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2005-06 Theater Preview: Thinking Beyond Summer

By Justin Sondak on Jun 21, 2005 8:40PM

Note: This is Part 1 of a series. You didn't think we'd cover every company in one post, did you?

On the first day of summer the last thing on your mind is how you’ll spend next winter. But more than a few theater companies hope that in between getting cultured outdoors and gulping down overpriced beverages at festivals, you’ll reserve a subscription for 2005-2006. It's impossible in June to know who will curry favor with Jeff next spring, but here are a few companies to watch:

waterworks.jpgThe Lookingglass Theatre has an ambitious season planned, in part for the quality of the work and collaboration but particularly since half of their shows are ‘subscriber exclusive’ events. Forget about getting a last-minute ticket to Hephaestus, based on the Greek myth and featuring members of Cirque du Solei. Only subscribers will get to see Sita Ram, based on Hindi myth and reuniting the theater with the Chicago Children’s Choir, and the improv showcase of Joey (Hey, It’s That Guy) Slotnik and Lauren Katz. The company offers a sneak peak at their Water Works home tonight and next Monday, contact them for more details.

Not to be outdone by the Goodman, the Steppenwolf’s 30th season is all new work, all the time. Highlights include “Last of the Boys”, the family comedy from perennial favorite Steven Dietz, an adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s “After the Quake” and the return of Steppenwolf mainstays Amy Morton, K. Todd Freeman, Laurie Metcalf and John Mahoney.

Mahoney also teams up with friend and Academy-Award winner Estelle Parsons for Samuel Beckett’s radio drama “All That Fall,” a Beckett centennial tribute presented by Irish Rep of Chicago. The company’s season proper features two one-acts by Brian Friel, a one-week engagement by the internationally renowned Donal O’Kelly (best known to movie buffs as ‘Bimbo’ in Roddy Doyle’s “The Van”), and another Chicago premiere by Hugh Leonard.

The House Theatre, flush from selling out two venues last weekend, completes the beloved Valentine trilogy next winter, sending its hero to battle Nazis, the mob, and a demon robot(!) in 1930s Chi-town. Bookending the season are a revisionist Wizard of Oz and an adaptation of an upcoming Joe Meno novel. Across the North Side, American Theater Company unearths a lesser-known Tennessee Williams piece, brings George Bailey back in radio form, capitalizes on St. Paddy’s Day madness, and tackles race relations.

What shows are you excited about?