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When an actor and director couldn’t find a place to screen their movie here, they started their own festival. The Windy City International Film Festival (WCFF) returns this Friday to the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater in Lincoln Park. Now in its third year, the festival will feature 84 short films, four TV pilots, three feature films, and a program of staged screenplay readings over the course of four days.…
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Chicago Reader by Dmitry Samarov - 17h ago
Too many hot-button topics pile up in Dandelion Theatre's world premiere. Dandelion Theatre presents the world premiere of Brynne Frauenhoffer's plaintive, often overloaded exploration of family and identity, directed by Ben Kaye. When expectant parents Josh (David Stobbe) and Michelle (Gabriela Diaz) leave Chicago to visit Josh's small Missouri hometown, a powder keg of hot-button issues goes off.…
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Thirty-four years later, the blockbuster musical still packs a potent political message with the melodrama. Given its blockbuster history, it may be hard to remember that, despite packed houses, Les Misérables got terrible reviews on its 1985 London opening (though American critics adored it on Broadway in 1987). Song for memorable song, Claude-Michel Schönberg's music and Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel's lyrics (translated into English by Herbert Kretzmer) still inspire more than 30 years later, in part due to evergreen themes of love, duty, and redemption.…
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Chicago Reader by Catey Sullivan - 17h ago
Jon Michael Hill and Namir Smallwood breathe fire into Steppenwolf’s revival. If you've been banging around the Chicago theatrosphere longer than 25 seconds, you know the myth of True West and how Sam Shepard's bro-ly, brawly mano a mano tale helped the ragtag off-off-Loop Steppenwolf Theatre burst into public consciousness with its 1982 production starring Gary Sinise, John Malkovich, and Francis Guinan. It was the first Steppenwolf show to go to New York, and it helped launch the fabled/cliched "muscular" school of Chicago theater, wherein sweaty working-class guys emoted until furniture broke and real blood ran.…
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Windy City Playhouse’s latest immersive ambulatory production offers a penetrating analysis of class privilege. Two college guys, unlike in privilege, in Providence, where we lay our scene. From minor grudge erupt in mutiny, where private cause makes public baths unclean.…
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A daughter struggles to reconnect with her estranged activist father in Dominique Morisseau's drama. Nina (Jazzma Pryor) and her estranged father, Kenyatta (Marc A. Rogers), a former activist in the Black Liberation Movement, face a volatile reunion following the death of her mother in Dominique Morisseau's stunning play. He comes seeking access to valuable letters his wife wrote to him while he was incarcerated, but also to repair his relationship with Nina.…
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About Face Youth Theatre turns 20 with this contemporary look at LGBTQ history. About Face Youth Theatre's company-created work explores the lives of LGBTQ young people past, present, and future. Under the direction of About Face artistic director Megan Carney and teaching artist Donny Acosta, the 12-member ensemble of writer-performer-activists ages 13 to 23 draw on their own experiences—as well as the stories of former AFYT members going back to the youth program's creation 20 years ago—to offer what they rightly describe as "a contemporary look at recent queer history."…
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Chicago Reader by Catey Sullivan - 17h ago
An adoptee seeks comfort and safety in lupine identity in Hansol Jung's latest. Never doubt the emotional layers possible from an expertly crafted, exquisitely manipulated puppet. In the right hands, cloth and carved wood can undergo an alchemy that renders them sentient.…
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David Cerda’s latest classic makeover for Hell in a Handbag is a winner for summer camp. David Cerda's camp parody of Mervyn LeRoy's 1956 film The Bad Seed, about a murderous, extremely narcissistic child, takes drag to a new level, working as both a hilarious send-up of a creaky but beloved old movie (itself adapted from Maxwell Anderson's 1954 Broadway hit and William March's award-winning novel) and as an engrossing, entertaining story on its own. Cerda transfers the setting from mid-20th-century America to today, and transforms the dramatis personae from a bunch of stiff upper-middle-class cis squares (plus a few on the fringe) to a panoply of LGTBQ+ characters, some in drag, some not.…
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This week's featured gig poster was designed by London-based artist Maxwell Paternoster for the band Screaming Females. ARTIST: Maxwell Paternoster SHOW: Screaming Females, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, and Dark Thoughts at the Beat Kitchen on Thu 7/25 MORE INFO: cfh.bigcartel.com…

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