Collaboration's "Crime Scene: A Chicago Anthology" (Ania Sodziak )
It's a brand-new year, which means it's time for some brand-new shows. Need a little drama in your life—or perhaps a some comedy or variety or horror or explorations of current events? Check out these five world premiere plays opening this winter in Chicago.
Perfume, Whiskey and Sickness of the Soul: Improvisation in the Style of Tennessee Williams
"A Sweet Bar Named Desire" or "Brat on a Hot Tin Roof," anyone? The Chemically Imbalanced Comedy cast takes a single audience suggestion to create and perform a one-act play drenched in Southern decadence, thwarted dreams and inappropriate sexual tension in this new show, which changes every week.
Go: 8 p.m. Jan. 19 through Feb. 9 at Chemically Imbalanced Theater, 1422 W. Irving Park Road
Tickets: $10. 773-865-7731; cicomedy.com
Crime Scene: A Chicago Anthology
Collaboraction artistic director Anthony Moseley's newly devised piece explores three acts of violence in Chicago during the new Millennium—a mistaken identity killing, a beating that left its victim in a coma and an assault on two women in Wicker Park—through the crimes themselves and nonfiction source material including news reports and online comments. The goal? To raise questions about the connections between segregation, poverty, media coverage, pop culture and public apathy.
Go: 8 p.m. Feb. 14 through March 10 at Collaboraction, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., third floor
Tickets: $25; $15 for students and educators. 312-226-9633; collaboraction.org
Lights Out, Everybody--a Tribute in Horror to Arch Oboler
For some thrills and chills with a throwback twist, head to artistic director Jeremy Menekseoglu's brand-new adaptation of a trio of vintage horror tales from Chicagoan Arch Oboler's 1930s-'40s radio program, "Lights Out," which included such guest stars such as Boris Karloff ("The Grinch")and began with a male voice intoning the words, "Lights out, everybody." The stories follow a Chicago serial killer, a young girl's misadventures on a class trip to Paris and a disturbed new bride who is pitted against her evil mother-in-law.
Go: 8 p.m. Jan. 17 through Feb. 10 at Dream Theatre, 556 W. 18th St.
Tickets: $17-$20. 773-552-8616; dreamtheatrecompany.com
The Gift Theatre Company co-founders William Nedved and Michael Patrick Thornton go back to their roots—their first production together was a 10-minute play festival in 1997 at the University of Iowa—with a lineup of 10 world premiere 10-minute comedies and dramas by Pulitzer Prize finalist Will Eno ("Thom Pain [based on nothing]"), Philip Edward Dawkins ("Failure: A Love Story"), Steppenwolf literary manager Aaron Carter, Marco Ramirez ("Six Stories Tall"), Laura Marks ("Bethany"), Noah Haidle ("Mr. Marmalade") and others.
Go: 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Jan. 20 at The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Tickets: Free. RSVP at 773-283-7071; thegifttheatre.org
American Theater Company artistic director PJ Paparelli co-wrote this drama about the Columbine shootings based on interviews with victims' families and other Littleton, Colo. residents—which premiered in its original form in 2005—and has since revised it when many involved agreed to speak up with new information as their legal issues were settled and healing processes progressed. He was putting the finishing touches on the new version when the Sandy Hook tragedy occurred. "While the nation mourns, a passionate dialogue has begun about the larger issues of gun control, mental health treatment, and ultimately, the unanswerable question of, 'Why?,' " he said. "Our interviewees in Colorado and our artistic team hope that 'Columbinus' will be a forum for Chicagoans to further that dialogue."
Go: 8 p.m. Feb. 1 through March 10 at American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron St.
Tickets: $33-$50. 773-409-4125; atcweb.org
Julia Borcherts is a RedEye special contributor. firstname.lastname@example.org | @redeyechicago