Spotlight: Elgin's Janus Theatre puts a new spin on an epic tale

  • "Beowulf" ensemble members Julie Bayer, center, and Heidi Swarthout rehearse for Janus Theatre's all-female retelling of the epic poem.

    "Beowulf" ensemble members Julie Bayer, center, and Heidi Swarthout rehearse for Janus Theatre's all-female retelling of the epic poem. Courtesy of Sean Hargadon

  • Tim Foszcz play writer Clifford Bradshaw in Metropolis Performing Arts Centre's revival of "Cabaret."

    Tim Foszcz play writer Clifford Bradshaw in Metropolis Performing Arts Centre's revival of "Cabaret."

 
 
Posted9/16/2022 6:00 AM

Come to the 'Cabaret'

In 1929 Berlin, against the backdrop of the rising tide of Nazism, an American writer falls in love with a British chanteuse in John Kander and Fred Ebb's award-winning "Cabaret," based on John Van Druten's play and Christopher Isherwood's stories. Metropolis Performing Arts Centre's revival stars Kristin Doty as Sally Bowles, Tim Foszcz as Clifford Bradshaw and Maria Alexandra as the Emcee.

 

Previews at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Sept. 15-16, and 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, at 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights. The show opens at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17. $40, $45. Masks recommended. (847) 577-2121 or metropolisarts.com.

Kristin Doty plays Sally Bowles in Metropolis Performing Arts Centre's revival of "Cabaret."
Kristin Doty plays Sally Bowles in Metropolis Performing Arts Centre's revival of "Cabaret."
Old epic, new look

Janus Theatre puts a new spin on "Beowulf," the epic tale of the warrior who defeated the monster Grendel and his mother, by staging its adaptation with an all-female cast. Janus artistic director Sean Hargadon directs.

2 and 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 17-18 and 24-25, at Bowes Creek Woods, 9N420 Crawford Road, Elgin. Free, but donations are accepted and reservations are recommended. The pavilion opens for picnicking an hour before showtime. janusplays.com.

'Feed me, Seymour'

Citadel Theatre begins its season with a revival of the musical "Little Shop of Horrors." The musical adaptation of Roger Corman's cult film centers on Seymour, a meek plant shop employee who discovers and unwittingly nurtures a man-eating plant that threatens his crush and co-worker Audrey, shop owner Mr. Mushnik and everyone else in town. Matthew Silar directs.

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Opens at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, at 300 S. Waukegan Road, Lake Forest. $40, $45. Masks recommended. (847) 735-8554, ext. 1, or citadeltheatre.org.

'The Notebook' premieres

Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents the pandemic-delayed musical adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' best-selling novel "The Notebook," about Allie and Noah, two people from different worlds who fall and remain in love despite forces that threaten to pull them apart. The book is by "This Is Us" writer/producer Bekah Brunstetter and the score is by singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson.

Previews at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday through Sept. 27 at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. The show opens Sept. 28. $41-$125. Masks recommended. (312) 595-5600 or chicagoshakes.com.

Joy Woods plays Middle Allie and Ryan Vasquez plays Middle Noah in Chicago Shakespeare Theater's world premiere production of "The Notebook."
Joy Woods plays Middle Allie and Ryan Vasquez plays Middle Noah in Chicago Shakespeare Theater's world premiere production of "The Notebook." - Courtesy of Liz Lauren
In other news

Check with venues about their COVID-19 precautions.

• Steel Beam Theatre revives Jason Robert Brown's intimate two-hander musical "The Last Five Years" about a couple's relationship from beginning to end. Amy Steele plays Cathy, who tells her side of the story in reverse, and Michael Metcalf plays James, who tells his side of the story chronologically. Performances begin Friday, Sept. 16, at 111 W. Main St., St. Charles. Masks recommended. (630) 587-8521 or steelbeamtheatre.com.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• Irish comedian Ardal O'Hanlon, of the Netflix series "Derry Girls," headlines Theo Ubique, 721 Howard St., Evanston, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16. Adam Burge opens. $40-$75. (773) 939-4101 or theo-u.com.

