12 Can't-Miss Plays in Chicago This Winter: David Schwimmer

Lookingglass co-founder David Schwimmer will reprise his role as director this winter — this time for Plantation! (Photo courtesy of Lookingglass Theatre Company.)

From dramas as chilling as the season to musicals that offer a warm respite, Chicago’s winter lineup has something for everyone.

Blind Date

Jan. 20 to Feb. 25 

This world premiere takes us behind the scenes as Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev negotiate during the final act of the Cold War. The Goodman’s artistic director, Robert Falls, will direct the play by Rogelio Martinez, who also explored Cold War themes in his dramas “Ping Pong” and “Born in East Berlin.” This one is being promoted as “a compelling and edgy comic journey through the intricacies of statesmanship.” Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, 312-443-3800

Ragtime

Jan. 24 to March 18 

Based on E.L. Doctorow’s acclaimed novel, this Tony-winning 1998 Broadway musical is more timely than ever. The story is set in the early 1900s, and Stephen Flaherty’s music evokes America in that era, combining marches, cakewalks, gospel, and Scott Joplin’s jaunty syncopated piano into its anthems. But the play’s themes include immigration and racial injustice — topics straight out of today’s headlines. Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, 847-634-0200

Skeleton Crew

Jan. 25 to March 4 

With the looming threat of layoffs, tensions rise in a Detroit factory’s break room, testing the friendships of autoworkers fighting for their survival. Directed by Ron OJ Parson in its local premiere, Dominique Morisseau’s comedy-drama was proclaimed one of the year’s 10 best shows by Time Magazine after its first run in New York. And the Detroit Free Press called it a “bold, funny, ultimately empowering play.” Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, 847-673-6300

Moon for the Misbegotten

Feb. 7 to March 18 

In Eugene O’Neill’s bittersweet final completed play, a man and his daughter learn that their rented farmland in rural Connecticut might be sold out from underneath them. Played by Jeff Award winner A.C. Smith and Bethany Thomas, they scheme to avoid eviction by their cynical, alcoholic landlord, Jim Tyrone (played by veteran Wisconsin actor James DeVita). William Brown, who has directed so many stellar productions over the years at Writers Theatre, will bring his deft touch to this classic drama. Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, 847-242-6000

Plantation!

Feb. 21 to April 22 

The biggest star to emerge out of Lookingglass, David Schwimmer, returns to direct this world premiere by ensemble member Kevin Douglas. In 2016, Douglas wrote the Lookingglass show “Thaddeus and Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure,” which explored the quandaries faced by African-American performers during the era of blackface. In his new dark comedy, a Texas matriarch discovers that the history of her ancestral home is complicated. The revelations stir up a tempest in her family. Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-337-0665

Other Plays Worth Checking Out:

  • The Humans,” Jan. 30 to Feb. 11, Cadillac Palace Theatre, 800-775-2000
  • Sex With Strangers,” Feb. 2 to March 4, Citadel Theatre, 847-735-8554
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Short Shakespeare), Feb. 3 to March 10, and Schiller’s “Mary Stuart,” Feb. 21 to April 15, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 312-595-5600
  • Cabaret,” Feb. 7 to March 18, Paramount Theatre, Aurora, 630-896-6666
  • Breach,” Feb. 9 to March 11, Victory Gardens Theater, 773-871-3000
  • Twelfth Night,” Feb. 16-25, Northwestern University (Ethel M. Barber Theater), 847-491-7282

 

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Robert-Loerzel

Robert Loerzel is a freelance journalist who lives in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. His work has also appeared in Playbill and on WBEZ, and he is the author of the book “Alchemy of Bones: Chicago’s Luetgert Murder Case of 1897.”

 

 

 

 

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