Oct 20, 2022 - Things to Do

Raking in some colorful fall plays

Two women hugging

Antonia Arcely (left) and Amber Lee Ramos star in "Sancocho." Photo courtesy of Visión Latino Theater Company, taken by Yajaira Custodio

👋 Hey, it's Monica. I've been seeing a lot of theater, and here are some of my recent favorites.

  • Note: I'm trying a new thing called "Smart remark" to give you a clever quip when the cocktail chatter turns to hot new plays.

Sancocho: Two Puerto Rican sisters try to come to terms with family secrets while cooking the play's namesake stew on stage (here's the recipe).

  • Making its Midwest premiere at the Destino's Latino Theater Festival, this zestily performed two-woman show deliciously explores themes of lost culture, forgiving family and sharing food.

Smart remark: "Loved the show, but what do they do with that scrumptious stew they make on stage?"

If you go: The Windy City Playhouse by Visión Latino Theater Company through Oct. 30. Tickets: $25-$60

Three women on stage in a musical
Older Allie (Maryann Plunkett), Middle Allie (Joy Woods), and Younger Allie (Jordan Tyson) in The Notebook. Photo courtesy of Chicago Shakespeare Theater, taken by Liz Lauren

The Notebook: This world premiere musical adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks book and 2004 movie features music by singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson and diverse casting to marvelous effect.

  • Even if you already know this story of star-crossed lovers trying to reunite for the last time, pack some Kleenex for the final act.
  • And don't be surprised to see this show on Broadway next year.

Smart remark: "The movie, book and the play are all a little different but the sobbing — that remains the same, right?"

If you go: Chicago Shakespeare Theater through Oct. 30. Tickets: $53-$125

Woman at a dining room table with young man
Mary Beth Fisher and Bubba Weiler in "Swing State." Photo courtesy of Goodman Theatre, taken by Liz Lauren

Swing State: A widow in modern-day southern Wisconsin struggles with pandemic-era malaise, the dying environment and the loss of her husband.

  • Though not the feel-good show of 2022, this Rebecca Gilman play unflinchingly reflects upon our current Midwest moment with surprising flashes of humor and hope.

Smart remark: "From the show's name I thought it was gonna be like 'Veep.' But it was more like weep."

If you go: The Goodman Theatre through Nov. 13 Tickets: $15-$55

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