One-Woman Shows, Cabaret And New Plays Take The Stage This Fall

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After a pandemic pause, popular plays are returning to theaters, as musical acts and premiere productions open across Chicagoland.

Aila Ayilam Peck and Linda Reiter (pictured above) star in the Chicago premiere of Chloë Moss’s drama “This Wide Night” (Oct. 8 – Nov. 13) at Theater Wit. Presented by Shattered Globe Theatre, in association with Interrobang Theatre Project (ITP), the award-winning play focuses on the friendship of two formerly incarcerated women. “I believe audiences will find this play even more resonant after living through a pandemic for over a year. We’ve been forced to reinvent our day-to-day, find new purpose and manage our anxiety as we navigate this strange new world,” says ITP Artistic Director Georgette Verdin.

Kathy Scambiatterra directs Karla Corona in the title role of “Eurydice” (Oct. 23 – Nov. 21) at The Den Theatre. In this updated adaptation of the ancient myth, Chicago native and playwright Sarah Ruhl relays the story from the perspective of Eurydice rather than Orpheus. The Den Theatre will also open its doors for the Chicago premiere of the Off-Broadway hit “Jacqueline Novak: Get on Your Knees” (Nov. 4 -7). The one-woman show takes a feminist approach to wrapping one’s head around fellatio. If that’s not entertaining enough, Sarah Cooper comes to The Den Theatre for four performances (Nov. 12 -13). The bestselling author and comedian went viral with her lip-sync impressions of former President Donald Trump.

City Lit Theater presents the world premiere adaptation of Robert F. Kennedy’s book “Thirteen Days” (through Oct. 24) which details the real-life events of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. In this production, however, all of the white men in the book will be played by an ensemble of diverse women, including Sheila Willis, Cameron Feagin, Kat Evans, Julia Kessler, and Maggie Cain (pictured below).

Reneisha Jenkins directs Alexis J. Roston and Hollis Resnik in “Sister Act” (Nov. 5 – Jan. 9) at Mercury Theater Chicago. Based on the 1992 movie of the same name, the musical comedy features book by Bill and Cheri Steinkellne, and Douglas Carter Beane; original music by Alan Menken; and musical direction by Diana Lawrence.

At Davenport’s Piano Bar and Cabaret, Cathy Glickman and Anna Palermo pay homage through song to Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli in “Judy and Liza: Don’t Tell Mama” (Oct. 16) with Beckie Menzie on piano. The venue also presents “The Jackie Smook Program of DeDumbifcation” (Oct. 21) and “Joyce Thomas A Tribute to Jazz Divas” (Oct. 29) honoring Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday and others.

In Skokie, Northlight Theatre opens its new season with Joanna Murray-Smith’s “Songs for Nobodies” (Oct. 3 – 31). The one-woman show featuring Bethany Thomas celebrates the music of Maria Callas, Patsy Cline, Edith Piaf, Judy Garland, and Billie Holiday. “Over the last year and a half, we have streamed and zoomed our way into your homes through computers, ipads, or cell phones. But we are artists that have dedicated our careers to live performance, and though it was briefly enjoyable to put our work into the ether, we were missing the most important ingredient in our work–the audience!…We return joyously with the amazing Bethany Thomas whose artistry is thrilling,” notes Artistic Director BJ Jones.

In Evanston, Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre has extended its run of Anna Deavere Smith’s award-winning “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” through Oct. 3rd. In the one-woman play, Chicago actress Jazzma Pryor embodies dozens of people who were affected by the 1992 Los Angeles riots that erupted after the trial of Rodney King.

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First image: Publicity photo by Joe Martinez of Shattered Globe Theatre and Interrobang Theatre Project’s Chicago premiere of “This Wide Night”

Second image: Photo by Steve Graue of City Lit Theater’s world premiere adaptation of Robert F. Kennedy’s book “Thirteen Days”

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Ms. Arvia is an online columnist and critic; entertainment ghostwriter reaching nine million visitors per month; award-winning artist; grant-winning filmmaker; and Janet-of-all-trades. Press releases on Chicago cultural events and links to screeners can be sent to reeljanet@live.com.