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Times haven't been this good for audio plays since before the advent of television. Less complicated and costly to create than Zoom or filmed works, they range from comedies and dramas to musicals and mysteries. Many have short runs but some are podcasts posted long-term. Here are a handful …

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The title character in Tim Crouch's “I, Cinna (the poet)” has a severe case of writer's block. Even as he invites us to compose a poem along with him, the man torn apart by the mob in Shakespeare's “Julius Caesar” after being mistaken for a namesake conspirator questions the purpose of the p…

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Before the pandemic, Theatre in the Dark was starting to make a name for itself with a novel concept. The company's first show, the noir mystery-thriller “Three Stories Up,” was performed completely in the dark. Literally “noir,” it featured two actors playing multiple characters and live Fo…

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In his program letter for Northlight Theatre's presentation of Marin Theatre Company and Round House Theatre's digital world premiere of “The Catastrophist,” artistic director B.J. Jones says he once asked playwright Lauren Gunderson, “How do artists respond to this astonishing pause in our …

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The timing couldn't have been better for the release of “Duchess! Duchess! Duchess!” as part of the Steppenwolf NOW Virtual Stage if the theater had planned it. Coming just a few days after Oprah Winfrey's interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on CBS, Vivian J.O. Barnes' 35-minute pl…

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Back in the before times, when I first learned that Court Theatre was planning a site-specific production of “An Iliad” at the Oriental Institute to celebrate both that institution's centennial and artistic director Charles Newell's 25th anniversary at the theater, I was thrilled.

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Definition Theatre is poised for an important role in the community. The company is showcasing Amplify, its new play commissioning program, with a series of filmed scenes Feb. 24 and 25, and is also preparing to break ground on its brand-new home in Woodlawn.

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When I heard that Interrobang Theatre Project was continuing its eleventh season with a reprise of Canadian actor and playwright Daniel MacIvor's punningly titled “Here Lies Henry,” which had been shut down in March 2020 by COVID-19, I was delighted. I hadn't seen the live show, itself a rev…

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Artemisia Theatre recently launched an ambitious virtual season that includes two Zoom world premieres by Lauren Ferebee, this year's resident playwright, and eight audio plays on the theater's We Women podcast. Video discussions will follow the two productions streaming on YouTube, while bi…

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Court Theatre is revising its season once again. August Wilson's “Two Trains Running” has been postponed indefinitely. Owen McCafferty’s “Titanic (Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry, 1912),” directed by Vanessa Stalling, is being pushed back to late April, and “Othello,” ad…

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Technical wizardry matches the magician's artistry in “The Journey,” illusionist and mentalist Scott Silven's 55-minute trip into the landscape of his rural Scottish homeland and our minds, which is being livestreamed for a limited run as part of Chicago Shakespeare Theater's World's Stage series.

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Ah, for the Dog Days of summer! I get why they call it that: I’m a dog living right on the edge of Nichols Park, and last summer I had the time of my life.

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About Face Theatre is kicking off its 25th season with “Kickback,” an online compilation of short plays and performance pieces about Black LGBTQ+ experiences commissioned by the theater and inspired by the Rebuild Foundation's collections at the Stony Island Arts Bank.

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Hyde Park students snagged two of the three top spots in Pegasus Theatre's 34th annual Young Playwrights Festival. Seventeen-year-old Aisha Ziad, a senior at University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, won for “A Lady’s Facade,” while 18-year-old Jake Florell, who just graduated from Kenwood A…

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Everybody knows “A Christmas Carol,” the 1843 novella by Charles Dickens that has become an iconic stage and screen holiday special. Far fewer people are familiar with “The Chimes,” the story he published the following year (and the second in an eventual series of five Christmas books).

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Court Theatre and the University of Chicago's Experimental Performance Initiative joined forces with the West Coast-based collective For You for an innovative project that culminates with a virtual celebration on December 10.

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The show must go on—even if “on” means “online” this holiday season. The possibilities range from variations on “A Christmas Carol” to classics in-the-making. While some are filmed versions of previous live productions, others have been created specifically for the internet. Several even are…

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Porchlight Music Theatre's “New Faces Sing Broadway 1987” kicks off the sixth season of the savvy revue series, but this is the first time it has made sense for me to cover it. That's because in the past each edition — highlighting Broadway openings in a single year — had only two performanc…

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It's impossible to imagine Interrobang Theatre Project's “The Spin” anywhere else than on the internet. That's because Spenser Davis' savvy satire, commissioned by the company, consists almost entirely of a Zoom meeting, preceded by a filmed ad played for the participants and punctuated by a…

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I don't really like scary stories. Poe is included in this Halloween mix of two virtual plays and two radio broadcasts because it seemed remiss to exclude him, but my preference is for the sci-fi.

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Just in time for the momentous 2020 presidential election, the Neo-Futurists have commissioned “45 Plays for America's First Ladies.” A companion piece of sorts to its earlier “43 Plays for 43 Presidents” — originally produced in 2004 and remounted in 2012 as “44 Plays for 44 Presidents” — t…

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British playwright Titas Halder's 2017 “Run the Beast Down” belongs to a long line of stories about privileged young men who suffer psychological meltdowns because of professional or personal problems—often of their own making—but Strawdog Theatre Company deserves credit for recognizing the …

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In the fall of 2019, when Remy Bumppo Theatre Company was putting together its 2020-2021 season, the plan was to offer an escape from what promised to be divisive election proceedings by opening with a raucous dark comedy by Martin McDonagh.

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The International Voices Project (IVP) started a decade ago with the goal of bringing world theater to Chicago, but the shift to an online format because of the Covid-19 pandemic has made founder and executive director Patrizia Acerra see its potential to bring Chicago theater to the world.

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At a time marked by racial strife and deep-seated social and economic inequity, one theatrical work paints a picture of the struggles and successes of Black people in the United States. 

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When Kelvin Roston, Jr. moved from St. Louis to Chicago to further his acting career in the spring of 2008, he rented a Hyde Park apartment with his then-wife and infant son and expected to spend the rest of the year auditioning to line up roles for 2009, although he had a day job as a pirat…

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Before the pandemic, Goodman Theatre planned to offer three live performances of “Stateville Voices,” one each at the theater, Kennedy-King College, and Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, IL where the 21 short plays were written by the incarcerated men who were students in a Sprin…

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No one who saw the world premiere of Manual Cinema's “Frankenstein” at Court Theatre in late 2018 will forget the unique blend of shadow puppetry, 3D puppetry, actors, old-fashioned cinematic techniques, sound design, and live music that brought both Mary Shelley's novel and parts of her bio…

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Steppenwolf Theatre Company had an ambitious 45th-anniversary season planned for 2020-2021 with six main stage productions, the opening of a brand-new, in-the-round theater, and lots of other activities, but the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying uncertainty have changed much of that.

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When I got the press release about Court Theatre's latest plan to engage audiences, I thought it might be a joke. Called “The Liminal Space,” the project is a 24-hour live video feed of the stage of the Abelson Auditorium as it was in mid-March right after Ibsen's “The Lady from the Sea” was…

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While theaters and theater artists have been coming up with all sorts of inventive programs to connect with each other and audiences on the internet, a key element has mostly been missing: live theater.

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The Chicago theater movement that has grown to more than 250 companies and garnered international recognition really started in Hyde Park, according to Mark Larson's recently published “Ensemble: An Oral History of Chicago Theater”.

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Court Theatre is revising its schedule again since we last reported on it (April 10, 2020), and the theater is brainstorming about options, among them outdoor performances, digital courses surrounding classic titles, and virtual possibilities. An announcement about programming is expected ne…