Before the advent of air-conditioning, many theaters would just shut down in the summer months. But now that theater is year-round, don’t miss out on these shows that are world premieres or debuting for the first time in the Windy City. Also note the number of shows with LGBTQ characters and themes. All shows are in Chicago unless otherwise noted.
Ask Aunt Susan, Goodman Theatre, now through June 22. A guy poses as a female online advice columnist, but the facade eventually causes loads of problems in Seth Bockley’s world premiere. www.goodmantheatre.org .
Invisible World, Annoyance Theatre, now in an open run. Welcome the Annoyance Theatre to its new Belmont Avenue home with this sketch comedy revue directed by Annoyance co-founder Mick Napier. www.theannoyance.com .
Sketchbook 2049, Collaboraction at Flat Iron Arts Building, now to June 15. Out playwright Ike Holter ( Hit the Wall, Loom ) is this year’s guest curator to two repertory shows of world-premiere short plays and sketches. www.collaboraction.org .
Cirque Shanghai: Warriors, Navy Pier Skyline Stage, now to Sept. 1. Flexible and daring Chinese acrobats and entertainers are back for a summer season of family-friendly entertainment. www.navypier.com/cirqueshanghai .
Piano Diaries, Athenaeum Theatre, now to July 6. Composer and pianist Peter Saltzman blends music with monologues for this new intimate show. www.athenaeumtheatre.org .
Love Me, Tinder, The Public House Theatre, May 30 through June 28. Cupid does battle with a new dating app in Byron Hatfield’s new comedy. www.pubhousetheatre.com .
Haymaker, Neo-Futurists, now to June 28. See how action movies affected the mind of playwright Trevor Dawkins when his script, Tears of Shanghai ( written when he was just 13 ), is produced onstage. www.neofuturists.org .
Tyrant, Sideshow Theatre at Theater Wit, now through June 29. Playwright Kathleen Akerley imagines a future when formerly homeless people are forced to work in the homes of the wealthy in this dystopian drama. www.sideshowtheatre.org .
The Beverly Hillbillies: The Musical, Theatre at the Center in Munster, Ind., July 10 to Aug. 10. The beloved and oft-syndicated TV sitcom comes to life onstage courtesy of adpators David Rogers and Amanda Rogers with music by composer Gregg Opelka. www.theatreatthecenter.com .
Rung, Curious Theatre Branch at Prop Thtr, May 30 through June 29. Matt Test’s experimental chamber opera riffs on Frankenstein and Noah’s Ark as a creator tries to reanimate lost voices. www.curioustheatrebranch.com .
Monstrous Regiment, Lifeline Theatre, May 30 through July 20. Chris Hainsworth’s world-premiere adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s novel is about a woman who infiltrates the military to seek her missing brother. www.lifelinetheatre.com .
What to Listen For, The Side Project, June 2 through July 6. Legendary Viennese figures like Freud and Mahler enter the subconscious of a man in Kathleen Tolan’s world-premiere drama. www.thesideproject.net .
The Last Ship, Bank of America Theatre, June 10 through July 13. Rock star Sting looks back on his childhood in Northern England in a shipbuilding town about to lose its major industry in this Broadway-bound world-premiere musical co-written with out playwrights John Logan ( Never the Sinner ) and Brian Yorkey ( Next to Normal ). www.broadwayinchicago.com .
Burn the Black Dog, Wayward Productions at Luther Memorial Church, June 12 to July 5. Natalie DiCristofano’s devised piece involves audience voting to steer the plot set in a girls’ boarding school and involving witchcraft. www.waywardproductions.org .
Orville and Wilbur Did It!, The New Colony at Signal Ensemble Theatre, June 13 to July 20. There’s sex, drugs and children’s theater tied together in the world-premiere of David Zellnick’s comedy about the artists tied to an American children’s theater tour performing a musical about the Wright Brothers. www.thenewcolony.org .
The Qualms, Steppenwolf Theatre, July 3 through Aug. 31. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Bruce Norris ( Clybourne Park ) and new Steppenwolf Ensemble member offers up a new drama of the problems that arise among a group of suburban partner-swapping swingers. www.steppenwolf.org .
Lifeboat, The Filament Theatre Ensemble, now through June 8. This Chicago premiere by playwright Nicola McCartney is based on a true story of two 15-year-old girls who survive on a stranded lifeboat during World War II. www.filamenttheatre.org .
Love Tapes, The Inconveniece at Angel Island, now through July 5. This Midwest premiere of Penn Jillette and Steven Banks’ play is about an obsessive fan who sends a videotaped declaration of love to her rock star idol. www.theinconvenience.org .
Eat Your Heart Out, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, now to June 28. Courtney Baron’s comic drama involves six people with body and dating issues. It was a hit at the 2012 Humana Festival. www.rivendelltheatre.org .
The Emperor of Atlantis, The Clever One, Chicago Opera Theater at Merle Reskin Theatre, May 31, June 4, 6 and 8. Composer Viktor Ullmann died in a concentration camp during World War II, while composer Carl Orff did the Nazis’ bidding. See these two one-act operas together and consider their composers’ contrasting fates. www.chicagooperatheater.org .
Carrie the Musical, Bailiwick Chicago @ Biograph Theater, May 29-July 12. This musical based upon the Stephen King horror novel is considered to be one of the most notorious flops in Broadway history. See its Chicago premiere in its revised off-Broadway version by composer Michael Gore, lyricist Dean Pitchford and playwright Lawrence D. Cohen. www.bailiwickchicago.com .
