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Deeply Rooted Dance Theater company in “Heaven.” (Photo by Michelle Reid)

Six powerful works by the exceptional dance company – including two true masterpieces – explored everything from social issues and personal endurance to a spiritual search.

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“The Full Monty” at Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre. Front: Nick Druzbanski, left, and Matt Frye. Background, from left: Jonathan Schwart, Neil Stratman, Joe Giovannetti and Marc Prince. (Photo by Austin D. Oie)

The theater company’s new home in Evanston marks a grand, and grandly deserved step upward. Its opening production looks at what happens when men lose their well-paying factory jobs and self-respect.

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Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in “III. Third” by Rena Butler. (Photo by Cheryl Mann)

If you are in search of fresh choreographic talent, why not turn to the dancers who are right under foot in your own studio? Sometimes, this makes perfect sense. But as revealed in “dance(e)volve New Works Festival,” there can be drawbacks to this effort.

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Siobhan Stagg in “Cendrillon” at Lyric Opera of Chicago. (Credit: Todd Rosenberg)

Alternately farcical and romantic, this very French rendering of the Cinderella story has arrived on the Lyric Opera stage for the very first time in an altogether enchanting production.

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The Joffrey Ballet (Photo by Cheryl Mann)

Now in its third season, the Joffrey Ballet’s radiant and altogether ingenious production of choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s Chicago-themed reinvention of “The Nutcracker” is more luminous than ever. 

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Lanise Antoine Shelley and Erik Hellman in Steppenwolf’s Chicago premiere production of “Familiar” by Danai Gurira. (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

With great bursts of raucous humor, as well as zany rom-com moments and deep anguish, playwright Danai Gurira infuses her exuberantly boisterous play with issues of family contention that go well beyond the usual disputes.

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From left: Paul-Jordan Jansen, Carl Draper, Elizabeth Stenholt, Kyle Adams and Nessa (as Toto) in Paramount Theatre’s “The Wizard of Oz.” (Photo credit: Liz Lauren)

At Paramount Theatre, director-choreographer Amber Mak and her sensational team of actors and designers magically pay homage to the emotional richness of the 1939 film while incorporating some of the newest tricks of technology.

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(Photo by Matthew Murphy)

The new touring production of the epic show could not be more elaborate, but it trades more in shock value than pathos, and loses something in the process.

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Alex Stein and Kasey Foster in “The Steadfast Tin Soldier.” (Photo by Liz Lauren)

To bring Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” to vivid life, director Mary Zimmerman looks to the English pantomime tradition, and draws on her ingenious, visually stunning storytelling tricks.

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Kayla Carter in “Mansfield Park.” (Photo credit: Michael Brosilow)

Watching Northlight Theatre’s luminous world premiere stage version of Jane Austen’s third published novel, it was impossible not to wonder what the writer might make of her enduring cult status among 21st century audiences.

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Will Burton and Kimberly Immanuel in “Holiday Inn” at the Marriott Theatre. (Courtesy of Liz Lauren)

The recent Broadway musical based on the hit 1942 film is an old-fashioned charmer on every level, with just enough of a sardonic bite to make it feel fresh, and just enough nostalgia to pierce your heart.

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Sarah Fornace in “Frankenstein” by Manual Cinema at Court Theatre. (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

This wildly imaginative version of Mary Shelley’s classic is at once handmade and high-tech, and as you take your seat at Court Theatre, you immediately sense that something completely out of the ordinary is about to unfold.

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Soprano Vittoria Yeo, mezzo-soprano Daniela Barcellona, tenor Piotr Beczala and bass Dmitry Belosselskiy are soloists in Verdi’s Requiem with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus led by Zell Music Director Riccardo Muti. (© Todd Rosenberg)

Verdi’s monumental and altogether ravishing “Requiem” is a signature work of Maestro Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. In light of recent shootings, Thursday’s performance brought even greater potency and fire to this work.

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(Credit: KT MILLER Photography)

A study in the darkness and luminosity inherent in human interaction, “Take” is nothing short of spellbinding. And it marks a new high point in artistic director Nick Pupillo’s always original, sensual, highly charged choreography.

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Ashley Neal and Glenn Obrero in the world premiere of “Scientific Method.” (Photo credit: Michael Brosilow)

If you think this country’s political culture is the quintessential hornet’s nest, you probably haven’t been exposed to life in the world of scientific research. Jenny Connell Davis puts it under a powerful magnifying microscope in this world premiere work.

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Daniel Barenboim speaks at a Chicago Symphony Orchestra press event on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Credit: Todd Rosenberg)

At an intimate press conference celebrating his return visit to the city, conductor Daniel Barenboim expressed his delight at what will be a two-part homecoming at Symphony Center.