When it comes to theater in northern Illinois, opportunities to get lost in the stories that capture the heart, put you on the edge of your seat or laugh out loud are abundant. Here is an assortment of live stage performances from the far western suburbs to Chicago offering something for every theatrical taste.
Drury Lane Theatre
Rodgers & Hammerstein landmark musical, South Pacific, proves that even the backdrop of a tropical paradise doesn’t stop the prejudices of World War II. An American nurse falls in love with an expatriate Frenchman but she struggles with his mixed-race children, born to an island native. South Pacific is the winner of the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and 10 Tony Awards including Best Musical. South Pacific is recommended for ages 13 and older due to sensitive subject matter.
South Pacific! runs April 5 - June 17, at Drury Lane, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace.
For more information, visit drurylanetheatre.com or call box office at (630) 530-0111.
Once The Musical
He was a singer about to give up his dream. She was a patron entranced by his music. Guy and Girl begin their relationship when he tells her of his day job as a vacuum cleaner repairman. When she asks him to fix her Hoover that “doesn’t suck” she says she can only pay for the repair with a song. That song is all it takes for the pair to fall in love, but with that love comes some baggage.
Once is based on the Oscar-winning movie and is an eight-time Tony Award-winning musical, including Best Musical, Best Actor and Best Book. Children ages 2 and younger are not permitted in the theater.
Once runs April 25 – June 3, at Paramount Theatre, 23 East Galena Blvd., Aurora.
For more information, visit Paramountaurora.com or call (630) 896-6666.
Steel Beam Theatre
Written by Amy Herzog, this 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winning finalist presents a humorous look at two outsiders who find their way toward each other in a complex world. A young man on a cross-country bike trip suffers a major loss and wonders what to do. He finds his way to the apartment of his 91-year-old grandmother. During the next month, the pair stumble around one another’s vast differences in beliefs and lifestyles as they try to find common ground.
4000 Miles runs May 18-June 10, at Steel Beam Theatre, 111 W. Main St., 2nd floor, St. Charles.
For more information, visit Steelbeamtheatre.org or call (630) 587-8521.
Metropolis Performing Arts Center
When a puppet graduates from college with a BA in English, the logical location to move is Avenue Q, of course. Once there, he’ll meet others – just like him - who are dealing with careers and relationships and trying to make sense of their purpose in life. Avenue Q does should not be confused for the same neighborhood as another famous street where puppets live, as this show is entertaining, but definitely not one for the kids and for mature audiences only. Avenue Q is a Tony winner for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book.
Avenue Q runs May 17 – June 30 at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 West Campbell Street, Arlington Heights.
For more information, visit metropolisarts.com or call (847) 577-2121.
Famed collaborators Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s first musical production, Oklahoma!, returns to the Marriott Theatre in a special 75th anniversary performance. Rediscover cowboy Curly, farm girl Laurey, and their tale of adventure and pioneer spirit on the American frontier at the turn of the 20th century. Directed by Aaron Thielen, the beloved story is one Marriott Theatre’s most requested shows.
Oklahoma! runs April 11- June 3, at Marriott Theatre, Ten Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire.
For more information, visit marriottheatre.com or call (847) 634-0200.
Morris Theatre Guild
Set in April 1922, William Gillette, best known for his 30-year portrayal of crime sleuth Sherlock Holmes, has invited the cast of his latest Broadway revival for a weekend of relaxation at his medieval castle on a bluff. He has arranged for a séance as part of the festivities, but it looks like one of his guests may be trying to murder him instead. Gillette seizes the moment to solve the case himself, emulating the great Sherlock Holmes in the process.
Postmortem runs May 18-27, at Morris Theatre Guild, 516 W. Illinois Ave., Morris.
For more information, visit morristheatreguild.org or call (815) 942-1966.
The Drama Group
Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike
Based in Bucks County, Penn., middle-aged siblings Vanya and Sonia share a home where they do nothing but argue and complain about their lives. When movie-star sister, Masha, swoops in with her boyfriend, Spike, old resentments rear up leading to threats to sell the house. Adding to the tension is a maid who can predict the future and a young, aspiring actress who makes Masha a little worried about her future.
Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike runs May 4 to May 13 at The Drama Group, 330 W. 202 Street, Chicago Heights.
For more information, visit dramagroup.org or call (708) 755-3444.
A Red Orchid Theatre
33 to Nothing
Written by Grant Varjas, 33 to Nothing takes place during a real-time band practice. Band members feel the incessant call of adulthood and begin to question their role in the ensemble: should the group break up or build stronger? Themes of forgiveness, loyalty and resilience are threaded throughout this production.
33 to Nothing runs April 6 to May 27 at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells St., Chicago.
For more information, visit aredorchidtheatre.org or call (312) 943-8722.
American Blues Theater
Buddy – the Buddy Holly Story
Who would ever have thought American rock-n-roll would be changed by a bespectacled Texan? Written by Alan Janes, this story tells the true tale of singer-songwriter Buddy Holly through his short career that rocked the country in the mid-1950s, and features classic songs “That’ll be the Day,” “Peggy Sue,” the Big Bopper’s “Chantilly Lace,” and Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” and more. Lili-Anne Brown directs this production.
Buddy – the Buddy Holly Story runs April 27 – May 26 at American Blues Theater, Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago.
For more information, visit http://americanbluestheater.com or call (773) 327-5252.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Celebrated director and playwright Aaron Posner and Teller (of duo Penn & Teller) join forces with a new production of Macbeth. This Shakespearean supernatural thriller immerses audiences in the storytelling as it dives into the psyches of the power-hungry Macbeth and Lady Macbeth with magic, witches and a lust for power. Posner and Teller teamed up previously for their Jeff Award-winning production of The Tempest at Chicago Shakespeare in 2015.
Macbeth runs April 25 – June 24 in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago.
For more information, visit chicagoshakes.com or call (312) 595-5600.