Dr. Gertrude Ladenburger (TimeLine Company Member Juliet Hart, left) assists Dr. Katherine Brandt (TimeLine Company Member Janet Ulrich Brooks, center) in researching the story behind composer Ludwig van Beethovenís work on the Diabelli Variations, with concert pianist George Lepauw (right) center stage and accompanying the action of the play, in the Chicago premiere of 33 VARIATIONS by MoisÈs Kaufman, directed by Nick Bowling, at TimeLine Theatre, August 30 ñ October 21, 2012. Photo by Lara Goetsch
ABSURD ROMP: SHAKESPEARE’S FEMALE WOMEN. Gorilla Tango presents a two-woman comedy show that delves into the feminine mystique of the Bard. Opens Sept. 8. Sat, 7:30 pm. $15. To Sept. 29. Gorilla Tango’s Skokie Theatre, 7924 Lincoln Ave., Skokie. (773) 598-4549; gorillatango.com.
THE BIG KNIFE. Raven Theatre opens its 30th season with Chifford Odets’ drama about a movie star’s crisis of conscience in Hollywood. Directed by Michael Menendian. Previews Sept. 11-16. Opens Sept. 17. Thu-Sat, 7:30 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $22-$45. To Nov. 11. Raven Theatre’s East Stage, 6157 N. Clark. (773) 338-2177; raventheatre.org.
BLAGOJEVICH, BLAGOJEVICH! Max Heckman and Bernhard Brost present the world premiere of Michael K. Feinstein’s comedy inspired by the true story of the former governor’s fall from grace. Directed by Clayton Fox. Previews . Opens date. Thu-Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 3, 8 pm; Sun, 3, 8 pm. $15-$29. To Sept. 22. Athenaeum Theatre Studio 2, 2936 N. Southport. (773) 935-6860; athenaeumtheatre.org.
DAY DRINKING & SLEEP EATING. Off Off Broadzway presents an all-girl parody burlesque show. Opens Sept. 7. Fri, 10:30 pm. $20. To Sept. 28. Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont. (773) 327-5252; stage773.com.
42nd STREET. Theatre at the Center presents the song and dance extravaganza. Directed by William Pullinsi. Previews Sept. 13-15. Opens Sept. 16. Wed-Thu, 2 pm; Fri-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 2:30 pm. $38-$42. To Oct. 21. Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Rd., Munster, Ind. (219) 836-3255; TheatreAtThe Center.com.
GOOD PEOPLE. Steppenwolf Theatre Company presents Pulitzer Prize winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire’s story of life in economically opposed Boston neighborhoods. Directed by K. Todd Freeman. Previews Sept. 13-22. Opens Sept. 23. Tue-Fri, 7:30 pm; Sat-Sun, 3, 7:30 pm. $20-$86. To Nov. 11. Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted. (312) 335-1650; steppenwolf.org.
GREASE. Paramount Theatre kicks off its second Blockbuster Musicals series with the classic 1950s story set on Chicago’s Northwest Side. Directed by Michael Unger. Previews Sept. 12-13. Opens Sept. 14. Wed, 1:30, 7:30 pm; Thu, 7:30 pm; Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 4, 8 pm; Sun, 1, 5 pm. $35-$47. To Oct. 7. Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. (630) 896-6666; paramountaurora.com.
HAMLET. Writers’ Theatre presents Shakespeare’s classic tragedy. Directed by Michael Halberstam. Previews Sept 7-12. Opens Sept. 13. Tue-Wed, 7:30 pm; Thu-Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 4, 8 pm; Sun, 2, 6 pm. $35-$70. To Nov. 11. Writers’ Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. (847) 242-6000; writerstheatre.org.
I LOVE LUCY LIVE ON STAGE. Broadway in Chicago presents a new musical based on the long-running TV show featuringing Lucy, Ricky, Red and Ethel. Directed by Rick Sparks. Opens Sept. 12. Wed, 2, 7:30 pm; Thu-Fri, 7:30 pm; Sat, 2, 8 pm; Sun, 2, 6 pm. $23-$65. To Nov. 11. Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut. broadwayinchicago.com; ilovelucylive.com.
IPHIGENIA 2.0. Next Theatre Company presents a modern update of Euripdes’ “Iphigenia at Aulis,” with pop-culture references and music illustrating the ways in which history continues to repeat itself. Directed by David Kersnar. Previews Sept. 7-9. Opens Sept. 11. Thu, 7:30 pm; Fri-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 2 pm. $25-$40. To Oct. 14. Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St., Evanston. (847) 475-1875; nexttheatre.org.
