Aladdin April 11-June 2 at Cadillac Palace Theatre (151 W. Randolph St., Chicago, 800-745-3000) Adapted from the Disney film and centuries-old folktales, including “One Thousand and One Nights,” the story is brought to fresh theatrical life in this new musical. Aladdin’s journey sweeps audiences into an exotic world of daring adventure, classic comedy, and timeless romance. This new production features a full score, including the five cherished songs from the Academy Award-winning soundtrack and more written especially for the stage.

Beyond Caring March 22-May 7 at Lookingglass Theatre (821 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-337-0665) This critically acclaimed piece, most recently produced at the U.K.’s National Theatre and re-imagined for Chicago by writer/director Alexander Zeldin, is a gritty portrait of those who cling precariously to the bottom rung of the ladder. Full of life, humor, and tenderness, it sheds light on America’s shadow economy and shines an unflinching spotlight on the incendiary intersection of race and class. Details:

By the Water March 16-April 23 at Northlight Theatre (9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, 847-673-6300) Hurricane Sandy has just ravaged the lifelong home of Marty and Mary Murphy. But the storm has ripped apart more than just the walls. With their neighbors too devastated to stay, the couple’s beloved Staten Island community is in danger of disappearing forever. Determined to rebuild, Marty wages a campaign to save his neighborhood and his home, but when the Murphys’ sons arrive to help their parents dig out, past betrayals come rushing to the surface. Details:

Carmen thru March 25 at Lyric Opera (20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago, 312-332-2244) Filled with passion, jealousy, drama, and death, Georges Bizet’s classic opera revolves around a beautiful but hot-tempered Spanish gypsy girl who seduces a young corporal named Don Jose. The naïve young man gives up everything for her, leaving his former love, rebelling against his superiors, and joining a gang of smugglers. But when Carmen tires of him and moves on to the bullfighter Escamillo, Don Jose is driven by betrayal and jealousy to exact violent revenge. The French composer’s score includes the instantly recognizable “The Toreador Song,” Carmen’s habanera, and more. Details:

Chicago  March 30-June 11 at Drury Lane-Oakbrook (100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace, 630-530-0111) Theatregoers can purchase tickets for the live performance only, or enjoy the added pleasure of a pre-show dinner with the Dinner/Theatre Package.

Flanagan’s wake  thru April 29 at Chicago Theatre Works (1113 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago) This play transports the audience to the fictional town of Grapplin, County Sligo, Ireland, where local roustabout, Flanagan, has died. Here they meet an eclectic cast of characters, including Fiona Finn, Flanagan’s spirited fiancée of twenty-two years; Brian Ballybunion, his best friend and drinking mate; Father Damon Fitzgerald, the sharp-tongued parish priest; Mayor O’Doul, the town mayor and bartender; the innocent Mother Flanagan; and several other colorful citizens. The mourners pay their respects to the deceased in the Irish tradition (with a quick stop at the pub first). Details:

Hamilton thru Sept. 17 at The PrivateBank Theatre (formerly Bank of America Theatre; 18 W. Monroe St., Chicago, 312-977-1700) A new musical about the scrappy young immigrant who forever changed America: Alexander Hamilton. From bastard orphan to Washington’s right-hand man, rebel to war hero, “Hamilton” is an exploration of a political mastermind. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Eliza Hamilton, and lifelong Hamilton friend and foe Aaron Burr all attend this revolutionary tale of America’s fiery past told through the sounds of the ever-changing nation we’ve become. Details:

Madagascar – A Musical Adventure  thru April 15 at Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire (10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, 847-634-0200) Join Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the Hippo, and, of course, those hilarious penguins as they bound onto our stage in the musical adventure of a lifetime. Based on the DreamWorks animated motion picture, “Madagascar – A Musical Adventure” follows all of your favorite friends as they escape from their home in New York’s Central Park Zoo and find themselves on an unexpected journey to the madcap world of King Julien’s Madagascar. Details:

MamMa Mia!  thru April 2 at Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire (10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, 847-634-0200) ABBA’s hits tell the hilarious story of a young woman’s search for her birth father on a Greek island paradise. After reading her mom’s diary from one carefree summer twenty years ago, Sophie secretly invites the three men her mom wrote about to her wedding. Details:

My Fair Lady April 28-May 21 at Lyric Opera (20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago, 312-332-2244) Based on George Bernard Shaw’s book “Pygmalion,” this witty battle of the sexes follows self-absorbed, misogynistic linguist Henry Higgins as he attempts to train Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl plucked from the street, how to speak properly; though, she’s much smarter than he realizes. With a feisty leading lady and a score full of instantly recognizable songs, like “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?” and “I Could Have Danced All Night,” it’s no wonder “My Fair Lady” became a huge Broadway hit, and, in 1964, was turned into an Oscar-winning film starring Audrey Hepburn. Details:

Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles March 28-April 2 at Ford Oriental Theatre (24 W. Randolph St., Chicago, 312-977-1700) This hit performs the full range of The Beatles’ discography live onstage, including the most complex and challenging songs that The Beatles themselves recorded in the studio but never performed for an audience. In addition to the updated sets that include brand new LED, high-definition screens and multimedia content, new songs have also been included. Together longer than The Beatles, “Rain” has mastered every song, gesture, and nuance of the legendary foursome, delivering a live, note-for-note performance. From the early hits to later classics (“I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “Hard Day’s Night,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Let It Be,” “Come Together,” “Hey Jude,” and more), this adoring tribute will take you back to a time when all you needed was love, and a little help from your friends.