• The College of Lake County hosts "The Second City Presents: Out of the House Party" at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, at the James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts, 19351 W. Washington St., Grayslake. Tickets are $15-$35. (847) 543-2300 or jlcenter.clcillinois.edu.

• The Broadway tour of the musical "Anastasia," about a young woman seeking to understand her past in 1920s Paris, returns to Chicago for a brief run. Veronica Stern plays the titular role and former Glen Ellyn resident Madeline Raube plays Countess Lily in the production, which runs Sept. 20-25 at the CIBC Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St., Chicago. Masks recommended. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.

• Idle Muse Theatre Company presents its world premiere of "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson's novel by ensemble member Michael Dalberg. In this version, Dr. Henri Jekyll is a female physician whose professional prospects are sabotaged in Victorian England forcing her to "manifest her own savior Mr. Edward Hyde." Previews begin Thursday, Sept. 22, at The Edge Off-Broadway, 1133 W. Catalpa Ave., Chicago. The show opens Sept. 24. Masks required. (773) 340-9438 or idlemuse.org.

• A man whose wife and peers tell him he's the ugliest man in the world considers having surgery believing a pretty face is all he needs to succeed in "The Ugly One," German playwright Marius Von Mayenburg's "comedy about beauty, ambition and the brutality of capitalism." Trap Door Theatre's production begins Thursday, Sept. 22, at 1655 W. Cortland St., Chicago. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masking required. (773) 384-0494 or trapdoortheatre.com.

• Previews begin Thursday, Sept. 22, for First Floor Theater's Chicago-area premiere of "Botticelli in the Fire," Jordan Tannahill's "hotblooded queering of Renaissance Italy that questions the value of art at the collapse of society." Schaumburg native Christopher Meister plays Friar Savanarola, who stokes resentment against the Renaissance era's artistic elite, including famous playboy painter Sandro Botticelli, who's working on his breakthrough commission "The Birth of Venus." The show opens Sept. 29 at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination required, masking encouraged. See firstfloortheater.com.

• Writer/comedian Sam Jay, the host and executive producer of HBO's "Pause with Sam Jay," Netflix veteran and performer on Peacock's "Bust Down," which she co-created and stars in, headlines The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Sept. 23-24. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination required, masking encouraged. (773) 697-3830 or thedentheatre.com.

• Raven Theatre invites theater lovers to "sponsor a seat" as part of the Chicago theater's efforts to replace 85 seats in its East Theater. The personalized seat costs $500, which will be matched up to $50,000 by board President Stephen Johnson. "We are so excited to celebrate our 40th year by revitalizing our East Stage for the first time since we moved into our Clark and Granville home in 2002," said managing director Markie Gray in a prepared statement. "Whether you're honoring a loved one, recognizing a fellow arts lover, or celebrating your family's love for Raven, this lasting tribute will help sustain our beautiful East Stage theater and support the artists that come together to create within it." (773) 338-6537 or raventheatre.com/support.

• The African American Arts Alliance announced Black Ensemble Theater Company's productions of "It's Just Like Coming to Church" and "Grandma's Jukebox" were nominated for Black Excellence Awards in the outstanding production category alongside Congo Square Theater's "What to Send Up, When it Goes Down," Theater 47's "Living All Alone, the Phyllis Hyman Musical" and MPAACT Ma'at Production Association of Afrikan Centered Theatre's "Pulled Punches." Other nominees include: directors Jackie Taylor, Michelle Renee Bester, Daniel Bryant, Erika Ratcliff, Lauren Wells Mann and John L. Ruffin Jr. Acting nominees include: Vincent Jordan, Anthony Irons, Randle Michael, Dawn Bless, Jessica Brooks Seals, McKenzie Chinn, Melanie Victoria and Liberty Clay. Local favorite Felicia P. Fields is among the theater artists nominated for special recognition. The category also includes: Jerod Haynes; Kierra Bunch; Mildred Langford, Al'Jaleel McGhee and Ayanna Bria Bakari. The 22nd annual Black Excellence Awards ceremony -- which also honors visual arts, dance and literary achievements -- takes place at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 at Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N. Clark St., Chicago. Tickets are $50. See aaaachicago.org.

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