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From left: Aurelie Lannoy, Angelo Tijssens and Charlotte De Bruyne in Ontroerend Goed’s “Fight Night.” (Photo by Yvon Poncelet)

Audience members engage in a process similar to a television “elimination” contest to choose one of five contenders for an unspecified office. It is great fun, but also offers food for thought – and a healthy dose of cynicism.

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Betty Buckley, center, and the “Hello, Dolly!” National Tour Company – 2018. (Photo credit: Julieta Cervantes)

The enduring 1964 hit with an impossibly catchy score fervently champions the quest for love, adventure, mischief and the all-important joy (and necessity) of seizing the day.

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Shane O’Regan stars in the one-man show “Private Peaceful.” (Credit: Ahron R. Foster)

A beautifully realized, profoundly moving one-man show now on stage at the Greenhouse Theater Center features a performance of great heart by Shane O’Regan.

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From left: Chuckie Benson, Michael Mahler, Zachary Stevenson and Kieran McCabe in “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.” (Photo credit: Michael Brosilow)

They say “the music died” on the day in 1959 when rock ‘n’ roll legend Buddy Holly perished in a plane crash. But that geeky Texas boy with the trademark thick glasses is still making a big noise.

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Daniil Trifonov is soloist in Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with guest conductor Marin Alsop and the CSO. (© Todd Rosenberg)

You have just one more chance to catch a concert at Symphony Center that brings you into direct contact with absolute genius. Beg, borrow (or maybe even steal) a ticket to hear 27-year-old Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov in an electrifying performance.

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Joffrey Ballet dancers Victoria Jaiani and Dylan Gutierrez in “Swan Lake.” (Photo by Cheryl Mann)

It has been four years since the Joffrey Ballet first performed Christopher Wheeldon’s reimagining of “Swan Lake.” Its current revival serves as a vivid indication of the extraordinary artistry that now defines the Joffrey, from principal dancers to corps.

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E. Faye Butler as Rose in “Gypsy” from Porchlight Music Theatre. (Photo by Michael Courier)

With her force-of-nature personality, powerhouse voice and galvanic emotional range, E. Faye Butler was clearly was born to play Mama Rose.

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From left: Tiffany Oglesby, Sydney Charles and Joslyn Jones in American Blues Theater’s production of “Flyin’ West.” (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

With echoes of “Oklahoma” in its evocation of the hardscrabble lives of exceptionally strong women, Pearl Cleage’s story revolves around the different choices made by four women, including the elderly but unbending matriarchal figure who experienced the abominations of slavery, yet survived to tell the story.

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Brianna Buckley, left, and Chanell Bell in “Crumbs from the Table of Joy,” by Lynn Nottage. (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

“Crumbs from the Table of Joy” – one of the playwright’s earliest works, now on stage at Raven Theatre – is continually engaging. And in the current climate, it also turns out to be uncannily timely.

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This past weekend saw the last Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts to be conducted by Maestro Riccardo Muti until November, and they should not go without notice for several reasons.

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From left: Jon Hudson Odom, David Alan Anderson and Steve Haggard in “Witch” at Writers Theatre. (Photo credit: Michael Brosilow)

Now receiving an altogether riveting world premiere production at Writers Theatre, “Witch” is a pitch-black fairy tale for our times, and one that is not to be missed. 

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Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble members Francis Guinan, left, and K. Todd Freeman in the world premiere of “Downstate.” (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

Hedy Weiss reviews a provocative new play about sex offenders at Steppenwolf Theatre, plus a new musical based on the movie “Tootsie.”

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 Matilda Ziegler (Em) and ensemble member Tim Hopper (Andy) in Steppenwolf’s world premiere production of “Downstate.” (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

The pitch black, profoundly provocative world premiere by Bruce Norris brings to the fore all the arguments and nuances around sexual predators, and will either make you question your opinions on the subject or confirm them. 

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From left: Rashada Dawan and Bre Jacobs with, in background, Emma Sipora Tyler, De’Jah Jervai and Roberta Burke in Firebrand Theatre and TimeLine Theatre Company’s production of “Caroline, Or Change.” (Photo by Marisa KM)

With its incendiary production, Firebrand Theatre easily secures its place among the handful of Chicago’s hottest “smaller” musical theater companies. Though there is nothing at all “small” about this formidable assemblage of talent.

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Santino Fontana, center, in “Tootsie.” Also pictured, from left: Drew King, Leslie Donna Flesner, Sissy Bell and John Arthur Greene. (Photo by Julieta Cervantes)

For all its timely social commentary, “Tootsie” (a gently updated musical version of the hit 1982 film) feels a bit like show business balm – a feel good work for the #MeToo era.

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Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in “For All Its Fury.” (Photo by Todd Rosenberg)

In its three-part fall season program, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago harkened back to the creation of the universe and the ascent of man before conjuring an apocalyptic vision of where it all went wrong.

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