E. Faye as Fannie Lou
Joseph Jefferson Award-winner E. Faye Butler channels civil rights and voting rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer in Goodman Theatre’s production of “Fannie (The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer),” whose abridged version Butler performed last summer in Chicago parks. Cheryl L. West pairs her play, a co-commission with Seattle Repertory Theatre, with such spirituals as “We Shall Not Be Moved” and “I’m On My Way to Freedom.”
Previews at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 15-16; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17; and through Oct. 24 at 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. “Fannie” opens Oct. 25. $15-$45. COVID-19 precautions: Proof of vaccination required for everyone 12 and older; recent negative COVID-19 test required for children younger than 12. Masks mandatory inside the theater. (312) 443-3800 or goodmantheatre.org.
Four funny females
Metropolis Performing Arts Centre showcases veteran comedians Mary Kate Beck, Maggie Hughes DePalo, Jeanie Doogan and Katie Meiners as part of a Ladies Night Comedy Jam that is not for women only.
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights. $25. COVD-19 precautions: Proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test and photo ID; masks mandatory inside the theater. (847) 577-2121 or metropolisarts.com.
Mary Kate Beck, clockwise from upper left, Maggie Hughes DePalo, Katie Meiners and Jeanie Doogan headline Metropolis Performing Arts Centre’s Ladies Night Comedy Jam. – Second City curtain rises
After 707 days, The Second City resumes live, in-person performances with the debut of its 109th main stage revue “Together at Last.” The show features Mary Catherine Curran, Sarah Dell’Amico, Asia Martin, Jordan Savusa, Adam Schreck and Evan Mills. “This show is a celebration of how we have persisted and even thrived during these impossibly difficult times. From laughing at the sheer absurdity of our current reality to cheering for our tiny wins, the cast of ‘Together at Last’ is focused on uniting our audiences and giving people an incredible night out,” said director Anneliese Toft in a prepared statement.
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7 p.m. Wednesdays; 7 and 10 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; and 7 p.m. Sundays at 1616 N. Wells St., Chicago. $29-$55. COVID-19 precautions: Proof of vaccination required for anyone 12 and older; masks mandatory inside the theater except when eating or drinking. (312) 337-3992 or secondcity.com.
The Second City debuts its 109th revue “Together at Last” this week. The cast includes: Sarah Dell’Amico, back row left, Adam Schreck, Jordan Savusa and Mary Catherine Curran and Evan Mills, front row left, and Asia Martin. – Courtesy of The Second City Court Theatre’s ‘Othello’
Court Theatre’s production of William Shakespeare’s “Othello” proved so popular during previews it has been extended even before its opening this week. Kelvin Roston Jr. — a veteran of Court, Goodman, Paramount, Northlight, Marriott and Writers among others — plays the titular soldier, scholar and husband whose struggle for life, love and respect ends in tragedy. Artistic director Charles Newell and Gabrielle Randle-Bent direct.
Previews continue through Friday, Oct. 15. The show opens at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, at 5535 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago. $46-$76 in person; $35-$50 streaming access. COVID-19 precautions: Proof of vaccination, masks mandatory inside the theater. Children younger than 12 and those unable to be vaccinated must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event start time, or proof of a positive COVID-19 test taken 14 to 90 days before the date of the performance with affirmation they are not experiencing any symptoms. (773) 753-4472 or courttheatre.org.
In other news
Check with theater companies or venues regarding COVID-19 admission requirements, including masking, proof of vaccination and/or a negative COVID-19 test.
• Saint Sebastian Players opens its 40th season Friday, Oct. 15, with a revival of Garson Kanin’s comedy “Born Yesterday,” about an unscrupulous tycoon who unwittingly hires an investigative journalist to educate his unsophisticated girlfriend. Performances run through Nov. 7 at St. Bonaventure, 1625 W. Diversey Parkway, Chicago. See saintsebastianplayers.org.
• West Side Improv, at 125 W. Front St., Wheaton, will reopen at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the long-form improv performances. Tickets are $12. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and a government-issued ID are required for admission. See westsideimprov.com.
• Buddy and The Public Media Institute in cooperation with the Chicago Department of Cultural affairs hosts Re:place Residency, an afternoon of performances resulting from a yearlong examination of BIPOC histories. The performances take place from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., Chicago. See hi-buddy.org/pages/residency.
