Theater events: 'Frindle' returns again to the Metropolis for a short run
From the number of times Griffin Theatre's "Frindle" has played the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, it's apparent this children's tale has lots of fans in the Northwest Suburbs. Griffin Theatre's popular show is adapted from Andrew Clements' book about a young boy with quirky ideas who sparks a movement of sorts when he creates a new word for pen. Griffin Theatre's family-friendly production runs through Feb. 23. Performances begin at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights. $12-$14. (847) 577-2121 or metropolisarts.com.
American Blues premiere
A couple of burned-out Chicago homicide detectives investigating the murder of a CTA employee uncover a legacy of violence in "Six Corners," by Arlington Heights native Keith Huff ("A Steady Rain"). American Blues Theater's world premiere is directed by Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Gary Griffin ("The Color Purple") and features Brenda Barry and Peter DeFaria, who co-starred in Chicago Dramatists' 2007 professional premiere of "A Steady Rain." 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, Saturday, Feb. 17, and Wednesday, Feb. 21, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Opens Feb. 22. $19-$49. (773) 327-5252 or americanbluestheater.com.
The Actors Gymnasium premieres a circus-theater production titled "Journey for the Sun: A Sci-Fi Cartoon Circus" featuring acrobats, aerialists and a robot. Written by Seth Bockley ("2666") and co-directed by Frank Maugeri and Lindsey Whiting, the play is about the owner of an Indiana drive-in movie theater who's tapped to "save the galaxy using only human and popcorn power." 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, and at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St., Evanston. It runs through March 25. $25-$60. (847) 328-2795 or actorsgymnasium.org.
Other theater events
• Previews begin Friday, Feb. 16, for Lifeline Theatre's world premiere of "Anna Karenina," adapted from Leo Tolstoy's novel by ensemble member Jessica Wright Buha and directed by ensemble member Amanda Link. Trapped in a loveless marriage in 19th-century Russia, Anna must choose between raising her beloved son with her despised husband or living in disgrace with her lover. Ilse Zacharias plays the titular role. The show opens Feb. 26 at 6912 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago. (773) 761-4477 or lifelinetheatre.com.
• Adventure Stage Chicago hosts its first Adventures in Storytelling event Friday and Saturday, Feb. 16-17, at the Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble, Chicago. Part of Chicago Theater Week, the mini-fest includes performances and workshops. (773) 342-4141 or adventurestage.org.
• The Second City Training Center presents the 7th Annual Mary Scruggs Works By Women Festival Friday and Saturday, Feb. 16-17, at 1608 N. Wells St., Chicago. The two-day showcase consists of sketches and songs written by the women of the Second City training center, along with panel discussions and workshops. The mini-fest is named for Scruggs, who headed Second City's writing program from 2001 until her death in 2011. (312) 662-4562 or secondcity.com.
• Improv Playhouse Dinner Theater presents "Bye, Bye Bucca," a 1920s interactive, murder-mystery dinner theater event in which mobsters vie to replace the late godfather, Sam Bucca. The performance is at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Round Lake Beach Cultural and Civic Center, 2007 Civic Center Way, Round Lake Beach. (847) 875-8578 or improvplayhouse.com.
• Black Ensemble Theater opens its season devoted to movers and shakers with "Hail, Hail Chuck: A Tribute to Chuck Berry," starring Ivan Ellis as young Chuck Berry and Lyle Miller as older Chuck Berry. L Maceo Ferris' play salutes the seminal rock 'n' roll guitarist and songwriter who battled racism and Jim Crow to emerge as one of rock music's icons. Previews begin Saturday, Feb. 17, at 4450 N. Clark St., Chicago. The show opens Feb. 25. (773) 769-4451 or blackensemble.org.
• Greenhouse Theater Center's first of two free Solo Performance Labs takes place Saturday, Feb. 17, at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. The labs are part of Greenhouse's commitment to helping develop new solo performances. This weekend's performances include Aurora Real de Asua's "The Strange Pale Ape With the Ponytail," inspired by Jane Goodall's groundbreaking work with chimpanzees, and Am'Ber Montgomery's "Grandma Science," about African-American medical illustrator Nadia Willette Page as seen through the eyes of her granddaughter. See greenhousetheater.org.
