A new season means a fresh batch of exciting, innovating, and probing theater productions in Chicago. Coming up these next few weeks and months, theater companies put the spotlight on queer Asian-American storytelling, a novel take on Little Women, the afterlife, and much more.
Haven Theatre artistic director Ian Diamont Martin helms this production of what is known as one of Shakespeare’s bloodiest plays. Centering the narrative around marginalized communities, Martin asks: Is revenge ever justifiable? What if there is no justice?
Details: Through March 14 at Haven Theatre
People have been losing their minds over this show, and I can’t wait to catch it! Set in Cleveland, this play tells the story of two police officers trying to be “the good guys” in a corrupt system. Amina and Ryan are in love and yet destined to be at odds when Amina must make a decision between truth and love. If election season hasn’t annihilated your heart yet, this play might do the job. Enjoy!
Details: Through March 15 at Shattered Globe Theatre
Queer Asian American/Asian Diaspora Storytelling
Our stories matter, especially during times of rising fascism and fear amid the horrors of climate change and pandemic-induced xenophobia. I want to see the latest event by Ada Cheng packed with people ready to listen, hear, and see queer Asians breaking dangerous stereotypes with each and every personal truth they reveal. Show up for Cheng and her beautifully curated crew of courageous storytellers and change-makers.
Details: March 18, 7:30–9 p.m., at National Cambodian Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial
First Floor Theater Presents: Plano
Three neurotic sisters have three different ailments, and you’ll find out the specifics of just two. The third woman doesn’t want to share, but she does want you to eat her homemade hummus. This sounds terrifying, right? Time Out New York called it “experimental theater perfection.” Yeah, it’s gonna freak you out. I’m in.
Details: Through March 28 at First Floor Theater and Steppenwolf Theatre
Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women
Little Women is a novel beloved across the globe. Come see the story you think you know through the eyes of adapter Heather Chrisler and director Tara Branham. I get to serve as dramaturge for this show, which I know will make its audiences smile at a time when smiles come at a premium.
Details: March 28–April 26 at First Folio Theatre
Adapted by Lifeline’s artistic director, Ilesa Duncan, and David Barr III, this play is a long time coming. Rutherford Calhoun hops on an Africa-bound ship in an effort to avoid debt. Much to his chagrin, he learns that he has unwittingly boarded a slave ship. Based on the novel by Charles Johnson, this play makes us challenge our notions of freedom and choice within capitalism. Don’t miss it!
Details: Through April 5 at Lifeline Theatre
Kill Move Paradise
Four men. One afterlife waiting room. Ninety minutes to see if these souls find peace. Critics are calling this a piece of art that can only be seen as live theater, and that is something hard to come by. The playwright, James Ijames, describes his play as “an expressionistic buzz saw through the contemporary myth that ‘all lives matter.’”
Details: Through April 5 at Timeline Theatre Company
Richard is determined to become class president in spite of the fact that folks tease him for living with cerebral palsy. What will he do to silence his naysayers? What will he risk for the power he seeks? I already give his character major kudos for trying to fight back against the hateration of high schoolers. I’m so ready to go and cheer this guy on. Join me?
Details: Through April 19 at Theater Wit
Free Street Theater’s youth ensemble returns with an examination of trash in Chicago. Directed by Katrina Dion, this play asks: Who and what is disposable, and why? I got a sneak peek at this show, and I legit laughed, cried, and left feeling so much hope, because the future is in the hands of the young people who made this production. Don’t miss it, and as always, Free Street will be offering free and pay-what-you-can tickets throughout the entire run.
Details: May 1–16 at Free Street Theater
Diary of an Erotic Life
Come see a radical retelling of Frank Wedekind’s Lulu plays and just leave your copies of the originals at home. Diary of an Erotic Life follows Ecuador-born Lulu as she tries to navigate life and love after college in Lincoln Park. I have the honor of serving as dramaturge for this devised adaptation, and I can’t wait to share it with everyone.
Details: May 1–June 8 at Prop Thtr
There is nothing more theatrical than improv, in my humble opinion. The stakes are set and very high: Will these people pull off a coherent story or joke? Will they become the joke? How will they turn my suggestions as an audience member into something? Anything? And hey, if they can get up there and use my suggestions to make something funny, does that mean that I could do this, too? No evening is the same as any other. You never know what you’re going to get.
Details: Open run at Stage 773
The Infinite Wrench
The Infinite Wrench boasts two new plays every week, 50 weekends of the year, and they are good! If you love theater and want a break from the family living room drama, check out this series.
Details: Open run at the Neo-Futurists