News Column

* The based-on real life play "Circus Circus," about a young man arrested on cha

June 7, 2013


* The based-on real life play "Circus Circus," about a young man arrested on charges of marijuana and sent to a state penitentiary along with violent offenders who have sentences shorter than his, opens Friday, June 7, at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Members of Inappropriate Theater Company co-star in the play written by Eric Welch and Brian Walker. See circus.circustheplay or

* Chicago's League of Lady Arm Wrestlers (CLLAW) hosts CLLAW XVI, a benefit for the Sideshow Theatre and for Community Counseling Centers of Chicago beginning at 10 p.m. Friday, June 7, at the Logan Square Auditorium, 2639 N. Kedzie Ave., Chicago. See

* Munster, Indiana native Kevin Burke stars in Theatre at the Center's production of "Defending the Caveman," a one-man show about the relationship between men and women. It runs Friday, June 7, to Sunday, June 9, at 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Ind. See theatreat

* James Harms (of Goodman's "The Happiest Song Plays Last" and "The Iceman Cometh") plays Sir Joseph Porter in the Gilbert and Sullivan romp, "H.M.S. Pinafore" opening Saturday, June 8, at Light Opera Works. Dane Thomas and Sarah Kelly play the young lovers Ralph and Josephine and LOW music director Roger L. Bingaman conducts a 26- piece orchestra in this all-new production directed and choreographed by Rudy Hogenmiller. Performances continue through Sunday, June 16, at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., Evanston. (847) 920-5360 or

* The Waltzing Mechanics premiere "Kates Dates," a docudrama/ comedy penned by J.D. Ostergaard, inspired by a blog written by Kate Loftus, in which she chronicles her various unfortunate dates. The show opens Sunday June 9, at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 404-7336 or

* Previews begin Tuesday, June 11, for Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company's production of Austin Pendleton's "Uncle Bob," which opens Thursday, June 13 (the company's 27th anniversary), at Angel Island, 735 W. Sheridan Road, Chicago. The play centers on a young man paying a not exactly welcome visit to his uncle who has been diagnosed with AIDS. Cody Estle directs Mary-Arrchie co-founder and recent recipient of the Jeff Award Lifetime Achievement Award winner Richard Cotovsky (Uncle Bob) and Rudy Galvan as his nephew. See

* The Broadway revival tour of "West Side Story," the iconic Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim musical, returns to Chicago for a brief run. Performances begin Tuesday, June 11, at the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., Chicago. (800) 775-2000 or

* The 5th annual Just for Laughs comedy festival returns Tuesday, June 11, and continues for six days at 15 Chicago venues including The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St.; The Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield Ave. and The Park West, 322 W. Armitage Ave. Among the comedians scheduled to perform are Bob Newhart, Bill Maher, Seth Meyers, Al Madrigal of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and stars from the TBS series "Sullivan & Son" Steve Byrne, Owen Benjamin, Roy Wood Jr. and Ahmed Ahmed. See for schedule and ticket information.

* The 61st season of Theater on the Lake begin Wednesday, June 12, at Fullerton Avenue and Lake Michigan, in Chicago. First up in this showcase of 2012 Chicago storefront theater offerings is The New Colony's "The Bear Suit of Happiness," Evan Linder's drama set during WW II, about a young gay American soldier, who entertains his colleagues stationed at a remote Pacific island with an original show. Performances run through Sunday, June 16. (312) 742-7994 or

* Despite a devoted husband and a supportive mother, new mom Mari can't help feeling something is strange about her newborn daughter in "Mine," a contemporary thriller by Laura Marks in its Chicago area premiere at The Gift Theatre. Previews begin Thursday, June 13, at 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The production, directed by Libertyville native Marti Lyons ("Maria'Stuart"), opens Monday, June 17. (773) 283-7071 or

* Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago, has extended its production of the Neil Simon coming-of-age comedy "Brighton Beach Memoirs" Performances continue through Saturday, June 29. (773) 338- 2177 or

* "The Pianist of Willesden Lane," about Lisa Jura, a young Jewish pianist front Vienna sent to London on the kindertransport during the rise of the Nazi regime, has been extended. Concert pianist Mona Golabek, stars in the true story about her mother, which continues through July 7, at the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St., Chicago. (312) 988-9000 or

* Chicago Shakespeare Theater has extended "Othello: the Remix," The Q Brothers' 90-minute hip-hop adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy. Performances continue through July 27, at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. (312) 595-5600 or

* Saint Sebastian Players announced its 33rd season, which opens Oct. 18 with a production of Stephen Schwartz's "Godspell," based on St. Matthew's Gospel and first staged at St. Sebastian in 1981. Heinar Kipphardt's courtroom drama "In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer" (Feb. 14-March 9, 2014), examining national defense and loyalty to one's country. The company's 2013-2014 season concludes with Death Defying Acts (April 25-March 18, 2014.) The comedy triple bill consists of David Mamet's "An Interview," in which a lawyer is forced to answer questions about his life and career; Elaine May's "Hotline" about a neurotic woman who calls a suicide crisis line and Woody Allen's "Central Park West" in which a psychiatrist gets drunk before confronting her friend who's having an affair with her husband. Performances take place at St. Bonaventure, 1625 W. Diversey, Chicago. Season subscriptions are available by phone (773) 404-7922 or online at

* Red Theater Chicago announced new company members. They include managing director Janette Bauer, executive producer Brindin Sawyer, development director Katie Frient, and technical director Timothy R. Lane. In addition, actress Meredith Ernst has joined the ensemble, which includes artistic director Aaron Sawyer and actor/playwright Gage Wallace.

* Sam Bailey, Monica Brown, Lea Karpel. Laura Lapidus and Jake Szczepaniak have been named new Pavement Group artistic associates.

-- Barbara Vitello

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