The Scene thru April 2 at Writers Theatre (664 Vernon Ave, Glencoe, 847-242-6000) What starts off with an amusing exchange at a hip Manhattan party quickly turns into something more complex. When close friends Charlie and Lewis meet Clea, a determined young woman making her mark on the New York scene, it sets them off on an emotional roller coaster. This provocative comedy-drama explores the dark edges of commitment and the struggles of balancing authenticity with ambitions. Details:

Shakespeare in love April 15-June 11 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater (800 East Grand Ave., Chicago, 312-595-5600) The Oscar-winning romantic comedy about Shakespeare and his Chamberlain’s Men returns to its rightful home—the stage. Imagine a young playwright on the make struggling to write his new tragic love story, “Romeo and Ethel, The Pirate’s Daughter.” The title just doesn’t have the right ring—and young Will Shakespeare knows it. He’s got writer’s block and must do something quickly. Will needs a muse, and he finds one in Viola, a vivacious beauty who will do anything—even disguise herself as a man—to audition for the stage where no women are permitted to perform. Once revealed, the torrid affair begins inspiring the completion of the most romantic tragedy ever penned. Details:

STrangest Things! The Musical thru April 1 at The Greenhouse Theatre Center (2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, 773-404-7336) In that magical year of 1983, when parents were nowhere to be found, hair was huge, and frozen waffles had the power to change a bald girl’s life, something … strange happened in a sleepy town. Set to the fresh beats of your favorite me-decade hits, “Strangest Things!” might be familiar if you’ve seen the Netflix smash hit about a lost boy, his plucky friends, and a troubled sheriff whose town is turned upside down. But in the hands of the folks who brought you “Barney the Elf” and “Ladies Night of the Living Dead,” this musical mystery is a little twisted. Details:

Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street thru March 19 at Paramount Theatre (23 E. Galena Blvd. Aurora, 630-896-6666) It’s just another day in nineteenth century England, and Benjamin Barker has returned home. The only thing is, it’s been fifteen years since the once fresh-faced barber has seen his family. He was unjustly sentenced to prison on trumped-up charges by the corrupt Judge Turpin, who had his leering eyes on the barber’s beautiful wife. Barker vows revenge for these and other atrocities and turns to the tools and skills with which he’ll exact his plan: a razor and a barber chair. While the ensuing events are unfortunate for some, others like Mrs. Lovett, her struggling pie shop, and her customers quickly prosper from the body count. Details:

Sycamore  March 8-April 29 at Raven Theatre (6157 N. Clark St., Chicago, 773-338-2177) In this new drama by Brooklyn-based playwright Sarah Sander, Celia and Henry are teenaged siblings living in a Midwestern suburb. Celia is eighteen, and involved in cheerleading and the drama club. Henry is sixteen and active in mathletics. Both Celia and Henry become romantically interested in their new next-door neighbor, John, who recently moved to their town from Los Angeles with his single mom, Jocelyn, and is also an artistic type. This is not the first time Celia and Henry have been romantic rivals. Meanwhile, Celia and Henry’s parents, David and Louise, face stress in their marriage. Details:

The Wiz  March 5-April 16 from Kokandy Productions at Theater Wit (1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, 773-975-8150) Featuring a book by William F. Brown and music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls, “The Wiz” is an urbanized retelling of Frank Baum’s Classic 1900 children’s novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and the classic movie “The Wizard of Oz,” in the context of twentieth century African-American culture.  Follow the yellow brick road with a dazzling mix of rock, gospel, and soul. Details:

A Wrinkle in Time  thru April 9 at Lifeline Theatre (6912 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago, 773-761-4477) After her father vanishes under mysterious circumstances, Meg Murray’s life begins spiraling out of control. One dark and stormy night, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which appear and promise to help rescue him from the darkness. Based on the beloved 1963 book by Madeleine L’Engle, “A Wrinkle in Time” follows Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, their pal Calvin, and a host of extraterrestrial friends and foes as they journey into the heart of evil in the hope of reuniting a fragmented family. Details:


The snowy Day and Other Stories  thru April 22 from Emerald City Theatre Company at Apollo Theater (2540 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, 773-935-6100) Ezra Jack Keats’ beloved children’s books come to life in this production by award-winning playwright Jerome Hairston. A landmark picture book, “The Snowy Day” was the first to feature an African-American protagonist, Peter, a boy who explores his city after the first snowfall. In this stage adaptation, various types of puppetry and movement capture Peter’s journey through childhood in a whole new way. For ages 3-9. Details:

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