Spotlight: Aurora's Copley Theatre revives darkly comic, puppet-centered 'Hand to God'

  • Felicia Oduh plays Jessica in Paramount Theatre's production of the dark comedy "Hand to God."

    Felicia Oduh plays Jessica in Paramount Theatre's production of the dark comedy "Hand to God." Courtesy of Amy Nelson

 
 
Posted5/20/2022 6:00 AM

Fourth time's a charm

Disappointed by love and life, a pair of adult siblings -- twice divorced and once widowed Maria and relationship-averse Anthony -- find themselves back living with their parents in "Never the Bridesmaid," Bill Jepsen's comedy about overcoming romantic catastrophes to find love. Whitney Minarik directs Oil Lamp Theater's revival starring Rose Leisner as Maria and Ryan E. Lampe as Anthony.

 

8 p.m. Friday, May 20; 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, May 21; and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 22, and through July 3 at 1723 Glenview Road, Glenview. $35, $45. Proof of vaccination and masking required. (847) 834-0738 or oillamptheater.org.

Temptations tuner

"My Girl," "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" and "Just My Imagination" are among The Temptations' hits featured in "Ain't Too Proud -- The Life and Times of the Temptations." The national tour of the 2019 jukebox musical chronicling the evolution of the chart-topping R&B group known for tight harmonies and stylish dance moves plays Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre.

7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, May 24-27; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, May 28; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 29, and through June 5 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago. $29.50-$116. Proof of vaccination and masking required. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.

August Forman plays Jason/Tyrone in Paramount Theatre's production of the dark comedy "Hand to God."
August Forman plays Jason/Tyrone in Paramount Theatre's production of the dark comedy "Hand to God." - Courtesy of Amy Nelson
Puppet mastery

Copley Theatre continues its inaugural season with "Hand to God," a darkly comic tale described as "'Avenue Q' meets 'Little Shop of Horrors.'" The action unfolds in a small Texas town where young Jason (August Forman) participates in a Christian puppet ministry that is upended when his puppet, Tyrone, turns both irreverent and dangerous. Paramount Theatre associate artistic producer and casting director Trent Stork directs.

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Previews at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, May 25-26; 8 p.m. May 27; 2 and 8 p.m. May 28; and 1 and 5:30 p.m. May 29 at 8 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. The show opens June 1. $67-$74. Masking optional, but encouraged. (630) 896-6666 or paramountaurora.com.

"American Idol" alum Diana DeGarmo stars in "Skates," a coming-of-age story inspired by the 1970s disco roller-skating craze.
"American Idol" alum Diana DeGarmo stars in "Skates," a coming-of-age story inspired by the 1970s disco roller-skating craze.
World premiere

"American Idol" alums Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young team up for the pandemic-delayed premiere of "Skates," a family-friendly musical rooted in the 1970s disco roller-skating craze. Lincolnshire native Brenda Didier directs the retro tuner in which a rising rock star agrees to appear at the grand reopening of her childhood roller-skating rink. A twist of fate sends her back to 1977, where she meets up with her 12-year-old self and her one true love. Wheaton actress Cory Goodrich co-stars.

Previews at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 24; 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 25; 8 p.m. May 27; 2 and 8 p.m. May 28; 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. May 29, and through June 4 at the Studebaker Theater, in the Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. The show opens June. 5. $46-$99. Proof of vaccination and masking required. (312) 753-3210, fineartsbuilding.com or skatesthemusical.com.

"American Idol" alum Ace Young stars in "Skates," a coming-of-age story inspired by the 1970s disco roller-skating craze.
"American Idol" alum Ace Young stars in "Skates," a coming-of-age story inspired by the 1970s disco roller-skating craze.
In other news

Check with venues about COVID-19 precautions.

• Performances continue through Saturday, May 21, for The Conspirators' "The Caucasian Inner Circle, or, Hooray for Billionaires," described as a "neo-commedia cabaret romp" in which billionaire brothers promote a pro-wealth agenda at a trade show. Performances take place at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago. See conspirewithus.org.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• Performances of Promethean Theatre Ensemble's "Richard III," William Shakespeare's tragedy about a would-be king's murderous ascent to the throne, continue through June 25 at The Factory Theatre, 1623 W. Howard St., Chicago. Fifteen actors play more than 30 roles in the production directed by retired Goodman Theatre producer and director Steve Scott. Cameron Feagin, who played John F. Kennedy, in City Lit Theater's all-female production of "Thirteen Days," stars as Richard. See prometheantheatre.org.

