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LOOKING FORWARD: Chicago Shows We're Excited About

Continuing our support of productions that embrace inclusion for artists and audiences, below are shows open or opening soon in Chicago that we feel are moving our community forward. As a staff, we have not necessarily seen all of these shows but are really glad they are happening.

We are excited to list shows that offer some or all of the following: - Non-traditional casting

- Accessible storytelling

- Variety of perspectives on the design and production teams

- Playwrights/Directors from underrepresented communities

- Diversity in season programming

Buy tickets to shows that celebrate inclusion. Then write to producers and tell them you want more of it. Decision makers are led by numbers and this is one way you can make a difference.​

Lifeline Theatre presents

The Man Who Was Thursday

Adapted by Bilal Dardai

Directed by Jess Hutchinson

through April 7

at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N Glenwood Ave

A shadowy cabal of anarchists has risen in London and Scotland Yard is determined to bring them down. When Gabriel Syme joins the undercover detail tasked with infiltrating the anarchists’ operations, he soon finds himself sitting on their Supreme Council with the code name “Thursday.” But as Syme unearths the Council’s true nature, it becomes clear that no one in this battle between law and chaos is as they seem, and that Scotland Yard may have created the very problem they’re trying to solve. Challenge all assumptions and uncover the truth in this absorbing adaptation of the 1908 satire by G. K. Chesterton.

The cast, artistic and production team include: Allison Cain, Eduardo Xavier Curley-Carrillo, Jen Ellison, LInsey Falls, Sonia Goldberg, Cory Hardin, Marsha Harman, Oly Oxinfry, Corrbette Pasko, Christopher Walsh, Amanda Beranek, LIzzie Bracken, Kyle Bricker, Elise Kauzlaric, Christopher Kriz, Caitlin McLeod, Jenny PInson, Gerg Poljacik, Zev Valancy, Eric Watkins and Anna Wooden

Tickets are $20-40 and can be purchased here.

Timeline Theatre presents

Cardboard Piano

Written by Hansol Jung

Directed by Mechelle Moe

Through March 17

at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.

At the dawn of the millennium in a darkened church in northern Uganda, the daughter of American missionaries and a local teenage girl prepare to exchange vows in a secret, makeshift wedding ceremony. But when the brutality of the war zone around them encroaches on their fragile union, the two are faced with a reality they cannot escape. Confronting the religious and cultural roots of intolerance, Cardboard Piano explores violence and its aftermath, as well as the human capacity for hatred, forgiveness, and love.

The cast, artistic and production team include Adia Alli, Kai A. Ealy, Kearstyn Keller, Freedom Martin, Eva Breneman, Jared Bellot, JEffrey D Kmiec, Elle Erickson, Brandon Wardell, David Kelepha SAmba, Amy Peter, Jon Beal, Fredrick Harris, Kristina Fluty, Fatima Sowe, Lucy Kersting, Clare Brennan, Airos Sung-En Medill, John Bisegerwa, DIna Spoeri and Molly Weaver

Haven Theatre in association with About Face Theatre presents

The Total Bent

Text written by Stew, Music and Lyrics by Stew and Heidi Rodewald

Directed by Lili-Anne Brown

Through March 10

at The Den Theatre's Janet Bookspan Theatre 1331 N Milwaukee Ave

When a British record producer arrives in Montgomery, Alabama to hook Marty Roy, a young black musical prodigy, he launches us back into Marty’s tumultuous upbringing. The son of a gospel star and self-proclaimed healer, Marty spent his childhood writing the songs that have made his charismatic father famous. But in a nation on the verge of social upheaval, with the rising heat from the street guiding his pen, Marty finds himself at odds with his spiritually forceful father as he strives to create a masterpiece that will change America – no matter the cost. A funny, fiery, one-of-a-kind show from the creators of Tony-Award winning Passing Strange and directed by Jeff Award-winner Lili-Anne Brown (Caroline, Or Change, Firebrand Theatre), The Total Bent is about the passions that divide a father and son as they make their music and make their choice between salvation and selling out.

The cast, artistic and production team include: Breon Arzell, Robert Cornelius, Gilbert Domally, Frederick Harris, Jermaine HIll, Eric Lindahl Michael Turrentine, Derek Duleba, Chirstian Moreno, Anthony Rodriguez, Kurt Shelby, Arnel Sancianco, Christina Pascual, Jason Lynch, David Samba, Emily Boyd, Joe Burke, ABhi Shrestha, Adam Goldstein, Ian Damont Martin, Lewis Rwlinson, Marika Mashburn, Angela Salinas, Jen L'Amour Dorman, Blake Cordell, Razor Wintercastle and Corbin Paulino

Tickets are $35 can be purchased here.

Teatro Vista presents

The Abuelas

Written by Stephanie Alison Walker

Directed by Ricardo Gutiérrez

through March 17

at Victory Gardens 2433 N. Lincoln Ave

At 37-years-old, Argentine native Gabriela is the first woman ever to be appointed Principal Cellist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Juggling married life, new motherhood and a high-stress career isn’t without challenges, but she makes it work, until a family birthday dinner brings unexpected guests with a devastating secret that changes everything. The Abuelas asks how one goes on after discovering their life is a lie? Does the restoration of truth bring freedom or only suffering? Is it possible to integrate two identities into one life? The Abuelas explores these questions as well as the heart’s capacity for forgiveness even in the face of the harshest betrayal.

The cast includes Cruz Gonzalez Cadel, Nate Santana, Katie Berberi, Eddi Martinez, Alba Guerra and Ilse Zacharias

Tickets are $20-35 and can be purchased here.

Red Tape Theatre presents

In the Blood

Written by Susan Lori-Parks

Directed by Chika Ike

through February 23

at THE READY, 4546 N Western Ave

In the Blood is the story of the impoverished Hester La Negrita’s mission for redemption. She tries to make a way for her and her five children but is instead constantly used, abused, and condemned by everyone around her. Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Park’s provocative riff on The Scarlet Letter is an unflinching look at how we judge each other, how we separate from each other and how we determine what is “otherness.”

The cast, artistic and production team include: Casey Chapman, Richard Costes, Jyreika Guest, Emilie Modaff, Kiayla Ryann, Max Thomas, Alex Oparka, Nick Shcuwartz, Rahcel Sypniewski, ERic WAtkins, Gaby Labotka, Steve Labedz and Catherine Miller

Tickets are All tickets are FREE as part of the Free Theatre Movement and can be secured here

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