Hallucinogenic Mushrooms and Frankenstein Take the Spotlight at These Must-See Theater Productions

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein/Photo by Liz Lauren/Courtesy of Lookingglass Theatre Company/Facebook

Topics of climate change, hallucinogenic mushrooms, and the American dream take the spotlight at some of Chicago’s most anticipated theater productions this season.

First Love Is the Revolution
Devon DeMayo directs this play about love between a fox and a human. How can you not want to see it?
Details: Through May 25 at Steep Theatre

Mignon McPherson Stewart directs this modern take on Othello by William Shakespeare. Yasmin Mikhaiel calls it “visceral” and “devastating,” and recently wrote that this production affirmed for her that Shakespeare is still relevant. I’m in!
Details: Through May 25 at Babes With Blades Theatre Company

Free Street Theater continues to impress me with its commitment to pay its artists as fairly as it can while making powerful, relevant art in a democratic way: through devising. It is messy and  time-consuming, and the results are magical because they derive from the actual lives of those who create it. Next up is Parched, devised by the youth ensemble. Directed by Katrina and Dion and assistant-directed by Will Pettiway, this show is bound to be smart, funny, and powerful. Do not miss this pay-what-you-can experience.
Details: May 3–26 at Free Street Theater

Photo courtesy of Free Street Theater

For immigrants, making home in a new country is always fraught. We are often haunted by our past and we are lucky if we can move on in spite of it, but that requires additional sacrifices that not every family unit can sustain. ETHIOPIANAMERICA is one family’s struggle to achieve the American dream despite their own haunted past and present obstacles. Definition Theatre pulls zero punches, so I expect this play to be searing, honest, and powerful.
Details: Through June 6 at Victory Gardens Theater

The Children
Mother’s Day and Earth Day collide in this family drama that asks us all: in the face of global climate crisis, what are we actually doing to stop it? I can’t wait to see the personal and political come head-to-head in a seaside cottage in the East of England.
Details: Through June 9 at Steppenwolf Theatre

The Children/Photo courtesy of Steppenwolf Theatre

The Mushroom Cure
Can hallucinogenic mushrooms cure obsessive-compulsive disorder? One vigilante pharmacologist asked this question and set out on a quest to find out the answer not only for science, but for his own benefit as someone with OCD. Don’t miss a chance to hear one man’s search for answers from an unconventional source.
Details: Through June 9 at the Greenhouse Theater Center

50 in 50
I am the Production Coordinator for this EPIC 50th anniversary celebration. In one day, Free Street Theater is doing a performance in every single ward of Chicago—that’s 50 performances in 50 wards. Watch the Free Street Theater space for details on where they will be performing in your ward. As ever, the performances will be FREE and family-friendly.
Details: June 23 at Free Street Theater

Killing Game
A town is beset by plague, and bodies are piling up all around. No one knows exactly what is going on, and the town is in a panic. Somehow Eugene Ionesco makes this subject matter funny, and that is why we continue to do his plays today. I’m so here for this Jeff Recommended show!
Details: Through June 23 at A Red Orchid Theatre

Too Heavy for Your Pocket
Set during the civil rights movement, this play tells the story of a young black man who has to make a choice between going to college or fighting racism as a freedom fighter. All too many black and brown folks are asked to make choices like this, and I am so curious to see what this character does! I’m also excited about this show because the dramaturgy was created by a total dream team: Regina Victor and their assistant, Yasmin Mikhaiel. Their collaboration promises that this production will prove a powerful experience before it even begins.
Details: Through June 29 at Timeline Theatre Company

Little Shop of Horrors
Never miss Little Shop of Horrors! This show can’t lose. No matter where it’s produced, or how, it wins. Just. So. Good.
Details: Through June 30 at Mercury Theater

If I Forget
When you have a political view that stands in opposition to the rest of your family, that’s awkward. When your political stance makes you a traitor to your religion and boycotted by students, well, that’s fodder for some good theatre at least. If I Forget is the story of a professor in this position. I cannot wait to see a well-written script brought to life by the courageous folks at Victory Gardens.
Details: June 7-July 7 at Victory Gardens Theater

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Lookingglass brings a little Halloween to our spring with their rendition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I am always here for this tale about humanity and monstrosity, giving and taking life, and the perils of seeking and finding connection, purpose, and identity. Don’t miss it!
Details: Through August at Lookingglass Theatre Company