Something for Everyone on Chicago Stages
by Hedy Weiss
There is something for everybody on Chicago's stages at the moment. Here's a quick look at just a few of the wildly different choices available:
YOUNG MEN LOST: In Annie Baker's "The Aliens," set in the back lot of a rural Vermont coffee shop, two lost but brainy twentysomething guys connect with a wide-eyed high school kid, and before the summer is over all their lives have changed. Three beautiful performances anchor this haunting play that runs through March 3 at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells. Call (312) 943-8722; www.aredorchidtheatre.org.
CUPCAKE HEAVEN: In "American Wee-Pie," a goofily tragicomic, zestily acted new play by Lisa Dillman, a brother and sister in middle age try to reconnect after the death of their mother, and a husband and wife who run an artisanal cupcake business try to weather the recession. You will laugh as you cry watching this production that runs through Feb. 16 at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge. Call (773) 334-7728; www.rivendelltheatre.org.
SOVIET MIND GAMES: "The Letters," a noose-tight two-character play by John W. Lowell, takes an intense, unblinking look at the psychological warfare that makes a totalitarian regime tick. Kate Fry and Mark L. Montgomery turn in chilling, superbly controlled performances as an archivist and her manipulative boss in this Writers' Theatre production that runs through March 17 at the intimate Books on Vernon space, 664 Vernon Ave., Glencoe. Call (847) 242-6000.
JAZZ LEGEND REBORN: In "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill," Alexis J. Rogers gives an uncanny, tour de force portrayal of Billie Holiday, singing her way through 14 classic songs and suggesting the jazz icon's very troubled life. This truly breathtaking Porchlight Music Theatre production runs through March 10 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont. Call (773) 327-5252; www.stage773.com.
CALL CENTER BLUES: Sure, you may hate dealing with those far-flung Indian call centers as you make a credit card query. But in "Disconnect," the human drama that unfolds on the other side of the world becomes alternately touching and funny, and it is universal in its depiction of office politics. Anapuma Chandrasekhar's play runs through Feb. 24 at Victory Gardens Biograph Theatre, 2433 N. Lincoln. Call (773) 871-3000; www.victorygardens.org.