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Curtain Call: ‘Mahalia Jackson,’ ‘Can-Can’ and more previews, openings March 1-7

Robin DaSilva stars as the title character in “Mahalia Jackson — Moving Through the Light” at Black Ensemble Theater. | Alan Davis Photo

Robin DaSilva stars as the title character in “Mahalia Jackson — Moving Through the Light” at Black Ensemble Theater. | Alan Davis Photo

If you’re looking for live theater, Chicago-area stages have plenty to offer. Here’s a look at what’s coming up in the week ahead:

PICK OF THE WEEK:

“Mahalia Jackson – Moving Through the Light”: The legendary gospel singer Mahalia Jackson gets the Jackie Taylor musical bio treatment in this mash-up of her life and career premiering at Black Ensemble Theater. A pioneer along with Marion Williams and Sister Rosetta Tharpe in introducing a spirited style to gospel music, Jackson’s music would go on to inspire generations of singers. Taylor has an ear for casting excellent singers in her shows and this should be no exception. Expect to hear rousing versions of Jackson’s classics including “Precious Lord,” “How Great Thou Art,” “How I Got Over” and “I Believe” all brought to life by Robin DaSilva in the starring role. Previews begin March 2, opens March 10; to April 14. Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N. Clark, $55, $65; blackensemble.org

More previews and openings:

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: The Midwest premiere of the new ballet “Lazarus,” choreographed by Rennie Harris. Plus Jessica Lang’s “EN,” Wayne McGregor’s “Kairos” and the company classic “Revelations.” March 6-10. Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr., $34-$140; auditoriumtheatre.org.

“Ariodante”: Handel’s opera about a princess whose relationship with a nobleman is threatened by another who will stop at nothing to sabotage the royal wedding. Opens March 2; to March 17. Lyric Opera of Chicago, 20 N. Wacker, $39-$279; lyricopera.org

“Can-Can”: Staged concert performance of Cole Porter and Abe Burrows musical set in 1893 Paris where a cafe owner decides to stage the illicit dance. March 6-7. Porchlight Music Theatre at Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn, $37; porchlightmusictheatre.org

“Corduroy”: Barry Kornhauser’s stage adaptation of the popular children’s books by Don Freeman about a little bear looking for friendship; directed by Jamal Howard. Previews begin March 1, opens March 3; to April 20. Emerald City Theatre at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, $22-$29; emeraldcitytheatre.com

“Dutch Masters”: Greg Keller’s drama, set in 1992 New York City where two young men meet in a chance encounter on the D train; directed by Wardell Julius Clark. Opens March 5; to April 6. Jackalope Theatre at Broadway Armory Park, 5917 N. Broadway, $5-$30; jackalopetheatre.org

Hubbard Street Dance in "Cloudline" by Robyn Mineko Williams. | © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

Hubbard Street Dance in “Cloudline” by Robyn Mineko Williams. | © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Malpaso Dance Company. Hubbard Street Dance Chicago performs the world premiere of a new work by Cuba’s Malpaso Dance Company’s artistic director Osnel Delgado while Malpaso Dance premieres a new piece by Hubbard Street collaborator Robyn Mineko Williams. Plus performances of Delgado’s “Ocaso” and Williams’ “Cloudine.” March 2-3. Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr., $29-$140; hubbardstreetdance.com

“Little Shop of Horrors”: Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s musical about a flower shop assistant who stumbles across a new breed of carnivorous plant; directed by Walter Stearns. Previews begin March 1, opens March 10; to April 28. Mercury Theater Chicago, 3745 N. Southport, $35-$65; mercurytheaterchicago.com

Liam Carney and Philip Judge star in the Abbey Theatre’s Two Pints, written by Roddy Doyle and directed by Caitríona McLaughlin, presented in The Pub at Chicago Shakespeare, March 6–31, 2019. | Ros Kavanagh

Liam Carney and Philip Judge star in the Abbey Theatre’s “Two Pints,” written by Roddy Doyle and directed by Caitriona McLaughlin, presented in The Pub at Chicago Shakespeare, March 6–31, 2019. | Ros Kavanagh

“Two Pints”: The Pub at Chicago Shakespeare Theater transforms into an immersive performance venue for the Abbey Theatre’s staging of Roddy Doyle’s play in which two men share a pint and conversation. Preview March 6, opens March 7; to March 31. Chicago Shakespeare at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand, $45-$52; chicagoshakes.com

“We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915”: Jackie Sibblies Drury’s play about a group of actors who, when asked to give a presentation about a long-forgotten genocide, come face to face with their own fears and prejudices; co-directed by Hallie Gordon and Gabrielle Randle. Opens March 2; to March 16. Steppenwolf for Young Adults, Upstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted, $15-$20; steppenwolf.org

Mary Houlihan is a local freelance writer.