* Previews begin Friday, July 5, for Haven Theatre Chicago's inaugural production of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," the cult classic musical by John Cameron Mitchell (book) and Stephens Trask (music and lyrics). A combination rock concert and standup show, the musical is about an East German rock musician formerly known as Hansel, who is the victim of a botched sex-change operation. The show, directed by Kyle Trent, opens Monday, July 8, at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. (773) 975-8150 or or .
* The Annoyance Theatre sends up country music star Garth Brooks and the bizarre turn his career took in 1999 when he embraced an alternative rocker persona Chris Gaines in its new show "Chris Gaines in ... The Life of Garth Brooks." In this version, Chris Gaines is a huge rock star who ditches his old life to become country singer Garth Brooks. Previews begin Friday, July 5, at 4830 N. Broadway, Chicago. The show opens July 12. (773) 561-4665 or .
* Broken Nose Theatre concludes its first season with the Chicago- area premiere of "Rooms: a rock romance" by Paul Scott Goodman and Miriam Gordon that begins previews Saturday, July 6, at the Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The story begins in late-1970s Glasgow, where singer/songwriter Monica becomes creatively and romantically entangled with rocker Ian as they pursue punk-rock stardom. Artistic director Benjamin Brownson directs the show, which opens July 14. See .
* Pride Films and Plays premieres a new work by artistic associate Derek Van Barham titled "Kill Your Boyfriends" as part of National Pastime Theatre's Naked July Festival. The adults-only play centers on two couples, whose relationships are strained, trying to make it through one more night together. It opens Saturday, July 6, at 941 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago. (773) 327-7077 or .
* Jackalope Theatre Company and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events presents the world premiere of "The Casuals," an examination by Chance Bone and Andrew Swanson of a man forced to confront his past. Previews begin Sunday, July 7, at the Storefront Theater, 66 E. Randolph St., Chicago. Jonathan Berry directs the show, which opens Thursday, July 11. (773) 340-2543 or .
* Gorilla Tango Theatre's parody "A Nude Hope: A Star Wars Burlesque" celebrates its second anniversary on Tuesday, July 9, at 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. To that end, Gorilla Tango offers 20 percent discount on tickets to the show during July. Tickets must be redeemed in advance online at using the code: happybirthday2013. (773) 598-4549 or .
* Previews begin Thursday, July 11, for Theatre at the Center's production of William Fin and Rachel Sheinkin's "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," about a group of overachieving adolescents competing for top spelling honors. The show opens July 14 at 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Ind. (219) 836-3255 or .
* The Hypocrites remount their production of "Romeo Juliet," based on Shakespeare's tragedy, in Chicago parks. Performances are at 7 p.m. Wednesdays through July 21 at the Logan Square Night Market at Milwaukee and Kedzie avenues and 7 p.m. Thursdays at the Argyle Night Market at Argyle and Sheridan roads. The show runs at 1 and 4 p.m. Sunday, July 7, at the Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Ave., and at 5 p.m. Sunday, July 14, at Sherman Park, 1301 W. 52nd St., and July 21 at Margate Park, 4921 N. Marine Drive. See for more information.
* The League of Chicago Theatres' Storefront Playwright Project runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday through July 27 at Expo 72, 72 E. Randolph St., Chicago. Forty Chicago-area playwrights will work in four-hour blocks in public view as part of the event, which features playwrights Bilal Dardai, Jon Steinhagen, M.E.H. Lewis, Nambi E. Kelley, Philip Dawkins and Seth Bockley, among others. See for more information.
* The Royal George Cabaret Theatre has extended Theo Ubique's hit production of "Smokey Joe's Cafe -- The Songs of Lieber and Stoller." Performances of the Jeff Award-winning production continue through Aug. 4 at 1641 N. Halsted St., Chicago. (312) 988-9000 or .
-- Barbara Vitello
* "The Pianist of Willesden Lane," about Lisa Jura, a young Jewish pianist from Vienna, sent on the Kindertransport to London to protect her from the Nazis, has been extended. The play, which stars Jura's daughter Mona Golabek, continues through Aug. 4 at the Royal George Cabaret Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St., Chicago. (312) 988- 9000 or .
* Stage Left Theatre's 32nd season begins Aug. 31 with the world premiere of "Warped," Barbara Lhota's "Rashomon"-inspired drama about two Chicago police officers who offer a ride home to an inebriated young woman. She emerges from her home a few hours later, claiming they raped her. The next production in the company's recently announced 2013-2014 season is a revival of Peter Nichols' "A Day in the Death of Joe Egg" (Jan. 11-Feb. 16, 2014), about a couple whose relationship begins to buckle under the strain of raising their disabled daughter. Next up is a co-production with Theatre Seven of Chicago of the world premiere of Joe Zarrow's dark comedy "Principal Principle" (April 12-May 18, 2014), about a woman who quits her corporate job to teach English in a Chicago public high school. The season concludes next summer with Stage Left's annual new play festival LeapFest. Performances take place at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Season subscriptions are available for $55 and include admission to LeapFest. (773) 883-8830 or .
* Theatre Seven of Chicago has announced its 2013-2014 season, which begins in September with the world premiere of "Unwilling and Hostile Instruments: 100 Years of Extraordinary Chicago Women" comprised of short works about notable Chicago women in honor of the 100th anniversary of suffrage in Illinois. Performances take place at American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron St., Chicago. Next up is a co-production with Stage Left Theatre of the world premiere of Joe Zarrow's dark comedy "Principal Principle" (April 12-May 18, 2014, at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago), about a woman who quits her corporate job to teach English in a Chicago public high school. The season also includes Shikaakwa, Theatre Seven's monthly play reading series, which runs September 2013 to August 2014. See for more information.
* Chicago-area newcomer Step Up Productions announced its first full season, which begins Sept. 13 with Richard Roberts' "Benchmark" based on a true story about a homeless man who finds solace in literature and alcohol. It's followed by "HoliDAZE" (Nov. 29-Dec. 22) featuring one-act plays by Lisa Dillman, Nambi E. Kelley, Joshua Rollins and others about the chaos that accompanies the holidays. The season concludes March 7, 2014, with the Midwest premiere of "Darlin'" Joshua Rollins' drama about a woman who stops at a no- name motel and encounters an oddball group of regulars who wonder what she's running from. Performances take place at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. Single tickets will go on sale at a later date. See for more information.
-- Barbara Vitello
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