THE LADY WITH ALL THE ANSWERS. Buffalo Theatre Ensemble kicks off its 26th season with David Rambo’s one-woman show, drawn from the life and letters of Ann Landers. Directed by Connie Canaday Howard. Opens Sept. 7. Days, times. $25-$33. To Sept. 23. Building K Theatre, College of DuPage Campus, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. (773) 942-4000; AtTheMAC.org.
MALES ORDER BRIDES OR BIG HARRY DEALS SCANDALOUS SCHEME. Quest Theatre pits hero against villain in a melodrama where a shifty lawyer thinks he’s hatched the perfect scheme to make a quick buck. Directed by James T. Scott III. Opens Sept. 7. Fri-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 2 pm. Performance are free; donations appreciated. To Oct. 14. The Blue Theater, 1609 W. Gregory. (312) 458-0895; questensemble.org.
SEASCAPE. Remy Bumppo Theatre Company presents Edward Albee’s otherworldly marital drama. Directed by Nick Sandys. Previews Sept. 12-16. Opens Sept. 17. Wed-Sat, 7:30 pm; Sun, 2:30; occasional matinees. $32.50-$57.50. To Oct. 14. Greenhouse Theater Center, Upstairs Mainstage, 2257 N. Lincoln. (773) 404-7336; remybumppo.org.
SEXY BABY: THE LATE NIGHT BOYSTOWN EDITION. Hell in a Handbag Productions presents its comedy sendup of child beauty pageants — with drag queens. Opens Sept. 7. Fri-Sat, 11 pm. $15-$35. To Oct. 27. Theatre Wit, 1229 W. Bemont, Theater #1. (773) 975-8150; handbagproductions.org.
THE SKRIKER. Red Tape Theatre presents a fairy tale featuring an ancient shapeshifter hell-bent on destroying the lives of two young mothers. Directed by Eric Hoff. Previews Sept. 13-15. Opens Sept. 17. Thu-Sun, 8 pm. $15-$25. To Oct. 20. Red Tape Theatre, 621 W. Belmont. redtapetheatre.org.
THE WOMAN IN WHITE. Lifeline Theatre presents an adaptation of Wilkie Collins’ novel of love, loss, mystery and suspense. Directed by Elise Kauzlaric. Previews Sept. 7-16. Opens Sept. 17. Thu-Fri, 7:30 pm; Sat, 4, 8 pm; Sun, 4 pm. $20-$40. To Oct. 28. Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood. (773) 761-4477; lifelinetheatre.com.
WRENS. Rivendell Theatre Ensemble opens its 17th season with the remount of Anne McGravie’s semi-autobiographical examination of loyalty, morality and duty during World War II. Directed by Karen Kessler. Previews Sept. 7-8. Opens Sept. 10. Thu-Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 3, 8 pm; Sun, 6 pm. $30. To Oct. 13. Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N Ridge. (773) 334-7728; RivendellTheatre.org.
WRONG MOUNTAIN. Rare Terra Theatre presents a black comedy posing the question: What if you’ve spent you life climbing the wrong mountain? Directed by Ian Streicher. Previews Sept. 8-12. Opens Sept. 13. Thu-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 7 pm. $18-$28. To Oct. 7. The Second Stage, 3408 N. Sheffield. rareterratheatre.com.
XANADU. Drury Lane Theatre presents the Tony-nominated, roller-skating, musical comedy. Directed by Rachel Rockwell. Previews Sept. 7-12. Opens Sept. 13. Wed-Thu, 1:30 pm; Thu-Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 5, 8:30 pm; Sun, 2, 6 pm. $35-$45. To Oct. 28. Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace. (630) 530-0111; drurylaneoakbrook,com.
AFTER. Profiles Theatre presents Chad Beckim’s drama about a man struggling with the challenges of socialization after having spent his youth wrongfully imprisoned. Directed by Matt Hawkins. Thu-Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 5, 8 pm; Sun, 7 pm. $35-$40. To Oct. 14. The Alley Stage, 4147 N. Broadway. (73) 549-1815; profilestheatre.org.
THE BEST OF THE SECOND CITY. The Second City’s stars of tomorrow perform work originally written by past alumni, including Bill Murray, Tina Fey and Steve Carell. Sat, 4 pm; Mon, 8 pm. $19. Open run. The Second City e.t.c. Theatre, 1608 N. Wells. (312) 337-3992.
