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Chicago theater season brings out the big names

George (JasDanieley) Dot (Carmen Cusack) share moment Stephen Sondheim James Lapine’s musical 'Sunday Park with George' Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater.

George (Jason Danieley) and Dot (Carmen Cusack) share a moment in Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s musical "Sunday in the Park with George" at Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater. | Photo by Liz Lauren

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Updated: November 5, 2012 4:02PM



The Mormons are coming.

It’s finally here: the long-awaited Chicago debut of the Tony-award winning play, “The Book of Mormon.” It opens at the Bank of America Theatre Dec. 11 and runs through June 2, 2013.

It’s the hottest ticket in town and sure to sell out night after night. If you can’t get tickets to “The Book of Mormon,” (or you simply aren’t interested) there are plenty of other theater options to keep you entertained in the next few months.

Bank of America Theatre

18 W. Monroe St., Chicago

(312) 977-1700

Broadwayinchicago.com

Winner of nine 2011 Tony Awards and hailed as “the best musical of this century” by the New York Times, “The Book of Mormon” is the Broadway phenomenon from “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and “Avenue Q” co-creator Robert Lopez.

A no-holds-barred, bitingly funny look at religion that is sure to offend pretty much everyone,

“The Book of Mormon” is about two fresh-faced Mormon men who are clearly out of their element on a mission trip to Africa.

Before “The Book of Mormon” takes the stage, Grammy-award winning pop singer Cyndi Lauper’s musical “Kinky Boots” steps out. It’s the world premier of the musical by Lauper and four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein, with direction and choreography by Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell.

“Kinky Boots” is the story of Charlie Price, a guy trying to save the family’s shoe factory. He gets help and inspiration from Lola, an entertainer with a big personality. The play runs through Nov. 2.

Cadillac Palace Theatre

151 W. Randolph St., Chicago

(312) 977-1700

Broadwayinchicago.com

Instead of seeing the movie, see the play that inspired it. Cameron Mackintosh presents a new 25th anniversary production of Boublil and Schönberg’s legendary musical, “Les Miserables.” It runs Nov. 4 to Dec. 2 with new staging and re-imagined scenery inspired by the novel by Victor Hugo.

Based on Hugo’s classic novel, “Les Miserables” is the epic story of ex-convict, Jean Valjean. The musical includes such songs as “I Dreamed a Dream,” “On My Own,” “Do You Hear the People Sing?,” “One Day More” and “Master of the House.”

Moving into the Christmas season, “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical” runs from Dec. 5 to 16 featuring songs like “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas.” Narrated by Max the dog, it’s a musical for the whole family.

The New Year begins with the period drama “War Horse” running from Dec. 18 to Jan. 5. Set in World War I-era England, it’s the story of a boy’s search for the horse that was sold into the cavalry.

Tony Award nominee Cathy Rigby takes flight in an all new production “Peter Pan” running Jan. 30 to Feb. 10.

The musical “Jekyll and Hyde” has a pre-Broadway run from March 12 to 24, starring “American Idol” contestant Constantine Maroulis and R&B singer Deborah Cox.

“Catch Me if You Can” heats up the spring April 2 to 14. Based on the Dreamworks movie of the same name and the incredible true story that inspired it, “Catch Me if You Can” is the new Broadway musical that tells the story of Frank W. Abagnale, Jr., a teenager who runs away from home and successfully poses as a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer; all while trying to outrun and outsmart the FBI.

Featuring the music of Green Day, “American Idiot” runs April 16 to 23; and the Cole Porter classic “Anything Goes” sets sail April 23 to May 5.

Auditorium Theatre

50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago

(312) 977-1700

Broadwayinchicago.com

Opening Nov. 13 and running until Dec. 2 is the Broadway smash musical “Sister Act,” the story of a wayward woman who witnesses a crime and is hid by the cops in a convent. In turn, she puts a new song in the church and brings in new parishioners by the flock.

The Joffrey Ballet performs “Human Landscapes” Oct. 17 to 28, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet performs “Moulin Rouge: The Ballet” Nov. 2 to 4 and “A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor” is Nov. 10.

The Joffrey Ballet performs the annual holiday classic “The Nutcracker” Dec. 7 to 27; followed by “Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah” Jan. 19 and 20.

The Joffrey Ballet brings “American Legends” to the stage Feb. 13 to 24; and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs March 8 to 17.

“Priscilla Queen of the Desert” is the uplifting story of three friends on the road trip of a lifetime in the Australian outback, featuring songs like “It’s Raining Men,” “Finally” and “I Will Survive.” It runs March 19 to 31.

The Joffrey Ballet performs “Othello” April 24 to May 5, and the Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg does “Rodin” May 17 to 19.

Broadway Playhouse

175 E. Chestnut Ave., Chicago

(312) 977-1700

Broadwayinchicago.com

“I Love Lucy” runs through Nov. 11. It’s the new musical based on the TV show, and it makes theater-goers members of the studio audience during a taping of “I Love Lucy.” In between scenes, the Crystaltone Singers perform live advertising jingles.

If you are missing Harry, Ron and Hermione, check out “Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience — A Parody” running Nov. 13 to Dec. 16.

Written and performed by former BBC Television hosts Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, “Potted Potter” tasks itself with condensing all seven books into 70 magic minutes. The audience even gets to participate in a form of Quidditch.

