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The Guide — Theater Listings 10.05.12

Next Theatre Company’s producti“Iphigeni2.0” starring Luce Metrius (from left) Ricardo Gutierrez RebeccBuller continues through Oct. 14 Noyes Cultural Center Evanston.

Next Theatre Company’s production of “Iphigenia 2.0,” starring Luce Metrius (from left), Ricardo Gutierrez and Rebecca Buller, continues through Oct. 14 a the Noyes Cultural Center in Evanston. For show times and tickets, call (847) 475-1875; nexttheatre.

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OPENING

THE ARSONISTS. Trap Door Theatre presents a sociological study of a society that refuses to question overt exploitation. Directed by Victor Quezada-Perez. Opens Oct. 11. Thu-Sat, 8 pm. $20-$25. To Nov. 17. Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland. (73) 384-0494; trapdoortheatre.com.

ASSASSINS. Billy Pacholski presents Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway hit chronicling the narratives of the assassinations and attempted assassinations of U.S. presidents. Directed by Billy Pacholski. Previews Oct. 10-11. Opens Oct. 12. Fri-Sat, 7:30 pm; Sun, 7 pm. $30-$45. To Nov. 10. Viaduct Theatre, 3111 N. Western. (312) 212-3470; Assassins-Chicago.com.

BLACK WATCH. Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents National Theatre of Scotland’s production based on playwright Gregory Burke’s interviews with former soldiers who served in Iraq. Directed by John Tiffany. Opens Oct. 10. Tue-Wed, 8 pm; Thu, 7:30 pm; Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 3, 8 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $38-$52. To Oct. 21. Broadway Armory, 5917 N. Broadway. (312) 595-5600; chicagoshakes.com.

BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON. Bailiwick Chicago Theater launches its 2012-13 season with a rock musical that follows the story of America’s first political maverick. Directed by Scott Ferguson. Previews Oct. 5-6. Opens Oct. 11. Thu-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 6 pm. $15-$30. To Nov. 10. National pastime Theater, 941 W. Lawrence, 4th Floor. bailiwickchicago.com.

BROKEN GLASS. Redtwist Theatre presents Arthur Miller’s story of how an identity crisis, a mysterious illness and ominous world events haunt a Brooklyn couple at a personal crossroads. Directed by Michael Colucci and Jan Ellen Graves. Previews Oct. 10-12. Opens Oct. 14. Thu-Sat, 7:30 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $25-$30. To Nov. 18. Redtwist Theatre, 1044 Bryn Mawr. (773) 728-7529 redtwist.org.

THE CATHOLIC REPERTORY: DOUBT AND AGNES OF GOD. American Theater Company pairs two Pulitzer Prize-winning dramas that test the power of faith. Directed by PJ Paparelli. Opens Oct. 5. Thu-Fri, 7:30 pm; Sat, 2, 7:30 pm; Sun, 2 pm. $33-$43. To Nov. 4. American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron. (773) 409-4125; atcweb.org.

CHICAGO’S WEIRD, GRANDMA. Barrel of Monkeys kicks off its 15th season with an all new version of it’s popular show, “That’s Weird, Grandma,” featuring company members from Chicago’s top theaters using dance, puppetry, clowning, etc., to bring to life the creative writing of CPS grade-school students. Directed by Molly Brennan. Opens Oct. 8. Mon, 8 pm. $6-$12. To Dec. 17. Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland. (312) 409-1954; barrelofmonkeysorg.

CLEAR: A NEW MUSICAL EXPERIENCE. About Face Theatre presents a “neo-soul musical” concert by Paul Oakley Stovall and Stew. Directed by Krissy Vanderwarker. Opens Oct. 11. Thu-Sat, 7 pm. Free. To Oct. 13. Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. (773) 784-8565; aboutfacetheatre.com.

44 PLAYS FOR 44 PRESIDENTS. The Chicago Neo-Futurists present a chronological, biographical survey of the lives and presidencies of each of the 44 presidents. Directed by Halena Kays. Previews Oct. 5. Opens Oct. 6. Thu-Sat, 7:30 pm. $10-$20. To Nov 10. The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland. (773) 275-5255; neofuturists.org.

HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON. Chicago Children’s Theatre opens the first season in its new home with a musical based on the beloved children’s book. Directed by Sean Graney. Preview Oct. 11. Opens Oct. 12. Tue, 10 am; Wed, 10 am, noon; Thu-Fri, 10 am, 6:30 pm; Sat, 11 am, 6 pm; Sun, 11 am. $20-$36. To Nov. 4. Ruth Page Center For the Arts, 1016 N. Dearbotn. (872) 222-9555; chicagochildrenstheatre.org.

KITTY MASSACRE: THE MAKING OF MILO AND OTIS. The Annoyance presents a tale of romance, torture and greed, “exposing the dark reality of a childhood classic.” Directed by Jeremy Dionisio. Preview Oct. 6. Opens Oct. 13. Sat, 8 pm. $15-$20. To Dec. 1. The Annoyance, 4830 N. Broadway. (773) 561-4665; theannoyance.com.

THE LIFE OF DEATH. Wildclaw Theatre presents the world premiere stage adaptation of Clive Barker’s story of a woman’s fascination with death during Christmastime in London as a serial killer terrorizes the British capital. Directed by Carolyn Klein. Opens Oct. 5. Thu-Sat, 7:30 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $15-$25. To Nov. 4. Storefront Theatre, 66 E. Randolph. Wildclawtheatre.com.

THE MISTAKES MADELINE MADE. LiveWire Chicago Theatre kicks off its 2012-13 season with the story of a young woman who develops “ablutophobia” — the fear of bathing. Directed by Krista D’Agostino. Opens Oct. 5. Thu-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $10-$20. To Nov. 3. Greenhouse Theater Center Upstairs Studio, 2257 N. Lincoln; greenhousetheater.com.

NEIGHBORHOOD 3: REQUISITION OF DOOM. Strawdog Theatre presents a tale of teen addiction to video games that upsets a nameless American town. Directed by Joanie Schultz. Preview Oct. 5. Opens Oct. 7. Thu-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 4 pm. $28. To Nov. 10. Strawdog Theatre, Hugen Hall, 3829 N. Broadway. (866) 811-4111; strawdog.org.

ONE NAME ONLY. Black Ensemble Theater presents a world premiere featuring the hits of Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan and a tribute to Whitney Houston. Directed by Reuben Echoles. Previews Oct. 5-6. Opens Oct. 7. Wed-Thu, 7:30 pm; Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 3, 8 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $55-$65. To Nov. 11. Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 4450 N. Clark. (773) 769-4451; BlackEnsembleTheater.org.

OPERETTA’S GREATEST HITS. Light Opera Works presents a concert of operetta’s greatest hits performed by favorite stars of Light Opera Works. Directed by Rudy Hogenmiller. Opens Oct. 5. Wed, 2 pm; Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 2, 8 pm; Sun, 2 pm. $30-$60. To Oct. 14. Nichols Concert Hall at Music Institute of Chicago, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston. (847) 920-5360; LightOperaWorks.com.

PLANET KARATE: RISE OF THE ROBOTIC DYNASTY. The Annoyance presents the sequel to last year’s “Planet Karate,” which takes place on a post-apocalypic Earth where Karate is law. Directed by David Rocco Facchini and Ryan McDermott. Opens Oct. 5. Fri, 8 pm. $10-$15. To Nov. 23. The Annoyance, 4830 N. Broadway. (773) 561-4665; theannoyance.com.

RUBY WILDER. Tympanic Theatre presents the story of a kidnap victim who ventures into the dark recesses of her mind to confront her tormentor. Directed by James D. Palmer. Opens Oct. 5. Thu-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 7 pm. $15. To Oct. 28. Teatro Luna’s Cabaret Studio, 3914 N. Clark. (773) 442-2882; tympanictheatre.org.

SCARRIE THE MUSICAL. Hell in a Handbag celebrates 10 years of “appalling and distasteful theater” with the unauthorized parody of both the Stephen King book and the Brian DePalma film. Directed by Cheryl Snodgrass. Preview Oct. 5. Opens Oct. 6. Thu-Sat, 7:30 pm. $15-$25. To Nov. 10. Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark. (800) 838-3006; handbagproductions.org.

SPLATTER THEATER. The Annoyance preents it’s classic Halloween show, a parody of “Friday the 13th” type movies. Directed by Charley Carroll. Opens Oct. 6. Sat, 10:01 pm. $34-$39. To Nov. 11. The Annoyance, 4830 N. Broadway. (773) 561-4665; theannoyance.com.

