Pictured #1 Black Nativity, gospel Christmas adapted from gay African-American poet Langston Hughes, Congo Square at Goodman Theatre. #2 Chiffhangers, female staged combat created and performed by Babes With Blades, Breadline Theatre, Oct. 13-Nov. 20. #3 St. Colm's Inch, world premiere from new-generation Chicago playwright Robert Koon, Chicago Dramatists, Sept. 29-Nov. 6.
For our fall Theater Preview—the best and biggest of any publication in town—we offer an expanded version of our weekly Critics' Picks feature.
Theater Editor Jonathan Abarbanel and senior critics Mary Shen Barnidge and Rick Reed offer their choices of 10 don't-miss shows between now and Dec. 31.
The Abarbanel 10
Echoes of Another Man, a tale of brain transplantation by bright Chicago author Mia McCullough, Stage Left Theatre, through Nov. 5.
The Talisman Ring, swashbuckler costume romance adapted from Georgette Heyer's novel, Lifeline Theatre, through Dec. 11.
Orpheus Descending, Tennessee Williams at his steamy Southern best, American Theatre Company, Oct. 5-Nov. 6.
after the quake, Frank Galati adapts Haruki Murakami's tales of earthshaking in Japan, Steppenwolf Theatre, Oct. 20-March 19, 2006.
Manuscript Found in Saragossa, world premiere fantasy promises visual delights, Lookingglass Theatre, Oct. 27-Dec. 18.
Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams, by gay Cubano Pulitzer Prize dramatist Nilo Cruz, Victory Gardens, Nov. 4-Dec. 18.
The Long Christmas Ride Home, gay-boy drama by lesbian Paula Vogel, Next Theatre ( Evanston ) , Nov. 10-Dec. 11.
Mabou Mines' Dollhouse, stunning minature adaptation of Ibsen by Lee Breuer, Court Theatre and Museum of Contemporary Art, Nov. 30-Dec. 18.
Dessa Rose, musical of inter-racial women's friendship during the Civil War, by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Apple Tree Theatre ( Highland Park ) , Dec. 7-31.
The Barnidge 10
The Talisman Ring, Lifeline Theatre, through Dec. 11 ( see Abarbanel 10 ) .
Cliffhangers, female stage combat created and performed by Babes With Blades, Breadline Theatre, Oct. 13-Nov. 20.
The Madwoman of Chaillot, whistful French comedy about the crush of civilization, by Jean Annouilh, Artistic Home, Oct. 23-Dec. 4.
The Fantastiks, the classic Jones & Schmidt whimsical muscial, Theo Ubique Theatre, No Exit Cafe, Oct. 27-Dec. 4.
A Man For All Seasons, Robert Bolt's colorful and moving drama of Henry VIII and Thomas More, TimeLine Theatre, Nov. 5-Dec. 18.
Talley And Sons, third part of Lanford Wilson's Talley trilogy, Eclipse Theatre, Victory Gardens, Nov. 18-Dec. 18.
The Christmas Schooner, golden chestnut holiday musical, Bailiwick, Nov. 18-Dec. 31.
A Christmas Carol, the Mother of All Xmas Shows, Goodman Theatre, Nov. 27-Dec. 26.
Black Nativity, gospel Christmas adapted from gay African-American poet Langston Hughes, Congo Square at Goodman Theatre, Dec. 2-31.
The Nutcracker and The King of Mice, a non-dance version of the holiday tale, Incurable Theatre, Cultural Center Studio, Dec. 2-Jan. 8, 2006.
The Reed 10
Mabou Mines' Dollhouse, Court Theatre at MCA, Nov. 30 to Dec. 18 ( see Abarbanel 10 )
The Twilight Gallery, something spooky for Halloween by various playwrights, Hell in a Handbag Productions, Theatre Building, Oct. 7-29.
4.48 Psychosis, manic-depressive Sarah Kane's theatrical vision of her disintegrating mind, The Hypocrites, Steppenwolf Garage, Nov. 10-Dec. 23.
The Long Christmas Ride Home, Next Theatre, Nov. 10-Dec. 11 ( see Abarbanel 10 ) .
Crave, more bleak poetry from Sarah Kane, who wrote five plays and killed herself, the side project ( sic ) , Oct. 27-Dec. 4.
after the quake, Steppenwolf, Oct. 20-Feb. 19 ( see Abarbanel 10 ) .
The Uneasy Chair, an elegant marital comedy by Evan Smith, Writers' Theatre ( Glencoe ) , Oct. 4-Nov. 27.
Dessa Rose, Apple Tree, Dec. 7-31 ( see Abarbanel 10 ) .
St. Colm's Inch, world premiere from new-generation Chicago playwright Robert Koon, Chicago Dramatists, Sept. 29-Nov. 6.
Much Ado About Nothing, battle of wits in one of Shakespeare's breeziest romantic comedies, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Dec. 10-Feb. 26, 2006.