Arrchie Theater Company at Angel Island, 731 W. Sheridan Rd. For its swan-song season, the 30-year-old company returns to its roots with a David Mamet play assembling the dream-team cast of Richard Cotovsky, Rudy Galvan and Stephen Walker. (Jan. 22-March 6;

The Drawer Boy, Redtwist Theater, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Brian Parry and Aaron Kirby guarantee intergenerational chemistry in Michael Healey's poignant yarn of elderly bachelors confronting a contradictory past. (Jan. 30-Feb. 28;

New plays with period settings:

What I Learned in Paris, Congo Square at the Athenaeum, 2936 N. Southport Ave. Pearl Cleage takes us back to 1973 and the election of Atlanta's first African-American mayor for this romantic comedy. (Playing through Jan. 31;

The Explorers Club, Windy City Playhouse, 3014 W. Irving Park Rd. This farce, by Nell Benjamin, involves a stuffy men's club in 1879 challenged by a woman seeking membership. The New York production featured unga-bunga Book-of-Mormon depictions of jungle natives—don't say you weren't warned. (Jan. 30-April 17;

The Gilded Age, City Lit at Edgewater Presbyterian Church, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Their wives dared Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner to write this comedy of an upstart Tennessee girl in Washington, D.C., adapted for the stage by Paul Edwards. (Playing through Feb. 21;

Bronte, Promethean Theater Ensemble at the Athenaeum, 2936 N. Southport Ave. Polly Teale wrote this biodrama of the three literary rock-star sisters. (Playing to Feb. 7;

Jeeves at Sea, First Folio Theater, 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook. You can never have just one Bertie and Jeeves story, and Margaret Raether serves up the fourth in the company's series. (Jan. 27-Feb. 28;

Ageless musicals:

High Fidelity, Refuge Theatre Project, 666 W. Hubbard St. The "serious collectors" will find respect and vinyl at this replica record-shop staging of an underappreciated early work by Tom Kitt and Amanda Green. (Jan. 31-Feb. 28;

Heathers, Kokandy Productions at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. There are hot, bratty, homicidal teenage girls and it's based on a movie—what's not to like? (Feb. 28-April 24;

Far from Heaven, Porchlight Music Theater at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. It's also based on a movie, but with a book by the always-intelligent Richard Greenberg. (Feb. 12-March 13;

Hairspray, Paramount Theater, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in Aurora. Hairspray shows how rock 'n' roll integrated Baltimore teen TV in 1962, performed in a theater generating burgeoning regional buzz. (Jan. 23-Feb. 21;

Bye Bye Birdie, Drury Lane Theater, 110 Drury Lane in Oakbrook. This venerable squeaky-clean exercise in nostalgia celebrates the teen culture of an earlier generation. (Playing through March 13;


Mary Shen Barnidge
This article first appeared in Windy City Times, 1/16
January 2016
El Nino Brings a Storm of Winter Classics and Revivals