ZOMBIE GENIUS. The Annoyance presents a world where humans and zombies co-exist, but zombies are treated like second-class citizens. Albert, a zombie, falls in love with a human girl during his quest to win civil rights for zombies. Directed by Ryan McDermott. Opens Oct. 10. Wed, 10 pm. $8-$10. To Oct. 31. The Annoyance, 4830 N. Broadway. (773) 561-4665; theannoyance.com.

ONGOING

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.

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. 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. (Recommended, Weiss)

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; closes Sun, 2 pm. $30-$39. Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. (773) 975-8150; porchlightmusictheatre.com. (Highly recommended, Weiss)

DEARLY DEPARTED. Circle Theatre presents a comedy that revolves aroudn a family as it comes together to plan a funeral. Directed by Kevin Wiczer. 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.

DIRTY. The Gift Theatre presents a modern-day satire of Wall Street greed, philanthropy and family values. Directed by Jonathan Berry. Thu-Sat, 7:30 pm; Sun, 2:30 pm. $25-$30. To Nov. 18. The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee. (773) 283-7071; thegifttheatre.org. (Highly recommended, Weiss)

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)

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. 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. (Highly recommended, Weiss)

FELLOWSHIP OF THE BOOBS. Gorilla Tango presents a “LOTR, D&D, WoW, RPG Burlesque Adventure.” Directed by MsPixy. Sat, 10:30 pm. $20. To Oct. 27. Gorilla Tango Theatre Bucktown, 1919 N. Milwaukee. (773) 598-4549; gorillatango.com.

42nd STREET. Theatre at the Center presents the song and dance extravaganza. Directed by William Pullinsi. 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. (Highly recommended, Betty Mohr)

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. Thu-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $15-$32. To Oct. 28. Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago. (312) 633-0630; chicagodramatists.org.

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)

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. 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. Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 4, 8 pm; closes Sun, 1, 5 pm. $35-$47. Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. (630) 896-6666; paramountaurora.com. (Highly recommended, Andre Salles)

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. 25. Writers’ Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. (847) 242-6000; writerstheatre.org. (Highly recommended, Weiss)

HOODOO LOVE. The Collective Theatre presents a tale of love, magic, jealousy and secrets, where a woman escapes from the Mississippi cotton fields to pursue her dream of singing the blues in Memphis. Directed by Nelsan Ellis. Thu-Fri, 7:30 pm; Sat, 2:30, 7:30 pm, Sun, 2:30 pm. $20-$32. To Oct. 21. Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. (773) 935-6875; athenaeumtheatre.org. (Somewhat recommended, Weiss)

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. (Recommended, Weiss)

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. (Somewhat recommended, Weiss)

JITNEY. Court Theatre presents August Wilson’s 1970s installment of his decade-by-decade cycle of plays about the African-American experience in the 20th century. Directed by Ron OJ Parson. Wed-Thu, 7:30 pm; Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 3, 8 pm; Sun, 2:30, 7:30 pm. $45-$65. To Oct. 14. Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis. (773) 753-4472; courttheatre.org. (Highly recommended, Weiss)

KINKY BOOTS. Broadway in Chicago presents Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper’s musical tale of the power of acceptance told amid the backdrop of a failing shoe factory. Directed by Jerry Mitchell. Tue, 7:30 pm; Wed, 2, 7:30 pm; Thu-Fri, 7:30 pm; Sat, 2, 8 pm; Sun, 2, 7:30 pm. $33-$100. To Nov. 4. Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe. (800) 775-2000; BroadwayInChicago.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.

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. 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.

THE MADNESS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. First Folio Theatre presents a tale of life, death, love and heartbreak, based on the writings of the famed author. Directed by Michael Goldberg. Wed-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 3, 7:30 pm. $26-$37. To Nov. 4. Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st Street and Route 83, Oak Brook. (630) 986-8067; firstfolio.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)

MUSICAL OF THE LIVING DEAD. The Cowardly Scarecrow Theatre Company presents an original musical comedy satirizing popular zombie and horror films. Directed by Marc Lewallen and Brad Younts. Thu-Sat, 7:30 pm. $24. To Nov 17. The Charnel House, 3421 W. Fullerton. musicalofthelivingdead.com.