• Kellie Overbey plays Queen Elizabeth I opposite K.K. Moggie's Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, in Peter Oswald's "Mary Stuart." The play offers a new version of the bitter rivalry between the two monarchs, adapted from Friedrich Schiller's 19th-century drama. Performances begin Wednesday, Feb. 21, at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. Director Jenn Thomson's production opens March 1. (312) 595-5600 or chicagoshakes.com.
• A Texas matriarch discovers that her family history is more complicated than she realized. And sparks fly when she reveals the news to her Southern belle daughters in "Plantation!" a new comedy by Lookingglass Theatre Company's ensemble member Kevin Douglas. Lookingglass' world premiere begins previews Wednesday, Feb. 21, at Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. The show, directed by ensemble member David Schwimmer ("Friends"), opens March 3. (312) 337-0665 or lookingglasstheatre.org.
• Pivot Arts' monthly Live Talk Series returns Wednesday, Feb. 21, with Let's Talk About Love, a mash-up of short performances and discussions exploring the complexities of love. Doors open at 7 p.m. at Hopleaf, 5148 N. Clark St., Chicago. Sharon Lanza hosts Rashawn Scott and John Szymanski, singing songs by artists; sound, visual and performance artist Meg Leary; tap dancer Nico Rubio; and storyteller Julie Ganey with music by The Glass Trio. Also, arts advocate Erick Deshaun Dorris and actress Laura Fisher, one of the leaders of Not In Our House, lead a discussion on how theaters around the country have adapted anti-harassment guidelines. See pivotarts.org.
• Theatre at the Center artistic director Linda Fortunato helms the company's revival of "Steel Magnolias," Robert Harling's dramedy about the women who frequent a Louisiana beauty shop. Previews begin Thursday, Feb. 22, at 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Indiana. The show opens Feb. 25. (800) 511-1532 or theatreatthecenter.com.
• Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, announced the rescheduled world premiere of "Pamplona." Jim McGrath's play examining Ernest Hemingway's final years will take place July 10 through Aug. 19. Director Robert Falls' production of the one-man show, starring Stacy Keach as Hemingway, began previews in Spring 2017. But the production closed early after Keach fell ill on opening night. "I'm deeply grateful to Robert Falls, Goodman Theatre, and the good people of Chicago for encouraging me and allowing me to 'get back on the horse,'" said Keach in a prepared statement. The play takes place in 1959, in a hotel room in Spain where Hemingway -- struggling with despair, declining health and a troubled marriage -- struggles to finish a story about rival matadors. Previous ticket holders and Goodman members can purchase priority tickets beginning Friday, Feb. 16. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Feb. 23 at the box office or at (312) 443-3800 or goodmantheatre.org.
• Pride Films and Plays has extended its Chicago premiere of "YANK! A World War II Love Story," a musical by writer/lyricist David Zellnik and composer Joseph Zellnik about a soldier in World War II who falls in love with another soldier in his squad. Performances run through March 18 at 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago. See pridefilmsandplays.com.
• The National Endowment for the Arts awarded Pegasus Theatre Chicago a $15,000 grant for its Young Playwrights Festival, which inspires Chicago students to explore their histories and research their communities to write one-act plays. The students participate in workshops and playwriting residencies throughout the school year. From April through July, more than 500 teens submit plays to the competition and about 50 students are selected in the third round to participate in a summer play revision workshop. From there, three or four plays are selected for a fully staged, professional production in January as part of Pegasus' main stage season.
• Rivendell Theatre Ensemble has titled its 2018 season "The Reckoning" to reflect its season made up of plays about women confronting hard truths. Season-opener "Cal in Camo," about a new mom suffering from postpartum depression in rural Illinois, closes this weekend. Next up is the Midwest premiere of Bekah Brunstetter's timely "The Cake," about Jen, a bride-to-be who asks Della, her favorite baker, to make the wedding cake. The request forces Della to examine her beliefs when she learns the cake is for a same-sex couple. It runs April 11 to May 20. The season concludes with the world premiere of "The Scientific Method" (Oct. 18-Dec. 2), Jenny Connell Davis' tale of a top female researcher on the verge of a breakthrough who begins to question everything she knew about science after a handsome graduate student shows up in her lab. Performances take place at 5779 N. Ridge Ave., Chicago. Season subscriptions begin at $59 for preview tickets and $80 for regular run tickets. (773) 334-7728 or rivendelltheatre.org.