Chicago Spotlight: June 2010
Musical fans are in for a rich month, beginning with the first Chicago production in 92 years of Oh, Boy!, one of the legendary "Princess musicals" by Jerome Kern (music), P. G. Wodehouse (lyrics) and Guy Bolton (book). City Lit is the producer (through June 27), Terry McCabe directs and veteran composer Kingsley Day oversees new musical arrangements. Another rarity is Sugar, the 1972 musical version of Some Like It Hot with Jule Styne music and Bob Merrill lyrics, staged by Jim Corti at Drury Lane Theatre Oak Brook Terrace (June 3-August 1).
Also, Light Opera Works offers Gilbert and Sullivan's late operetta, The Yeoman of the Guard, at Cahn Auditorium (June 4-13), while Harold Arlen fans can enjoy Sweet and Hot: The Songs of Harold Arlen, a revue staged by award-winning Theo Ubique Theatre Company at their usual venue, the No Exit Cafe (June 18-August 8).
The month includes two world premiere blues shows with similar ideas, Low Down Dirty Blues at Northlight Theatre (through July 3), and Nothin But the Blues at Black Ensemble Theater (June 19-August 29). The former uses traditional blues to tell a story set backstage at a fictional blues club, while the latter uses traditional blues to tell the backstage story of Theresa's Lounge, a famous real Chicago blues club.
Several non-musical world premieres include The Better Doctor, a silent film on stage, presented by Bootstraps Comedy Theatre and Silent Theatre Company at Prop Theatre (June 4-26), then Dana Lynn Formby's drama Inherit the Whole, the first play from a new troupe, Mortar Theatre, at the Athenaeum (June 4-27) and a new thriller about the USPS, Dead Letter Office, presented by Dog & Pony at the downtown Storefront Theatre (June 5-July 18). Also, the always-interesting and visual Strange Tree Group offers Tom Willmorth's Shakespeare's King Phycus, a not-quite-kosher combination of six Shakespeare tragedies dubbed a "historical-pastoral-tragical comedy in five acts," at Building Stage (June 16-July 31).
The Organic Theater's limited rep season features Slawomir Mrozak's The Police alternating with David Ives' All in the Timing, at The Greenhouse (through June 27), while director Sean Graney masterminds Jean-Paul Sartre's play about Existential Hell, No Exit, for The Hypocrites at the Athenaeum (June 3-July 11). Also, Oak Park Festival Theatre launches its 2010 outdoor season with Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men (June 9-July 10), while Redtwist remounts Equus (June 23-Aug. 29).
Two plays opening on the same night feature suicide in their titles: InnateVolution Theater Productions presents Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf at The Call (June 14-26) even as Gift Theatre presents a world premiere satire, Suicide, Incorporated, by Andrew Hinderaker (June 14-July 18).
Bailiwick Repertory, which closed its doors last September, has been reconstituted as Bailiwick Chicago and has big plans for 2010-2011 beginning with a GLBT Pride Month staging of Joe DiPietro's F**king Men at Theatre Building Chicago (previews June 18, opens June 26). The play is based on Schnitzler's non-gay classic, La Ronde.
It seems that the Spirit of Summer Stock Theater has appeared in Chicago along with the hot weather. The Raven Theatre offers The Odd Couple (through July 18), La Costa Theatre presents Little Shop of Horrors (through July 11), New Lincoln Theatre Productions rolls out an original farce by Charles Grippo, Sex Marks the Spot, at Theatre Building Chicago (June 11-July 25) and Hubris Productions dusts off Steel Magnolias at The Greenhouse (June 24-July 31).