Fall on stage
The Midwest is rife with simmering discontent and sweet poppy distractions all at the same time. Connections are missed and women have had it with the patriarchy. I’m talking about fall theater offerings, of course.
Here in Springfield, there are some shady characters at the Hoogland Center for the Arts. If your kids are fans of the classics, check out Fairy Tale Courtroom Sept 8-10. In this spoof, the Big Bad Wolf and the Wicked Witch are on trial and the audience is the jury. Then on Oct. 6-8 and 12-14, grownups will get their turn for intrigue with Time Stands Still. This play, by Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies about a photojournalist injured in Iraq, asks complicated questions about pain and our attention to it. Hcfta.org. 523-2787.
On Oct. 20 and 21, catch Jersey Boys at Sangamon Auditorium. Four Seasons fans will love this Broadway musical featuring pop songs like “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Oh What a Night.” Then Motown the Musical arrives Nov. 29 and 30. This energetic show also features oldies hits – this time from Detroit- by artists ranging from Diana Ross to Teena Marie and Rick James. Sangamonauditiorium.org. 206-6160.
At UIS, audiences will get a chance to see Machinal, the 1920s expressionist play by Sophie Treadwell. In it, “the Young Woman” navigates work, capitalism, and women’s changing roles as a dehumanized society rises up around her. Oct. 27-29 and Nov. 2-4. www.uis.edu. 206-6160.
At that other U of I campus, the one in Urbana, Illinois Theatre will present All the King’s Men Sep. 28- Oct. 8. This production of the 1930s political drama has a twist: an all-female cast. Then, Travesties, Tom Stoppard’s imagining of a meeting of the minds of Lenin, Joyce and the artist Tristan Tzara, promises to be a “supremely literate comedy.” Oct. 19-29. In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play comes next – a story of an innovative 19th-century physician who invents a device to treat his female patients’ “hysteria” while ignoring the unease in his own home. Oct. 26- Nov. 5. Krannertcenter.com. 333-6280.
In Jacksonville, Illinois College TheatreWorks will stage Middletown by Will Eno, Oct. 28 and Nov. 2-4. In this witty examination of small-town life, inspired by Our Town, tourists, librarians and cops deftly and succinctly articulate the beauty and despair in the minutiae of small-town life and ponder our connections to each other. https://theatreworks.ticketleap.com. 245-3471.
Oct. 3-15, The Bodyguard the Musical will come to the fabulous Fox Theater in St. Louis. This new musical is being called a “romantic thriller” and features Grammy winner Deborah Cox in the role made famous in the namesake film by the late great Whitney Houston. Another 1980s pop icon will be celebrated in On Your Feet, the Emilio and Gloria Estefan Broadway Musical from Nov. 7-19. Be careful. The rhythm very well might get you. www.fabulousfox.com.
At the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, take in 2015 Tony Award-winner for best play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Sep. 6-Oct. 1), or watch everybody’s favorite navel gazer, Hamlet, “hover in limbo between retribution and madness”(Oct. 11- Nov. 5). Also, book tickets now for Heisenberg Oct. 25- Nov. 12 at the Rep’s Emerson Studio Theater. Not to be confused with Walter White’s alter ego, Heisenberg is about Georgie, a young woman who plants a kiss on an older stranger in a London train station. Electricity ensues. Repstl.org. 314-968-4925.
At the Steppenwolf in Chicago, there’s The Rembrandt, a new play in which a museum guard touches a Rembrandt painting and takes off on an odyssey through the ages. Sept. 7-16. A new offering from ensemble member Tracy Letts (of August: Osage County fame), The Minutes is another scathing look at small-town politics, which will move to Broadway in the spring. Nov. 9- Dec. 31. Steppenwolf.org. 312-335-1650.
At the Goodman Theatre, Ivo van Hove’s acclaimed adaptation of Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge is not to be missed. Its themes of alienation, immigration and mistrust are more relevant now than ever. Sep. 9-Oct. 15. Goodmantheatre.org. 312-443-3800.
If you were psyched that #neverthelessshepersisted, head to Chicago Shakespeare Theater for The Taming of the Shrew. Writer and Second City company member Ron West has added additional text, imagining Shakespeare’s battle of the sexes as a performance by a group of suffragettes in 1919. Sep. 16-Nov. 12. Chicagoshakes.com, 312-595-5600.
Then there’s this little sleeper hit called Hamilton. The story of our ten-dollar founding father and his role in the creation of our country, told in rap battles and contemporary dance with a multicultural cast, is nothing less than a phenomenon. Its reputation is deserved. Though tickets are upwards of $200, if you have a trip to Chicago planned and your schedule is flexible, there is a lottery you can enter online for $10 tickets, 44 of which are released each day. Couldn’t hurt. https://lottery.broadwaydirect.com/show/hamilton-chicago or for regular tickets, go to ticketmaster.com.
Contact Ann Farrar at email@example.com.