You know what they say: Every time a mime speaks a Dickensian orphan gets sucked into a jet turbine and blasted out the other side as just a scream. However, it is that cozy time of year when the hopes and dreams of summer die and we artists start making people go into weird rooms and watch us do and say things. Not every show can be the immersive interactive ever-changing theatrical wonderland tour de force that my show is. Newcity theater editor Zach Freeman has provided a fine fall stage preview. However, I feel I can offer a few tips—or rather “things”—to do to spice things up on a chilly fall evening at the theater (elaborate hand gesture).
If you don’t want to do my “things” I can understand. All you have to do is something that is even better. So long as you do something. Because, something must be done. Otherwise you would do nothing. Except maybe drink a box of wine, poke that old bag of mulch laying in bed next to you, and call it a night. (Honeybuns)
The Party House
In this mysterious show, The Runaways Lab Theatre will take over an entire house in Pilsen (location to be revealed to ticketholders) to present “a re-enactment reimagining of a year.” We must find out what that means. Begins September 3 at a house in Pilsen.
Honeybuns: “Location to be revealed” is another way of saying “you can get drunk and take off your clothes at this show.” Pull your horny lover into a secret closet with you.
Chicago Fringe Festival
With forty-seven shows happening across five venues, this is the festival to go to for “emerging and boundary-pushing” performance. Titles include “On The Edge of Puberty,” “Cocooned in Kazan” and “Ladies Night of the Living Dead.” Begins September 3 in Jefferson Park.
Honeybuns: Forty-seven shows! Forty-seven chances to have your mind blown by original performance art! But also forty-seven chances to get poo flung on you too, so, watch out. Take a picture of yourself with poo on your face and tag #fringe4life
Katrina: Mother-in-Law of ‘Em All
Marking the tenth anniversary of the infamous hurricane, Interrobang Theatre Project presents this funny and poignant piece recounting true stories of survival. Begins September 4 at The Den Theatre.
Honeybuns: Statistically speaking this show is the least likely to break out into a spontaneous orgy. But just in case, trim it up down below, Frodo.
This inaugural production (and Midwest premiere) by Visión Latino Theatre Company—a company created to fill the need for Latino artists to “share the struggles and perseverance of Latinos”—examines diaspora, empowerment and culture. Begins September 4 at Chicago Dramatists Theatre.
Honeybuns: I remember the inaugural production of my self-titled show “Honeybuns.” Only one person came and it turns out they were just a collection of rats inside of a trench coat. Let’s give this new theater company a good old-fashioned Chicago theater welcome by going to their show, signing up for their mailing list, bringing a dozen roses for the actors, and discussing the show afterwards with the director and designers.
Directed by “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”’s Joel Zwick, this one-woman, based-on-real-life show is written and performed by Debra Ehrhardt and chronicles her escape from revolution-torn Jamaica in the 1970s. Begins September 8 at The Royal George Theatre.
Honeybuns: Before you go into the building, stand facing across the street and go “Hooooowwwllll!!” Because, tonight, they’re not across the street from Steppenwolf. Steppenwolf is across the street from THEM.
Shakespeare’s island fantasy transformed into a magic show by Teller of Penn & Teller fame, featuring the music of Tom Waits, the choreography of Pilobolus and the acting chops of Larry Yando. Begins September 8 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Honeybuns: I was just reading on the internet how Shakespeare was high when he wrote his plays. Which means they can only be truly appreciated while also high. Navy Pier has all kinds of sneaky nooks in which to toke up. If you get caught just tell them you got lost looking for “Pandas: In 3D!”
Porchlight Music Theatre presents the first post-Broadway production of a newly revised version of this Tony Award-nominated musical inspired by the true-life story of conjoined twin circus, vaudeville and movie stars The Hilton Sisters. Begins September 15 at Stage 773.
Honeybuns: Let’s make the audience the real Side Show. Stuff yourself lumpy with throw pillows before you head out for this one.
John Steinbeck’s East of Eden
Steppenwolf ensemble member Frank Galati (who adapted Steppenwolf’s much-acclaimed “Grapes of Wrath”) adapted this epic Steinbeck tale for this production featuring Kate Arrington, Francis Guinan, Tim Hopper and Alan Wilder. Begins September 17 at Steppenwolf.
