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Chicago’s 10 best theaters for winter 2024

Scrooge and the elves are packed away for another year. And Chicago theater heads into 2024 boldly.

The winter theater season, usually a period for significant fare, is approaching.

With the usual caveats that the proof is in the pudding, here’s an alphabetical list of 10 Chicago-area shows opening between now and the end of March that look particularly interesting. Of course, there are many more on offer, but here are a few that will get you excited for the new year.

Alex Edelman’s “Just For Us”: Although Alex Edelman’s song “Just For Us” was featured at Steppenwolf, it is actually a spin-off of Edelman’s very successful tour. broadway show as of early this year. Part stand-up, part narrative, Edelman’s comedic work is structured around an event that is both mundane and strange: Edelman’s uninvited attendance at a meeting of vulgar white supremacists in Queens, given that he grew up an Orthodox Jew. On Broadway, laughter erupted as Edelman satirized both his own religiosity and the prevalence of anti-Semitism. He is a new generation of Jewish storyteller with one foot in the old school and the other in podcast-friendly personal narrative. Feb. 15-25, Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St.; tickets $52-$102 from 312-335-1650 and steppenwolf.org

“Antigone”: The Court Theater is certainly the premier American theater when it comes to productions of Greek tragedy, and this winter the Hyde Park troupe is staging a new production of Sophocles’ “Antigone,” a masterful drama about the clash of wills and political ideas between King Creon. and his strong-willed nephew. Aeriel Williams and Timothy Edward Kane star in the two lead roles, directed by Gabrielle Randle-Bent. This staging of “Antigone,” using an adaptation by the late Court artistic director Nicholas Rudall, will complete Court’s multi-season “Oedipus Trilogy.” Feb. 2-25, Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave.; tickets $56-$88 from 773-753-4472 and courttheatre.org

“Everything Passes”: Presented in honor of Cole Porter’s 90th birthday and brimming with the grandeur of the American songbook, this new stage features the toe-tapping water music pioneers of Porchlight Music Theatre’s 29th musical season. The highly experienced team of Michael Weber and Tammy Mader will direct and choreograph, respectively, and the lead role of Reno Sweeney will be played by Chicago’s Meghan Murphy. Jan. 13 – Feb. 25, Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Ave.; tickets are $41-$77 by calling 773-777-9884 and porchmusictheatre.org

“The Group’s Visit”: This will be the first Chicago-style production of the spectacular Broadway musical penned by Itamar Moses and scored by David Yazbek; Here, a group of Egyptian police finds themselves in a one-horse Israeli town where the citizens are friendly but also wrong. they are upset by their own suffocating insignificance. David Cromer’s Broadway staging was masterful and Seen here on tour in 2019. But the Writers’ Theater will likely use the intimacy of its theater to find new resonances in a show about longing, settlement, provincialism and acceptance, just as this revived theater did so well with “Once” last year. Zi Alihan manages it. February 8 to March 17 at Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe; tickets $35-$90 at 847-242-6000 and writerstheater.org

“Billy Elliot”: After a series of solid local productions nearly a decade ago—and, of course, a lengthy run in Chicago that began in 2010 for Stephen Daldry’s original Broadway staging—fans of Lee Hall and Elton John’s heartwarming British musical just can’t seem to figure it out. They couldn’t find it. It’s at the level of production typically offered by Paramount Theatre. Everything changes in January, when a new generation gets the chance to both see, and in some cases, perform, one of the biggest musical hits of the early 2000s. I’m excited to see a young Yorkshire miner’s boy chart his own destiny once again, especially with Chicago actors like Ron E. Rains, Joe Foust, Jennie Sophia and Barbara E. Robertson in the cast. February 7 – March 24, Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora; tickets are $28-$79 and call 630-896-6666. paramountaurora.com

“Girl from the North Country”: Although it sounds like a Bob Dylan jukebox musical, “Girl From the North Country” features Dylan’s music (“Slow Train Coming”, “Like a Rolling Stone”, “All Along the Watchtower”, “Forever Young”) remixed. took. It was remastered with uncanny texture and dramatic complexity by Simon Hale, and the songs were then integrated into an original story by the great Irish artist. playwright Conor McPherson (“Weir”, “Sailor”). “Girl From the North Country” is set among the mostly impoverished residents of a rooming house in Duluth, Minnesota, in the early 1930s. For my money this is an amazing show He deserved much more success than he could achieve on Broadway following the COVID-19 shutdown. This is the first (and probably only) national tour and one not to be missed. Feb. 13-25 CIBC Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St.; tickets $37.50-$110.50 broadwayinchicago.com

“Highway Patrol”: Acclaimed actress Dana Delany (“China Beach,” “Desperate Housewives”) stars in an unusual and deeply intriguing new series based on one of her online affairs with a mysterious and complicated admirer in the early days of social media. Adapted from Delaney’s “digital archives” by playwright Jen Silverman and directed by Mike Donahue, the Goodman Theater premiere will likely attract national attention. Dot-Marie Jones (joyHis coach Beiste) is also in the squad. Jan. 20 to Feb. 18 at Goodman’s Albert Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St.; $25-$90 at 312-443-3800 and goodmantheatre.org

2005 concept album by Sufjan Stevens "illinois" (also titled "illinois") inspiration for a new musical at Chicago Shakespeare Theater this spring?

“Illinois”: This conceptual new musical is based on Grammy and Oscar nominee Sufjan Stevens’ critically acclaimed 2005 concept album and features a freewheeling story by Justin Peck (Broadway’s “Carousel” and Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story).), and Jackie Sibblies Drury (“Fairview”)). Featuring a cast of dancers, three singers and a live band choreographed by Peck, “Illinoise” will lead audiences through the magnificently orchestrated history, culture, art and geography of the Land of Lincoln at Chicago Shakespeare’s The Yard theater. The show was developed last summer at Bard College. Jan. 28 to Feb. 18, Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave.; tickets $45-$125 at 312-595-5600 or chicagoshakes.com

“Notes from the Field”: Esteemed Chicago director Mikael Burke stages the first Chicago production of Anna Deavere Smith’s 2015 docudrama: Data from more than 250 interviews with students, parents, teachers, and administrators caught in the school-to-prison pipeline. Although originally conceived as a one-woman show, Burke’s production will star Mildred Marie Langford, Adhana Reid and Shariba Rivers, collectively lending their voices to 18 different characters. Jan. 31 – March 24, TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.; tickets are $35-$67 by calling 773-281-8463 and timelinetheatre.com

“Aim”: After a long and unusual hiatus in mid-winter, Steppenwolf Theater Company returns to production with the world premiere of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ new play starring Phylicia Rashad and Harry Lennix. Jacobs-Jenkins is hitting it big with this month’s Broadway production: “Suitable,” A game that also started in Chicago. An examination of intergenerational Black radicalism, this latest Jacobs-Jenkins play follows an established Black political family whose long-held values ​​are upended. March 14 – April 21, Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St.; tickets $44-$102 from 312-335-1650 and steppenwolf.org

Chris Jones is a Tribune critic.

cjones5@chicagotribune.com

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