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Chicago theater offers variety in 2012

'The Book Mormon' shown here from an excerpt performed 65th Tony Awards is highlight 2012 Chicago theater calendar. The show

"The Book of Mormon," shown here from an excerpt performed on the 65th Tony Awards, is a highlight of the 2012 Chicago theater calendar. The show will be at the Bank of America Theatre starting in December.

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Updated: January 16, 2012 3:46PM



This might be the single most exciting year to be a theater buff in Chicago.

“The Book of Mormon,” one of the most talked-about, award-winning plays in the history of Broadway shows, is coming to the Bank of America Theatre in a mere 11 months.

Then there’s “American Idiot,” the musical based on the Green Day album, coming to the Oriental Theatre in February; and “Bring it On: The Musical” gracing the Cadillac Palace Theatre in March.

Then there’s the return of “Jersey Boys,” plus classics like “Mamma Mia,” “South Pacific” and the perennial “Cats.” And if you still haven’t seen Blue Man Group at the Briar Street Theatre, what are you waiting for?

So get your tickets early, book a sitter and get ready for some great entertainment — here’s a rundown of Chicago’s theater scene in 2012.

BANK OF AMERICA THEATRE

18 W. Monroe St., Chicago

(312) 977-1700

Broadwayinchicago.com

Tickets will soon be available for what Entertainment Weekly describes as “the funniest musical of all time,” “The Book of Mormon.”

From Matt Parker and Trey Stone, the minds that brought you “South Park,” comes a scathing, no-holds-barred, bitingly funny look at religion that is sure to offend pretty much everyone.

“The Book of Mormon,” about two fresh-faced Mormon lads clearly out of their element in Africa, comes to Chicago Dec. 11.

In addition to that, back for another round is the 2006 Tony-award winner for Best Musical, “Jersey Boys.”

Seen worldwide by more than 13 million people, “Jersey Boys” is the Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning Best Musical and runs April 5 to June 2.

“Jersey Boys” is the story of how a group of blue-collar lads from Newark became one of the biggest American pop music sensations of all time — Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The show includes hits such as: “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “Oh What a Night,” “My Eyes Adored You” and more.

Before that happens, the tribute to Frank Sinatra, “Come Fly Away” is playing through Jan. 22.

“Come Fly Away” pairs the music of Sinatra with choreography from Tony-award winner Twyla Tharp. It tells the story of four couples falling in and out of love through song and dance.

CADILLAC PALACE THEATRE

151 W. Randolph St., Chicago

(312) 977-1700

Broadwayinchicago.com

Set in the world of high school competitive cheerleading, “Bring it On: The Musical” runs March 6 through 25.

The play — inspired by the 2000 Kirsten Dunst film — is a musical comedy about school rivalries, friendships and being yourself, even if you don’t feel like you fit in.

Plus, there are lots and lots of choreographed dancing, gymnastics and cheerleading routines.

Other shows at the Cadillac Palace include:

“South Pacific,” Feb. 14-26.

“Cats,” May 1-6.

AUDITORIUM THEATRE

50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago

(312) 977-1700

Broadwayinchicago.com

The Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University is alive with ballet this spring, from the State Ballet Theatre of Russia’s production of “Romeo and Juliet” to “Giselle” by the American Ballet Theatre.

There’s also traditional American music in the form of blues and bluegrass, and jazz in the form of a celebration of the music of Ella Fitzgerald.

Here’s what coming up at the Auditorium Theatre:

Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Festival, Jan. 21

The State Ballet Theatre of Russia’s “Romeo and Juliet,” Jan. 28-29

Cultures of China “Festival of Spring,” Feb. 5

Joffrey Ballet: “On the Threshold,” Feb. 15-26

Batsheva Dance Company, March 17-18

American Ballet Theatre’s “Giselle,” March 22-25

“Through Ella’s Eyes — A 95th Birthday Celebration,” March 31

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, April 11-15.

Andrew Bird, May 12

Joffrey Ballet: “Spring Desire,” April 25-May 6

BROADWAY PLAYHOUSE

175 E. Chestnut Ave., Chicago

(312) 977-1700

Broadwayinchicago.com

“Pinkalicious: The Musical” runs through May 27 here at the Broadway Playhouse.

It’s the perfect introduction to the theater world for cupcake lovers ages 3 and over, as the main character, Pinkalicious, gets a serious case of “pinkitis” from eating too many delicious pink cupcakes.

