Stages Monthly: What to See in Chicago Theaters in September

September is a hectic month for theater in Chicago. Although summer is no longer the slow season it used to be, September sees a lot of season openers and just plain opening nights. Here are some of the things we’re looking forward to. You’ll see our reviews of some of these productions. The Chicago Fringe Festival in Jefferson Park. Continues through September 10. See the showlist for events at various venues in Jefferson Park. Choose from mind-reading, physical theater, musicals and straight plays, and solo performances. There’s also a kids’ fringe. The Invisible Scarlet O’Neil by Babes With Blades at the Factory Theater. Previews start September 2. Based on a 1940s comic strip, Barbara Lhota’s new play, directed by Leigh Barrett, places the superhero Scarlet in dire straits as she battles to save science, Chicago and maybe the world. Thornton Wilder’s Our Town by Redtwist Theatre. Previews start September 6. James Fleming directs this 20th century classic as “as a love letter to Chicago’s many communities and a reminder that life’s most ordinary moments are often the most profound.” The Heavens Are Hung in Black by Shattered Globe Theatre at Theater Wit. Previews start September 7. James Still’s play interprets the emotional months between the death of Abraham Lincoln’s young son and the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Directed by Louis Contey. Runs through October 21. The Penis Talk Show at Pride Arts Center. Sunday, September 10, for two performances only. Conceived and directed by Ronnie Larsen, The Penis Talk Show is an extemporaneous discussion in which three naked but anonymous men, selected by Larsen in advance, answer questions from the audience. 18+. George Orwell’s 1984 by AstonRep Theatre at Raven Theatre. Opens September 14. This version of Orwell’s dystopic masterpiece has been adapted by Robert Owens, Wilton E. Hall Jr. and William A. Miles Jr. Robert Tobin will direct. A View from the Bridge in rehearsal. A View from the Bridge at Goodman Theatre. Previews start September 9. Arthur Miller’s 1955 classic story of longshoreman Eddie Carbone and his immigrant Italian cousins in Red Hook, Brooklyn, in a new production devised by Belgian director Ivo van Hove. The play won the 2016 Tony for Best Revival and has played to soldout houses in London and New York. Building the Wall by Stage Left Theatre at the Athenaeum Theatre. Previews start September 16. This provocative 80-minute theatrical event was written by Pulitzer and Tony® winner Robert Schenkkan (All The Way, Hacksaw Ridge) “in a white-hot fury” reflecting campaign rhetoric that is turning into real policies. Fun Home at Victory Gardens. Previews start September 19. Fun Home, the musical based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir, passed through Chicago last year (see our review), but this is Victory Gardens’ own production, directed by Gary Griffin. A Year With Frog and Toad by Chicago Children’s Theatre at The Station. Opens September 23. Take a kid, whether it’s yours, a niece, nephew or neighbor, to see this delightful musical play based on the books by Arnold Lobel. Frog and Toad will be staged at CCT’s new theater, The Station, in a former police station in the West Loop. The Trojan Women by Three Crows Theatre at the Piven Theatre Workshop, Evanston. Previews start September 27. The Trojans and the Greeks have been at war for 10 years. Troy is burning. The men have been killed. The women and children of Troy await their fate at the hands of the Greek army. Jean Paul Sartre’s 1967 adaptation of Euripides’ classic will be directed by Katherine Siegel.
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Nancy S Bishop

Nancy S. Bishop is publisher and Stages editor of Third Coast Review. She’s a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and a 2014 Fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. You can read her personal writing on pop culture at, and follow her on Twitter @nsbishop. She also writes about film, books, art, architecture and design.