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,” adapted and directed by Charles Newell with associate director Gabrielle Randle-Bent, is now slated for July. These will offer limited in-person attendance, public health conditions permitting, but digital versions will be available to stream for patrons who do not yet wish to go to the theater.
Two exciting virtual productions are on tap for winter and early spring. The free Chicago premiere of “Theatre for One: Here We Are,” Feb. 18-March 14, includes eight micro-plays, all by women of color. Each is designed to bring together one actor and one audience member for a live digital theatrical experience that speaks to our times.
Creator and artistic director Christine Jones and co-artistic director Jenny Koons are responsible for the program, a New York hit commissioned by Arts Brookfield. The plays, which will showcase local actors, are “Before America Was America” by Delanna Studi, “Here We Are” by Nikkole Salter, “What Are The Things I Need To Remember” by Lynn Nottage, “whiterly negotiations” by Lydia R. Diamond, “Vote! (the black album)” by Regina Taylor, “Pandemic Fight” by Carmelita Tropicana, “Thank You For Coming. Take Care.” by Stacey Rose and “Thank You Letter” by Jaclyn Backhaus.
Finally, one of Court's greatest hits, “An Iliad” by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare, directed by Charles Newell, is returning March 3-31 in an on-demand stream of the site-specific production at the Oriental Institute, which was shut down by the pandemic last year. If you didn't see Timothy Edward Kane's stunning performance in this version or the two that preceded it at Court — or even if you did — this is a not-to-be-missed reminder of the power of classic theater.
For tickets or more information, call the Court Theatre Box Office at (773) 753-4472, or visit courttheatre.org.
And now for something completely different. Here are some virtual shows that are being shown only once (for the most part) in the next couple of weeks:
The live virtual reading of Martin Yousif Zebari's “Layalina” kicks off “Future Labs,” Goodman's latest effort to develop new plays written and directed by artists of color. Directed by Azar Kazemi, it examines how families maintain their love in the midst of turbulent global and social change.
“Layalina,” Goodman Theatre. Free, but registration required. goodmantheatre.org/layalina
The 15-Minute Hamlet (or Dogg's Hamlet)
Leave it to Tom Stoppard to race through what may be Shakespeare's longest play in about as much time as you can say “To be or not to be.” Bryan Wakefield directs an ensemble featuring August Forman as the forlorn prince. Artistic director Barbara Zahora plays his ill-fated mother — and announces the theater's 2021 season after the show.
“The 15-Minute Hamlet (or Dogg's Hamlet),” Oak Park Festival Theatre. $15. oakparkfestival.com
American Dinner and Just So Typically Me
AstonRep's 12th annual Writer's Series devoted to emerging authors brings together Zoom readings of works by Maggie Antonijevic on Jan. 30 and Troy Loftin on Jan. 31. Antonijevic's “American Dinner,” directed by Sean William Kelly, looks at a mixed-race, mixed-culture family over a weekend in 2016, the one-year anniversary of the patriarch’s death. Secrets are revealed, exposing the consequences of lies told to youth and shattering ideals in the post-Obama America facing the election of Donald Trump as president. In case you hadn't guessed, it's a parable of sorts.
Loftin's “Just So Typically Me,” directed by Dana Anderson, is about a pop star named Jessie Sparks, who had a meltdown but is shooting for a comeback with a residency in Atlantic City. Only problem: She doesn't want to go on stage, despite the efforts of her mother and manager to coax her.
AstonRep Theatre Company. Discussions follow both performances. Free. astonrep.com
Such Small Hands
The incomparable Francis Guinan and Rondi Reed star in the livestream of Adam Szymkowicz's play about a long-married couple grappling with aging, love, selfishness and selflessness. The husband, Paul, senses his illness progressing and doesn't want to let it go too far, while his wife, Marie, implores him to keep fighting. B.J. Jones directs; there's a post-show Q&A with the playwright and director, and a performance recording will be available through Feb. 4.
“Such Small Hands,” Northlight Theatre. Free, but donations suggested and registration required. northlight.org/events/interplay-suchsmallhands
Shut Up Kiss Me
The world premiere of Sophia Zinger's “Shut Up Kiss Me” is part of PrideArts’ ongoing series of one-night digital performances. Inspired by Diana Son's “Stop Kiss” and directed by Hannah Ottenfeld, the play is about the budding relationship between two millennial/Gen Z women in the aftermath of their first date.
“Shut Up Kiss Me,” PrideArts. $10. pridearts.org or 773-857-0222.
The second Zoom installment of “The Garage,” American Blues' new monthly music series, “Valentunes” showcases ensemble members and artistic affiliates singing their favorite love songs.
Performers include Audrey Billings, Matthew Brumlow, Dara Cameron, Austin Cook, Ian Custer, Cisco Lopez, Michael Mahler, Camille Robinson, Denzel Tsopnang, Zachary Stevenson and Adrienne Walker. Stick around after the concert to meet the artists.
“Valentunes,” American Blues Theater. $50. americanbluestheater.com or 773-654-3103.
New Plays for a New Year
Victory Gardens bows in with three new 10-minute Zoom plays guided by the directors who chose them. They are “Cassandra” by McKenzie Chinn, directed by Lili-Anne Brown; “C U” by Preston Choi, directed by Brian Balcom; and “Holcomb & Hart” by York Walker, directed by Devon de Mayo.
“New Plays for a New Year,” Victory Gardens Theater. Free, but reservations required and limited to 300 people. victorygardens.org/event/new-plays-for-a-new-year-festival