Honeybuns: Before entering the building let out your loudest “Hoooowwl!” and dry hump any subordinate pack members to retain your place as Alpha.
Director Dexter Bullard helms the Midwest premiere of this lauded tale of race and boxing by British playwright Roy Williams. Begins September 18 at Victory Gardens Theater.
Honeybuns: Dress up in a bikini holding a large sign that says “Round 1” and you’ll probably get in free.
Feathers and Teeth
What’s that? Horror gets some legitimacy? Under the direction of Henry Godinez, Charise Castro Smith’s comedic horror play gets a world premiere on the Goodman’s Owen stage. Begins September 19 at The Goodman Theatre.
Honeybuns: Wear a Goodman Theatre Horror Splash Guard Poncho and during intermission gripe about having to pay forty bucks for it.
The Black White Love Play
Written and directed by Jackie Taylor (in collaboration with Chaz Ebert) this promises to be a moving production detailing the Eberts’ relationship. There’s also a ten-piece orchestra. Begins September 19 at Black Ensemble Theater.
Chicago Opera Theater stages the Chicago premiere of this powerful opera, written when Mozart was only sixteen. Begins September 26 at The Harris Theater.
Honeybuns: Speak often in juvenile scatological euphemisms because that’s what Mozart did. Especially when he was sixteen, probably. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozart_and_scatology
Led by Tony winner Deanna Dunagan, Shattered Globe Theatre kicks off its twenty-fifth season with playwright Scott McPherson’s acclaimed show, also celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary. Begins October 1 at Theater Wit.
Honeybuns: Hang up your own artwork in the lobby at Theater Wit. They love that.
Good for Otto
The intimate setting of The Gift Theatre is ideal for this world premiere psychological drama by Tony Award-winning playwright David Rabe. Begins October 1 at The Gift Theatre.
Honeybuns: A psychological drama in an intimate setting is the perfect scenario to gently place your hand on the knee of the person next to you at the most awkward moment.
My Mañana Comes
Teatro Vista ensemble member Sandra Márquez will direct playwright Elizabeth Irwin’s script, which gives a snapshot of the lives of four busboys in New York. Begins October 3 at Victory Gardens.
The Story of a Story (The Untold Story)
Underscore Theatre Company presents this world-premiere musical comedy from Peter Gwinn (a writer from “The Colbert Report”) which delves into the dark world of clichés. Begins October 3 at the Chopin Theatre.
Honeybuns: Make way! Make way! A professional comedy writer coming through! Sneakily put your “King Of Queens” spec script in the bathroom stall. It’ll make its way into the right hands.
My Brilliant Divorce
Irish Theatre of Chicago mounts this Midwest premiere by Geraldine Aron, one of Ireland’s leading female playwrights in a pub. How very Irish. Begins October 7 at Chief O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant.
Honeybuns: Dare: Try to outdrink the cast. Not because they are Irish but because they are actors.
Count on Steep Theatre to kick their season off with a bang—specifically a world premiere of Hamish Linklater’s latest, directed by Joanie Schultz. The last collaboration between Linklater and Steep earned two Jeff nominations. Begins October 1 at Steep Theatre.
Circus in Progress: An Evening of Daring New Work
Focused on developing new acts, this show features local circus performers and advanced students from The Actors Gymnasium, the group responsible for impressive stunts around the city, including Lookingglass’ acclaimed “Moby Dick.” One night only on October 10 at The Actors Gymnasium.
Honeybuns: It is an old circus tradition that a dead mackerel be tossed upon the stage during the curtain call.
Northlight artistic director BJ Jones and executive director Timothy J. Evans direct this world premiere piece about an etiquette class at an LGBTQ organization which carries a message of peace and dignity. Written by Chicago playwright Philip Dawkins. Begins October 14 at Steppenwolf Garage.
Most recently, “Moby Dick” proved that Lookingglass knows how to stage for the high seas, now superstar writer/director Mary Zimmerman brings her world-premiere adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic to the water tower. Begins October 17 at Lookingglass.
Honeybuns: Every time you see orientalism onstage exclaim “Classic Zimm!”
The New Colony brings its signature style to Morgan McNaught’s show about a performance artist waking up “dead in a weird room.” Begins October 16 at The Den Theatre.