MY FIRST TIME. Broken Nose Theatre welcomes the return of the Off-Broadway hit that features four actors in hysterical and heartbreaking stories about first sexual experiences written by real people. Directed by Benjamin Brownson. Fri, 11 pm. $15-$30. To Oct. 26. Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln. (773) 404-7336; greenhousetheater.org.

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.

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; closes Sun, 2 pm. $32-$52. Pheasant Run Resort Mainstage, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles. (630) 584-6342; foxvalleyrep.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. Thu-Sun, 8 pm. $15-$25. To Oct. 20. Red Tape Theatre, 621 W. Belmont. redtapetheatre.org. (Not recommended, Catey Sullivan)

SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE: THE SONGS OF LEIBER AND STOLLER. Theo Ubique presents a musical revue showcasing 39 pop standards. Directed by Brenda Didier. Thu, 7:30 pm; Fri-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 7 pm. $34-$39. To Nov. 11. Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, 6970 N. Glenwood. (800) 595-4849; theo-u.com. (Highly recommended, Weiss)

THE STRANGE UNDOING OF PRUDENCIA HART. Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents the National Theatre of Scotland’s Faustian tale described as “a riotous romp of rhyming couplets, devilish encounters and wild karaoke.” Directed by Wils Wilson. Tue-Fri, 7:30 pm; Sat, 3, 7:30 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $45-$60. To Oct. 14. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand. (312) 595-5600; chicagoshakes.com. (Highly recommended, Weiss)

SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE. Chicago Shakespeare Theater opens its 26th season with the award-winning musical inspired by George Seurat’s most famous work, “A Sunday on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1884.” Directed by Gary Griffin. Tue, 7:30 pm; Wed, 1, 7:30 pm; Thu-Fri, 7:30 pm; Sat, 3, 8 pm; Sun, 2 pm. $48-$78. To Nov. 4. CST’s Courtyard Theater, 800 E. Grand. (312) 595-5678; chicagoshakes.com.

SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH. The Goodman presents Diane Lane and Finn Wittrock in Tennessee Williams’ classic American drama. Directed by David Cromer. Wed, 7:30 pm; Thu, 2, 7:30 pm; Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 2, 8 pm; Sun, 2, 7:30 pm. $35-$90. To Oct. 28. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn. (312) 443-3800; goodmantheatre.org. (Somewhat recommended, Weiss)

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)

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)

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. 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. (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. 20. Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N Ridge. (773) 334-7728; RivendellTheatre.org.

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. (Highly recommended, Weiss) OPENING

THE ARSONISTS. Trap Door Theatre presents a sociological study of a society that refuses to question overt exploitation. Directed by Victor Quezada-Perez. Opens Oct. 11. Thu-Sat, 8 pm. $20-$25. To Nov. 17. Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland. (73) 384-0494; trapdoortheatre.com.

ASSASSINS. Billy Pacholski presents Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway hit chronicling the narratives of the assassinations and attempted assassinations of U.S. presidents. Directed by Billy Pacholski. Previews Oct. 10-11. Opens Oct. 12. Fri-Sat, 7:30 pm; Sun, 7 pm. $30-$45. To Nov. 10. Viaduct Theatre, 3111 N. Western. (312) 212-3470; Assassins-Chicago.com.

BLACK WATCH. Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents National Theatre of Scotland’s production based on playwright Gregory Burke’s interviews with former soldiers who served in Iraq. Directed by John Tiffany. Opens Oct. 10. Tue-Wed, 8 pm; Thu, 7:30 pm; Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 3, 8 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $38-$52. To Oct. 21. Broadway Armory, 5917 N. Broadway. (312) 595-5600; chicagoshakes.com.

BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON. Bailiwick Chicago Theater launches its 2012-13 season with a rock musical that follows the story of America’s first political maverick. Directed by Scott Ferguson. Previews Oct. 5-6. Opens Oct. 11. Thu-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 6 pm. $15-$30. To Nov. 10. National pastime Theater, 941 W. Lawrence, 4th Floor. bailiwickchicago.com.

BROKEN GLASS. Redtwist Theatre presents Arthur Miller’s story of how an identity crisis, a mysterious illness and ominous world events haunt a Brooklyn couple at a personal crossroads. Directed by Michael Colucci and Jan Ellen Graves. Previews Oct. 10-12. Opens Oct. 14. Thu-Sat, 7:30 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $25-$30. To Nov. 18. Redtwist Theatre, 1044 Bryn Mawr. (773) 728-7529 redtwist.org.

