Updated: September 13, 2012 9:49PM
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. 14-16. 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.
DEARLY DEPARTED. Circle Theatre presents a comedy that revolves aroudn a family as it comes together to plan a funeral. Directed by Kevin Wiczer. Previews Sept. 15, 18. Opens Sept. 19. Fri-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $24-$28. To Oct. 28. Circle Theatre, 1010 Madison St., Oak Park. (708) 660-9540; circle-theatre.org.
EQUIVOCATION. Victory Gardens opens its 2012-13 season with the story of a down-and-out playwright called Shagspeare in the year 1605. Directed by Sean Graney. Previews Sept. 14-23. Opens Sept. 24. Tue-Fri, 7:30 pm; Sat, 4 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $20-$50. To Oct. 14. Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln. (773) 871-3000; victorygardens.org.
FRESHLY FALLEN SNOW. Chicago Dramatists opens its 34th season with a story that explores the memories that shape us, the stories we tell the world, and the dark space that lies between the two. Directed by Meghan Beals McCarthy. Previews Sept. 20-27. Opens Sept. 28. Thu-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $15-$32. To Oct. 28. Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago. (312) 633-0630; chicagodramatists.org.
42nd STREET. Theatre at the Center presents the song and dance extravaganza. Directed by William Pullinsi. Previews Sept. 14-15. 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. 14-22. 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. 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.
LOVE AND DROWNING AT 16TH STREET. 16th Street Theater presents and ode to Chekhov, Beckett and Rod Serling with a story that explores the phenomenon of near-death experience and its impact on people’s lives. Directed by Ann Filmer. Previews Sept. 20-22. Opens Sept. 27. Thu-Fri, 7:30 pm; Sat, 5, 8:30 pm. $10-$18. To Oct. 27. 16th Street Theater, 6420 16th St., Berwyn. (708) 795-6704; 16thstreettheater.org.
SEASCAPE. Remy Bumppo Theatre Company presents Edward Albee’s otherworldly marital drama. Directed by Nick Sandys. Previews Sept. 14-16. 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.
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. 14-15. Opens Sept. 17. Thu-Sun, 8 pm. $15-$25. To Oct. 20. Red Tape Theatre, 621 W. Belmont. redtapetheatre.org.
US. UniverSoul Circus presents a global experience of circus arts, music, dance and style. Directed by. Previews . Opens Sept. 19. Tue-Fri, 10:30 am, 7:30 pm; Sat, noon, 4, 7:30 pm; Sun, 12:30, 3:30, 6:30 pm. $15-$31. To Oct. 21. Washington Park, 51st and Payne. (800) 745-3000; universoulcircus.com.
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. 14-16. 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.
WOODY SEZ — THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF WOODY GUTHRIE. Northlight Theatre presents a celebration of the musicality and social conscience of one of America’s greatest troubadours. Directed by Nick Corley. Previews Sept. 14-20. Opens Sept. 21. Tue, 7:30 pm; Wed, 1, 7:30 pm; Thu, 7:30 pm; Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 2:30, 8 pm; Sun, 2:30, 7 pm. $15-$72. To Oct. 21. Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. (847) 673-6300; northlight.org.
ABSURD ROMP: SHAKESPEARE’S FEMALE WOMEN. Gorilla Tango presents a two-woman comedy show that delves into the feminine mystique of the Bard. Sat, 7:30 pm. $15. To Sept. 29. Gorilla Tango’s Skokie Theatre, 7924 Lincoln Ave., Skokie. (773) 598-4549; gorillatango.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. (Highly recommended, Hedy Weiss)
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.
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. 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.
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, 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. (Highly recommended, Weiss)
DAY DRINKING & SLEEP EATING. Off Off Broadzway presents an all-girl parody burlesque show. Fri, 10:30 pm. $20. To Sept. 28. Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont. (773) 327-5252; stage773.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. Fri-Sat, 7:30 pm; closes Sun, 3 pm. $25-$30. Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr. (773) 728-7529; redtwist.org.
HAMLET. Writers’ Theatre presents Shakespeare’s classic tragedy. Directed by Michael Halberstam. 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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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. 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 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.
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. $25-$33. To Sept. 23. Building K Theatre, College of DuPage Campus, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. (773) 942-4000; AtTheMAC.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.
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. 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.
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.
SEXY BABY: THE LATE NIGHT BOYSTOWN EDITION. Hell in a Handbag Productions presents its comedy sendup of child beauty pageants — with drag queens. Fri-Sat, 11 pm. $15-$35. To Oct. 27. Theatre Wit, 1229 W. Bemont, Theater #1. (773) 975-8150; handbagproductions.org.
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. (73) 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)
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. 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. (Highly recommended, Weiss)
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. 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. 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.