Chicago hotter than Broadway

In January, more than a dozen Broadway productions will be shutting down, including “Spring Awakening,” “Gypsy,” “Hairspray” “13,” and “Young Frankenstein.” And there’s little on the horizon to replace them. (Are you really anxious to see “Shrek: The Musical”? Didn’t think so.)

So what’s a travelling theater junkie to do?

Consider a much closer trip, that’s what.

Here’s a rundown of some of the potentially noteworthy productions hitting Chicago soon (and the familiar faces you’ll see in them).

At Steppenwolf, long-time company member John Mahoney (you know him from “Frazier” and “Say Anything”) stars in Conner McPherson’s play “The Seafarer” through Feb. 8. Meanwhile, new Steppenwolf member William Peterson (“CSI”) stars in McPherson’s “Dublin Carol” through Jan. 4. And, in March, Tina Landau directs a production of “The Tempest” starring fellow director Frank Galati.

At the Goodman, the “Eugene O’Neill in the 21st Century” festival is anchored with a production of “Desire Under the Elms” starring Brian Dennehy and Carla Gugino (Yes, the mom in “Spy Kids”–she also has extensive theater credits.) Perfromances begin January 17.

At Lookingglass, company co-founder (and familiar “Friend”) David Schwimmer takes a role in “Our Town,” opening in February.

The Broadway in Chicago series may not have a potential blockbuster such as the still-running “Wicked” and “Jersey Boys” in the next few months, but it does have one out there on the horizon. The pre-Broadway production of the musical “The Addams Family,” with the hoped-for cast including Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth opens in November. In the meantime, there are yet-to-hit-Indy tours of “Xanadu,” “Legally Blonde” “Mary Poppins,” “Spring Awakening,” and Chazz Palminteri in his one-man show “A Bronx Tale.”

And that’s just the familiar-face productions. For more Chicago theater info, click here.

Your thoughts? Anything here sound worth the drive…or the Megabus ticket…to you?

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