THE CATHOLIC REPERTORY: DOUBT AND AGNES OF GOD. American Theater Company pairs two Pulitzer Prize-winning dramas that test the power of faith. Directed by PJ Paparelli. Opens Oct. 5. Thu-Fri, 7:30 pm; Sat, 2, 7:30 pm; Sun, 2 pm. $33-$43. To Nov. 4. American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron. (773) 409-4125; atcweb.org.

CHICAGO’S WEIRD, GRANDMA. Barrel of Monkeys kicks off its 15th season with an all new version of it’s popular show, “That’s Weird, Grandma,” featuring company members from Chicago’s top theaters using dance, puppetry, clowning, etc., to bring to life the creative writing of CPS grade-school students. Directed by Molly Brennan. Opens Oct. 8. Mon, 8 pm. $6-$12. To Dec. 17. Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland. (312) 409-1954; barrelofmonkeysorg.

CLEAR: A NEW MUSICAL EXPERIENCE. About Face Theatre presents a “neo-soul musical” concert by Paul Oakley Stovall and Stew. Directed by Krissy Vanderwarker. Opens Oct. 11. Thu-Sat, 7 pm. Free. To Oct. 13. Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. (773) 784-8565; aboutfacetheatre.com.

44 PLAYS FOR 44 PRESIDENTS. The Chicago Neo-Futurists present a chronological, biographical survey of the lives and presidencies of each of the 44 presidents. Directed by Halena Kays. Previews Oct. 5. Opens Oct. 6. Thu-Sat, 7:30 pm. $10-$20. To Nov 10. The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland. (773) 275-5255; neofuturists.org.

HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON. Chicago Children’s Theatre opens the first season in its new home with a musical based on the beloved children’s book. Directed by Sean Graney. Preview Oct. 11. Opens Oct. 12. Tue, 10 am; Wed, 10 am, noon; Thu-Fri, 10 am, 6:30 pm; Sat, 11 am, 6 pm; Sun, 11 am. $20-$36. To Nov. 4. Ruth Page Center For the Arts, 1016 N. Dearbotn. (872) 222-9555; chicagochildrenstheatre.org.

KITTY MASSACRE: THE MAKING OF MILO AND OTIS. The Annoyance presents a tale of romance, torture and greed, “exposing the dark reality of a childhood classic.” Directed by Jeremy Dionisio. Preview Oct. 6. Opens Oct. 13. Sat, 8 pm. $15-$20. To Dec. 1. The Annoyance, 4830 N. Broadway. (773) 561-4665; theannoyance.com.

THE LIFE OF DEATH. Wildclaw Theatre presents the world premiere stage adaptation of Clive Barker’s story of a woman’s fascination with death during Christmastime in London as a serial killer terrorizes the British capital. Directed by Carolyn Klein. Opens Oct. 5. Thu-Sat, 7:30 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $15-$25. To Nov. 4. Storefront Theatre, 66 E. Randolph. Wildclawtheatre.com.

THE MISTAKES MADELINE MADE. LiveWire Chicago Theatre kicks off its 2012-13 season with the story of a young woman who develops ??ablutophobia” — the fear of bathing. Directed by Krista D’Agostino. Opens Oct. 5. Thu-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $10-$20. To Nov. 3. Greenhouse Theater Center Upstairs Studio, 2257 N. Lincoln; greenhousetheater.com.

NEIGHBORHOOD 3: REQUISITION OF DOOM. Strawdog Theatre presents a tale of teen addiction to video games that upsets a nameless American town. Directed by Joanie Schultz. Preview Oct. 5. Opens Oct. 7. Thu-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 4 pm. $28. To Nov. 10. Strawdog Theatre, Hugen Hall, 3829 N. Broadway. (866) 811-4111; strawdog.org.

ONE NAME ONLY. Black Ensemble Theater presents a world premiere featuring the hits of Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan and a tribute to Whitney Houston. Directed by Reuben Echoles. Previews Oct. 5-6. Opens Oct. 7. Wed-Thu, 7:30 pm; Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 3, 8 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $55-$65. To Nov. 11. Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 4450 N. Clark. (773) 769-4451; BlackEnsembleTheater.org.

