If you're looking for theater that explores LGBTQ issues, then you're in lots of luck this winter. Gender non-conformity, bullying and Broadway diva worship are just a few of the topics explored in the shows listed below. All shows in Chicago unless otherwise noted.
A Map of Virtue, Cor Theatre at Rivendell Theatre, now to Feb. 14. Apparently, there is a gay angle to Erin Courtney's psychological thriller about a group of obsessive friends who are left stranded in the woods. ( See review in this issue. ) www.cortheatre.org .
Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them, First Floor Theater at Flat Iron Arts Building, now to Jan. 31. Two Filipino-American teenagers are abandoned and come to terms with their sexuality in A. Rey Pamatmat's drama that explores what it means to grow up poor, rural, queer and alone. ( See review in this issue. ) www.firstfloortheater.com .
The Book of Merman, Pride Films and Plays at Mary's Attic, now to Feb. 15. Leo Schwartz, the Jeff Award-winning composer behind Under a Rainbow Flag, is behind this new musical comedy imagining what might happen if two Mormon missionaries happened to ring the doorbell of the iconic Broadway star Ethel Merman. ( See review in this issue. ) www.pridefilmsandplays.com .
Top Girls, The Arc Theatre at The Den Theatre, now to Feb. 8. A revival of Caryl Churchill's drama that mixes fantasy ( no doubt inspired by Judy Chicago's art installation The Dinner Party ) and gritty 1980s reality to explore feminism through the centuries. www.arctheatrechicago.org .
The Who's Tommy, Paramount Theatre, Aurora, now to Feb. 15. A horribly bullied and sexually abused British boy who is struck "deaf, dumb and blind" later becomes a media celebrity due to his amazing "Pinball Wizard" skills in a new production of the 1993 Broadway musical inspired by The Who's 1969 rock opera. www.paramountaurora.com .
Keys of the Kingdom, Stage Left Theatre at Theater Wit, now to Feb. 15. An atheist lesbian artist is employed to pain a massive mural for an evangelical Christian megachurch in Penny Penniston's world-premiere drama ( see review in this issue ). www.stagelefttheatre.com .
Accidentally Like a Martyr, A Red Orchid Theatre, now to March 1. The setting is a Manhattan dive gay bar in Grant James Varjas' drama that explores the failed hopes and dreams of a group of guys from different generations. www.aredorchidtheatre.org .
Next Door Gay-bors, The Orchard at Prop Thtr as part of Curious Theatre Branch's Rhino Fest, now to Feb. 20. A lesbian and a gay man share a common wall in an apartment complex and they also share an odd hobby of separately going online posing as heterosexual women in Kathy Anderson and Bill Felty's new play. www.curioustheatrebranch.com .
The Anti-theatrical Prejudice, Scarlett Kim & Co. at Prop Thtr as part of Curious Theatre Branch's Rhino Fest, now to Feb. 22. Scarlett Kim takes in contributions from James Fleming, Natalie Houchins, Stephanie Litchfield, Michael Reinhard and Derek Spencer to explore the many reasons why there has been such a deep-seated hatred of theater throughout history, including a trope on effeminacy. www.curioustheatrebranch.com .
The Foreplay Play, Realize Theatre Group at Prop Thtr as part of Curious Theatre Branch's Rhino Fest, now to Feb. 20. A straight couple meets with a lesbian couple for dinner, drinks and a foursome. As expected, things don't go as planned in Mariah MacCarthy's play. www.curioustheatrebranch.com .
Plastic Revolution, The New Colony at The Den Theatre, now to Feb. 22. The 2009 musical Tupperware by Will Cavedo, Andrew Hobgood and Julie B. Nichols has been thoroughly revamped, though there is still a drag component to the proceedings. www.thenewcolony.org .
Princess Mary Demands Your Attention, Bailiwick Chicago at Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater, now to Feb. 21. Tolstoy's War and Peace is apparently the inspiration for Aaron Holland's world-premiere drama about a gay, Black daydreamer who undertakes a decade-long journey to self-acceptance when he encounters a challenging drag queen. www.bailiwickchicago.com .
