Theater spotlight: An American classic, an Irish drama and an epistolary love story

  • Kamal Bolden plays Troy Maxson in American Blues Theater's revival of "Fences" by the late August Wilson.

    Kamal Bolden plays Troy Maxson in American Blues Theater's revival of "Fences" by the late August Wilson.

Posted6/29/2022 6:00 AM

ABT revives classic

Oak Park writer/director Monty Cole helms American Blues Theater's revival of "Fences," August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about a former Negro League Baseball player turned garbage man who's embittered about the opportunities denied him and takes that anger out on his wife and sons. Kamal Bolden stars as Troy Maxson opposite Shanesia Davis as Troy's wife, Rose.


Previews at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 1; 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 2; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, July 3, at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show opens Thursday, July 7. $25-$45. Proof of vaccination and masks required. (773) 975-8150 or

Irish comedy revived

City Lit Theater revives "The Playboy of the Western World," J.M. Synge's comedy about a man who informs the patrons at a tavern in western Ireland that he killed his father. The tale makes Christy Mahon a local hero until his supposedly dead father shows up. Joshua Servantez plays Christy and Adam Bitterman plays the father in this play directed by Brian Pastor.

Previews at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 1 and 8; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 2 and 9; and 3 p.m. Sunday, July 3, at Edgewater Presbyterian Church, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago. The show opens July 10. $25-$34. Proof of vaccination and masks required. (773) 293-3682 or

Zanies at 10

Rosemont's Zanies Comedy Club celebrates its 10th anniversary with an all-star lineup of favorite headliners, including Vince Carone, Pat Tomasulo, Larry Reeb, John DaCosse and Calvin Evans, as part of its "Chicago's Best Showcase."

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Doors open at 7 p.m. and showtime is 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 6, at Zanies at Parkway Bank Park, 5437 Park Place, Rosemont. $10. (847) 813-0484 or

Casey Hoekstra and Sarah Price star in Northlight Theatre's production of "Dear Jack, Dear Louise," a love story inspired by the courtship of playwright Ken Ludwig's parents.
Casey Hoekstra and Sarah Price star in Northlight Theatre's production of "Dear Jack, Dear Louise," a love story inspired by the courtship of playwright Ken Ludwig's parents. - Courtesy of Northlight Theatre
Love story

Casey Hoekstra and Sarah Price play two strangers -- an army physician based in Oregon and an aspiring actress in New York -- who meet by letter during World War II in Ken Ludwig's latest two-hander, "Dear Jack, Dear Louise." Jessica Fisch directs Northlight Theatre's production of the play, which was inspired by the courtship of Ludwig's parents.

Previews at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 7 and 14; 8 p.m. July 8-9; 2:30 p.m. July 10; 7:30 p.m. July 12; and 1 and 7:30 p.m. July 13 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. The show opens July 15. $30-$89. Masks required. (847) 673-6300 or

In other news

Check with venues about COVID-19 precautions.

• The new comedy game show "Are You Smarter Than Your 8th Grade Nun?" opens Friday, July 1, at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Written by Vicki Quade, co-creator of "Late Nite Catechism," the show invites audience members to compete to determine who was paying attention in school. Shows are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Aug. 7. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masks required. (773) 404-7336 or or


• "Where We Belong," a solo piece by Madeline Sayat examining cultural appropriation, attempted genocide and the way to honor one's ancestry, continues through July 24 at the Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. Mei Ann Teo directs the joint production between Woolly Mammoth Theatre and the Folger Shakespeare Library. (312) 443-3800 or

• Friday night performances of "The Infinite Wrench" have resumed at 10:30 p.m. weekly at 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago. The Neo-Futurists' long-running, adults-only show consists of 30 plays in 60 minutes. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masks required. See

• Comedian Tommy Davidson ("The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder," "In Living Colour") headlines the Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Road, Rosemont, as part of the Please Stop! My Ribs Hurt'n Super Summer Comedy Bash. The lineup also includes Fat Joe & the Terror Squad, Torrei Hart, Mo' Good, Tony Roberts and others. The show is at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 2. $128.25-$105.25. (847) 671-5100 or

• Joseph Jefferson Award-winner Bethany Thomas pays tribute to Linda Ronstadt as part of Steppenwolf Theatre's LookOut performance series. "The Linda Show: Bethany Thomas Sings Linda Ronstadt" takes the stage at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 5, at the 1700 Theatre, 1700 N. Halsted St., Chicago. Tickets are $25. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masking required. (312) 335-1650 or

• Chicago Magic Lounge artist-in-residence Luis Carreon performs his show "La Bestia" at 7 p.m. Wednesdays, July 6 through Sept. 28, at 5050 N. Clark St., Chicago. Carreon, a co-founding member of the Chicago Magic Lounge, performs close-up magic while sharing his life experiences and poking fun at stereotypes. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination required. (312) 366-4500 or

• BrightSide Theatre, in cooperation with the Naperville Park District, celebrates Broadway's golden age as part of its outdoor summer concert series at the 95th Street Community Plaza, Wagner Family Pavilion, 3109 Cedar Glade Drive, Naperville. Performances take place from 7-8 p.m. July 13 and 27. Additional performances are at 7 p.m. July 28 and Aug. 11 at the Millennium Carillion Amphitheatre, 443 Aurora Ave., Naperville. Free admission. Bring a blanket or lawn chair. See

• Writers Theatre announced its four-play 2022-2023 season will begin Sept. 29 with "Tiger Style!" Mike Lew's comedy about squabbling Chinese American siblings. That's followed by "Manual Cinema's Christmas Carol" (Nov. 29-Dec. 24), which incorporates actors, musicians and puppeteers in a singular adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic. Next up is the chamber musical "Once" (Feb. 16-March 26, 2023), about an Irish singer-songwriter about to give up on his music career until he meets a Czech woman. The season concludes with "A Distinct Society" (June 22-July 23, 2023), about an Iranian family, separated by the Muslim ban, whose members use a library on the U.S./Canada border as a meeting place. Performances take place at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. Subscriptions range from $129-$195. (847) 242-6000 or

• The Factory Theater commences its 28th season with new leadership and ensemble members. Phil Claudnic takes over as managing director, Timothy C. Amos and Shannon O'Neill share the position of co-artistic directors with casting director Brittney Brown and marketing director Ashley Yates. Joining the ensemble is Morgan Gire, Becca Holloway and Chase Wheaton-Werle. New artistic associates include: Eric Frederickson, Ellie Humphrys, Kirk Jackson, Vic Kuligoski, Manuel Ortiz, Josh Razavi, Bradford Stevens and Amber Washington. The season begins Sept. 9 with the premiere of "HOA," about a couple who moves to a new city and begin to feel that something isn't quite right. That's followed by the premiere of "The Kelley Girls" (Feb. 17-April 1, 2023), about two sisters living in 1960s Ireland who join the Irish Republican Army, then have to decide what they're willing to do in the name of their cause. That's followed by the premiere of "Lane Call" (June 9-July 22, 2023), a comedy about a couple of young people working at a Venture store. Performances take place at 1623 W. Howard St., Chicago. Season passes are available for $60 and $120. See

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