BLUE MAN GROUP. The show’s creators have cleverly updated the production with new wizardry while retaining its essential mind-set. Days and times vary. $49-$69. Open run. Briar Street Theatre, 3133 N. Halsted. (800) 982-2787. (Recommended, Hedy Weiss)
A CLASS ACT. Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago presents the “musical about musicals” based on the life of composer/lyricist Edward Kleban, one of the creators of “A Chorus Line.” Directed by Stacey Flaster. Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 4, 8 pm; Sun, 2 pm. $30-$39. To Oct. 7. Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. (773) 975-8150; porchlightmusictheatre.com.
DREAMGIRLS. Marriott Theatre presents the Tony Award winning musical-turned-hit film. Directed by. Wed, 1, 8 pm; Thu-Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 4:30, 8 pm; Sun, 1, 5 pm. $41-$49. To Nov. 4. Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Dr., Lincolnshire. (847) 634-0200. (Highly recommended, Weiss)
THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER. The Hypocrites presents this stage adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic tale. Directed by Sean Graney. Mon, Fri-Sat, 7:30 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $28. To Sept. 23. The Hypocrites at Chopin Theater, 1543 W. Division. (773) 989-7352; the-hypocrites.com. (Recommended, Weiss)
FREUD’S LAST SESSION. The Off-Broadway production’s Midwest premiere centers on a meeting between legendary psychoanalyst Dr. Sigmund Freud and rising academic of the time C.S. Lewis. Directed by Tyler Marchant. Wed, 2, 7:30 pm; Thu, 7:30 pm; Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 2, 8 pm; Sun, 1, 5 pm. $45-$55 (students $22 w/ID). To Nov. 11. Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport. (773) 325-1700; mercurytheaterchicago.com. (Highly recommended, Weiss)
THE GLASS MENAGERIE. Redtwist Theatre presents Tennessee Williams’ classic about a family’s struggle to survive. Directed by Josh Altman. Thu-Sat, 7:30 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $25-$30. To Sept. 16. Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr. (773) 728-7529; redtwist.org.
HOLY BOUNCING BOOBIES! A BATMAN BURLESQUE. Gorilla Tango presents a campy, sexy, silly parody. Directed by Juicy Lucy. Sat, 9 pm. $20. To Sept. 29. Gorilla Tango Theatre, 7924 Lincoln Ave., Skokie. (847) 677-7761; gorillatango.com.
IDOMENEUS. Sideshow Theatre Company kicks off its 2012-13 season with the American premiere of a mythological mash-up: Idomeneus, King of Crete, makes a promise to the gods and all hell breaks loose. Directed by Jonathan L. Green. Days, times. $15-$25. To Sept. 23. DCASE Storefront Theater, 66 E. Randolph. (800) 838-3006; sideshowtheatre.org.
ILLEGAL USE OF HANDS. American Blues Theater presents the small-town dark comedy about revenge, glory and being a man. Directed by Sandy Shinner. Thu-Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 5, 8 pm; Sun, 2:30 pm. $10-$39. To Sept. 30. Victory Gardens’ Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln. (773) 871-3000; americanbluestheater.com.
THE KISS KISS CABARET. Chicago’s late-night, weekly burlesque/comedy/variety show, with striptease, bawdy comedy, jugglers, musicians and magicians. Directed by Chris O. Biddle. Fri, 11 pm. $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Open run. Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln. (773) 404-7336; GreenhouseTheater.org.
LATE NITE CATECHISM. The Royal George Theatre presents Vicki Quade and Maripat Donovan’s comedy about a Catholic nun intent on teaching her own brand of catechism. Directed by Marc Silvia. Thu, Sat, 8 pm. $30. Open run. Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted. (312) 988-9000.
MEDIEVAL TIMES. The dinner and tournament production features its first completely new show since 2007, with more action, stunning horsemanship, good food and a simplified story line. Dates and times vary. $35.95-$59.95. Open run. Medieval Times, 2001 N. Roselle Rd., Schaumburg. (888) 935-6878; medievaltimes.com. (Recommended, Jennifer Burklow)
MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET. Dee Gee Theatricals presents a new musical inspired by a 1956 recording session that brought together four legends — Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley. Co-directed by Eric Schaeffer and Floyd Mutrux. Wed, 2, 7:30 pm; Thu, 7:30 pm; Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 5, 8 pm; Sun, 3:30, 6:30 pm. $25-$77.50. To Jan. 6. Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln. (773) 935-6100. (Recommended, Weiss)
ONCE UPON A ROM COM: THE BILL PULLMAN STORY. Gorilla Tango presents a comedy featuring fictional versions of real-life actors Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum. Directed by Neal Fischer. Wed, 7:30 pm. $15. To Oct. 31. Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milwaukee. (773) 598- 4549; gorillatango.com.
