* Griffin Theatre Company's 25th anniversary celebration continues with "Plays on the Pavement," outdoor concert-style readings of plays and musicals through Sunday, Aug. 11, at the company's future home at 1940 W. Foster Ave., Chicago. Theater fans are invited to bring a picnic basket and a lawn chair to the parking lot of the future Griffin Arts Center. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and the schedule is as follows: the family-friendly musical "It's a Bird, It's a Plane ... It's Superman" on Friday, Aug. 2; Neil Simon's comedy "Barefoot in the Park," on Saturday, Aug. 3; Joe Orton's dark farce "Loot" on Sunday, Aug. 4; Agatha Christie's whodunit "And Then There Were None" on Friday, Aug. 9; George S. Kaufman's "You Can't Take it With You" on Saturday, Aug. 10; and Jez Butterworth's "Jerusalem" on Aug. 11. The suggested donation is $10; children admitted free. (773) 769-2228, ext. 1, or griffintheatre.com.
* Redmoon continues its free summer performance summer series from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at Meyering Park, 7140 S. Martin Luther King Drive, Chicago, and from 8:30 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, at 1130 Midway Plaisance, Chicago. The events feature emcee Lamar Jordan and performers DJ Such and Such, Jose Olivarez, Noname, Fatimah and the Bucket Boys along with Redmoon's latest invention, a 16-foot-tall mobile soapbox and speaker system complete with DJ booth, drum kit, slide and other elements. For more information, see redmoon.org. In other Redmoon news, the company has named former Steppenwolf Theatre artistic producer Rebecca Rugg as producer of its Great Chicago Fire Festival scheduled throughout summer 2014 and culminating in a finale spectacle at the Chicago River in October 2014. At Steppenwolf, Rugg oversaw Garage Theater programming and has experience in producing large-scale theatrical events.
* Redtwist theatre's off-night series More Red continues at 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, with the Chicago premiere of Julia Brownell's "All-American" about the daughter of an ex-NFL player who may be her team's next star quarterback. The show runs through Sept. 9 at 1044 W. Bryn Mawr, Chicago. (773) 728-7529 or redtwist.org.
* Steppenwolf Theatre artistic director Martha Lavey and cultural critic Laura Kipnis discuss Amy Herzog's drama "Belleville" at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 4, at 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago. The panelists will discuss issues of deceit and dependency that play out in Herzog's drama, which runs through Aug. 25. Admission to the discussion is free. Tickets are available at (312) 335-1650 or stepewolf.org. Use code 14128 for 2-for-1 tickets to either "Belleville's" matinee or evening performance on Aug. 4.
* Broadway in Chicago hosts a free concert at 6:15 p.m. Monday, Aug. 5, showcasing cast members from "Motown The Musical" and "Wicked" singing songs from shows like "Evita," "Million Dollar Quartet" and "Flashdance The Musical." The performance takes place at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago. The concert will also feature Illinois High School Musical Theater Award winners Taylor Marie Sherry of St. Charles and John Clay III of Oak Park. See broadwayinchicagocom.
* Performances begin Tuesday, Aug. 6, for the national tour of "Flashdance -- The Musical," the stage adaptation of the 1983 film about a young female welder who dreams of becoming a ballerina. The show runs through Sunday, Aug. 18, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.
* The 61st season of Theater on the Lake concludes Wednesday, Aug. 7, at Fullerton Avenue and Lake Michigan in Chicago with a remount of Chicago Physical Theater's "The Chi-Town Clown Revue featuring Honeybuns." Combining mime, improv and clowning, the show features Honeybuns, a gigantic creature billed as "the world's largest mime." Performances run through Sunday, Aug. 11. (312) 742- 7994 or chicagoparkdistrict.com.
* Natural Gas, The Gift Theatre's house improvisation team, celebrates its fifth anniversary with an array of guest improvisers at various dates throughout the month of August. They include: Susan Messing (Wednesday, Aug. 7); Jason Shots and Colleen Doyle (Friday, Aug. 9); Jack Bronis (Saturday, Aug. 10); TJ Jagodowski and David Pasquesi (Wednesday, Aug. 14); Norm Holly (Wednesday, Aug. 21) and Jack Bronis (Thursday, Aug. 29). Performances are at 8 p.m. at the Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Admission is $5; free for Gift subscribers. See thegifttheatre.org/natural-gas.
* Idle Muse Theatre Company opens its 8th season with Matthew Barber's "Enchanted April" about a pair of British housewives who rent a castle in Italy for a month in order to come to terms that their lives have not turned out the way they expected. Previews begin Thursday, Aug. 8, at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge Ave., Chicago. The show opens Saturday, Aug. 10. (773) 340-9438 or idlemuse.org.
* Previews begin Thursday, Aug. 8, for Hell in a Handbag Productions' remount of "The Birds," David Cerda and Pauline Pang's parody of Alfred Hitchcock's classic film. In this incarnation, audience members get a backstage look at the filming of the movie about a socialite played by Tippi Hedren, who pursues a handsome bachelor she meets at a pet store to a small town threatened by strange attacks by birds. The show opens Sunday, Aug. 11, at the Coach House at Berger Park, 6205 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago. (800) 838-3006 or handbagproductions.org.
* Red Theater Chicago will accept submissions for its second annual Red Playwriting Competition through Oct. 31. Winners will be announced on or before Jan. 31, 2014. Three runners up receive staged readings of excerpts of their plays, while the winning entry will receive a workshop and staged reading of the full play on March 9, 2014, at the Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The selection committee seek scripts that experiment with style and genre and push boundaries in movement and voice. See the requirements and guidelines at redtheater.org/scripts.
* The House Theatre of Chicago has extended its hit remount of "Death and Harry Houdini," which uses magic and original music to recall the highlights from the life of the famed magician. Performances continue through Sunday, Aug. 18, at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago. (773) 769-3832 or thehousetheatre.com.
* "The Pianist of Willesden Lane," the true story of Lisa Jura, a young Jewish pianist sent to London on the Kindertransport to protect her from Germany's Nazis, will close next month. Jura's daughter, pianist Mona Golabek, stars in the show adapted and directed by Hershey Felder based on the book "The Children of Willesden Lane." Performances continue through Sept. 1 at The Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St., Chicago. (312) 988-9000 or theroyalgeorgetheatre.com.
* Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company announced that producing director Carlo Lorenzo Garcia will step down following the company's 25th annual Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins Theatre Festival scheduled this month. During his five seasons, Garcia helped produce such acclaimed Mary-Arrchie productions as "Superior Donuts" and "The Glass Menagerie" both of which had successful remounts. Garcia will concentrate on acting and directing in Los Angeles, according to the theater.
* The American Theatre Critic's Association has named Chicago theater critic Jonathan Abarbanel as the association's chair at the conclusion of its annual convention held last month in West Virginia. The award-winning Abarbanel has spent 17 years contributing theater criticism to Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ). He co- hosts Dueling Critics with Kelly Kleiman, reviews theater for the Windy City Times and TheaterMania.com and serves as adjunct instructor in the School of Theatre and Music at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
-- Barbara Vitello
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