Spotlight: Paramount delivers a gift of gags courtesy of The Second City
A gift of gags
Paramount Theatre presents "I Saw Mommy Kissing Second City," a sendup up of all things holiday-related courtesy of The Second City. These performances are for ages 18 and older.
7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 23 at the Copley Theatre, 8 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. $38. Masks encouraged. (630) 896-6666 or paramountaurora.com.
Goodman Theatre offers audience members a preview of new works as part of its New Stages Festival. Curated by director of new works Jonathan L. Green, the festival includes two fully staged new plays and four in-development works, one of which will be directed by Goodman's new artistic director, Susan V. Booth.
Plays run in repertory through Dec. 18 at 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. Free, but reservations are required. Masks encouraged. (312) 443-3800 or goodmantheatre.org/newstages.
Wai Ching Ho, left, and Francesca Fernandez McKenzie rehearse Steppenwolf Theatre's world premiere of "Bald Sisters," a comedy by Vichet Chum.
- Courtesy of Joel Moorman
Ties that bind
In the wake of their mother's death, two estranged sisters unite to settle her affairs in "Bald Sisters," Vichet Chum's comedy about immigrant families and the history and humor that binds them. Steppenwolf Theatre's premiere is directed by Jesca Prudencio.
Previews at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2 and 9; 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3 and 10; 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4; and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 7-8, at the Ensemble Theater, 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago. The show opens Dec. 11. $30-$86. Masks required. (312) 335-1650 or steppenwolf.org/.
Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre offers an alternative to Christmas fare with its revival of "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," a tuner based on Texas' real-life Chicken Ranch directed by Landree Fleming. Established in 1905 by Miss Jessie, the brothel was the oldest continually operating, nonfloating whorehouse in the nation until it closed in 1973. It earned its name during the Great Depression after Miss Jessie implemented the "poultry standard," which required customers to pay for services with a live chicken.
Previews at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2 and 9; Saturday, Dec. 3 and 10; and 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4 and 11, at 721 Howard St., Evanston. The show opens Dec. 12. $30-$85. Masks required. (773) 939-4101 or theo-u.com.
In other news
Check with theaters about COVID-19 precautions.
• Midsommer Flight concludes its 10th season with its annual production of "Twelfth Night, or What You Will," William Shakespeare's comedy about Viola and Sebastian, twins bound for Illyria who are separated during a shipwreck. Washed ashore, Viola disguises herself as a boy named Cesario and falls in love with the Duke. He's in love with Lady Olivia, who is in love with Cesario. The production opens Friday, Dec. 2, at the Lincoln Park Conservatory, 2391 Stockton Drive, Chicago. Reservations are required. Suggested donation: $30. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masks required. See midsommerflight.com.
• The Second City performs "Home for Hanukkah," a revue in which Bubbe and Zayde teach audience members about Jewish holiday traditions. Performances are Thursdays, Dec. 1 and 8, at the Blackout Cabaret, 230 W. North Ave., Chicago. Masks encouraged. (312) 337-3992 or secondcity.com.
• The Write Collective -- 16th Street Theater's resident playwrights unit -- presents a staged virtual reading of "Lost Girl" by Kathryn Feeney at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2. See 16thstreettheater.org.
• Refracted Theatre Co. presents its 2022 RefrAction Lab Showcase, featuring excerpts from five new works developed during its eight-month playwriting lab for emerging Chicago playwrights. The showcases are Sundays, Dec. 4 and 11, at the iO Theater, 1501 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago. See ioimprov.com.
• PlayMaker's Laboratory celebrates 25 years of promoting arts education with 25 Years of Students' Stories, consisting of performances of stories written by Chicago public school students. The performances take place Monday, Dec. 5, at the Neo-Futurist Theater, 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago. Masks required. See playmakerslab.org.
• "Dear Evan Hansen," the Tony Award-winning musical by writer Steven Levenson and composer/lyricists Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, returns to Chicago on Tuesday, Dec. 6, for a four-week run. The musical centers on socially anxious high school student Evan Hansen who tells a lie that earns him acceptance at a terrible price. Performances begin Tuesday, Dec. 6, at the James M. Nederlander Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., Chicago. For ages 12 and older. Masks recommended. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.
• Lucy Diamond presides over "A Magical Cirque Christmas," a show that incorporates performances by musicians, tumblers, jugglers, acrobats and aerialists. It runs Tuesday, Dec. 6, through Dec. 11 at the CIBC Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St., Chicago. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.
• David Robbins channels one of the great crooners in his show, "Johnny Mathis Christmas Tribute," Wednesday, Dec. 7, at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights. (847) 577-2121 or metropolisarts.com.
• "The Apple Tree," by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock ("Fiddler on the Roof," "She Loves Me"), is the next in Porchlight Music Theatre's Porchlight Revisits series showcasing rarely performed musicals. The show is comprised of three vignettes: "The Diary of Adam and Eve," a musical look at the world's first couple; a 1960s rock fable titled "The Lady or the Tiger?"; and the offbeat Cinderella tale "Passionella." Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7, and 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. (773) 777-9884 or porchlightmusictheatre.org.
• Performances begin Thursday, Dec. 8, for Beverly Arts Center's revival of "The Christmas Schooner," directed by David Zak, who directed the 1995 world premiere at Chicago's Bailiwick Arts Center. The musical by Julie Shannon and John Reeger tells the true story of the Great Lakes schooner captain who, during the late 19th century, made the treacherous journey from Michigan's Upper Peninsula to bring fir trees to Chicago's German immigrants for their Christmas celebration. Performances run through Dec. 11 at 2407 W. 111th St., Chicago. See thebeverlyartscenter.com.
• The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, welcomes back Olan Rogers, a standup comedian described as a "relentlessly unconventional storyteller." Rogers performs his show "Olan's Polar Express" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8. Masks encouraged. (773) 697-3830 or thedentheatre.com.
• Ensembles offering holiday fare for adults include the Christmas version of Hell in a Handbag's ongoing parody series "The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, The Obligatory Holiday Special." The show, by artistic director David Cerda, runs through Dec. 30 at The Hoover-Leppen Theatre at The Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., Chicago. See handbagproductions.org.
• PrideArts stages a very adult panto (a British style of theater inspired by commedia dell'arte) based on "Jack and the Beanstalk." PrideArts' "Jack off the Beanstalk" adds a Princess Jill and an ally fairy and includes songs made famous by Whitney Houston and Kelly Clarkson. The 18-and-older production runs through Dec. 18 at 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago. (773) 857-0222 or pridearts.org.
• Performances run through Dec. 31 for the adults-only "The Buttcracker: A Nutcracker Burlesque" at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. See the buttcrackerburlesque.com.
• Court Theatre resident artist and director Ron OJ Parson -- who is also a TimeLine Theatre company member -- received the 2022 Zelda Fichandler Award. Named for the founding artistic director of the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., the award from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation recognizes accomplished directors and choreographers who have demonstrated "singular creativity and deep investment in a particular community or region." Artistic Director Charles Newell commended Parson's impressive body of work at Victory Gardens, Steppenwolf, Goodman, Congo Square and Northlight theaters. "As a theater artist, no one is as 'quintessentially Chicago' as Ron," said Newell in a prepared statement. "I know I speak on behalf of the entire Court Theatre family when I say that we're most proud and honored to have Ron OJ as the resident artist."