This season two theaters Drury Lane Oakbrook and Court Theatre will revive "My Fair Lady," perhaps the wittiest musical ever to grace Broadway. Opening Monday, Oct. 1, Apple Tree Theatre will explain that wit by returning to George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion," the source of the Lerner and Loewe musical. A metamorphic comedy in which a Covent Garden flower seller is transformed into a lady, this 1910 exercise in character contrast stars television star Daniel J. Travanti as the "sculptor" Henry Higgins and Kate Fry as his flesh-and-blood statue. William Brown directs this witty (and, compared to the musical, unsentimental) look at the union of an immovable object and an irresistible force.
"The Visit": Also Monday, Oct. 1, Goodman debuts its second season in its new home with the world premiere of a musical by composer John Kander, lyricist Fred Ebb and bookwriter Terrence McNally. Directed by Frank Galati (of "Ragtime" fame) and choreographed by Ann Reinking, it features Broadway veterans Chita Rivera and John McMartin (most recently Cap'n Andy in "Show Boat") and a cast of 24. The source is Friedrich Durrenmatt's classic revenge tale: A wealthy woman returns to the town where she was disgraced when she was 17 to make a terrible offer that the impoverished burg may not refuse. She puts a price on the head of the man who did her wrong. It's not your usual visit and, no doubt, its final destination is Broadway.
"South Pacific": Once more, as if to prove there's nothing like a dame, Nellie Forbush gets to wash that man right out of her hair. Opening Tuesday, Oct. 2, as part of the downtown Broadway in Chicago series, this touring production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's beloved 1949 musical features stage and screen notable Michael Nouri as the wealthy planter Emile de Becque. (Nouri starred opposite Julie Andrews in "Victor/Victoria.") Erin Dilly, seen as Belle in the national tour of "Beauty and the Beast," plays the cock-eyed optimist Nellie. It could prove some enchanted evening.
"A Lie of the Mind": Opening Monday, Oct. 1, in a staging by Brian Russell, Sam Shepard's darkly comic drama depicts two families linked by marriage but torn apart by jealousies and distrust. The play explores the desperate efforts by both clans to reclaim order in a bleak and unkempt world.
"Dogs Barking": In the past, Profiles Theatre has specialized in depicting white trash in action. Now they've changed accents. On Thursday, Oct. 4, Richard Zajdlic's 1999 British drama receives its American debut as it depicts a pair of ex-lovers, unable to let go, who battle over their London flat. As they wax territorial, they discover hidden passions, seething jealousy and lost tenderness. Darrell W. Cox and Sara Maddox play the feuding old flames, and Ken Mitten directs.
"The Big Funk": Opening Friday, Oct. 5, this pell-mell comedy by John Patrick Shanley (screenwriter of "Moonstruck") throws together a knife-thrower, his pregnant wife, an out-of-work actor, an abused young woman and the man who degraded her to examine love from all sides. Robin Chaplik directs the mayhem.
"Richard III": Opening Friday, Oct. 6, Shakespeare's bloodiest history play stars Tim Tamisiea as the rapacious Richard, happily the last of the Plantagenets. In this version he's the head of a company of actors whose dissentions reveal the deepest recesses of the human condition. Anthony Churchill directs this thespian version of the War of the Roses.
"Woktoberfest": Opening Thursday, Oct. 5, this latest sketch comedy show by this all-Asian troupe (made up of Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Filipino and Korean performers) attempts to dispel stereotypes and bridge understanding among various social, racial and inter-generational groups. Considering the time, the cause was never fitter.
Recent openings: 'Pygmalion,' 'South Pacific' and 'A Lie of the Mind'
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