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The Chopin Theatre in Wicker Park (WTTW News)

Some businesses deemed essential are staying open as Gov. J.B. Pritzker orders residents across the state to stay home and help prevent spread of the novel coronavirus. But how are mom-and-pop operations weathering the storm? 

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Courtney Rikki Green, left, Tamara Rozofsky, center, and MacGregor Arney in “Teenage Dick,” at Theater Wit. (Photo credit: Charles Osgood)

Because Chicago is the storefront theater capital of this country, it’s worth looking at the situation now facing some of these small companies and how they are trying to deal with the global pandemic.

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Ensemble member Christine Mary Dunford in “Her Honor Jane Byrne.” (Photo by Liz Lauren)

Lookingglass Theatre’s dazzlingly performed world premiere production is a theatrical and sociological gem of a work that should catapult its writer-director, ensemble member J. Nicole Brooks, to genuine fame.

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Ensemble Member Christine Mary Dunford performs in “Her Honor Jane Byrne.” (Photo by Liz Lauren)

On stage at Lookingglass Theatre, a new play looks at a Chicago moment from March 1981 when Jane Byrne, the city’s first woman mayor, moved into the Cabrini-Green housing project. 

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Lauren Demerath in TUTA Theatre’s world premiere adaptation of “Hedda Gabler: A Play with Live Music.” (Photo by Austin D. Oie)

When it comes to revivals of Henrik Ibsen’s plays in this era of neo-feminism, “A Doll’s House” attracts the most attention. But it is the title character in “Hedda Gabler” who takes the cake. And in this new production, she has never been more compelling and convincing.

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Robert Dubac in “The Book of Moron.” (Courtesy of Broadway in Chicago)

In 90 uninterrupted minutes of altogether irresistible satire, Robert Dubac – an actor, writer, comedian and grand master of sleight-of-hand (and mind) – ingeniously nails the current regrettable state of the nation and the world at large.

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The Chicago band Verboten in the 1980s. (Courtesy of Jason Narducy)

A new rock musical from the House Theatre of Chicago tells the incredible story of a teenage punk band from Evanston. We meet the cast of “Verboten” and an original member of the band.

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David Goodloe, center, with Lewon Johns, back left, and Michael Turrentine in Griffin Theatre Company’s Midwest premiere of “Mlima’s Tale.” (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

Lynn Nottage’s 2018 play about the savage slaughter and potential decimation of Africa’s “big tusk” elephant population, and the illicit trade in ivory that drives it, is a stunning piece of work – equal parts poetry, ritual and an anatomy of corruption.

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Liv Warfield, left, and Alseny Sylla are new cast members of the Teatro ZinZanni show “Love, Chaos and Dinner.” (WTTW News)

Circus arts, comedy and cabaret come together at Teatro ZinZanni. Six months into its run, the show has completely juggled its cast. New performers include two people with Chicago ties but very different backstories.

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An image from video of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. (WTTW NEWS via C-SPAN)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was center stage in the House impeachment hearings. Now she is on stage, in a sense: a new play about Pelosi is receiving its world premiere in Chicago. We drop by an early rehearsal.

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Lora Lee Gayer and Brad Standley in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of “Emma.” (Photo by Liz Lauren)

The flaws and fancies, and triumphs and comeuppances of Jane Austen’s characters continue to ring true two centuries after the publication of her books. The latest proof can be found in this utterly charming production at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. 

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“Singin’ in the Rain” (Marie-Noëlle Robert / Théâtre du Châtelet)

The formidable full schedule will feature 10 major productions, eight of which will be “new to Chicago.” The season also will mark the grand finale of Sir Andrew Davis’ tenure as music director of the Lyric Opera.

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Robert Sims and Tyrone Chambers, II in Chicago Opera Theater’s “Freedom Ride.” (Photo credit: Michael Brosilow)

In its airtight, fervent, emotionally riveting 90 minutes, “Freedom Ride” vividly captures a pivotal moment in American history and the civil rights movement of the early 1960s in the most sophisticated yet accessible way. 

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Carrie Coon and Tracy Letts talk “Bug” with WTTW News.

The revival of Tracy Letts’ 1996 play “Bug” stars his wife, Steppenwolf ensemble member Carrie Coon. We spoke to the creative team right before opening night.

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Left: Cassidy Slaughter-Mason and Sean Parris in “How a Boy Falls.” Right: Kate Fry and Allen Gilmore in “The Mousetrap.” (Photos by Michael Brosilow)

Agatha Christie’s play, “The Mousetrap,” is now receiving a wonderfully entertaining revival at Court Theatre, while Northlight Theatre is presenting the world premiere of Steven Dietz’s “How a Boy Falls,” a compelling whodunit with very dark overtones.

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From left: Chuckie Benson, Terri K. Woodall, Joey Stone, Madison Piner and Tristan Bruns in “Rockin’ in Rhythm” from “Sophisticated Ladies” by Porchlight Music Theatre. (Photo by Michael Courier)

This knockout revival could easily be airlifted onto a New York stage without a single alteration. Come and see it if you can.

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