Theater

Diverse Chicago Theatre Offerings Coming This Semester

On the outside, the Goodman family seems like your typical American family. However, behind closed doors, they are anything but normal. Diana Goodman, a suburban mom, has been suffering from bipolar disorder and hallucinations for the past 16 years. The struggle of trying to keep things within the family begins to take its toll on Diana, her husband Dan and their daughter Natalie. The contemporary rock opera confronts several issues beyond mental illness, including medical ethics, the power of grief and the ghosts that follow us all. The emotional powerhouse of a musical opened on Broadway in 2009 and was nominated for 11 Tony Awards, winning Best Original Score and two others.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is launching its 41st season with the world premiere play “Visiting Edna.” The show follows the transforming relationship between Edna, an aged woman who has advanced cancer, and her son, Andrew, who has come home for a visit. The two attempt to revisit the childhood love they once shared. This is done while trying to navigate the numerous distractions keeping them from real, honest connections in modern society. Tony Award winner Anna D. Shapiro will direct the play written by Tony Award winning playwright David Rabe. Debra Monk, a Tony and Emmy Award winner, will star as Edna with ensemble member Ian Barford playing her son.

For the select few who have not heard of this musical yet, it is the record-setting production that took home 11 of the 16 Tony Awards it was nominated for, including Best Musical.

Cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir-turned-musical “Fun Home” will be making a stop at the Oriental Theatre during its first national tour. The show follows the life of Bechdel as she discovers, comes to terms with and ultimately embraces her sexuality at three different ages. Just four months after coming out to her parents, her father Bruce, who also had homosexual relations, committed suicide by walking in front of an oncoming truck. Susan Moniz, who has performed at numerous Chicago Theatres including Marriott Theatre, Lyric Opera and Chicago Shakespeare Theater, will play the role of wife and mother Helen, and will be joined onstage by Northwestern alumna Katherine Shindle, who will be playing Alison. The show opened on Broadway in April 2015 and was nominated for 12 Tony Awards, winning five, including Best Musical.

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is a play adapted from Mark Haddon’s novel of the same name. The show follows Christopher Boone, a young boy with autism who becomes obsessed with solving the murder mystery surrounding his neighbor’s dog. What makes this show so notable isn’t the plot itself, but the way in which it is told. The mesmerizing projections and staging help the audience to better understand the sometimes overwhelming, multi-sensory world in which Christopher and others with autism live. The play originally appeared in the West End before making its way to Broadway in 2014. It was nominated for six Tony Awards and took home five, including Best Play, Best Lighting Design of a Play and Best Scenic Design of a Play.

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