"The Invasion of Skokie" ★★★

In 1977, the National Socialist Party, a derivation of the American Nazi Party, announced its intent to hold a march in Skokie. That odious provocation crystallized an incendiary debate. On the one side was freedom of speech: the ACLU-backed right of any group of Americans to assemble and say what it wants to say. On the other was the seemingly competing right of Americans to live peaceably in their community, free from fear and intimidation. The action in Steven Peterson's intense but often funny play takes place in the ordinary backyard of a middle-class, Jewish Skokie family — and revolves around the question of how far you should go to protect your family, your neighborhood and your faith. I don't think you'll buy everything that happens. But there are some excellent performances in Richard Perez's strikingly honest production, and this show offers a nuanced and sympathetic portrait of a postwar generation whose reluctance to embrace change flowed at least in part from their determination to keep the faith. Through Oct. 10 at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Ave.; $32 at 312-633-0630 or chicagodramatists.org
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