Curtain Call: ‘Bernhardt/Hamlet,’ ‘Color Purple’ and more theater previews, openings Sept 13-19

Terri McMahon rehearses the role of  Sarah Bernhardt for the Chicago premiere of “Bernhardt/Hamlet” by Theresa Rebeck, directed by Donna Feore.

Terri McMahon rehearses the role of Sarah Bernhardt for the Chicago premiere of “Bernhardt/Hamlet” by Theresa Rebeck, directed by Donna Feore. | Cody Nieset

From comedy and drama to musicals and dance, Chicago’s stages are alive with vibrant productions.

Looking to take in some live theater in the week ahead? Here are some suggestions to consider:

Pick of the Week:

“Bernhardt/Hamlet”: Legendary actress Sarah Bernhardt was 55 in 1899 and aging out of the dying courtesan roles she was known for when, looking for new heights to scale, she performed the lead in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” It was a decision met with criticism and controversy. Playwright Theresa Rebeck found inspiration in this chapter from the theater archives for this comedy first staged on Broadway in 2018. A strong, determined woman holding her own in the chauvinistic Paris theater world, Bernhardt has a modern-day resonance. “In many ways, Sarah Bernhardt was ahead of her time — certainly as a woman and an actor,” said the play’s director Donna Feore. “Bernhardt/Hamlet” poses tough questions, but at the same time is funny, witty and sexy. Terri McMahon stars as Bernhardt. Previews begin Sept. 14, opens Sept. 23; to Oct. 20. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, $25-$80;

More previews, openings:

“Anything Goes”: A boy-meets-girl tale set on the high seas and featuring a great score by Cole Porter. Previews begin Sept. 19, opens Sept. 26; to Nov. 2. Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell, Arlington Heights, $40;

Audra McDonald in Concert: The six-time Tony Award-winning actress is interviewed by Seth Rudetsky and performs tunes from her career; two performances at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 15. Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted, $85-$150;

Autumn DeWilde Photo
Audra McDonald

“Blue Stockings”: Jessica Swale’s play about four young women fighting for education and self-determination against the backdrop of the women’s suffrage movement; directed by Spenser Davis. Previews begin Sept. 13, opens Sept. 16; to Oct. 13. Promethean Theatre at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee, $30;

Matthew Gregory Hollis
“The Storefront Project” is curated by Prop Thtr artistic director Olivia Lilley (left) and MCA associate curator of performance Tara Aisha Willis.

“The Color Purple”: The musical based on Alice Walker’s book recounts the journey of Celie, an African-American woman in the American South of the early 1900s; directed by Lili-Anne Brown. Previews begin Sept. 13, opens Sept. 19; to Nov. 3. Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace, $55-$70;

“An Evening with Groucho”: Frank Ferrante in his acclaimed portrayal of comedian Groucho Marx; directed by Dreya Weber. Sept. 17. The Spiegeltent ZaZou, Cambira Hotel, 32 W. Randolph, $35.50;

“Every Brilliant Thing”: Duncan MacMillan’s solo piece in which a woman takes the audience through her personal tale of life’s joys in the face of her mother’s depression; directed by Jessica Fisch. Previews begin Sept. 18, opens Sept. 26, to Dec. 8. Windy City Playhouse, 2229 S. Michigan, …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun Times


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