Hello Failure, The Side Project, June 11 to July 6. It’s the Midwest premiere of Kristen Kosmas’ play about a group of women whose husbands are away in a submarine crew. www.thesideproject.net
The Half-Life of Memory, Cold Basement Dramatics at Storefront Theater, June 4 to 29. Chicago premiere of Jason Linder’s drama is about a declining nuclear physicist facing up to his past involvement in the Manhattan Project. www.coldbasement.org .
Men Should Weep, Griffin Theatre at Raven Theatre, July 5 through Aug. 10. This 1940s Scottish play dealing with poverty in Glasgow receives its Chicago premiere following an acclaimed recent production by the National Theatre of Scotland. www.griffintheatre.com .
Grounded, American Blues Theater at Greenhouse Theater Center, June 6-July 13. Chicago premiere of George Brant’s drama is about a female pilot who finds her life torn between family life and her career as a drone operator at war. www.americanbluestheater.com .
Annapurna, Profiles Theatre Alley Stage, June 6 through July 20. Midwest premiere of Sharr White’s drama is about an estranged wife who returns to find her cowboy-poet husband living in squalor and in ill health in a trailer in Colorado. www.profilestheatre.org .
Partners, LiveWire Chicago Theatre at Den Theatre, June 21 through July 20. It’s a Chicago premiere of Dorothy Fortenberry’s comic exploration of modern relationships. www.livewirechicago.com .
Of LGBTQA interest
Cock, Profiles Theatre, The Main Stage, extended through June 29. A woman sexually lures away a man who was previously part of a troubled gay couple, causing the jilted partner to retaliate in Mike Bartlett’s hit London and off-Broadway comedy. www.profilestheatre.org .
5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, Chicago Commercial Collective and The New Colony at Chopin Theatre, now through June 8. Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood’s Eisenhower Era-set comedy returns after a critically acclaimed off-Broadway run. See what happens when five women who comprise the leadership of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein cope with a nuclear holocaust in the midst of their annual summer quiche breakfast. www.chicagocommercialcollective.com or www.thenewcolony.org .
Days Like Today, Writers Theatre in Glencoe, now through July 13. Songwriter Alan Schmuckler and playwright Laura Eason look at the year in the life of a jilted bride and her unconventional parents. www.writerstheatre.org .
Caged Dames: A Shocking Musical!, Hell in a Handbag Productions @ Theater Wit, now through July 13. Fans of the Netflix series Orange is the New Black won’t want to miss this revival of David Cerda’s campy spoof of classic women’s prison films. www.handbagproductions.org .
Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus The past few years of new Broadway musicals ( like Kinky Boots and The Book of Mormon ) and significant revivals ( like Pippin ) are the source materials for the concert Bouncing Off the Walls: Broadway Our Way. Performances are at two locations: Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St., at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 31; and North Central College’s Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville, at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 1. www.cgmc.org .
Artemis Singers Chicago’s lesbian feminist chorus celebrates the eve of the statewide availability of same-sex marriage licenses in Illinois with A Feminist Mosaic Concert & Dance at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 31, at Broadway United Methodist Church, 3338 N. Broadway. www.artemissingers.org .
Tony Tunes! Pride Films and Plays’ fundraising concert features non-Equity Jeff nominees and winners performing songs from Tony Award-winning musicals at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 3, at Sidetrack, 3349 N. Halsted St. Tickets are $20; visit www.pridefilmsandplays.com for more information.
Generation Sex, Teatro Luna at Instituto Cervantes, June 1 to 14. It’s a Latina look at how technology has affected the way we hook up and fall in love. www.teatroluna.org .
Last Sunday in June, About Face Theatre’s Pride Performance Series at Greenhouse Theater Center, 7:30 p.m. June 2. Michael Urie ( Ugly Betty, Buyer & Cellar ) stars in a special reading of Jonathan Tolins’ notorious anti-gay play that spoofs the many conventions of the genre. www.aboutfacetheatre.com .
Lesbians & Literature, About Face Theatre’s Pride Performance Series at Uncommon Ground is part of PivotArts Festival. 7 p.m. June 10. As one might guess, it’s a discussion of lesbians and their impact on famous literature. www.aboutfacetheatre.com .
Abraham Lincoln was a F*gg*t, About Face Theatre’s Pride Performance Series at Chicago Dramatists, 7:30 p.m. June 13-14. A reading of Bixby Elliot’s comedy is about a 17-year-old who goes on a mission to prove that Abraham Lincoln was gay. www.aboutfacetheatre.com .
Methtacular!, About Face Theatre’s Pride Performance Series at American Theater Company, 7:30 p.m. June 17. Steven Strafford stars in his own one-man show about his hilarious and harrowing three years as a crystal-meth addict in Chicago. www.aboutfacetheatre.com .
River See, Links Hall, June 19 to 29. Sharon Bridgforth’s world-premiere performance art piece is about blues women, queers and other so-called "deviants" taking part in the Great Migration. www.linkshall.org .
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace, June 19-Aug. 17. The Tony Award-winning 2005 musical comedy by playwright Rachel Sheinkin and out composer William Finn returns complete with its quirky and smart kids freaking out at a spelling bee. www.drurylaneoakbrook.com .
Windy City Gay Chorus and Aria The combined ensembles of Windy City Performing Arts perform the concert "Just Love", featuring songs inspired by lesbian students who went to court for the right to escort each other to senior prom, and an excerpt from a larger work based upon the life of the late college student Tyler Clementi. Performances are at 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday, June 21, at Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 1650 W. Foster Ave. www.windycitysings.org .
Some Men, Pride Films and Plays at Rivendell Theatre, Aug. 14-Sept. 14. The Chicago premiere of Terrence McNally’s drama that looks at how gay rights have changed over the past few decades. www.pridefilmsandplays.com .Tags: concert, film, movie, music, singer, tour, tv