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Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015 12:10 am

The stages of fall

ELF The Musical comes to Sangamon Auditorium Nov. 6-7.
PHOTO COURTESY SANGAMON AUDITORIUM

 

In an era where we are increasingly isolated by our technology, the ancient tradition of watching live theater still can unite hundreds of people in a shared visceral experience. And fall in Illinois is a great time to throw down a few bucks and support the performing arts in Illinois. The heat relents, the kids go back to school, the world calms down a bit. There is time for theater. From musicals to historical drama, community productions to professional, there are options in our area for all audiences.

Many people operate under the mistaken belief that they can’t afford the theater. To them we say, “Let us see your cable bill.” If your entertainment budget does not cover the cost of a ticket to a play, ask about volunteering in exchange for seeing the show. Most theaters will be happy to have help ushering or working backstage.

The final show of The Muni’s season is Cabaret. This racy musical is set in pre- World War II Germany at the Kit Kat Klub cabaret. Cliff Bradshaw, an American novelist, falls for the charismatic nightclub performer Sally Bowles as the exciting avant-garde world outside turns dark. Sept. 4-5, 10-12, 17-19. 815 E. Lake Drive, Springfield. Tickets 793-6864 or themuni.org.

Bullets Over Broadway hits the stage at Sangamon Auditorium Oct. 20.
PHOTO COURTESY SANGAMON AUDITORIUM

 

Many exciting shows will be passing through Sangamon Auditorium this fall. Bullets Over Broadway is the musical based on the hilarious Woody Allen movie about the negotiation between a playwright and a gangster in the mounting of a Broadway show in the 1920s. Oct. 20. Then there’s Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat, recommended for audiences 3 and up on Oct. 23. Rounding out the fall is ELF The Musical, the “endearingly goofy” tale of Buddy, a young orphan who accidentally gets transported to the North Pole in Santa’s bag. Nov. 6-7. Tickets 206-6160 or sangamonauditorium.org.

The theatre department at UIS will present The Importance of Being Earnest this fall at the UIS Studio Theatre. Oscar Wilde’s Earnest will delight those who love wordplay, mistaken identity and English accents. When Cecily and Gwendolyn both fall for Earnest, Algy and Jack, along with the unflappable Lady Bracknell, try to save face in high style. Oct. 30-Nov.1 and Nov. 5-7. 1 University Plaza, Springfield. Tickets at 206-6160, sangamonauditorium.org or in person at the UIS Ticket Office. For more information, go to www.uis.edu/theatre.

Jacksonville’s Playhouse on the Square presents Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas, a 1954 radio drama in which an omniscient narrator lets the audience in on the thoughts and dreams of the inhabitants of a Welsh fishing village. Sept. 18-20. After that comes Pearl’s Place, a new play by area favorite Ken Bradbury Oct. 2-4 and 9-11. Another radio play, The Battling Bickersons, stars artistic directors Rich and Laurie McCoy. Oct. 16-18. 68 East Central Park, Jacksonville. Tickets can be purchased in person at Our Town Books in Jacksonville or by calling 217-491-3977.

St. Louis’ Fox Theatre will have Matilda: the Musical, Oct. 21- Nov. 1.

 

Millikin University Department of Theatre and Dance will present acclaimed playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s Rough Magic. In it, characters from The Tempest are transported to modern day New York in this fantasy inspired by Shakespeare as well as X-Men. Sept. 30-Oct. 4. Albert Taylor Theater, 1184 West Main Street, Decatur. For tickets call 424-6318.

If you’re willing to make the trip to St. Louis, some big, raucous musicals and compelling historical drama await you there. The Fox Theatre will have Matilda: the Musical, the Tony award-winning stage version of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book. It runs Oct. 21- Nov. 1. Following that, Mamma Mia, the musical for ABBA lovers, makes a short appearance Nov. 6-8. 527 N. Grand Blvd, St. Louis. www.fabulousfox.com.

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis will present All The Way, the story of Lyndon Johnson’s maneuvers and manipulation in the White House to pass the Civil Rights Act. Sept. 9-Oct. 4. Angel Street (Gaslight) is a psychological thriller in which a husband schemes to make his wife doubt her own memories. Oct. 14-Nov. 8. 130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves. www.repstl.org or
314-968-4925.

And if you’re going to make a weekend of it, Chicago theater will make it worth your while. Several plays promise to be particularly interesting. Profiles Theatre is presenting Beth Henley’s darkly humorous and suspenseful The Jacksonian Aug. 27-Oct.11. 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago. www.profilestheatre.org. At The Goodman Theatre, Pulitzer Prize-winning Disgraced is the story of a Muslim-American man and his wife and a night of explosive conversations about race and identity. Sept. 12-Oct. 18. Feathers and Teeth features a 13-year-old girl who thinks her stepmom is a demon. Turns out she’s right. This dysfunctional family drama promises to be both eerie and funny. Sept 29-Oct. 18. 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. www.goodmantheatre.org. At Steppenwolf Theatre Company Frank Galati’s adaptation of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden is on stage Sept. 17-Nov. 15. 1650 N. Halsted, Chicago. www.steppenwolf.com. Theater Wit will stage The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, a Pulitzer finalist that incorporates time travel, the history of communication and love. Sept. 17-30. 1229 W. Belmont, Chicago.www.theaterwit.org.

Contact Ann Farrar at afarrar@illinoistimes.com.

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