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Oak Brook, Marriott Theatre to present 'Christmas Carol'
By Barbara Vitello | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 11/12/2009 12:03 AM | Updated: 11/12/2009 11:47 AM

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Twin titans Drury Lane Oak Brook Theatre and Marriott Theatre present family-friendly versions of "A Christmas Carol" as their holiday offerings. Gene Weygandt ("Wicked") stars as Scrooge in Marriott's production of the Charles Dickens classic, while Santa makes a special appearance to dine with audience members at select performance dates of Drury Lane's version.

Info: Opens Friday, Nov. 13, at Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire. (847) 634-0200 or marriotttheatre.com. Opens Wednesday, Nov. 18, at Drury Lane, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace. (630) 530-0111 or drurylaneoakbrook.com.

Howie at the Hemmens

Comedian, actor and "Deal or No Deal" star Howie Mandel takes time off from his TV hosting duties to headline one show at the Hemmens Cultural Center.

Info: 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13, at 45 Symphony Way, Elgin. (847) 931-5900 or hemmens.org.

Crazy for Coward

Writer's Theatre salutes playwright/songwriter Noël Coward with "Oh Coward!" a revue comprised of Coward's sophisticated songs and sly quips. Director Jim Cort and music director Doug Peck head up the creative team. The cast includes Kate Fry, John Sanders and Rob Lindley.

Info: Previews begin Tuesday, Nov. 17, at Books on Vernon 664 Vernon Ave., Glencoe. (847) 242-6000 or writerstheatre.org.

What's New

• Sean Graney returns to Court Theatre to direct "The Mystery of Irma Vep," Charles Ludlam's two-man satire of gothic romance, Victorian drama, horror films and conventional theater. The campy, quick-change comedy centers around Lady Enid, second wife of Lord Edgar, who arrives at her husband's estate unaware of the tragedies that occurred there. Erik Hellman and Chris Sullivan star. Previews continue through Friday, Nov. 20, at 5535 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago. The production opens Saturday, Nov. 21. (773) 753-4472 or courttheatre.org.

• Henry Adams' novels and the administration of U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant inspired Eclipse Theatre Company's revival of Romulus Linney's historical drama "Democracy." Set in 1875 Washington, during Grant's scandal-plagued administration, the play centers on two women who must decide whether they will marry their suitors and adopt their beliefs. Previews continue through Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. The show opens Sunday, Nov. 15. (773) 404-7336 or eclipsetheatre.com.

• A Red Orchid Theatre reprises its 2008 hit "A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant," a satirical take on L. Ron Hubbard's study of Dianetics. Previews continue through Saturday, Nov. 14, at 1531 N. Wells St., Chicago. The show opens Sunday, Nov. 15. (312) 943-8722 or aredorchidtheatre.org.

• The world premiere of "The Addams Family," the new musical by composer/lyricist Andrew Lippa and writers Marshall Brickman and inspired by the characters created by cartoonist Charles Addams, begins previews Friday, Nov. 13, at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., Chicago. Broadway veterans and two-time Tony Award winners Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth star as Gomez and Morticia Addams. (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com.

• As his funeral approaches, the late Dexter Twain finds that he has a lot to learn about himself in "Posthumorous," a comedy by Michael Flanagan. The Village Players Theatre production opens Friday, Nov. 13, at 1010 Madison St., Oak Park. (866) 764-1010 or village-players.org.

• Writer/actor/pianist Hershey Felder returns to Chicago to perform his composer trilogy comprised of his popular bio-musicals "Beethoven, As I Knew Him;" "Monsieur Chopin" and "George Gershwin Alone," all of which incorporate selections of the composers' best-known music. Felder's "Beethoven" runs from Friday, Nov. 13, through Dec. 5, followed by "Chopin" from Dec. 9 through 19, and "Gershwin" from Dec. 23 through 30 at Drury Lane Water Tower Place, 175 Chestnut Ave., Chicago. The run concludes with Felder hosting a singalong featuring selections from the American songbook on Dec. 31. (312) 642-2000 or ticketmaster.com.

• Thirty theater artists will spend three weeks dissecting the complex, maddening, loving relationships family members forge as part of Viaduct Theatre's Happy Family Series. The series runs from Friday, Nov. 13, through Dec. 6, and includes storytelling, monologues, live music, one-act plays, videos, improv and puppetry. Participating artists include Ian Belknap, Jenny Magnus, Beau O'Reilly, Brian Nemtusak, Martha Bayne and others. Performances take place at 3111 N. Western Ave., Chicago. (773) 296-6024 or viaducttheatre.com.

• Emerald City Theatre reprises "A Nutty Nutcracker Christmas," a rock 'n' roll take on the classic tale. In this version, a video game-loving boy named Fritz finds himself drawn into a game where he finds himself helping the Nutcracker battle the Mouse King. Performances begin Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 935-6100 or emeraldcitytheatre.com.

