Preview of Fall 2010 Theater in Chicago: Ten Shows to Watch.

1. The Comedy of Errors.
The Comedy of Errors, Shakespeare’s funniest farce, is re-imagined at Court Theatre–the professional theatre at the University of Chicago.  If you’ve been to this Chicago treasure you have an idea of what to expect.  If you’ve never been to the Court Theatre, you are in for a treat.  The theatre, known for its bold and risky approach to the classics has been named “the most consistently excellent theater company in America” by none other than The Wall Street Journal.  Expect to see a fresh approach by innovative director Sean Graney in this season’s opener.  Previews, September 16 through 24, tickets $32 to $40; Regular run: September 25 through October 17, 2010, tickets $38 to $56. Box Office: 773 753 4472. 5535 S. Ellis Ave.

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2. Peter Pan.
Although Peter Pan, the character, has been around for over a century, the concept of not wanting to grow up is as real today as it was then.  Expect to see an innovative adaption of Peter Pan by The Lookingglass Theatre Company who is currently showing the highly successful and popular Lookingglass Alice.  Amanda Dehnert will direct the new adaptation of Peter Pan, the classic tale from J.M. Barrie’s books.  The Lookingglass space is the perfect showcase for this bombastic, playful and darkly comic, Dehnert adaptation. Watch for innovative theatre, aerial arts and soulful understanding of yearning and regret to this legendary childhood adventure of pirates, fairies and fantasy.  Previews: October 20-October 29, $20-$34; Regular run: October 20 through December 12, $34-$62. Box office: 312 337 0665. Water Tower Works, 821 N. Michigan.

3. Aiming For Sainthood.
The highly-regarded Victory Gardens will open its season with the World Premiere of Aiming For Sainthood, written and performed by Arlene Malinowski and directed by Will Rogers.  Following the success of her solo show What Does the Sun Sound Like?, Fresh Squeezed premieres the second installment in her autobiographical trilogy.  When her deaf mother gets cancer, a middle-aged daughter moves back in her childhood room with two questions, “Where is God?” and “Who took my Springsteen poster?” The funny, touching and poignant story will be told through sign language and voice, using both deaf and hearing storytelling and theatrical techniques.  Short run:  September 21-26, $20-$50. Box Office: 773 871 3000. 2433 N. Lincoln.

4. She Loves Me.
Another consistently excellent theatre, Writers’ Theatre is worth the trip to Glencoe.
Writer’s recently closed production of Streetcar Named Desire, received national acclaim and rave reviews from the likes of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.  Don’t be surprised if Writer’s has another hit on their hands with She Loves Me–often considered the “perfect” musical by theater aficionados.  Set in a 1930’s European perfumery, we meet shop clerks, Amalia and Georg, who more often than not, don’t see eye to eye.  After both respond to a “lonely hearts advertisement” in the newspaper, they now live for the love letters they exchange, but the identity of their admirers remains unknown. Performed as an intimate chamber musical on the Tudor Court stage, She Loves Me appeals to all ages.  Previews: September 14-22, Regular run, September 24-November 21, $45-$75. Box office: 847 242 6000.  325 Tudor Court.

5. Detroit.
One of Chicago’s most-respected and acclaimed theaters–with a record for shows that go on to the Broadway stage, Steppenwolf Theatre is opening their 2010-11 season with a new play, a comedy, DetroitDetroit is written by Lisa D’Amour and directed by ensemble member Austin Pendleton.  Picture-perfect couple Ben and Mary fire up the grill to welcome the new neighbors who’ve moved into the long-empty house next door.  Three barbeques later, the fledgling friendship veers out of control. Detroit gives a fresh, off-beat look at what happens when we dare to open ourselves up to something new.  September 9-November 7.  Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St.,  312 335 1650.

6. Candide.
Goodman Theatre is structuring a major revival of Candide.  Tony Award-winner Mary Zimmerman’s new production of the Leonard Bernstein classic musical will feature Geoff Packard in the title role of Candide and Lauren Molina as his princess love. In addition, the production will feature an orchestra of 12.  September 17-October 24, in the Goodman’s Albert Theatre.  312 443 3800.

7. Speed-the Plow, The Mamet Repertory.
The American Theater Company is opening their 2010-11 season with Speed-the-Plow, written by David Mamet and directed by Rick Snyder.  It’s Hollywood, 1985, two movie producers hit meltdown when their idealistic secretary turns the table on their plans to make the next blockbuster.  This Mamet play cracks open the ultimate choice for any artist in America: social change or financial gain.  Previews, September 9-September 19.  $10 rush tickets at the door, or reserved seats $30, regular run; Thursdays and matinees, $35; Friday and Saturday evenings, $40. Box office 773 409 4125.

8. Romeo and Juliet.
The wonderful Chicago Shakespeare Theater, designed after London’s Globe Theatre (1599), is the perfect place to see a Shakespeare play.  World-renowned Australian director Gale Edwards, whose work has been seen at the Royal Shakespeare Company and across America will be making her CST debut with this celebrated love story.  Previews; September 15-21; Regular run: September 22 through November 29.

9. Louis Slotin Sonata.
The Red Orchid Theatre, an Old Town staple (since 1993), has received impressive credits for taking on works from new playwrights around the world–and recently received Jeff nominations for best production and ensemble for Abigail’s Party.  The new play, Louis Slotin Sonata, explores a hand-slip by Louis Slotin, the chief bomb builder at Los Alamos at 3:20p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, 1946. With a structure inspired by classical music’s sonata allegro form, the play traces the true story of a brilliant scientist’s last nine days, as his body and mind gradually succumb to the chaos wrecked by radiation.  Previews, $15, September 10-12; Regular Run, $25, Thursdays, $30, Fridays through Sundays, September 13-October 24. 1531 N. Wells.

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10. Frost/Nixon.
Already opened, the TimeLine production of this actual event from history, the 1970’s Frost/Nixon television interviews has received 3-and-a-half to 4 stars by critics who have reviewed the show.  Terry Hamilton, as Nixon, is perhaps the best actor who has played the role, including Frank Langella who was Nixon in the 2008 movie version. The production also employs exciting video techniques that enhance the emotional appeal of the show.  Put this on your must do list for fall.  Tickets $28 (Wednesday-Friday) or $38 (Saturday and Sunday).  773 281 8463, ext. 24. 615 W. Wellington. Ave., inside the Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ building.

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