Children (and their grown-up companions) will love to see a servant girl become the belle of the ball with “Cinderella” Nov. 23 to Jan. 6.

Chicago Theatre

175 North State St., Chicago

(312) 977-1700

Broadwayinchicago.com

Several musicians and comedians will be pulling into the Chicago Theatre in the upcoming months. From The Monkees to the Fresh Beat Band to Craig Ferguson, there is something for every musical taste.

Shows include: Regina Spektor, Oct. 17; Trey Anastasio, Oct. 19; Brandi Carlile, Oct. 20; The Fresh Beat Band Live In Concert (two shows), Oct. 21; The Legend Of Zelda: Symphony Of The Goddesses, Oct. 25; Jackson Browne, Oct. 26; Morrissey, Oct. 27; Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson plays Thick As A Brick 1 & 2, Nov. 2; Melissa Etheridge, Nov. 10; Craig Ferguson, Nov. 15; The Monkees, Nov. 16; Lewis Black, Nov. 17; Chris Isaak, Nov. 24; Ray LaMontagne, Nov. 30; 93XRT Big Holiday Concert, Dec. 1; Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Show 2012, Dec. 8; Straight No Chaser, Dec. 9; Trailer Park Boys, Dec. 15; Martina McBride, Dec. 21; and Joe Bonamassa, May 1.

Ford Center for
the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre

24 W. Randolph St., Chicago

(312) 986-6863

Broadwayinchicago.com

The new musical “Big Fish” will get its world premiere in Chicago April 2 to May 5. Based on the novel by Daniel Wallace and the 2003 film, “Big Fish” is about a man whose impossible stories of his epic adventures frustrate his son.

Just in time for a summer fling, one of the greatest love stories of all time comes to the stage. “West Side Story” shows from June 11 to 16. With the original music and choreography recreated for this tour, the show contains the classic Broadway songs “Tonight,” “America,” “I Feel Pretty” and “Somewhere.”

Chicago Shakespeare Theater

800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago

(312) 595-5600

Chicagoshakes.com

The new season kicked off with a new production of “Sunday in the Park With George,” with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine and direction by Gary Griffin. It runs through Nov. 4.

The National Theatre of Scotland’s “The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart” runs through Oct. 28; while “Black Watch” is performed through Oct. 21.

“The School For Lies” runs Dec. 4 to Jan. 20, “Julius Caesar” runs Feb. 5 to March 24 and Short Shakespeare! presents a family-friendly, 75-minute abridged version of “Romeo and Juliet” Feb. 23 to March 23.

The season concludes with the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre going where it hasn’t gone before: its first production of “Henry VIII” April 30 to June 16. This is the story of England’s most notorious king, known for his six marriages and public beheadings, as well as the political machinations and sexual exploits of Anne Boleyn.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company

758 W. North Ave., Chicago

(312) 335-1650

Steppenwolf.org

With its new season, themed “The Reckoning,” the Steppenwolf dares to ask what happens when the past comes knocking. Five stories will examine that question.

From Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lindsay-Abaire, “Good People” runs through Nov. 11. It’s the story of a woman who tries to get a job from a former flame and runs into repercussions.

“The Motherf—ker With the Hat” runs Dec. 28 to March 3, directed by ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro, who directed the Broadway premiere. Actor Jimmy Smits stars.

The dark comedy “The Birthday Party,” by Nobel laureate Harold Pinter runs Jan. 24 to May 19, starring Emmy- and Tony Award winner John Mahoney.

“Head of Passes,” written and directed by ensemble members Tarell Alvin McCraney and Tina Landau respectively, premiers April 4 to June 9.

The season rounds out with “Belleville,” about two American expats living in the hip neighborhood of Belleville, Paris. Written by Amy Herzog, this psychological thriller runs June 27 to Aug. 25.

The Goodman Theater

170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago

(312) 443-3800

Goodmantheatre.org

The 2012-13 season at the Goodman Theatre is going to be a hot one.

In the Albert Theater, Academy Award nominee Diane Lane and Broadway’s Finn Wittrock star in Tennessee Williams’ play “Sweet Bird of Youth” through Oct. 28.

Called “the best new play on Broadway” by The New York Times, “Other Desert Cities” is the story of a woman whose tell-all memoir threatens to destroy her family. It runs Jan. 12 to Feb. 17.

Then, Shakespeare’s lurid comedy “Measure for Measure” runs March 9 to April 14.

“By the Way, Meet Vera Stark” (April 27 to June 2) examines the life of Vera Stark, a black actress who began a Hollywood career in the 1930s.

“The Jungle Book” is based on Rudyard Kipling’s children’s tales and featuring music from the classic Disney film. This world premiere is adapted by Tony Award winner May Zimmerman and runs June 22 to July 28.

Over in the Owen Theatre, new works from three groundbreaking playwrights will be featured. Pulitzer Prize finalist Dael Orlandersmith’s “Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men” runs through Oct. 28, and Pulitzer Prize finalist Christopher Shinn’s “Teddy Ferrara” runs Feb. 2 to March 3. Finally, 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner and Tony award nominee Quiara Alegría Hudes’ “The Happiest Song Plays Last” runs April 13 to May 12.



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