• Porchlight Music Theatre honors Tony Award winner and Broadway legend Chita Rivera on Wednesday, Oct. 20, during its 26th anniversary, in-person Icons Gala at Galleria Marchetti, 825 W. Erie St., Chicago. In recognition of her contributions to theater, Rivera will receive the Icons Award. Rick and Deann Bayless and the Bayless Family Foundation will receive the Luminary Award in recognition of their philanthropic contributions. “We have missed these live events and to have our honorees Chita Rivera and the Bayless family with us, in-person, makes the evening even more memorable,” said executive director Jeannie Lukow in a prepared statement. The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. and includes a cocktail reception, dinner, awards presentation, a conversation with Rivera and performances honoring her career. Single tickets range from $350 to $500. (773) 777-9884, ext. 1, or porchlightmusictheatre.org.
• Previews begin Thursday, Oct. 21, for Invictus Theatre Company’s production of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” to mark the start of the company’s fifth season. Directed by artistic director Charles Askenaizer (who also plays the titular character), the production opens Oct. 25 at 1106 W. Thorndale Ave., Chicago (formerly The Frontier). See invictustheatreco.com.
• Victory Gardens Theater presents the Ignite Chicago reading of “Mexodus” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21, at Chicago State University, Room 116 in Douglas Hall, 9501 S. King Drive, Chicago. Written and performed by Brian Quijada and Nygel D. Robinson, the piece examines an untold story of the Underground Railroad where enslaved Black people in the U.S. sought refuge in Mexico rather than the northern states. Tickets are free, but reservations are required. (773) 871-3000 or victorygardens.org/events/mexodus.
• Rivendell Theatre Company resumes in-person performances with its new play festival 8:46 (Breathing Room) — in association with The Breathe Project — and featuring four new commissions lasting eight minutes and 46 seconds to commemorate lives lost to brutality and negligence. Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Oct. 21-22, and 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, at 5779 N. Ridge Ave., Chicago. Tickets for the live and virtual event range from $15 to $30. (773) 334-7728 or rivendelltheatre.org.
• Comedian Sam Morril headlines The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, for five performances Oct. 21-23. A regular on Comedy Central, Morril is a veteran of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “Conan” and “The Late Late Show with James Corden.” (773) 697-3830 or thedentheatre.com.
• Victory Gardens Theater honors Emmy and Screen Actors Guild Award-winner S. Epatha Merkerson during its annual fundraiser Making a Scene: Gala 2021, which begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, at The Ivy Room at Tree Studios, 12 E. Ohio St., Chicago. The evening includes a cocktail reception, dinner, a performance by Brian Quijada and Nygel D. Robinson from their new show “Mexodus” and a silent auction. Additionally, original members of Victory Gardens playwrights ensemble — Claudia Allen, Gloria Bond Clunie, Dean Corrin, Lonnie Carter, Steve Carter (posthumously), Nilo Cruz, Joel Drake Johnson (posthumously), John Logan, Nicholas Patricca, Douglas Post, James Sherman, Charles Smith, Jeffrey Sweet and Kristine Thatcher — will be honored for their decadeslong contributions to the theater community. (773) 328-2131 or victorygardens.org/event/making-a-scene.
• Actor, Remy Bumppo Theatre ensemble member and Northwestern University assistant theater professor Shawn T. Douglass debuted “An Actors Arc,” a new YouTube channel where Douglass interviews some of the Chicago area’s most accomplished theater artists including: Ora Jones, Larry Yando, Kate Fry, James Vincent Meredith, Michael Patrick Thornton, Charin Alvarez, Anish Jethmalani, Lisa Tejero, Shannon Cochran and Henry Godinez. “In each episode, one of the actors traces their artistic journey from their first impulse to act, through their formal (or informal) training, and the continued growth they experienced in their professional lives,” said Douglass in a prepared statement. Search “an actors arc” on YouTube to access the interviews.
• PrideArts Pathfinders Project, consisting of video interviews with elder members of Chicago’s LGBTQ community in an effort to “make the history of queer communities come alive,” launches this week. New segments will be released every Thursday through Nov. 4. Featured seniors include Tom Chiola, the first openly gay person elected to office in Illinois and Gloria Allen, who inspired the play “Charm,” about a transgender woman who opened a charm school for LGBTQ youth. Access the streaming series at pridearts.org.
• Chicago Opera Theater has released a digital-only recording of “Taking Up Serpents,” a contemporary opera by Kamala Sankaram and Jerre Dye. Based on an original story by Dye, the opera centers on a Pentecostal family living in the Deep South. The audio tracks are taken from COT’s production streamed earlier this year. It’s available on all major digital platforms.