OPERETTA’S GREATEST HITS. Light Opera Works presents a concert of operetta’s greatest hits performed by favorite stars of Light Opera Works. Directed by Rudy Hogenmiller. Opens Oct. 5. Wed, 2 pm; Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 2, 8 pm; Sun, 2 pm. $30-$60. To Oct. 14. Nichols Concert Hall at Music Institute of Chicago, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston. (847) 920-5360; LightOperaWorks.com.

PLANET KARATE: RISE OF THE ROBOTIC DYNASTY. The Annoyance presents the sequel to last year’s “Planet Karate,” which takes place on a post-apocalypic Earth where Karate is law. Directed by David Rocco Facchini and Ryan McDermott. Opens Oct. 5. Fri, 8 pm. $10-$15. To Nov. 23. The Annoyance, 4830 N. Broadway. (773) 561-4665; theannoyance.com.

RUBY WILDER. Tympanic Theatre presents the story of a kidnap victim who ventures into the dark recesses of her mind to confront her tormentor. Directed by James D. Palmer. Opens Oct. 5. Thu-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 7 pm. $15. To Oct. 28. Teatro Luna’s Cabaret Studio, 3914 N. Clark. (773) 442-2882; tympanictheatre.org.

SCARRIE THE MUSICAL. Hell in a Handbag celebrates 10 years of “appalling and distasteful theater” with the unauthorized parody of both the Stephen King book and the Brian DePalma film. Directed by Cheryl Snodgrass. Preview Oct. 5. Opens Oct. 6. Thu-Sat, 7:30 pm. $15-$25. To Nov. 10. Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark. (800) 838-3006; handbagproductions.org.

SPLATTER THEATER. The Annoyance preents it’s classic Halloween show, a parody of “Friday the 13th” type movies. Directed by Charley Carroll. Opens Oct. 6. Sat, 10:01 pm. $34-$39. To Nov. 11. The Annoyance, 4830 N. Broadway. (773) 561-4665; theannoyance.com.

ZOMBIE GENIUS. The Annoyance presents a world where humans and zombies co-exist, but zombies are treated like second-class citizens. Albert, a zombie, falls in love with a human girl during his quest to win civil rights for zombies. Directed by Ryan McDermott. Opens Oct. 10. Wed, 10 pm. $8-$10. To Oct. 31. The Annoyance, 4830 N. Broadway. (773) 561-4665; theannoyance.com.

ONGOING

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.

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. 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. (Recommended, Weiss)

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; closes Sun, 2 pm. $30-$39. Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. (773) 975-8150; porchlightmusictheatre.com. (Highly recommended, Weiss)

DEARLY DEPARTED. Circle Theatre presents a comedy that revolves aroudn a family as it comes together to plan a funeral. Directed by Kevin Wiczer. 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.

DIRTY. The Gift Theatre presents a modern-day satire of Wall Street greed, philanthropy and family values. Directed by Jonathan Berry. Thu-Sat, 7:30 pm; Sun, 2:30 pm. $25-$30. To Nov. 18. The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee. (773) 283-7071; thegifttheatre.org. (Highly recommended, Weiss)

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)

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. 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. (Highly recommended, Weiss)

FELLOWSHIP OF THE BOOBS. Gorilla Tango presents a “LOTR, D&D, WoW, RPG Burlesque Adventure.” Directed by MsPixy. Sat, 10:30 pm. $20. To Oct. 27. Gorilla Tango Theatre Bucktown, 1919 N. Milwaukee. (773) 598-4549; gorillatango.com.

42nd STREET. Theatre at the Center presents the song and dance extravaganza. Directed by William Pullinsi. 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. (Highly recommended, Betty Mohr)

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. Thu-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $15-$32. To Oct. 28. Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago. (312) 633-0630; chicagodramatists.org.

