Don't-Miss List June 27-July 4: A Pinter comedy and Illinois Shakespeare Fest

June 28, 2012

Kelly Kleiman and Jonathan Abarbanel

Dueling Critics on Eight Forty-Eight, 91.5FM and WBEZ.org, between 9 and 10 a.m. Friday June 29, FREE!

Friday we debate the Strange Tree Group’s new satire Goodbye Cruel World, and try to persuade WBEZ contributor Dan Weissmann that critics really can’t be replaced by robots. I’ll be there, provided I can find my oil can. If you miss the conversation, you can listen to it here on the site. –KK

The Lover, opening Thursday June 28 at 7:30; Soul Theatre at A Red Orchid Theatre,
1531 North Wells in Chicago; Thursdays-Sundays through July 15; tickets $20, $10 for students
and seniors


It’s hard to imagine the words “comedy” and “Harold Pinter” in the same universe, much less the same sentence; but The Lover is Pinter’s one-act stab at a sex farce. I might be hesitant to recommend the show but this production features the impeccable Mick Weber, who illuminates every stage he steps on. –KK   

All-American Holiday Pageant, The Paper Machete, Saturday July 1 at 3 p.m.; The Green Mill, 4802 North Broadway in Chicago; donation requested

This is a special edition of Christopher Piatt’s spoken-word “Salon in a Saloon,” featuring a range of comic talents relieving themselves (you should pardon the expression) of their thoughts about God, country, sex, drugs and rock-and-roll. Expect fireworks as the writer-performers speak the speech trippingly on the tongue. –KK

Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Ewing Manor, Bloomington, Ill. 309-438-2535; $27-$47 (various discounts also available); rotating rep through August 11

Year after year, the Illinois Shakespeare Festival (ISF) has gained respect as an important regional destination theater; the kind of place where you go to see three plays in two days and enjoy the ambiance of antiquing, Victorian homes, luxe b&b's and good restaurants available in the Bloomington-Normal area, which is home to the ISF. The troupe's playhouse has perfect sightlines and great intimacy for Shakespeare outdoors, as it was meant to be. Even the grounds of the ISF are worth a visit: the Tudor-style Ewing Manor with its beautiful gardens and wide lawns where picnics are encouraged. The ISF's 35th season opens this week with Othello and As You Like It with The Rivals joining the rotating rep in mid-July. Many mornings also provide a free performance of The Comedy of Errors as part of the ISF's Theatre for Young Audiences program. FYI: excellent website for planning a visit. –JA

The Barn Theatre, 13351 W. M-96, Augusta, Mich. 269-731-4121; $34; season runs through Sept. 2

They used to call it "the straw hat circuit": summer stock theater presented in a tent or an old barn by a company of performers whom you'd see in a different show every week or two. It was, and is, great fun for thank goodness there's a little bit of old-fashioned summer stock still around. Indeed, you won't find summer stock any more classic than in Augusta, Mich., a rural town about two hours around the tip of the lake, where The Barn Theatre has been offering professional seasons since 1949 in a genuine old dairy barn. The opening show is Pal Joey (through July 1), followed by Legally Blonde (July 3-15), The Wedding Singer (July 17-29) and three more shows. Plenty of free parking on the lawn in front of the barn, kids welcome, refreshments available. Warning: The nearest accommodations, other than a state park campground, are in nearby Kalamazoo or Battle Creek. –JA