Spike Heels, The Brown Paper Box Co. at Raven Theatre, Jan. 23 to Feb. 8. See if the bisexual elements of Theresa Rebeck's 1992 off-Broadway comedy drama focusing on sexual harassment are more than plot devices in this revival. www.brownpaperbox.org .
La Cage aux Folles, Marriott Theatre, Lincolnshire, Jan. 28 to March 22. There should be lots of simultaneously glamorous and tacky drag in this 1983 Broadway musical adaptation of the hit French film featuring a score by Jerry Herman ( Mame, Hello, Dolly! ) and a script by Harvey Fierstein ( Torch Song Trilogy, Kinky Boots ). www.marriotttheatre.com .
A Kid Like Jake, About Face Theatre at Greenhouse Theater Center, Feb. 6 to March 15. A 4-year-old boy's passion for Cinderella and princess dress-up threatens his spot in an exclusive Manhattan kindergarten program in the Chicago premiere of Daniel Pearle's 2013 off-Broadway drama. www.aboutfacetheatre.org .
Sondheim on Sondheim, Porchlight Music Theatre at Stage 773, Feb. 6 to March 15. The Chicago premiere of the 2010 Broadway musical revue that incorporates video interviews with Sondheim alongside his songs, including the straight-to-gay creative transformation of the song "The Best Thing That Has Ever Happened." www.porchlightmusictheatre.org .
Snow White and the Seven Drag Queens, MidTangent Productions at Hydrate, Feb. 6 to June 5. The 2014 revival is back again on a monthly basis and filled with lots of campy comedy and drag. www.midtangent.com .
The Laramie Project, Devonshire Playhouse, Skokie, Feb. 14 to March 1. The acclaimed 2000 off-Broadway docu-drama exploring a town's response to the 1998 hate crime murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard is back. www.skokieparks.org .
Four, Jackalope Theatre, Feb. 19 to March 28. Chicago premiere of Christopher Shinn's drama which includes a plot strand on a 16-year-old white boy who has a tryst with a closeted, married Black man he met over the internet. www.jackalopetheatre.org .
fml: How Carson McCullers Saved My Life, Loyola University, Feb. 19 to March 1. A young lesbian in high school who is being cyber-bullied finds a way to survive through literature in this revival of Sarah Gubbins' 2012 play. www.luc.edu/dfpa .
The Glass Protégé, Glitterati Productions at Theater Wit, Feb. 20 to March 29. A Chicago premiere of gay playwright Dylan Costello's drama exploring how the closet restrained artists in the early days of Hollywood. www.glitteratiproductions.com .
Winter Cabaret: The Music of Kander & Ebb, Chicago Gay Men's Chorus at Laugh Factory ( Feb. 24 ) and Mayslake Peabody Estate, Oak Brook ( March 7 ). Members of the chorus show off their talents performing music by the gay songwriters John Kander and Fred Ebb who were responsible for such Broadway smashes like Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman and Curtains. www.cgmc.org .
The Book of Mormon, Bank of America Theatre, Feb. 25 to May 17. The national tour of the hit 2011 Broadway musical comedy about Mormon missionaries in Uganda is back for an extended multi-month run. www.broadwayinchicago.com .
The Full Monty, Kokandy Productions at Theater Wit, March 10 to April 12. Out-of-work steelworkers turn to stripping to make a quick buck.in Terrence McNally and David Yazbek's 2000 Broadway and Americanized musical adaptation of the Academy Award-nominated British film. www.kokandyproductions.com .
Legacies of Hope featuring Tyler's Suite, Windy City Gay Chorus & Windy City Treble Quire at St. James Cathedral, March 21. LGBTQ youth at risk is the focus of this concert that features the Midwest premiere of Tyler's Suite, which was commissioned to commemorate the life of late college student Tyler Clementi. www.windycitysings.org .
Billy Elliot The Musical, Drury Lane Theatre, Oakbrook Terrace, April 10 to June 7. Jeff Award-winner Rachel Rockwell directs and choreographs the first regional production of the international hit musical by Lee Hall and Elton John about a British boy who develops a love of ballet in the midst of the contentious 1980s miners' strike. www.drurylane.com .