Larry Yando and Chaon Cross in Cymbeline
(© Bill Burlingham)
Larry Yando and Chaon Cross in Cymbeline
(© Bill Burlingham)
Most of the leading, large troupes in town launch their 2007-2008 subscription seasons this month, among them Chicago Shakespeare Theater, which will offer one of the Bard's late-period works Cymbeline (September 9-November 11), about a less-than-happy royal family that lives through murder and betrayal.

Also on the dramatic front: Steppenwolf Theatre Company presents Arthur Miller's classic play The Crucible (September 22-November 11), the Goodman Theatre serves up Sarah Ruhl's sprawling three-part cycle, Passion Play (September 24-October 21), and the Court Theatre offers Seneca's tragedy Thyestes -- never before seen in Chicago -- as translated by Caryl Churchill and directed by Joanne Akalaitis (September 20-October 21).

Musical theater fans will be treated to the regional premiere of Mel Brooks' The Producers at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire (September 12-December 12), featuring the very popular actors Ross Lehman and Guy Adkins as partners-in-crime Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom. Porchlight Music Theatre presents Phantom at Theatre Building Chicago (September 16-November 11), the version of Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera by composer Maury Yeston and librettist Arthur Kopit. Also for song-and-dance fans, New Millennium Theatre Company offers the world premiere of Manos: A Rock Opera of Fate, at the National Pastime Theatre (September 28-November 3) and Black Ensemble Theater rounds out the month with Sounds So Good, Makes You Wanna' Holler, a world premiere musical that contrasts music of the 1970's with music of today (opens September 30).

Sequels to Anton Chekhov and Lewis Carroll are also on view. Greasy Joan & Co. offers Wake Up, Apocalypse (Awake) at the Athenaeum (September 9-October 14), a tangent on Chekhov's The Seagull. Meanwhile a new troupe, Bricklayer Theatre Company, presents White Rabbit, a hip-hop sequel to Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, at the Bailiwick Arts Center (September 24-October 13).

As always, there are a number of world premieres and American or regional premieres. Roddy Doyle's contemporary Irish comedy, War, receives its U.S. premiere from Seanachai Theatre at the Storefront Theatre (September 1-October 7); Redmoon Theatre company offers its newest puppet and mask tale, The Princess Club (September 11-October 7), inspired by classic fairy tales; Circle Theatre presents the regional premiere of John Godby's rugby comedy, Up N' Under (September 12-October 21); Congo Square Theatre offers the American premiere of Elmina's Kitchen, a play of contemporary Black life in London, at the Chicago Center for the Performing Arts (September 15-October 14).

Also: Dog & Pony Theatre Company presents the world premiere of Ape, by company member Paul Oakley Stovall, at the Raven Theatre (September 14-October 13); the hot-as-a-pistol House Theatre of Chicago offers an original tale of magic, The Magnificents, by Dennis Watkins, at the Viaduct (September 15-November 3); Mia McCullogh's newest, Spare Change, has its world premiere at Stage Left (September 25-November 3); Evan Smith's The Savannah Disputation is unveiled at Writers' Theatre (September 18-November 25); Silk Road Theatre Project offers the world premiere of Merchant on Venice, a tale of South Asian life in Southern California, by Shishir Kurup (September 28-November 4); and Chicago Dramatists opens the newest from rising author Keith Huff, A Steady Rain (September 28-October 28).

Finally, the kids might enjoy Corn Productions' Mileep and the Attack of the Jellybean People, a futuristic space epic about a boy who saves the world (and maybe the galaxy) from villainous Mrs. Stenchbottom, maniacal Black Licorice, and the Pretzel Women Warriors; presented at The Cornservatory Saturday and Sunday afternoons (September 15-November 11).