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  WINDY CITY TIMES

SUMMER THEATER SPECIAL Chicago theaters offer warm staycations
by Mary Shen Barnidge
2017-05-24

This article shared 368 times since Wed May 24, 2017
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Your favorite neighborhood playhouses don't close from Memorial to Labor Day, like they did when many of them didn't have air-conditioning.

However, the summer season also hosts a number of theatrical entertainments suited for balmy temperatures and lengthy daylight hours. Here are some of them. ( *= free event )

One-stop destinations

First Folio Theatre, Peabody Estate at Mayslake, 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook: Shakespeare's As You Like It is a romantic comedy set amid leafy greenswards, so what better place to stage it than on the grounds of an estate adjoining a 1919-vintage Tudor Revival mansion? From July 15 to Aug. 20, you can stroll the grounds, dine on a box supper ( ordered in advance ) and pretend you're in the Forest of Arden instead of barely a quarter of a mile away from Illinois Route 83. Information and schedule are at FirstFolio.org .

Oak Park Festival Theatre, Austin Gardens, 167 Forest Ave., Oak Park: Located in the heart of Oak Park's historical district, this 43-year-old troupe presents Shakespeare's Macbeth June 15-July 22 before making way for the 20th-anniversary production of The Fair Maid of the West—Thomas Heywood's classic swashbuckler, adapted by Kevin Theis—whose premiere production in 1995 launched a golden age of stage combat for Chicago ( and a few Hollywood careers, too ), playing July 27-Sept. 2. Those wishing to nosh alfresco can find supplies at nearby Trader Joe's ( but keep the alcohol under wraps, okay? ). Information and schedule at OakParkFestival.com .

*Shakespeare's Motley Crew, Winnemac Park, 5100 N. Leavitt St., Chicago: For its fifth season, this neighborhood ensemble presents Midsummer Mayhem: The Very Witching Hour, a company-generated mashup of Shakespeare's favorite weird sisters and midnight hags, playing on weekends Aug. 4-27. Picnics can be assembled with provender from the flagship Mariano's on Lawrence Avenue. Information and schedule at smcplays.org .

Neighborhood tours

*Chicago Shakespeare Theater: Adapter Marti Lyons whittles Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet down to a brisk, family-friendly 75 minutes for a traveling production whose itinerary between July 26 and Aug. 27 ranges from 96th Street to Loyola Avenue. Complete schedule and locations at Chicagoshakes.com .

*Midsommer Flight: No matter how dark the play's themes, Shakespeare's actors played in daylight and so does this North Side company July 8-Aug. 27. This year's presentation is the shadowy revenge tragedy, Hamlet, in a 100-minute adaptation directed by Beth Wolf, featuring sword fights by Chris Smith and Maureen Yasko. Complete schedule and locations at midsommerflight.com

*Theatre Hikes: Lovers, clowns and magical sprites chase each other through the woods in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and so do the audiences in these promenade-staged daytime productions performed between June 24 and July 30 amid real-life foliage in Horner and Wicker Parks, the Morton Arboretum and the North Park Village Nature Center. Complete schedule and locations at theatrehikes.org .

Indoor festivals

Baudelaire in a Box Project, Links Hall at Constellation, 3111 N. Western Ave., Chicago: Theater Oobleck presents the final episode of its nine-part multimedia adaptation of 19th-century poet Charles Baudelaire's scandalous Les Fleurs du Mal, in a 15-hour festival performance spanning the weekend of Aug. 4-6. More information at TheatreOobleck.com

Chicago Fringe Festival, Jefferson Park, Chicago: An international array of comedies, dramas, musicals, performance artists and "unclassifiables" play at five venues in the Jefferson Park district between the dates of Aug. 30 and Sept. 10. Complete schedule and locations are at ChicagoFringe.org .


This article shared 368 times since Wed May 24, 2017
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