Chicago Theater: Relativity

Mike Nussbaum in "Relativity" (Photo by Michael Brosilow.)

The Chicago theater scene has serious star power in May and June — with Stacy Keach embodying Ernest Hemingway in one drama, while Mike Nussbaum portrays Albert Einstein in another play.


May 11 to June 18

The 93-year-old Mike Nussbaum is a marvel to behold, commanding stages with his nuanced performances. After playing Sigmund Freud in Mark St. Germain’s play “Freud’s Last Session,” Nussbaum is back as another intellectual giant, Albert Einstein, in another script by St. Germain. Directed by BJ Jones, this drama presents a reporter who interviews Einstein about secrets from his personal life. Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, 847-673-6300


May 19 to June 18

Stacy Keach won a Golden Globe for his performance as Ernest Hemingway in the 1988 TV miniseries “Hemingway.” Nearly three decades later, he’s back in the same role, playing the legendary author as he faced depression and declining health near the end of his life. In Jim McGrath’s new play, Hemingway is holed up in a Spanish hotel, struggling to write about matadors. The 75-year-old Keach will play Hemingway at age 56, with direction from the Goodman’s artistic director, Robert Falls, who memorably collaborated with Keach on an audacious “King Lear.” Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, 312-443-3800


May 24 to July 9

Originally staged on Broadway in 1998, this show focuses on an unusually somber and serious topic for a musical: the true history of Leo Frank, a Brooklyn-born Jewish man falsely accused of murder in Atlanta in 1913. One of the Chicago area’s most esteemed directors, Gary Griffin, will guide this production of the Tony Award-winning musical by composer Jason Robert Brown and playwright Alfred Uhry. Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, 847-242-6000


June 3–11

Formerly known as Light Opera Works, this North Shore company has been rechristened Music Theater Works. As the new name suggests, they do more than just operettas. This musical by Leonard Bernstein, based on Voltaire’s satire on humanity’s foibles, should offer a perfect chance for this group to show off its strengths. It’s an enjoyable and sophisticated show straddling the line between classical music and Broadway entertainment. Music Theater Works, at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson, Evanston, 847-920-5360

“Dance for Beginners”

May 13 to June 11

The centerpiece of a Piven season devoted to women’s voices, this new drama by the female Chicago playwright MT Cozzola takes an intimate look at the beginnings of a relationship in the third act of life. Piven Theatre, 927 Noyes St., Evanston, 847-866-6597

Other shows worth checking out:

“Ah, Wilderness!”
June 17 to July 23
Goodman Theatre, 312-443-3800

“The Bridges of Madison County”
June 21 to Aug. 13
Marriott Theatre, 847-634-0200

June 29 to Aug. 20
Steppenwolf Theatre, 312-335-1650

“Moby Dick”
June 7 to Sept. 3
Lookingglass Theatre, 312-337-0665

“Objects in the Mirror”
April 29 to June 4
Goodman Theatre, 312-443-3800

Chicago Theater: Objects in the Mirror

“Objects in the Mirror” (Photo courtesy of Goodman Theatre.)

“Pass Over”
May 25 to July 2
Steppenwolf Theatre, 312-335-1650

“Stick Fly”
May 12–21
Northwestern University’s Josephine Louis Theater, 847-491-7282

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