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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016 12:12 am

The stages of fall

Autumn theater in central Illinois

Katie Deal and Jason Petty perform at Hoogland Center for the Arts on Sept. 11.
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder is at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis Sept. 13-25.


At the Hoogland Center for the Arts, classics abound. First though is A Letter to Heaven, an encore presentation of an original gospel play by local playwright Donna Jefferson about a cancer patient’s spiritual journey. Originally presented in 2007, it will run Sept. 16-18. Then the raucous musical favorite Once Upon a Mattress, the story of “The Princess and the Pea” takes the stage Oct. 14-23. After that, A Raisin in the Sun will be staged Nov. 4-13. It is the story of the African-American Younger family struggling against oppression, as resonant now as when it was first performed in 1959. Fall at the Hoogland ends with STC’s Crimes of the Heart, a dark comedy about three eccentric southern sisters, Nov. 11-20. 420 S. 6th St., Springfield. 523- 2787, www.hcfta.org

The Legacy Theatre will present Peter and the Starcatcher Sept. 16-Oct. 2. This Tony Award-winning play with music imagines the origins of Peter Pan and his introduction to Captain Hook. 101 E. Lawrence Ave., Springfield. 800-838-3006, www.atthelegacy.com

Dirty Dancing – the Classic Story on Stage is at Sangamon Auditorium Sept. 20-21.


Sangamon Auditorium
features a host of touring productions this fall. If you’re hoping to have the time of your life, Dirty Dancing – the Classic Story on Stage comes to town Sept. 20-21. Then on Sept. 28, Engarde Arts presents Basetrack Live, a piece of documentary theater about Marines serving in Afghanistan and their families, and on Oct. 9, you get a chance to see the Broadway hit Once, a captivating love story with actors playing their own instruments onstage. And on Nov. 22, children and adults alike have a chance to enjoy Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, based on an African folk tale. 206-6160. Sangamonauditorium.org

The UIS Theater department will present Macbeth Oct. 28-Nov. 6. Shakespeare’s fantastical, gory tragedy hits the stage just in time for Halloween, as well as the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death. 1 University Plaza, Springfield. 206-6160. www.uis.edu/theater

Illinois College in Jacksonville is staging a production of the darkly classic novel Frankenstein, published in 1818 by Mary Shelley and adapted by Aasne Daniels, assistant professor of theatre at IC. The novel and play tell the story of a young scientist named Victor Frankenstein who gives new life to a body composed of human remains, but he is horrified by his own grotesque creation. The story touches on identity and rejection, man's desire to beat death and the consequences of messing with nature. The Illinois College show runs Oct. 29 and Nov. 3-5. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. at 1101 W. College Ave. in Jacksonville. Call 245-3471 or email illinoiscollegeboxoffice@gmail.com. www.ic.edu/theatre

The Playhouse on the Square in Jacksonville will present Between Daylight and Boonville, about a group of women in a mining community in southern Indiana. Oct. 18-20, 25-27. 68 E. Central Park, Jacksonville. 491-3977, Playhouseonthesquare.net

The Fox Theatre, St. Louis. You’d be unwise to miss A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, an uproarious comedy that won the 2014 Tony for Best New Musical Sept. 13-25. Also catch the Broadway hit Fun Home (which also won five Tonys) Nov. 15-27 based on a graphic memoir about a uniquely dysfunctional family. 527 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis. 314-534-1111, www.fabulousfox.com

The Krannert Center in Urbana will present Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea Sept. 29- Oct. 14. The play is about a young African-American man who heads to the Atlantic Ocean to search for an ancestor lost during the middle passage. It was written by a U of I theater grad and has received critical acclaim all over the country. Also of note at the Krannert is Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play. After the collapse of civilization, characters sit around a campfire and recall an episode of “The Simpsons,” gradually morphing into a ritualized performance using dance and masks. Oct. 13-23. 500 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana. 333-6280, Krannertcenter.com

At The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, acclaimed playwright Dael Orlandersmith’s Until the Flood promises to be thought-provoking and timely. The theater commissioned Orlandersmith to write a play about the racial climate in the St. Louis area in and around the shooting in Ferguson. The show is a “mosaic of voices” captured in interviews that lets the audience hear many perspectives. Oct. 12-Nov. 6. 130 Edgar Rd., Webster Groves, Missouri. 314-968-4925, www.repstl.org

The Revenge of Prince Zi Dan (Hamlet) is at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater in Chicago Sept. 28-29.


If you can make a trip to Chicago, you should know that Chicago Shakespeare Theater will also be celebrating Shakespeare’s big 4-0-0. Check out their website for details on companies from all over the globe performing Shakespeare – A Hamlet from Shanghai, a Polish musical take on King Lear and, for the macabre, a UK company’s presentation of all the deaths in Shakespeare’s canon. 800 E. Grand Ave, Chicago. 312-595-5600, www.chicagoshakes.com

At the Steppenwolf Theatre, check out You’re Being Ridiculous, a show with a theme where real people tell stories about their lives, curated by Steppenwolf company members. Sept. 8-10.  Visiting Edna, a new play by David Rabe (Hurlyburly), directed by artistic director Anna D. Shapiro, promises to be interesting. A mother and her son work through their baffling relationship as she faces cancer. Sept. 15-Nov. 6. 1650 N. Halsted, Chicago. 312-335-1650, www.steppenwolf.org

Contact Ann Farrar at afarrar@illinoistimes.com.
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