Last year proved phenomenal for Chicago theater, with many outstanding productions capturing our hearts and minds (read my roundup of the best of 2011 Chicago theater on my blog), and 2012 promises to be no different. Perhaps you've made a resolution to see more theatre in the new year? (And if you haven't made this resolution, maybe you should.) To get you started, here are four shows I'm greatly anticipating in the first few months of 2012.
Jan. 14 - Feb. 19, 2012
Goodman continues to produce challenging works about race, culture and identity with this compelling crime drama by David Mamet. And, from what I've been told, this production is not to be missed. From press notes: "Two high-profile lawyers—Henry (Geoffrey Owens) who is black, and Jack (Marc Grapey) who is white—are called to defend a wealthy white client Charles (Patrick Clear) who is charged with the rape of an African-American woman. Along with their new hire, Susan (Tamberla Perry), they soon find themselves embroiled in a complex case where blatant prejudice is as disturbing as the evidence at hand. With characteristic bluntness, Mamet leaves nothing unsaid in this no-holds-barred suspense story."
TimeLine Theatre Company
Jan. 17 - April 15, 2012
Yup: it's a play about one of America's largest corporate disaster stories. After a successful run in London and a stint on Broadway, Lucy Prebble's ambitious play makes its Chicago premiere at TimeLine Theatre Company, directed by Rachel Rockwell. From press notes: "Crafted as sprawling tragedy mixed with savage comedy, Enron follows a group of ambitious men and women through the breathtaking rush of greed and fraud that led to a legendary financial collapse. Along the way we gain disturbing insight into the backroom secrets of big business and confront a world where appearance has little relation to reality."
Drury Lane Oakbrook
Jan. 19 - April 1, 2012
While it's a bit of a drive from Chicago, Drury Lane Oakbrook's exceedingly high-quality productions (and affordable tickets) are well worth the trek. So, it's a no-brainer that I'll be heading over that way to catch their production of this classic American musical -- one of my absolute favorites. New York actress Klea Blackhurst stars as Mama Rose, and her big voice will certainly do the Jule Styne/Stephen Sondheim score proud.
Angels in America
March 30 - June 3, 2012
Finally, probably one of the most anticipated theatre events of 2012 is Court Theatre's production of Tony Kushner's 1993 Pulitzer-Prize-winning play, directed by Charles Newell. Kushner's epic play, in two parts, is sure to be a hot-ticket. And the cast is outstanding: Eddie Bennett (Louis Ironson), Mary Beth Fisher (Angel), Heidi Kettenring (Harper Pitt), Rob Lindley (Prior Walter), Geoff Packard (Joseph Porter Pitt), Michael Pogue (Belize), Hollis Resnik (Hannah Pitt) and Larry Yando (Roy Cohn).