• Not Dead Yet, a party and fundraiser for Cabinet of Curiosities, takes place from 7-10 p.m. Friday, May 20, at Sandro Inc., 2540 W. Huron St., Chicago. The evening includes musical performances, an open bar, desserts and a coffee bar. Streaming and in-person options are available. See cocechicago.com.

• Previews begin Saturday, May 21, for the Black Ensemble Theater premiere of "Grandma's Jukebox," a jukebox revue about a family matriarch whose spirit lives on through the music of Boyz II Men, Nina Simone, Tina Turner, Sly and the Family Stone and others. The show opens May 29 at 4450 N. Clark St., Chicago. Masking is mandatory. (773) 769-4451 or blackensemble.org.

• 21c Museum Hotel Chicago, 55 E. Ontario St., Chicago, hosts a jazz and spoken-word poetry event at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 22, showcasing members of Free Fyre, a collective comprised of artists and poets. See 21cchicago.com.

• Patrick Dewane recounts the story of his grandfather's experiences during World War II in "The Accidental Hero," his one-man show about a U.S. officer who is among the liberators of the Czech village where his grandparents lived. The performance is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 23, at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights. (847) 577-2121 or metropolisarts.com.

• Chicago Writers' Bloc, a play development group, celebrates its 10th anniversary with staged readings of 10 new works as part of its 2022 New Play Festival, which takes place Monday, May 23, through June 14 at Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago. The festival features six new plays and four new musicals by Chicago-area writers, including Joseph Jefferson Award-winner John S. Green, Brian Kalz from Hell in a Handbag Productions and Richard Reardon, among others. See writersblocfest.org/2022-play-festival.

• Some of the area's most acclaimed musical theater artists -- including Larry Adams, Brianna Borger, Nancy Godinez, Paul-Jordan Jansen, Mark David Kaplan, Evan Tyrone Martin and Lorenzo Rush Jr. -- participate in Chicago Sings Sondheim, Porchlight Music Theatre's annual concert fundraiser celebrating the late composer. Monday's in-person performance is sold out, but tickets are available to the viewing party held on the second floor of the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, on Monday, May 23. Tickets are $50. See porchlightmusictheatre.org.

• Water People Theater resumes live, in-person performances with "Lorca, Living the Experience," on Wednesday, May 25 and June 1 at the Instituto Cervantes, 31 W. Ohio St., Chicago. Conceived and directed by artistic director Iraida Tapias, the performances combine text and music written and composed by the writer Federico García Lorca and featuring protagonists from his plays "Blood Wedding," "The House of Bernarda Alba," "Yerma" and others. See waterpeople.org.

• The Second City presents "Queer Eye: The Musical Parody," beginning Thursday, May 26, at the Up Comedy Club, 230 W. North Ave., Chicago. Inspired by the Netflix series, the show involves five experts helping an average guy become his best self. (312) 337-3992 or secondcity.com.

• Comedian Michelle Wolf, on-air contributor and writer for "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" and a writer with "Late Night with Seth Meyers," brings her show "Michelle Wolf: Joke Show" to the Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Wolf performs Thursday through Saturday, May 26-28. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination required. Masking optional. (773) 697-3830 or thedentheatre.com.

• Evanston-based youth ensemble Mudlark Theatre presents a collection of scenes, poetry, movement and music performed by 12 young actors. Directed by spoken-word artist and educator Khari Bowden, "I'm Smiling Beneath This Mask" takes place May 27 and 29 and June 1 and 2 in Ridgeville Park, 908 Seward St., Evanston. See mudlarktheater.org.

• Teatro Vista recently released 10 episodes of its graphic novel-inspired show "Detective Q," a tale of the misadventures of a private detective, by ensemble members Marvin Quijada and Gabriel Ruiz. The episodes are available on instagram.com/teatrovista.

• The New Coordinates, formerly known as The New Colony, begin their 2022 season on July 22 with a workshop presentation of "American Side Efectos," about a girl trying to understand her mother's medical issues and her older self confronting her mother's immigration journey from El Salvador to Arkansas. That's followed on Oct. 15 by the premiere of "Last Ascent," about an alpine climber who gets more than she bargained for when she consults a therapist who specializes in treating elite athletes. Performances take place at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. See thenewcoordinates.org.

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