1984Sept. 14–Oct. 8 from AstonRep Theatre Company at Raven Theatre (6157 N. Clark St., Chicago, 773-338-2177) Based on the novel by George Orwell, “1984” is a view of a world controlled by a totalitarian government. Orwell asks what is left when freedom of speech, the press, love, and even the past are subject to authoritarian whims. Details:

Barbecuethru  Sept. 30 from Strawdog Theatre Company at Steppenwolf Theatre  (1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago, 312-335-1650) A modern American family uses a summer barbecue as a pretext to ambush sister Barbara with an intervention. Details:

Billy Elliot The MusicalOct. 6–Nov. 19 from Porchlight Music Theatre at Ruth Page Center for Arts (1016 N. Dearborn Parkway, Chicago, 312-337-6453) Based on the 2000 film, this musical won both the Tony Award and Olivier Award for Best Musical. Set in an English mining town during the miners’ strike of 1984-85, Billy Elliot takes a journey from the boxing ring to a ballet class to make his dreams come true. Details:

Bonnie and Clyde  thru Oct. 15 at Theater Wit (1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, 773-975-8150) This musical weaves rock-a-billy, blues, and gospel music into the story of how two small-time nobodies in West Texas became America’s most notorious, alluring, and fearless folk heroes. Details:

The Crucible  Oct. 4–21 at Steppenwolf Theatre (1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago, 312-335-1650) The people of Salem are whipped into a frenzy by a series of escalating misinterpretations after a group of teenage girls are accused of dancing devilishly in the woods. Fearing retribution, the girls begin a chain of finger-pointing until neighbor turns against neighbor, and a once powerless teenage girl suddenly has the ability to decide the fate of all those around her. Details:

Fun Home  Sept. 19–Nov. 12 at Victory Gardens Theater—Biograph (2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, 773-871-3000) Hailed as one of Broadway’s most original musicals and the winner of five Tony Awards, “Fun Home” is a groundbreaking story inspired by Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir. In this musical, Alison sets out to unravel the mysteries of her childhood through a series of memories and conversations. Details:

Hard Times  Oct.4–Jan. 14 at Lookingglass Theatre (821 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-337-0665) A Dickensian carnival of characters inhabits the streets of Coketown; Grim Mr. Gradgrind’s school churns out joyless students; poor Stephen Blackpool toils in the nearby mines; and mill-owner Mr. Bounderby, full of bluster and bombast, presides over it all. Details:

Les Misérables  Oct. 11–29 at Cadillac Palace Theatre (151 W. Randolph St., Chicago, 800-775-2000) Cameron Mackintosh presents the new production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg’s Tony Award-winning musical phenomenon direct from its acclaimed Broadway return. Details:

A Love Affair  thru Oct. 1 at Oil Lamp Theater (1723 Glenview Road, Glenview, 847-834-0738) If you could go back and give advice to your younger self, what would you say? In this romantic comedy, Jimmy and Alice Diamond find themselves reliving the flawed masterpiece that is their marriage as they clear out the attic of their Malibu home. Details:

Motown The Musical Oct. 3–8 at Cadillac Palace Theatre (151 W. Randolph St., Chicago, 800-775-2000) It began as one man’s story, became everyone’s music, and is now Broadway’s musical. This is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, and many more. Details:

Quixote: On the Conquest of Self Sept. 27–Dec. 17 at Writers Theatre (325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, 847-242-6000) This engaging and creative interpretation of the classic novel by Miguel de Cervantes transports audiences between time periods. Details:

The Rembrandt Sept. 7–Nov. 5 at Steppenwolf Theatre (1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago, 312-335-1650) When a museum guard decides to touch a famous Rembrandt painting, a remarkable journey across the ages ensues. Details:

Riglotto Oct. 7–Nov. 3 at Lyric Opera (20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago, 312-827-5600) Verdi’s masterpiece of 1851 presents a deeply moving characterization of a hunchbacked court jester consumed by bitterness and revenge. Details:

Rock of Ages thru Oct. 15 at Drury Lane Theatre (100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace, 630-530-0111) Rock back to a time of big egos, big guitar solos, and even bigger hair. Nominated for five Tonys, including Best Musical,  it features twenty-eight classic eighties hits. Set during the tail end of the decade, “Rock of Ages” follows aspiring rock star Drew and small-town girl Sherri as they fight to save Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. Details:

United Flight 232 thru Oct. 21 from The HousetTheatre  of Chicago at Chopin Theatre (1543 W. Division St., Chicago,  773-769-3832) In 1989, a DC-10 headed for O’Hare with nearly three hundred people aboard crashed. Nearly two hundred survived. This award-winning original play is a reflection on how to comprehend tragedy and celebrate human ingenuity. Details:

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