From a classic Shakespearean tragedy, Hamlet, to a cult film classic with aqua legwarmers, XANADU, theater season is in full swing. Hedy Weiss joins us on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm to review four plays currently on local stages. Learn more about the plays below.
Writer August Wilson describes this play as the one in which he found his voice. Jitney, Wilson’s first play, takes place in the late 1970s in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, in a rundown station of a cab company. Becker, the man who runs the station, has just found out that the city plans to tear down his building. In addition, his estranged son of 20 years, Booster, has just finished serving his prison sentence and returned to Pittsburgh. Booster’s return sparks confrontation between the two. The play blends individual stories of tragedy and transcendence into a greater picture about a community struggling to get by. Jitney explores the human need to connect, especially in times of trouble. The play runs through October 14 at the Court Theatre, and ticket prices range from $15-$45.
5535 S. Ellis Ave.
Chicago, IL 60637
Watch a clip from Jitney in the video below.
Shakespeare’s longest and most influential tragedy has the remarkable ability to be retold throughout the centuries. Prince Hamlet exacts revenge on his uncle Claudius for murdering his own brother, King Hamlet. Claudius claims the throne and the widowed queen. The play portrays both true and feigned madness through one of literature’s most intriguing characters. This timeless tale is being rejuvenated by Artistic Director Michael Halberstam at Writers’ Theatre. The play runs through November 25 and tickets range from $35-$70.
325 Tudor Court
Glencoe, IL 60022
Watch an interview with Artistic Director Michael Halberstam about the play.
A Class Act
This musical about musicals follows Tony Award-winning songwriter Ed Kleban on a reflective journey of his life accomplishments. Kleban drops in on his Manhattan memorial service where his friends honor his memory, causing Kleban to evaluate his life, from his turbulent relationship with his childhood best friend, to finding his voice through theater writing. He recalls his moments of failures and successes mixed with his insecurity about his future career. In the end, Kleban is able to make peace with the life he’s led and the work he’s leaving behind. A Class Act has been nominated for the Best Musical Tony Award. The play is being shown at Theatre Wit through October 7 and tickets are $39.
1229 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
Watch a video behind the scenes of A Class Act.
Based on the cult classic film that starred Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly, Xanadu, is taking Broadway stages by storm with its energy and lavishness. XANADU also features hit songs from the Electric Light Orchestra including “Part All Over the World” and “Evil Woman.” Director Rachel Rockwell wrote in her notes, “Xanadu is really about finding your bliss and following your passion. It’s about doing the thing that truly brings you joy. And isn’t that really what we all strive for? We just choose not to do it while wearing spandex. I hope you will unleash your inner disco diva and enjoy our production of Xanadu. We won’t tell anyone…promise.” The musical runs through October 28 at the Drury Lane Theatre and tickets range from $35-$45.
Drury Lane Theatre
100 Drury Lane
Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois 60181
View a clip from the musical.