Mariposa Nocturna: A Puppet Triptych
Created, conceived and performed by Stephanie Diaz, this mix of tabletop and shadow puppets explores loss, longing and rebirth. Begins October 22 at 16th Street Theater.
Honeybuns: Something tells me these aren’t the type of puppets to help you out with a cheery song when you struggle to get through the alphabet. But, try it out to be sure.
Design for Living
Pride Films and Plays presents a “sexy and seductive” revival of the Noel Coward classic, which features a love triangle and was originally banned in the UK and premiered on Broadway in 1933. Begins October 22 at Rivendell Theater.
So far, new equity house Windy City Playhouse has launched successfully audience-approved productions. Bringing in director Jessica Thebus for this Neil Simon romantic comedy should continue the streak. Begins October 28 at Windy City Playhouse.
Honeybuns: Help them continue the streak by having your clothes on inside out and enthusiastically giving the thumbs up to everyone on the house staff.
Michael Shannon returns to A Red Orchid (along with Kirsten Fitzgerald) for this world premiere by Brett Neveu and directed by Shade Murray. 2013’s Shannon-starring “Simpatico” sold out quick, so get tickets now. Begins November 4 at A Red Orchid Theatre.
Honeybuns: Pretend you’re an alien spy and zap Michael Shannon with your finger zapper everytime he looks stern yet vulnerable.
The second installment of Court’s Greek Cycle, this world-premiere adaptation takes the stage under the impeccable direction of Charles Newell. Begins November 5 at Court Theatre.
Honeybuns: Show up in full theatrical Greek attire. Wait for the chorus to unconventionally enter from the vom. Effortlessly slip into the choreography. Go with the flow. Then, when the show is over, bow.
The House Theatre of Chicago knows what a steady, money-making holiday hit looks like. This “ballet-free” adaptation delivers every year. Begins November 6 at the Chopin Theatre.
Honeybuns: Wink at the person sitting next to you and proclaim “We both know who the real Nutcracker is here. Eh?”
You either already love this show or you want to see it so you can love it. Broadway In Chicago asks you to just accept that and buy a ticket. Begins November 10 at Cadillac Palace Theatre.
Honeybuns: Pop a Claritin D while wearing all white to this show and feel alive for the first time in your life.
Tell Me What You Remember
Erasing the Distance doesn’t just make theater, they produce projects. This one-hour remount draws from a year-long Depression in Families Project to reveal how depression impacts the sufferers and those around them. Begins November 12 at Filament Theatre.
Porchlight Music Theatre remounts their multi-Jeff Award-winning hit with the original cast, direction and music direction. Begins November 14 at Stage 773.
Honeybuns: Wear a tuxedo and stuff your pockets with caviar for god’s sake, because according to their regulations, The Jeff Committee does not judge late-night performances, puppet theater, opera, performance art, children’s theater, foreign language theater, mime theater, unscripted or improvised productions, or staged readings, and this is Chicago not some cave somewhere.
No More Sad Things
Sideshow Theatre Company launches its new season with the world premiere of a surreal Hawaiian comedy. The cheapest way to get to Hawaii as fall creeps in. Begins November 15 at Victory Gardens.
It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!
You love the movie. This Chicago-centric adaptation approaches that level of Christmas cheer, with milk and cookies after each performance. Begins November 20 at Greenhouse Theater Center.
Honeybuns: Bring your own almond milk in a thermos and make everyone hate you.
Robin Hood & Maid Marian
Forks & Hope’s adaptation of “The Pied Piper” was an impressive hit and this world-premiere adaptation of the familiar brigand promises to be just as entertaining. Begins November 28 at Strawdog Theatre.
Honeybuns: Dress as Robin Hood and once everybody’s seated proclaim “What? We’re not dressing up for these anymore?”
Everyone else has had a chance to portray the pipe-smoking detective. Broadway In Chicago wonders, why not let David Arquette have a turn in this acclaimed adaptation from 2013? Begins November 24 at Oriental Theatre.
Honeybuns: Squint your eyes so that David Arquette kinda maybe looks like Benedict Cumberbatch.
The Heir Apparent
Playwright David Ives once again brings the seventeenth century into the present in this adaptation of “Le Légataire Universel.” Directed by Tony Award-winner John Rando. Begins November 29 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Honeybuns: Keep a copy of this script on your coffee table next to a glass of zinfandel next time you have people over.