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)

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. 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. Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 4, 8 pm; closes Sun, 1, 5 pm. $35-$47. Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. (630) 896-6666; paramountaurora.com. (Highly recommended, Andre Salles)

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. 25. Writers’ Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. (847) 242-6000; writerstheatre.org. (Highly recommended, Weiss)

HOODOO LOVE. The Collective Theatre presents a tale of love, magic, jealousy and secrets, where a woman escapes from the Mississippi cotton fields to pursue her dream of singing the blues in Memphis. Directed by Nelsan Ellis. Thu-Fri, 7:30 pm; Sat, 2:30, 7:30 pm, Sun, 2:30 pm. $20-$32. To Oct. 21. Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. (773) 935-6875; athenaeumtheatre.org. (Somewhat recommended, Weiss)

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. (Recommended, Weiss)

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. (Somewhat recommended, Weiss)

JITNEY. Court Theatre presents August Wilson’s 1970s installment of his decade-by-decade cycle of plays about the African-American experience in the 20th century. Directed by Ron OJ Parson. Wed-Thu, 7:30 pm; Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 3, 8 pm; Sun, 2:30, 7:30 pm. $45-$65. To Oct. 14. Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis. (773) 753-4472; courttheatre.org. (Highly recommended, Weiss)

KINKY BOOTS. Broadway in Chicago presents Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper’s musical tale of the power of acceptance told amid the backdrop of a failing shoe factory. Directed by Jerry Mitchell. Tue, 7:30 pm; Wed, 2, 7:30 pm; Thu-Fri, 7:30 pm; Sat, 2, 8 pm; Sun, 2, 7:30 pm. $33-$100. To Nov. 4. Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe. (800) 775-2000; BroadwayInChicago.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.

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. 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.

THE MADNESS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. First Folio Theatre presents a tale of life, death, love and heartbreak, based on the writings of the famed author. Directed by Michael Goldberg. Wed-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 3, 7:30 pm. $26-$37. To Nov. 4. Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st Street and Route 83, Oak Brook. (630) 986-8067; firstfolio.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)

MUSICAL OF THE LIVING DEAD. The Cowardly Scarecrow Theatre Company presents an original musical comedy satirizing popular zombie and horror films. Directed by Marc Lewallen and Brad Younts. Thu-Sat, 7:30 pm. $24. To Nov 17. The Charnel House, 3421 W. Fullerton. musicalofthelivingdead.com.

MY FIRST TIME. Broken Nose Theatre welcomes the return of the Off-Broadway hit that features four actors in hysterical and heartbreaking stories about first sexual experiences written by real people. Directed by Benjamin Brownson. Fri, 11 pm. $15-$30. To Oct. 26. Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln. (773) 404-7336; greenhousetheater.org.

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.

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; closes Sun, 2 pm. $32-$52. Pheasant Run Resort Mainstage, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles. (630) 584-6342; foxvalleyrep.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. Thu-Sun, 8 pm. $15-$25. To Oct. 20. Red Tape Theatre, 621 W. Belmont. redtapetheatre.org. (Not recommended, Catey Sullivan)

SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE: THE SONGS OF LEIBER AND STOLLER. Theo Ubique presents a musical revue showcasing 39 pop standards. Directed by Brenda Didier. Thu, 7:30 pm; Fri-Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 7 pm. $34-$39. To Nov. 11. Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, 6970 N. Glenwood. (800) 595-4849; theo-u.com. (Highly recommended, Weiss)

THE STRANGE UNDOING OF PRUDENCIA HART. Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents the National Theatre of Scotland’s Faustian tale described as “a riotous romp of rhyming couplets, devilish encounters and wild karaoke.” Directed by Wils Wilson. Tue-Fri, 7:30 pm; Sat, 3, 7:30 pm; Sun, 3 pm. $45-$60. To Oct. 14. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand. (312) 595-5600; chicagoshakes.com. (Highly recommended, Weiss)

SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE. Chicago Shakespeare Theater opens its 26th season with the award-winning musical inspired by George Seurat’s most famous work, “A Sunday on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1884.” Directed by Gary Griffin. Tue, 7:30 pm; Wed, 1, 7:30 pm; Thu-Fri, 7:30 pm; Sat, 3, 8 pm; Sun, 2 pm. $48-$78. To Nov. 4. CST’s Courtyard Theater, 800 E. Grand. (312) 595-5678; chicagoshakes.com.

SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH. The Goodman presents Diane Lane and Finn Wittrock in Tennessee Williams’ classic American drama. Directed by David Cromer. Wed, 7:30 pm; Thu, 2, 7:30 pm; Fri, 8 pm; Sat, 2, 8 pm; Sun, 2, 7:30 pm. $35-$90. To Oct. 28. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn. (312) 443-3800; goodmantheatre.org. (Somewhat recommended, Weiss)

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)

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)

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. 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. (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. 20. Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N Ridge. (773) 334-7728; RivendellTheatre.org.

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. (Highly recommended, Weiss)



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