"Broken Fences": Chicago playwright Steven Simoncic's picture of a gentrifying neighborhood in East Garfield Park. Ilesa Duncan of Pegasus Players directs. 16th Street Theater, Berwyn; Sept. 19-Oct. 26

"Unwilling and Hostile Instruments: 100 Years of Extraordinary Chicago Women": Theatre Seven of Chicago celebrates female Chicagoans who stirred the pot — and we aren't talking about soup — with short portraits penned by nine local scribes. American Theater Company; Oct. 1-27

"The Binding": Theatre Y — one of the more intriguing movement-based and site-specific companies to emerge in recent years — combines a Jewish apocryphal text about Abraham, an eggplant and Greek philosophers Democritus and Heraclitus in Evan Hill's new piece. It's staged in a long-abandoned church by his wife and Theatre Y founder/artistic director Melissa Lorraine, with assists from another husband-and-wife team, European choreographers Denes Debrei and Heni Varga. St. Luke's Lutheran Church of Logan Square; Oct. 3-Nov. 3

"Harry & the Thief": Sigrid Gilmer's play about a time-traveling thief charged with delivering a shipment of arms to Harriet Tubman was developed by the playwright in association with Pavement Group for this world premiere, directed by Krissy Vanderwarker. Den Theatre; Oct. 10-Nov. 10

"Warm on the Coolin' Board": Two brothers in Roseland clash over their competing ideas of what they owe to their troubled community and to themselves in Shepsu Aakhu's drama. Marie Cisco directs MPAACT's season opener. Greenhouse Theater Center; Oct. 11-Nov. 24

"Bring Me the Head of James Franco, That I May Prepare a Savory Goulash in the Narrow and Misshapen Pot of His Skull": Write Club founder and hilariously corrosive social commentator Ian Belknap takes aim at the peripatetic movie star/MFA candidate/performance artist as the embodiment of all that is wrong about dilettantes and pop culture. Den Theatre; Oct. 19-Nov. 16


"9 Circles": Bill Cain's take on Dante's "Inferno" imagines a private in the U.S. Army who, while in jail awaiting judgment for war crimes, is visited by a surreal series of people and memories. Marti Lyons directs the Chicago premiere for Sideshow Theatre Company. DCASE Storefront Theater; through Oct. 6

"#GodHatesHashtags": GayCo Productions tackles Twitter culture and imagines gay life after full marriage equality comes to pass in a series of new sketches, directed by Andy Eninger. Donny's Skybox; through Oct. 19

"Sweet Child of Mine": The Neo-Futurists go international with this import of Australian performer Bron Batten's piece about explaining her career as a performance artist to her parents. Her father, Jim, co-stars and her mother, Linda, appears via video. Neo-Futurarium; Sept. 5-21

"The True History of the Tragic Life and Triumphant Death of Julia Pastrana, The Ugliest Woman in the World": In addition to offering competition to Ian Belknap for the longest title in the fall line-up, Shaun Prendergrast's play also provides an "Elephant Man" approach to the story of Pastrana, dubbed "The Ape Woman" because she suffered from hypertrichosis, or excessive hair growth over her entire body, but who also spoke three languages and was an exceptional dancer. Tympanic Theatre presents the local premiere. Berger Park Coach House; Sept. 26-Oct. 19

"Broadsword: A Heavy Metal Play": A heavy metal band comes back together after years apart when one of their comrades dies under mysterious circumstances. Keira Fromm directs the local premiere of Marco Ramirez's drama. Gift Theatre; Sept. 26-Nov. 24

"Veronica's Room": Ira Levin, better known as the author of "Rosemary's Baby" and "Deathtrap," penned this thriller about a couple caught up in an identity game involving a long-dead woman. Charles Riffenburg directs for Bohemian Theatre Ensemble. Heartland Studio; Sept. 28-Oct. 27

"The Goddess": The Artistic Home scores a bit of a coup with this world-premiere adaptation of Paddy Chayefsky's Oscar-nominated screenplay, marking the first time the Chayefsky estate has allowed such a thing. John Mossman directs his original adaptation of Chayefsky's story of a troubled Marilyn Monroe-like star in Hollywood's Golden Age. The Artistic Home; Oct. 6-Nov. 11

"Compulsion": Rinne Groff's semi-fictional take on a legal battle over Anne Frank's diary opens Next's season under Devon de Mayo's direction. Next Theatre, Evanston; Oct. 10-Nov. 17

"Trevor": Make room for Bonzo, er, Trevor: a combative 200-pound former star chimpanzee is at the center of the battles waged in Nick Jones' dark comedy, directed by Shade Murray. A Red Orchid Theatre; Oct. 11-Nov. 24

"Lydie Breeze": John Guare's drama about a 19th-century Nantucket commune destroyed by multiple tragedies gets a revival with Ka-Tet Theatre Company. Greenhouse Theater Center; Oct. 11-Nov. 10

"Paulus": Israeli playwright Motti Lerner's take on the apostle Paul views his life and teachings through the lens of an intra-Jewish debate. Silk Road Rising; Nov. 7-Dec. 15