POOL (NO WATER). Vitalist Theatre presents the Midwest premiere of Mark Ravenhill’s drama centered around the art world, where the jealousies of fellow artists come into play as they all seek fame and fortune. Directed by Liz Carlin Metz. Thu-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $25. To Sept. 30. Downstairs Studio at Greenhouse Theatre, 2257 N. Lincoln. (773) 404-7336; greenhousetheater.org.
PRINCES OF WACO. Signal Ensemble Theatre presents the Chicago premiere of Robert Askins’ comic tale of violence and loyalty in deep Texas. Directed by Bries Vannon. Thu-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $10-$20. To Sept. 22. Signal Ensemble Theatre, 1802 Berenice. (773) 698-7389; signalensemble.com.
PUT THE NUNS IN CHARGE. Vicki Quade’s spinoff of the hit comedy “Late Nite Catechism.” Fri, 8 pm. $30. Open run. Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted. (312) 988-9000.
SAINTS & SINNERS. Vicki Quade’s Mother Superior is called by the archdiocese to help with fund-raising. Sat, 5 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $30. Open run. Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted. (312) 988-9000.
SIRENS. Fox Valley Repertory presents a “midlife comedy” involving mermaids and the stormy seas of marriage. Directed by John Gawlik. Fri-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 2 pm. $32-$52. To Oct. 7. Pheasant Run Resort Mainstage, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles. (630) 584-6342; foxvalleyrep.org.
SKIN TIGHT. Cor Theatre presents a love story, “fiercely physical” and “passionately intimate,” as a couple journeys through love, war, unfaithfulness, loss and forgiveness — all in one hour. (Show contains nudity, violence and sexual content.) Directed by Victoria Deiorio. Sun-Tue, 8 pm. $15. To Sept. 25. A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells. (312) 391-2536; cortheatre.org.
STEAMWERKZ THE MUSICAL. The Annoyance presents a new musical about a wide-eyed gay man who comes to Chicago looking for love and stumbles upon a popular bathhouse. Directed by Clay Goodpasture. Fri, 10 pm. $15-$20. To Oct. 5. The Annoyance, 4830 N. Broadway. (773) 561-4665; theannoyance.com.
SWEET AND SAD. Profiles Theatre opens it’s 24th season with the Midwest premiere of Richard Nelson’s drama, which explores the ever-changing state of the nation. Directed by Joe Jahraus. Thu-Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 5, 8 pm; Sun, 7 pm. $20-$40. To Oct. 7. Profiles Theatre, 4139 N. Broadway. (773) 549-1815; profilestheatre.org.
THAT WAS IT: THE TRAGIC TALE OF OUR KING MICHAEL JACKSON — A GRIEVOUS GREEK COMEDY. Gorilla Tango presents a parodied Greek retelling of the rise and fall of the King of Pop. Directed by Ali Keirn. Fri, 7:30 pm. $15. To Sept. 28. Gorilla Tango Theatre Bucktown, 1919 N. Milwaukee. (773) 598-4549; gorillatango.com.
33 VARIATIONS. Timeline Theatre Company opens it’s 2012-13 season with the story of a modern-day music scholar trying to solve the mystery of why Beethoven devoted four years of his life writing 33 variations of a mediocre waltz. Directed by Nick Bowling. Wed-Thu, 7:30 pm; Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 4, 8 pm; Sun, 2 pm. $22-$42. To Oct. 21. Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont. (773) 281-8463; timelinetheatre.com. (Highly recommended, Weiss)
TOO MUCH LIGHT MAKES THE BABY GO BLIND. The Neo-Futurists present 30 shows in 60 minutes, socially and politically based. Fri-Sat, 11:30 pm; Sun, 7 pm. $9 plus the roll of a six-sided die ($10-$15). Open run. Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland. (773) 275-5255.
WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE. The Second City’s 100th revue the good, the bad and the ridiculous that makes us uniquely American. Directed by Matt Hovde. Tue-Thu, 8 pm; Fri-Sat, 8, 11 pm; Sun, 7 pm. $23. Open run. The Second City, 1616 N. Wells. (312) 337-3992. (Recommended, Weiss)