Chicago Theater: Tracy Letts at Steppenwolf Theatre Company

Steppenwolf's Tracy Letts (Photo courtesy of Steppenwolf Theatre Company.)

As spring blooms, local stages are bursting with brand-new works of theater. March and April will be strong months for regional and world premieres.

“Linda Vista”

March 30 to May 21

Pulitzer- and Tony-winning playwright Tracy Letts is back at his home theater with another world premiere. His previous play, “Mary Page Marlowe,” was the story of a woman; this one’s the story of a man, a 50-year-old misanthrope named Wheeler (Ian Barford). His marriage is over, his job is boring, and his best years seem to be behind him, but now he finds a chance to start over. The cast also includes Steppenwolf favorites Tim Hopper and Letts himself. Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago, 312-335-1650

“By the Water”

March 16 to April 23

Two local actors who excel at playing sympathetic everyday people, Francis Guinan and Penny Slusher, star in Sharyn Rothstein’s play about a Staten Island neighborhood devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. When the drama premiered in New York, Variety praised the script’s “wonderful characters.” Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie 847-673-6300

“Shakespeare in Love”

Chicago Theater: "Shakespeare in Love" at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Photo by Jeff Sciortino.

April 15 to June 11

It was only a matter of time before the Oscar-winning 1999 movie “Shakespeare in Love” (co-written by venerable playwright Tom Stoppard) became a stage show. And of course, Chicago Shakespeare is the perfect venue for the local premiere of Lee Hall’s adaptation, which London’s Sunday Times called “riotously funny.” Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, 312-595-5600

“Beyond Caring”

Chicago theater: "Beyond Caring" at Lookingglass

Photo by Sean Williams.

March 22 to May 7

When this drama about low-paid workers in the shadow economy made its 2014 debut in London, it was set in England. The Guardian called it “quietly devastating.” For this new staging, writer-director Alexander Zeldin and Lookingglass have reimagined it as a Chicago story. They’re working in collaboration with Dark Harbor Stories, a company led by David Schwimmer and Tom Hodges. Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-337-0665 |

“The Mystery of Love & Sex”

April 5 to July 2

Playwright Bathsheba Doran has said this comedy asks that burning question: “What is the relationship between love and sex?” When it made its 2015 premiere at Lincoln Center, The New York Times called it a “tender and funny exploration of the lives of two couples from two generations.” Writers Theatre is using its smaller performance space, the Gillian Theatre, to create an intimate atmosphere for this local premiere. Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, 847-242-6000

Other shows worth checking out:

“Anytime/Anywhere: The Third Annual Piven Improv Series”
March 24 to April 15
Piven Theatre, 847-866-6597

“Chicago”
March 30 to June 11
Drury Lane, 630-530-0111

“Destiny of Desire”
March 11 to April 16
Goodman Theatre, 312-443-3800

“Disney’s Aladdin”
April 11 to July 2
Cadillac Palace Theatre, 800-775-2000

“The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz”
March 17 to May 7
House Theatre (at the Chopin), 773-769-3832

“The Hard Problem”
March 9 to April 9
Court Theatre, 773-753-4472

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
March 7 to 19
Oriental Theatre, 312-977-1700

“King of the Yees”
March 31 to April 30
Goodman Theatre, 312-443-3800

“The Lincoln Squares’ ‘Gravediggers’ Hamlet’”
March 30 to April 16
Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, 312-595-5600

 

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