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Best Bets For The Chicago Fall Theater Season

The Chicago fall not only brings crisp weather and autumn colors, but the kickstart of a vibrant theatre season. Here are the top picks from the hundreds of productions currently running around the city. - Bob Bullen



Goodman Theatre
170 North Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 443-3800
Through Oct. 31, 2010

The classic musical odyssey with a sweeping score by Leonard Bernstein is given a bold, epic production helmed by the innovative Mary Zimmerman, who completely revamped the book of the show. Tickets are going fast, so get yours now!



Steppenwolf Theatre
1650 North Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 335-1650
Sept. 9 – Nov. 7, 2010

Laurie Metcalf (of "Rosanne" fame) is breathing fire in this intense and darkly funny new play by Lisa D'Amour that's both a wicked commentary on the housing crisis while a cautionary tale about getting to know your neighbors. This is Chicago acting at its finest.


The Absolute Best Friggin' Time of Your Life

The Second City
1616 North Wells Street
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 337-3992
Open run

This critically-praised revue by Second City sketch artists has been a hot ticket in the city for months. If you're looking to laugh about the sorry state of our nation through a series of dead-on sketches, accompanied by several raucous musical numbers, look no further.


Billy Elliot the Musical

Ford Center/Oriental Theatre
24 West Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601
(800) 745-3000
Through Nov. 28, 2010

The international hit musical is still going strong in Chicago. Featuring stunning staging by director Stephen Daldry and choreographer Peter Darling, this show really does meet all the hype. I dare you not to stand and cheer for the young actor playing Billy, who bears his soul and dances circles for nearly three hours.


Thieves Like Us

The House Theatre of Chicago at Chopin Theatre
1543 West Division Street
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 278-1500
Through Oct. 30, 2010

This rollicking new adaptation of Edward Anderson's novel by Damon Kiely follows a trio of depression-era bank robbers who are struggling to make the big break. Superstar director Kimberly Senior teams with House Theatre to create an exciting night out.


Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Raven Theatre
6157 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 338-2177
Oct. 12 – Dec. 19, 2010

Raven Theatre, located on the far north side of Chicago, produces classic plays with style and intelligence. They'll most likely not disappoint with this Tennessee Williams steamy masterpiece, which may prove a nice reprieve from the crisp Chicago fall.


Dracula: A Tragedy

Redtwist Theatre
1044 West Bryn Mawr Avenue
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 728-7529
Through Oct. 31, 2010

Redtwist does intimate and intense theatre better than anyone, so it'll be interesting to see what they do with this new adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic horror novel. Especially when the disclaimer on Redtwist's website for this late-night production says "for mature audiences only."


Salem! The Musical

Annoyance Theatre
4830 North Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 561-4665
Through Nov. 13, 2010

Irreverent and bawdy fun, this show is exactly what you'd expect it to be: a campy, streamlined and musicalized retelling of Arthur Miller's The Crucible. There's a tap dancing skeleton singing an Al Jolson-inspired number, for Pete's sake. The show runs Saturdays only at 8 p.m.


She Loves Me

Writers' Theatre
325 Tudor Court
Glencoe, IL 60022
(847) 242-6000
Through Nov. 21, 2010

Looking to be utterly charmed? This 1963 romantic musical comedy, with music and lyrics by the same team who wrote Fiddler on the Roof, is unmitigated delight, and is being given a first-rate production at a jewel box of a theatre company. Consider this production for a romantic night out.


The Iliad

A Red Orchid Theatre
1531 North Wells Street
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 943-87
Nov. 12 – Dec.19 2010

A group of young women, part of A Red Orchid's youth ensemble, will star in this uniquely adapted version of Homer's epic (and violent) war story. Naturally, buzz about this production has been hot.

Bob Bullen is a writer and long-time fan of Chicago's vibrant theatre scene, which he captures on his blog, Chicago Theatre Addict.

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