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Eight Forty-Eight

Don't Miss List August 16-22: Free Shows!

Eclipse Theatre's production of Ah, Wilderness, as filmed by The Stage Channel

Dueling Critics, between 9 and 10 a.m. Friday, 91.5 FM and, FREE!

Jonathan and I will review Ah, Wilderness – Eugene O’Neill’s only comedy – at Eclipse Theatre. And we chat with a Player To Be Named Later about whether devoting an entire season to a single playwright leads to deeper insight or the familiarity which breeds contempt.  – KK

The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare in the Parks, Wilson Park, Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 4 pm, FREE!

Chicago Shakespeare's traveling production of Shrew winds up its whirlwind tour this weekend with a three-day stand at Wilson Park, 4630 North Milwaukee on the Northwest Side. After that, all you can do is hope for a repeat of the Shakes/Parks program next year. – KK

East of the Sun, West of the Moon, Coriolis Theater Company, opens tomorrow (Friday) at 8 pm at the Boho Theater at the Heartland Studio in Rogers Park, $25.

A brand-new theater company puts on a brand-new musical in a space blessed by positive musical karma, the home of the terrific Bohemian Theater Ensemble: one is entitled to expect great things. This piece, based on a Norse fairy tale of the same name, sounds like it could have been written by Joseph Campbell: man and woman, each on the run from a terrible fate, discover themselves and each other in the world outside. The show runs through September 9: Thursdays and Fridays at 8, Saturdays at 6 and 9, and Sundays at 3. $5 discount for students. – KK

Chicago Dancing Festival, opens Monday at the Harris Theater, runs through next Saturday August 25th, FREE!

Choreographer Lar Lubovitch and dancer Jay Franke, a veteran of Lubovitch’s company, launched this late-summer explosion of free dance five years ago, and it just keeps getting bigger and better. Even if you “don’t know anything about dance” (What’s to know? People with beautiful bodies display them in motion; there's music and lights; you tap your feet), try to carve out a single night to sample the nation’s top companies, including the Martha Graham Dance Company, stars of the New York City and San Francisco Ballets, and our own Hubbard Street. Downtown will be littered with dancers, from the MCA to the Auditorium to the Pritzker Pavilion on Saturday night. Though that final night is bound to be jammed (weather cooperating), try to get there: the Graham troupe will do Steps in the Street, an indictment of privilege in the face of unemployment so powerful it puts the Occupy movement to shame. – KK

Man of La Mancha, Light Opera Works at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson Street, Evanston; 1-847-920-5360; $32-$92; through Aug. 26

The runs at Light Opera Works (LOW) almost always are too short (although even this consistently reliable troupe can come up with an occasional clinker) and that certainly will prove the case with the wildly-popular Man of La Mancha, the musical story of Don Quixote told, sung and danced to a lilting, soaring, irresistibly rhythmic score. Better yet, at LOW you'll hear it played by a full orchestra of 28 or so musicians. Even better than that, heralded Chicago veteran actor and singer James Harms takes on the title role of the bewildered yet oddly-lucid Don. Act fast; seat choices already are limited for several performances. – JA

The Fall of the House of Usher, The Hypocrites at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division; 1-312-989-7352; $28; through Sept. 23

Although I admire his style, I'm not always a fan of auteurist director Sean Graney, co-founder of The Hypocrites, who often adapts a classical text (Sophocles, Shakespeare, Gilbert & Sullivan) and occasionally has destroyed the original in the process or reduced it to absurdity. However, the already-fevered works of Edgar Allen Poe seem perfectly-suited to Graney's strong visual sense and story-telling skills, so his adaptation of The Fall of the House of Usher could be fertile territory. All I can tell you about this new stage version is that it runs 80 minutes (about right for the page-to-stage adaptation of a short story), but don't be surprised to encounter an updated setting, original music, a reduction of Poe's ornate prose style to a few select words and an environmental staging. – JA

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