When she turns pink from head to toe, she has to turn to her broccoli-eating little brother for help.

Chicago’s Emerald City Theatre produced this musical, based on the popular books by Elizabeth and Victoria Kann.

CHICAGO THEATRE

175 North State St., Chicago

(312) 977-1700

Broadwayinchicago.com

This theater is all about the music and the laughter this spring, with outrageous funnywoman Kathy Griffin lighting up the stage Jan. 20 and 21.

Known for her acerbic wit and riffs on pop culture, Griffin is a staple on the E! network and red carpet events. She brings her “Life on the D-List” to Chicago for two shows.

Other shows at the Chicago Theatre include:

Joe Rogan, Jan. 27

David Garret, Jan. 28

Lenny Kravitz, Jan. 31

Barry Manilow, Feb. 4

Peter Frampton, Feb. 25

Creed, April 13-14

Yanni, May 2

FORD CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, ORIENTAL THEATRE

24 W. Randolph St., Chicago

(312) 986-6863

Broadwayinchicago.com

“American Idiot” ran for a year on Broadway, closing in April 2011 after 422 performances, two Tony awards (Best Lighting Design, Best Scenic Design), and a Tony nomination for Best Musical. The national tour started last month, and comes to Chicago’s Oriental Theatre Feb. 7 through 19.

“American Idiot” is based on the punk-rock band Green Day’s conceptual album of the same title. It tells the story of three lifelong friends who decide to leave the safety of suburbia for the lights and excitement of the Big City, only things don’t work out exactly as they’d hoped. Impending fatherhood, war, drugs and alcohol and heartbreak throw up major roadblocks, and the question remains — will the friends find their way back together?

The musical is almost entirely performed in song, and features the hits “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “21 Guns,” “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” “Holiday,” “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” and the title track.

“Mamma Mia,” the show that celebrates one of Sweden’s finest imports, ABBA, runs Jan. 24 through 29. The feel-good show about love and friendship features classic songs such as “Dancing Queen” and “Take a Chance on Me.”

Other shows at the Oriental Theatre this spring include:

“Riverdance,” March 13-18

“Fela!,” March 27-April 8

CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER

800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago

(312) 595-5600

Chicagoshakes.com

Love is in the air this spring, as the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier stages what is arguably The Bard’s most popular comedy, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Feb. 7 to April 8. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is the story of four mismatched lovers and a band of hapless actors who cross paths with the king and queen of the fairies, who have problems of their own. Added to the mix is some cross-dressing and mistaken identity, and a nefarious scheme or two. At the play’s heart is simply the magic of falling in love.

Other plays this spring at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater include:

“Elizabeth Rex,” Through Jan. 22

“The Feast: an Intimate Tempest,” Jan. 18-March 4

“Witches, Wizards, Spells and Elves: The Magic of Shakespeare,” Jan. 21-22

“Long Gone Lonesome,” Feb. 2-4

“Short Shakespeare! The Taming of the Shrew,” Feb. 27-April 7

“Timon of Athens,” April 24-June 12

STEPPENWOLF THEATRE COMPANY

758 W. North Ave., Chicago

(312) 335-1650

Steppenwolf.org

Steppenwolf’s artistic director, Martha Lavey, announced last year that its 36th season would feature five plays that explore the way everyday lives are touched by war. The five thought-provoking stories are about winning, losing and picking up the pieces and coming home.

The four remaining plays in this series include:

“Penelope,” Through Feb. 5

“Time Stands Still,” Jan. 19-May 13

“The March,” April 5-June 10

“Three Sisters,” June 28-Aug. 26

GOODMAN THEATRE

170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago

(312) 443-3800

Goodmantheatre.org

Two legends in the theater world come to Chicago in “The Iceman Cometh,” April 21 through June 10.

Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy star in Eugene O’Neill’s tour de force about a saloon and its ragtag group of drunks and dreamers, who wait for the charismatic traveling salesman Theodore “Hickey” Hickman arrive and liven things up.

When it turns out that Hickey’s on the wagon and wants to fix his old friend, a strange brew of heartbreak and hilarity ensue.

Other plays at the Goodman include:

“Race,” Through Feb. 19

“The Convert,” Feb. 25-March 25

“Camino Real,” March 3-April 8

“Fish Men,” April 7-May 6

“Crowns,” June 30-Aug. 5



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