Midwest and World premieres in early 2017


When those New Year resolutions include taking advantage of the Chicago area’s superb theater scene, consider getting tickets to a show that is a World or Chicago Premiere.

Theatre Wit gives a clever behind-the-curtain glimpse of a play rehearsal. Theatre Wit Photo
Theatre Wit gives a clever behind-the-curtain glimpse of a play rehearsal. Theatre Wit Photo

The productions listed here are at six venues that typically do at least one new production a year and often host productions by other theater companies.

Thus they can have more than one show scheduled each month. So, while checking out the suggestions here also look at the venue’s season.

Theater seasons don’t usually coincide with a calendar year. The premieres mentioned here open by the end of March 2017.

Greenhouse Theatre in the Lincoln Park neighborhood sometimes features one-person shows. A fascinating one, running Jan. 6-Feb.12, is Brett Neveu’s ‘Her America.’ A World Premiere starring Kate Buddeke, it is a mystery that unfolds as a woman searches through items in a basement that will help her figure out why things went wrong.

Goodman Theatre in the downtown Theater District is staging the Chicago premiere of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins ‘Gloria.’ A dark, satirical play on what ruthless young employees of a New York magazine do to make themselves important, the show runs Jan. 14-Feb 19.

Northlight Theatre, housed in the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, Skokie, starts the new year with two new plays.

First is the World Premiere of Selina Fillinger’s ‘Faceless,’ running Jan. 26-March 4. An intriguing drama, it centers on the morals and religious freedoms that are questioned when a teenage girl on trial for terrorism conspiracy is prosecuted by a Harvard Law graduate who is Muslim..

It is followed by the Midwest Premiere of  Sharyn Rothstein’s ‘By the Water,’ a drama about rebuilding a home and neighborhood after Hurricane Sandy. Running March 16-April 27, the play is how a devastating event turns out to be more about family and relationships than bricks and mortar.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier is doing the World Premiere of ‘The Book of Joseph’ by Karen Hartman, Jan. 20-March 5. Primarily based on a book about Joseph Hollander and family written by son Richard, the play revolves around the letters he discovered that reveal what happened to the family during World War II.

Theatre Wit in the Belmont Theatre District, is doing the Midwest Premiere of Anne Washburn’s ’10 out of 12,’ March 3-April 23. A funny and insightful recreation of a technical rehearsal of a new play, the production mixes prerecorded voices of famed Chicago stars John Mahoney, Martha Lavey, Barbasra Robertson and Peter Sagal with the action of the actors on stage. Audiences will have headsets to hear the recordings.

Steppenwolf in the Lincoln Park neighborhood will do ‘Linda Vista’ a new play by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning Tracy Letts. Running March 30-May 31, the play takes on the ramifications when a 50-year-old self-absorbed, misanthrope looks at future possibilities following his divorce.

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