10 haunt­ing shows for Hal­loween

Chicago Sun-Times - - AGENDA - By CATEY SULLIVAN FOR THE SUN- TIMES Catey Sullivan is a lo­cal free­lance writer.

In the de­li­ciously chilling words of Nel­son Al­gren, “Chicago is an Oc­to­ber sort of city even in spring.” It is all the more an Oc­to­ber sort of city when Oc­to­ber is ac­tu­ally loom­ing in the im­me­di­ate fu­ture. Hang on to your pump­kin spice ev­ery­thing: To para­phrase Waukegan na­tive Ray Brad­bury para­phras­ing Shake­speare, some­thing wicked this way comes. In or­der of open­ing nights, here are 11 shows to scare you silly, or maybe just make you laugh your head off. “Cheese­house of Hor­ror,” Tues­days through Oct. 24; and “Splat­ter The­ater,” Satur­days through Oct. 28, An­noy­ance Bar and Grill, $ 8-$ 20; thean­noy­ance.com

With “Cheese­house,” the An­noy­ance prom­ises a travelogue through Wis­con­sin, aka ( per the pro­duc­ers) “the scari­est state in the union.” What we know: Their brand of com­edy is ir­rev­er­ent, some­times puerile and of­ten glee­fully over the top. Surely they’ve got plenty to work with in state that gave us Jef­frey Dah­mer and Ed Gein. “Splat­ter The­atre,” mean­while, of­fers a send- up of the genre of nu­bile teens get­ting picked off by some crazed lu­natic who al­ways man­ages to spare the virgin for last. “Be­wil­dered,” through Nov. 11, Hell in a Hand­bag at Stage 773, 1225 W. Bel­mont, $ 22$ 39 ; Hand­bag­pro­duc­tions.org

Be­fore “Charmed” or ” Grimm” or “Sab­rina the Teenager Witch,” there was the Sa­man­tha Stephens, she of the spell- bind­ing nose twitch and the glo­ri­ously bitchy- witchy mother En­dora. Tak­ing its in­spi­ra­tion from the classic 1960s sit­com “Be­witched,” Hell in a Hand­bag gives us the mu­si­cal “Be­wil­dered,” by com­posers Chicago Aaron Ben­ham and Ron Weaver. Star­ring drag­ster ex­traor­di­naire David Cerda as the im­pe­ri­ous En­dora, the show cel­e­brates the comic side of covens. “Ghosts & Zom­bies,” through Oct. 29, Ak­vavit The­atre at Straw­dog The­atre, 1802 W. Ber---

enice, $ 15-$ 25; chicagonordic.org

As the break­out best­seller “The Nix” proved, Nor­we­gian ghosts are hot right now. All the bet­ter for Ak­vavit’s zomb­i­fied ver­sion of Hen­rik Ib­sen’s classic “Ghosts.” As in Ib­sen’s orig­i­nal, things be­gin with a re­spectable widow striv­ing to open an or­phan­age in her late hus­band’s honor. Un­like the orig­i­nal, the plan is un­done by ma­raud­ing le­gions of blood­thirsty un­dead, prov­ing once and for all that while you can bury the past, some­times there’s noth­ing to stop it from rearing up and eat­ing your brains. “Death Toll: A Hal­loween Drink­ing Game Per­for­mance,” Oct. 6 through Oct. 28, and Oct. 31, The Cornser­va­tory, 4210 N. Lin­coln, $ 12; www.cornser­va­tory.org/ death- toll

Ev­ery Oc­to­ber, t he glee­fully macabre jokesters from the Cornser­va­tory bring up the bodies and the booze. Clar­i­fi­ca­tion: DTAHDGP is a BYOB joint, so pick your poi­son ac­cord­ingly. The premise is ghoul­ishly sim­ple: The cast presents a va­ri­ety of mur­der­ously in­clined sketches ( past shows have in­volved seances run amok, a visit with Edgar Allen Poe and Dora the Ex­plorer). When on stage some­body dies, you drink. Pro tip: Bring snacks as well as booze. The show gen­er­ally in­volved around eight sketches. That’s po­ten­tially a lot of drink­ing and dy­ing.

