Echevarria’s memoir “The Real Dance Fever: Book One” about the glory days of house music in the ’80s when black and Latino dance crews set Jenal’s and Medusa’s on fire with their dance moves; co-directed by Gonzalez and Raquel Torre. Previews begin June 19, opens June 22; to Aug. 3. Urban Theater Company at Chopin Theater, 1543 W. Division, $35;

“Cats”: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s award-winning musical, based on T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” is the story of one magical night when a tribe of cats gathers for its annual ball to decide which cat will be reborn. Previews begin July 16, opens July 17; to Aug. 4. Nederlander Theatre, 24 W. Randolph, $30-$95;

Ensemble Espanol: A tribute to the late Dame Libby Komaiko features more than 40 dancers and musicians performing a dozen works. June 14-16. North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, $20-$50;

“Get Happy — Angela Ingersoll Sings Judy Garland”: Ingersoll channels the legendary actress-singer via music, storytelling and humor. Opens June 20, to June 30. Mercury Theater/Venus Cabaret Theater, 3745 N. Southport, $65;

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”: John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’s rock ’n’ roll musical; directed by Toma Tavares Langston. Previews begin June 14, opens June 17; to July 28. Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, 721 Howard, Evanston, $39-$54;

“Mad About the Boy”: Vocalist Robert Rodi looks back on legendary career and music of British icon Noel Coward. June 16. Pride Arts Center, The Broadway, 4139 N. Broadway, $22;

Natya Dance Theater: Performing “The Interior Geometry,” an exploration of the complex human emotions in this work of Bharatanatyam, a dance form of South India. June 14-16. Links Hall, 3111 N. Western, $10-$40;

“Something Clean”: Selina Fillinger’s drama about a woman who struggles to make sense of her life after her son is imprisoned for sexual assault; directed by Lauren Shouse. Previews begin June 16, opens June 20; to July 21. Rivendell Theatre and Sideshow Theatre at Victory Gardens, 2257 N. Lincoln, $20-$30;

10-Minute Play Festival: Performances of Melinda “MJ” Deamon’s “In the Kitchen,” Julian Colletta’s “nORml,” Lisa Dellagiarino Feriend’s “The Ballad of Leslie,” Ross Compton’s “Coffee in Limbo,” Leigh Johnson’s “Bughouse Square,” Ryan King’s “Masterpiece Theater” and Michael Rossi’s “A Frog in the Vault.” June 20-30. Saint Sebastian Players at St. Bonaventure, 1625 W. Diversey, $20;

Mary Houlihan is a local freelance writer.