• Anything goes at Victory Gardens Theater's 28th annual Casting Auction fundraiser taking place 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, at 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Musical theater lovers can literally buy one of 50 roles in the theater's upcoming production of Cole Porter's "Anything Goes," running Feb. 12 and 13, 2010. Admission is $60 in advance, $75 at the door and includes entertainment, buffet and open bar. (773) 549-5788, ext. 2140 or victorygardens.org.

• Well-behaved canines (on leashes) are invited to pose for photographs with Ebenezer Scrooge from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. Goodman's second annual Pooch on Scrooge event benefits Season of Concern, a charity that assists theater professionals suffering from serious illnesses, including AIDS. The suggested donation is $10. Capacity is limited and reservations are recommended. Make one at goodmantheatre.org/poochonscrooge.

• A new, audience-participation, musical comedy titled "Waiting for Otto," about a man who gets caught up in a rigged election, gets a workshop performance Sunday, Nov. 15, at Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 W. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. (773) 598-4549 or gorillatango.com.

• American Blues Theater heralds its return to Chicago with a Rebirth of Blues Benefit on Monday, Nov. 16, featuring special guest, Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis. Dukakis will read from ABT's spring production "RIPPED: The Living Newspaper Project" and will participate in a pre-benefit, private VIP reception from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The benefit takes place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Bridgeview Bank, 4735 N. Broadway, Chicago, and features refreshments, music and readings from Victory Gardens Theater artistic Director Dennis Zacek. Tickets are $75, $125 for the VIP reception. (312) 725-4228 or americanbluestheater.com.

• Obie Award-winning actor Daniel Beaty brings his solo show "Emergency," a commentary on modern black life, to eta Creative Arts Foundation, 7558 S. South Chicago Ave., Chicago. The performance begins at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16. Tickets are $30. Beaty and Dr. Haki Madhubuti discuss the issues confronting black men at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, at the theater. (773) 752-3955 or etacreativearts.org. Beaty also performs "Emergency" at Northwestern University's Wallis Theatre, 1949 Campus Drive, Evanston, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17.

• "Aunt Dan and Lemon," Wallace Shawn's disturbing examination of the seductiveness of evil, marks the opening of BackStage Theatre Company's 10th anniversary season. Matthew Reeder, former director-in-residence at Arlington Heights' Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, directs the drama in which a sickly young woman named Lemon recounts her indoctrination into a worldview devoid of compassion or conscience courtesy of her charismatic Aunt Dan. Previews begin Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago. The show opens Friday, Nov. 20. (800) 838-3006 or backstagetheatrecompany.org.

• Actress, comedian and commentator and Hyde Park native Erica Watson brings her one-woman comedy "Fat Bitch!" to the Chicago Center for the Performing Arts, 777 N. Green St., Chicago, for a brief run beginning Thursday, Nov. 19. Watson incorporates personal anecdotes and video clips to examine society's response to black women and their bodies vis-a-vis iconic images such as Mammy and Hottentot Venus. Performances run through Nov. 28. (312) 733-6000.

• A traveling carnival inspires Silent Theatre Company's world premiere production, "Carnival Nocturne," about a disparate group of fortune tellers, fire-breathers and freaks bound by a mysterious curse. Performances begin Thursday, Nov. 19, at the Storefront Theater, 66, E. Randolph St., Chicago. (312) 742-8497, dcatheater.org or silenttheatre.com.

• The Chicago Theatre hosts the latest Cirque du Soleil theatrical spectacle, "Banana Shpeel." The show, about a young actor caught in the clutches of a nefarious producer, begins previews Wednesday, Nov. 19, at 175 N. State St., Chicago. Heading up the multinational cast is Michael Longoria, who played Frankie Valli in the Broadway production of "Jersey Boys," as young Emmett. Annaleigh Ashford (Glinda in the Chicago production of "Wicked") plays his love interest Katie, and Remo Airaldi co-stars as the producer Schmelky. The show opens Dec. 2 and runs through Jan. 3, after which it moves to New York's Beacon Theatre. (800) 745-3000 or thechicagotheatre.com.

• Raven Theatre hosts a benefit performance of its production of "Death of a Salesman" at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, at 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago. Tickets are $25. A portion of the proceeds benefits the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. (773) 338-2177 or raventheatre.com.

• The Chicago premiere of the hip-hop opera, "Hopera: A Fallen Hero," continues through Sunday, Nov. 15, at the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago. Composer Adrian Dunn's work centers on a young, black man from Chicago's south side struggling to become a reporter for The New York Times. (773) 947-0600, ext. 236 or dusablemuseum.org.

• Annoyance Theatre's "Burlesque is More" continues at 10 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 19, at 4830 N. Broadway, Chicago. (773) 561-4665 or theannoyance.com.