“The Cru­cible,” Oct. 7, 8, 13, 14, 21 , Step­pen­wolf The­atre, 1650 N. Hal­sted, $ 15-$ 20; Step­pen­wolf. org

The teenage girls of 17th cen­tury Salem find dan­ger­ous em­pow­er­ment in ac­cu­sa­tions of witch­craft in Arthur Miller’s har­row­ing tale of mass hys­te­ria and the power of frenzy. Although they lived and died al­most 400 years ago, the witches of Salem tell a chill­ingly con­tem­po­rary story, The cast fea­tures Michael Pa­trick Thorn­ton (“Pri­vate Prac­tice,” “The Ex­or­cist”) as a seem­ingly godly politi­cian be­dev­iled by the up­roar. “The Hyp­ocrites Drac­ula,” Oct. 7- Nov. 5, The Hyp­ocrites at the Mer­cury The­atre, 3745 N. South­port, $ 30 – $ 55; www. the- hyp­ocrites. com

Di­rec­tor Sean Graney prom­ises “at least a gal­lon” of blood will be spilled at ev­ery per­for­mance of Bram Stoker’s ground­break­ing tale of blood, sex, im­mor­tal­ity and a Tran­syl­va­nian no­ble­man with awe­some in­cisors. The Hy­pos have a knack for tak­ing po­ten­tially stodgy old texts, rip­ping them to shreds and then stick­ing them back to­gether in ways that both honor the orig­i­nal and ren­der it newly thrilling. Ex­pect as much from this truly gory story. “The Man- Beast,” Oct. 7 – Nov. 5, First Fo­lio The­atre, 1717 31st St. ( Route 83 and 31st Street), Oak Brook, $ 34-$ 44; First­fo­lio. org Were­wolves ( or some­thing) prowl the 18th cen­tury French coun­try­side in play­wright Joseph Zet­tel­maier’s based- on- a- true- story ( Not! Kid­ding! Google “Beast of Ge­vau­dan.”) ex- plo­ration of mu­ti­la­tion and men­ace in the era of ( pre- guil­lo­tine) Louis XVI. The plot fol­lows a trail dead live­stock and lo­cal ef­forts to catch the mys­te­ri­ous beast rip­ping their throats out. “Car­rie II: The Rage,” Oct. 13 – Nov. 19, Un­der­score The­atre at the Arkham, 4609 N. Clark, previews through Oct. 15, $ 10 – $ 15; Reg­u­lar run, $ 15- $ 25; un­der­scorethe­atre.org When last we saw Car­rie White of Stephen King’s iconic novel “Car­rie,” she was haunt­ing Sue Snell, the mean- girl- turned- nice- girl who es­caped the apoc­a­lyp­ti­cally fiery end to Car­rie’s brief and tragic rein as Prom Queen. Pre­ston M. Allen’s “unau­tho­rized mu­si­cal par­ody” be­gins a decade af­ter the epi­cally aw­ful dance, as Car­rie and Sue learn once again that high school mem­o­ries can last a life­time whether you want them to or not. “The Scor­pi­ons’ Sting,” Oct. 14, 15, Lyric Opera of Chicago at the Stude­baker The­ater, 410 S. Michi­gan , $ 10-$ 20; lyri­c­opera. org Bring the kids! The Gods of an­cient Egypt are un­leashed when a group of ar­chae­ol­ogy stu­dents go on a time- trip­ping ad­ven­ture in search of the Lost Tem­ple of Isis, God­dess of Na­ture and Magic. Al­ter­nat­ing between the present and the an­cient world, the mini- opera could also pro­vide cos­tume in­spi­ra­tion; Osiris, Lord of the Un­der­world and his sib­lings Set ( Lord of Dis­or­der) and Neph­thys ( God­dess of Do­mes­tic­ity) are among the deities in the story.

| KARL CLIFTON- SODERSTROM

Vic­tor Bay­ona ( from left), Marsha Har­man and Jeremy Trager star in Ak­vavit The­atre’s pro­duc­tion of “Ghosts & Zom­bies.”

| D. RICE

El­iz­a­beth Laid­law and Aaron Chris­tensen star in the world pre­miere of “The Man- Beast” at First Fo­lio The­ater.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.